Top 10 Best Romanian Restaurants
Experiencing Romania’s beautiful nature and learning about our complex history and traditions creates a good appetite. After nourishing the spirit, it’s time for a feast for the body.
From a total of a 273 Romanian restaurants carefully selected in the 2019 edition of Gault&Millau restaurant guide, we’ve selected the country’s top 10.
They were judged by the quality of ingredients, determined by their source and seasonality, the chef’s vision and menu, the complexity of the techniques used, and the architecture of the dish.
Bistro Ateneu, Bucharest
Chef Alexandru Dumitru received the Chef of the Year title from the publication, achieved 3 chef hats and 15.5 points for the restaurant
Bistro Ateneu is located in the center of Bucharest inside a 19th century historic building which has all the ambiance of Central European aristocracy – the woodwork and works of art, the chandeliers and parquet floors, and the majestic grand piano. From the summer terrace, you can enjoy a nice view of the old city while your taste buds take a culinary journey through a modern fusion of Romanian and French cuisine.
Chef Alexandru Dumitru is well known for his preference for using fresh, local ingredients. At the same time, the restaurant embraces the farm-to-table concept using produce from their garden – fruit, vegetables, and aromatic plants. The restaurant’s main ingredients besides seasonal vegetables are forest mushrooms, wild boar, pigeon, lobster, and wild fish.
The extensive wine list from both Romania and France comes with a knowledgeable sommelier who can guide you through the list if necessary.
Chef Roland Suciu, 3 chef hats and 15 Gault&Millau points for the restaurant
Simple yet elegant, this urban restaurant is shrouded in a cozy, warm light from yellow ceiling lamps and large window walls. From breakfast and lunch to exquisite dinners or just a coffee drop off, Baracca offers quality food for a fair price using the best ingredients and fresh supplies. Taking care to preserve the nutritional value of the raw material, the contemporary kitchen pledges to support a healthy lifestyle and a food experience that nourishes equally the body and the soul.
Their passion for food can be tasted in every plate. Highlights from the menu: duck breast with figs, Wolf fish with brown butter seaweed, and lamb ribs with coconut milk and aromatic herbs, not forgetting their pizza and pasta dishes that have their fans often coming back for more. These fans are so devoted that when the scrumptious mushroom crust chicken was taken off the menu, because it changes every 6 months, they began an outcry. Baracca has fabulous desserts that can be hard to choose from, but the delicious Tiramisu is famous in the town.
The wine list is pretty extensive with good prices in order to give it a preference over beer.
Fragment, Cluj Napoca
Chef Andrei Chelaru, 3 chef hats and 15 Gault&Millau points for the restaurant
Being part of the Arena Stadium, the avant-garde architecture stands out from the old historic buildings of the Cluj. Restaurant Fragment, the cutting-edge cuisine, created its sculptural identity out of the pure necessity to maximize space. The large windows, vegetable wall, and the wooden block mural give the place a natural relaxing atmosphere.
On the same leisurely note, the kitchen adopted the slow cooking method that enriches the taste and tenders the texture. While already an international trend, slow cooking is something new for this town and is gaining in appreciation.
Some dishes, like the highly appreciated Varlax, can take as long as 48 hours to cook. Chef Andrei Chelaru takes Romanian cuisine and local ingredients and combines them with his experience abroad into a delicious symphony of creative tastes.
Among the zucchini cream soup, lamb ribs roulade with white bean puree, shrimp soup, and Argentinian sirloin with red wine gravy there are vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options. Let’s not forget some of the desserts: Schokolade Marquis, Souffle Au Chocolat, Macarons.
Chef Radu Ionescu, 3 chef hats and 15 Gault&Millau points for the restaurant
As you enter the new KAIAMO, you step into a world of symbolism and hidden stories embodied in the beautifully refurbished pieces of wood reclaimed from demolished houses. The traditional mask displayed at the entrance is a symbol (and logo) of constant change and improvement, something that is also the drive of the restaurant itself, a drive derived from a fear of mediocrity.
Radu Ionescu designed everything as a tribute to Romania, from every decorative detail to dividing the salon into four zones that each have a view of the open kitchen: the night zone or lounge (Moldova), day zone (Muntenia), bar zone (Translivania), and the platform zone (Maramureș).
There is also a more contained area for tasting the menu that the owner himself named Chef’s Corner, meant for family dinners or creative gatherings.
The menu is also composed in four sections: land, sea, garden, and puddings. Burning heart is one dish that caught our eye, but we’ll leave you to discover the names of the dishes and the delights beyond them for yourself. And a little sneak peak of the desserts: white chocolate with jasmine and rose buds brought from a close by monastery.
