EAT in Bucharest:
Lacrimi si Sfinti
Mircea Dinescu is a well-known Rumanian writer. He works as a journalist and fell from favour during the Ceau?escu era for his socio-critical viewpoint. But that wouldn't be enough for him. That's why he was looking for 100 years-old recipes whose forgotten tastes he now reinterprets in his restaurant Lacrimi si Sfinti in the historic district of Bucharest. Dinescu's focus thereby lies on the revival of local culture. He uses regional ingredients and organic meat from small farms. The kitchen windows in his restaurant come from an abandoned house in the surrounding area and the door comes from a former pharmacy in a Romanian county. For his decoration the revolutionary has arranged 16,000 lego stones from Copenhagen and works by local artists. All this is well received in Bucharest. Just like the wines that are produced by Dinescu himself on his manor.
Mihai Panfil loves good coffee. And he always has. Together with his friend he has designed his own machine for coffee roasting and has surrounded himself with people who also love coffee. He has thought of a place that he would want to work every day - and in April 2013 he eventually opened his coffee shop Origo in Bucharest. As former Romanian representative of the barista championships he puts all his energy and experience into the new venue. He's travelling the world and imports selected coffee beans to Bucharest. These are used to create a perfect blend that is served under 276 hanging coffee mugs. And where do these mugs come from? From the young Bucharest architectural team Lama who have put a massive bar under the flying mugs to create a visual contrast. The front is riddled with brass, and the top is made of solid oak. After all the coffee shop can also be transformed into a cocktail bar at late hours. That means: you also need some perseverance at the counter!
At the Count Dracula Club they roll out all of the myths, legends, and clichés about the old blood-sucker. But it's done so humorously that you should spend at least one evening with the undead. This theme restaurant with its grizzly ambiance will not only delight fans of horror films; providing you manage to get a table, it can be quite cosy. The ambiance lives up to all the most hackneyed clichés about Transylvania and then some. Theme rooms give the restaurant a special twist: there's a chapel complete with casket, a grim cellar, Medieval chamber, hunting and ghost rooms. Waiters' costumes range from the laughable to the gruesome to the plain funny. Come here with a group that knows how to have a laugh, and you are sure to spend an entertaining evening. Especially on Thursdays and Fridays, when the owner, Count Dracula, appears in the flesh for a short show. The food is Romanian and good; bloody steaks are the kitchen's specialty.
SHOPPING in Bucharest:
At first glance you might not suspect that Romania has a good deal to boast of in the world of fashion. Nichi Cristina Nichita is a Bucharest girl made good. The fashion designer has presented her creations on many a catwalk and invariably earned ecstatic kudos. In the shop on Piata Unirii slip into one of the designer's latest creations; you're sure to be won over. Elegant businesswear with that certain something extra, lovely handbags, and clothes for that special event. Too bad Nichi Cristina Nichita only designs for women, but she really knows how to pamper them. The designer plays with classic looks that are never dull because they all have a dash of contemporary spirit. Pick out your favourite dress and reserve a table at a chic bar to show it off.
Victims of fashion and chic freaks must stop by L'Armoire Concept Store. Forget Versace and Gaultier?here Romania's young designers rule. There are a great many of them and they are ever more frequently the stars of international fashion shows. Are the names Ludmila Carlateanu, ana alexe, DADA or Roxana Davidescu familiar? What about Elena Perseil, Eugenia Enciu, Stephan Pelger, Zasha oder Dorin Negrau? No? Reason enough to have a look at their latest collections. As numerous the designers are, so too is the variety of their creations. Evening gowns, business outfits, smart casual wear. What all of the clothes have in common though is an elegance that highlights and complements the wearer's femininity, Have browse around for yourself.
Rozalb de Mura
The Rozalb de Mura label was launched in 2006 and ever since customers have wondered about the name that combines the words for ?rose' and ?blackberry'. That is meant to signal an scintillating and creative mix. Designer Olah Gyarfas is himself a mix of equal parts Hungarian and Romanian. He takes an interest not only in fashion but promotes an exchange between artists, musicians, and other creative people from all over the world. The concept works: Rozalb de Mura is a lively showcase with a wealth of fresh, imaginative creativity that you will try hard to find elsewhere. Shop, showroom, and exhibition space all rolled into one?no limits here as long as the line is aesthetically pure and the artistic claim ambitious. The outfits are made for today's yuppy. And especially if you are among those who absolutely reject this distinction, then you should have a look inside. Here you find fashion of the day after tomorrow. Just the thing for exhibition openings, graphic artists, writers, artists, club nights-out, or DJs. Most of it is in black and?at last!?there is men's wear too.
