We spent several weeks in Romania but it only took a few days to fall in love with the food. Bucharest, with all its architectural contradictions, is overflowing with delicious restaurants. Honestly, after traveling Southeastern Europe for months, Romania has some of the best (and cheapest!) grub you can find in this region. So we’ve hand picked several of our favorites to share with you in this post about the best restaurants in Bucharest!
The food itself is reason enough to visit but if you need more convincing, then read up on some other reasons to visit Bucharest!
Pro Tip: Tips are not usually included in the bill and tipping is more common in Romania. Credit cards and contactless pay are widely accepted but have cash on hand for tipping!
Caru’ Cu Bere
This restaurant, dating back to the late 1800s, is conveniently located in Bucharest’s Old Town. Its name translates to “car with beer” so you can expect to find a good selection of beer!
They offer up a ton of Romanian dishes for a decent price, especially considering its location, but the best bargain is their lunch special. The lunch costs around 24 lei ($5.50 USD) for a small portion and 27 lei ($6.20 USD) for a big portion. So obviously, go with the big portion!
The lunch comes with a soup of your choice, salad, main, and dessert. However, when browsing the menu, you might miss the lunch deal. Why? Because it’s only in Romanian! It’s always a good idea to have google translate ready to go.
If you opt out of the lunch then you have plenty of other options to choose from in this German influenced gem. We recommend the pork knuckle but be prepared for a huge portion size!
Energiea is arguably our favorite restaurant in Bucharest. We have to thank our free walking tour guide on this one, as this was her recommendation. It’s a cozy atmosphere, particularly during the cold Romanian winters, and while prices aren’t cheap, they’re pretty darn close! However, considering the quality of food and the portion size, you could argue this restaurant is a budget option.
So what can you find at Energiea? Just about anything! They serve up an awesome burger and are famously known for their rack of ribs (so good!) but they’ll have a daily special running and you should pay close attention to it! We tried the ribs but also indulged in the special: meat pie with a crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth crust.
In addition to the grub, Energiea has a plethora of craft beers, liquors and cocktails. Our advice? Digest your main course by sipping on a “True Romanian Spirit” to make room for dessert!
Restaurant Hanu’ lui Manuc (Manuc’s Inn)
Once a caravansary, this restaurant is the oldest hotel in Bucharest. It was once a bustling commercial center packed with traders, travelers, and people of importance. The hotel is currently being restored as of writing this post but the restaurant is in full swing.
If you’re a fan of trying traditional dishes the Manuc’s Inn is the restaurant for you. The mici (grilled ground meat) is juicy and tender and very filling! This is a good restaurant to try polenta as well but make sure to get it with sour cream and cheese!
What about dessert?
Papanași, please! These yummy donuts are covered in jam and are one of the best desserts in all of Europe. That said, don’t eat too much so you have room for this sweet treat!
Step back into a medieval-themed restaurant that serves up a great hall feast. Eat like a king on the eve of battle but make sure you have a few friends by your side.
Excalibur is another centrally located restaurant in Bucharest that is super budget friendly and super delicious. The portion sizes are massive!
Alcohol is also quite cheap here; some red wine or cold beer matches perfectly with the hearty dishes.
If you are a vegetarian or vegan then you probably want to skip out on this restaurant!
Another restaurant to satisfy your hunger on Romanian specialties, Vatra has a wide range of dishes to expand your palate. Our favorite dish here is Sarmale: cabbage leaves stuffed with ground pork and rice and then slow-cooked for a few hours. Sarmale is usually served with a large helping of polenta.
Traditional decor covers the walls and the large fireplaces make you feel right at home. Again, bring an appetite and don’t be afraid to try new things!
Finally, be sure and visit one of the coolest sweet shops in Bucharest, Tartelicious. The ladies who run the place are very kind and concoct some exquisite creations. Tarts and pies are on full display, grabbing your attention as soon as you enter.
These desserts are extremely cheap and it’s the perfect place to casually unwind after some exploration of Bucharest’s city center.
Summary of the Best Restaurants in Bucharest
We hope this short list of our favorites has helped you in your search for restaurants in Bucharest and we hope you enjoy the city as much as we did.
Bucharest is a truly unique place in Europe: full of contradictions and some of the best food on the continent.