I love to blog. I love to eat. But blogging about what I eat isn’t something I care to do. But while in Bucharest, we did eat at some places with some really good food.
Mon Amour Caffe
One evening we got off the Metro at Piaţa Romană and literally walked around in drizzling rain until something stood out. The idea was to go where the locals went to eat as opposed to Old Town where the tourists go. We found a place called Mon Amour Caffe.
The restaurant itself had nice decor, even a little fountain thingy that I had to wrestle to get Najwa away from. The person who greeted and sat us appeared to also be the waiter, the only one at that, and was perhaps also the cook. But he was nice, patient considering Najwa’s tendency to draw a lot of attention to us when she gets feisty, and spoke just enough English to get our order right.
My main fear about going to expensive-looking restaurants with foreign menus is I have no idea how the portions are going to be. I once took Nduku out to Zengo in Washington, DC, ordered what the menu called ribs but got some rolled up meat dish that, well, was very pretty. They call it fusion. I don’t watch enough cooking shows to know that fusion is a fancy way of saying small portions in very artistic displays that might taste like what you thought it would taste like.
At Mon Amour Caffe, the portions were healthy. We ordered a club sandwich for Najwa, thinking she can handle a sandwich, and even that was more generous than we anticipated.
The only negative, which was common to almost everywhere we ate, was the lack of a high chair for kids. Najwa is already a handful at the dinner table, but when she can easily stand, slide out and reach anything on the table, it can get frustrating.
For lunch one day we ventured off the beaten path and found a really small place called Art Cafe. Definitely not as fancy as Mon Amour Caffe. Actually, nothing fancy about it all. It was someplace to grab a quick, affordable bite to eat. I’ll default to chicken when I don’t recognize the names of meals on a menu, but why not try the sausage and sauerkraut. Not bad, but nothing to really blog about. Nduku’s chicken dish was better.
This looked like a place that I wouldn’t be surprised to see vermin lurking in the corners, but then I saw these in the food case…
The funniest thing, though, and probably the only reason I even blogged about this place, was the salt and pepper shaker sans the shaker. I wasn’t sure if you were supposed to use your spoon, ideally before you stick it in your mouth, or take a pinch with your fingers. We passed on the salt and pepper.
Our last night out we really did some walking before we found the perfect place to eat. Though it was nippy outside, we sat outside in this outdoor courtyard type area. There was some Arabic-sounding jazzy tunes playing for ambiance. The waiter was helpful, a bit too helpful when he was explaining to me what hummus was and what calamari was.
It was a Lebanese restaurant called Grenadine. It was our last night out and I had a bunch of Romanian money to burn before our flight in the morning. So, I ordered the hummus and the calamari. Nduku got a salad, we both ordered our main dishes, and I was so hungry at that point, I forgot to take pictures of everything!
Nduku did take a picture of Najwa helping me eat my food. Once Najwa got her hand on my fork, it became her fork. But she fed me, which was getting sloppy, but it kept her well-behaved.
We ate at several other places, of course, but I didn’t take photos. One restaurant, Dristor Kebap, is “locally famous,” as one website called it. Excuse us for thinking kebap was some Romanian mutation for kebab. It ended up being a shawarma joint. I enjoyed it, though.
Then there was a true hole in the wall near the downtown city center area. I have no idea what the name of the place is, but the food smelled good when we walked by. It was off a side street where you practically had to walk in the street at some points because the sidewalk was so bad. I mean, this place was an absolute hole in the wall, moms-and-pops type sit-in joint which was smoked out, not from the frying of foods, but the locals profusely smoking cigarettes. When we came in with a child, though, they politely put them out.
The food wasn’t the best, but because of how strong the dollar is, the really cheap cost makes the local food taste so much better. The fancy restaurants, though, can be expensive, but holes in the wall will get you more than enough food for two people all under $10.
I’m not going to pretend I’m a foodie and analyze Romanian food. Maybe Nduku has a closer-to-professional opinion about their food, but they love their meats and sauerkraut like vegetable sides; they do sausage and chicken a lot; there are pastry shops literally all over the city, in the Metro stops, vendors at all the corners and everywhere in between.