STAY in Bucharest:
This is the acme of luxury. The service? First-class, The décor? Pure elegance. The guests? Elite. The Grand Hotel too recalls the 19th century, with painstaking renovation recreating the atmosphere of the era. The building was constructed in 1886 in German Renaissance style based on plans by Emil von Forster. After being renamed Otelul and Hotel Broft, the sumptuous building was restored and reopened as the Grand Hotel Continental. Cinderella was not simply given a face-lift, but brought up to date with 21st century technology.Aesthetes will marvel at the richly detailed decoration. The rooms are tasteful and elegantly appointed. Particularly impressive are the suites in the various period styles: Renaissance, Empire, Louis XV. Simply regal!One night's accommodations in a double room cost 320 euro; the most expensive suite will run you 920 euro.
Whoever stays at the Piccolo Mondo is sure to feel the world is their oyster at this cosy hotel in one of Bucharest's attractive residential districts. This world includes a restaurant with terrace, where one can sample Lebanese specialties. The restaurant has been in business since 1993; the hotel followed ten years later. It sports just two stars, but it doen't let on, except for the prices which are embarrassingly reasonable.Guests wont for nothing?the staff is at your service 24 hours a day. Otherwise you will enjoy the peace and quiet. And it's easy to avoid running into other guests: the hotel has just 20 rooms on four floors.One night's accommodations in a double room start at 60 euro including breakfast.
Where is the hotel? The savvy traveller will have already guessed: right next to parliament. That means right in the centre of town: sights, shopping, and restaurants are just a stone's throw away. The four-star hotel with 76 rooms is not too big, not too small, not over-designed, but decorated in a contemporary style, and quite inviting. That is due in no small measure to the friendly staff who do their utmost to make each and every guest feel at home. Deluxe rooms are the simplest category: chic, generously proportioned, and with a work space for the business traveller. Only two rooms are barrier-free, so if you need one of these, book early. If you want to treat yourself to something special, check in to the Junior Suite; it has its own private terrace affording a marvellous view of the parliament building. More luxurious still is the Jacuzzi Suite, just perfect for relaxing after a strenuous day.A night in a deluxe room for two persons costs 90 euro. The junior suite is just 15 euro more, so maybe you should reconsider.
SIGHTS in Bucharest:
The Royal Palace merits more than a cursory look from outside: The palace, which dates from the early 19th century, has been the residence of kings, a communist government office, and today houses the Romanian National Art Museum. Exhibited are paintings, prints, and other artworks both Romanian and European from a variety of periods. Taken together the collections are quite extensive, so if you would like to see them all make sure you have enough time and energy. You can also spread your visit over several days. Tickets are sold for each part of the museum separately, so you can do the museum in stages with no damage to your pocketbook. For those stuck on the big names, the museum has several works by Rubens and Rembrandt. Like many other of the city's sights, a visit to the Royal Palace can be combined with an enjoyable stroll.
You should have a head for heights when you want to look out of the window from here. The 18Lounge is located on the 18th floor of the City Gate South Tower in Bucharest, right next to the Pullman Hotel. On your way towards it, passing the entrance hall of the office building, you could easily forget about your actual mission. But the moderate background music when leaving the lift picks you up exactly where you want to get - to the huge lounge bar with restaurant. Your vertigo could become a problem on the way to your table, since the view on the Romanian capital is ingenious. The menu impresses with lots of sea food, fish, and T-bone steak. Vegetarians are served baby spinach with peperoncino, garlic and olive oil, for dessert there's mango crème with almonds and crispy rice pastry. If you're not hungry at all, you can bet on Chanel No. 6, not as a fragrance, but a drink!
Anyone looking for something resembling old town quarters in Bucharest, is most likely to discover them between Calea Victoriei and Bulevardul Ion C. Bratianu. The streets may be a bit run-down, but exude more charm and character than the broad boulevards with their bombastic architecture. The many small and larger bars in and around Smardan and Selani streets offer plenty of vantage points for watching the goings-on in the pedestrian zone. The central location makes this a perfect place to choose a café or bar as jumping-off point or rest stop when sightseeing. You can have a snack or full meal here, and in the evening the district is a favourite for going out. You can conveniently reach many sights on foot from here. And nearby Piata Unirii is a public transport hub.