In order to revive old time cuisine challenges, the kitchen only works with seasonal crops so the menu changes every three months. Its back to the roots concept can be seen not only in the use of stone plates but in the cutlery, tableware, and even the beautiful solid wood tables.
Wines come from local vineries and from across the world.
Bistro de l’Arte, Brașov
Chef Oana Irina Coantă was named the Female Chef of the Year, having received 1 chef hat and 12.5 Gault&Millau points for the restaurant
You can leave your bicycle, if you come with one, on a narrow street in the old center of Brașov near a little terrace in front of an old house. The interior of arched beige ceilings and red brick columns invites you to slow down and take a savory slice of the arts while sitting down to a table of good old Romanian cuisine brought up to modernity.
Chef and owner Oana Coantă literally traveled the country in a quest to unearth the buried treasures of inherited recipes that provide the original tastes.
Simple dishes put together mostly with ingredients from small entrepreneurs’ gardens are patiently cooked over a flame of passion for good and nourishing food.
Gourmet tourists will be smitten by the traditional taste of well done cabbage rolls with grits, crispy cornmeal pancakes, sausage cooked in wine and apple sauce, and winter pie (if you end up arriving in the cold season) alongside Central European inspired tastes. Exquisite onion soup and melt in the mouth brownies are just two of them. And for soup fans, Bistro de l’Arte is the place to be as it has plenty to choose from.
The traditional drinks and wine selection pairs well with the old and new charm of food and ambiance where the service is friendly.
Syndicat Gourmet, Sibiu
Chef Ioan Bebeșelea achieved 1 chef hat and 12.5 Gault&Milau points for the restaurant
Once you find out about one of the most challenging culinary journeys that can be experienced in Sibiu, you will search for this hidden eatery on a side street near Big Square named Syndicat Gourmet. In the intimacy of what resembles a wine cellar, with its red bricks and dark brown wooden beams, you can surrender to a cozy feeling, far away from the crowded world.
The menu is shaped by the travels taken by the two owners and chefs, who brought back with them a passion for aromatic diversity, exotic spices, and a love for India. Here you will find traditional Romanian food, with seasonal ingredients supplied mostly from the local market, reinterpreted in a bold manner with Indian spices.
The result of this fusion creates an unexpected tasting experience and some interestingly named dishes such as tarragon lemonade, which is surprisingly delicious and refreshing. Other suggestions our reviewers say are not to be missed: sweet-sour seabuckthorn pie, beetroot brownie, garlic cream soup, beef tongue with mirabelle sauce, and duck breast.
The service is quick and pleasant and the menu has vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options.
Dei Frati, Brașov
Chefs Vlad Napar and Alexandru Napar achieved 1 chef hat and 12 Gault&MIllau points for the restaurant
Dei Frati is the home of perfect homemade pasta in the beautiful city of Brașov. The best Italian recipes have been brought here by the two passionate brothers (and owners) all the way from their training journey in the mother country of pasta and pizza.
But these two are not the only delicious foods that stand out among other Italian menus: antipasti, risotto, and tiramisu complete the Mediterranean experience with living memories of aromatic delights.
A good chef lets his hands guide the amount of ingredients for the recipe and dough texture, just like the Napar brothers do. Our reviewers recommend tortellini – simply the best they ever tasted, fettuccine with spinach and shrimps, the best carbonara outside of Italy, gorgonzola ravioli with pear butter and sage, and last but not least Monte Cimone, a special dessert.
Dei Frati offers seafood, Italian, Mediterranean, European, Tuscan, and Central Italian cuisine. It is of course vegetarian friendly with vegan and gluten free options. The pleasant ambiance is enhanced by good service, and booking in advance is preferred as it is quite small and popular.
This “piece of Italy”, as some customers describe the place, is nicely decorated with wood and stone, and the bathroom is something else!
Clos des Colombes, Constanța
Anne Marie Rosenberg was awarded the Regional Chefs of the Year, received 1 chef hat and 12 Gault&Millau points for the restaurant
This story started when Anne Marie Rosenberg spotted a vineyard and farmhouse in disrepair, with doves circling above, from the window of a bus while on holiday on the Black Sea coast.
Without being able to speak Romanian, she went back to find the place and so began her grape producing and culinary journey that our senses rejoice in today. Just as wine and food complement each other like well harmonized colors on canvas, so do the rustic and modern touches in the décor at Clos des Colombes.
Not entirely French or Romanian but inspired by them both, the refined dishes that almost create themselves complete Anne Rosenberg’s vision of offering an enchanting experience to every guest.
The wine list is exquisite as Anne Rosenberg is a professional taster who comes from a long line of wine producers. A tasting tour could look like this: White Terra from 2009 paired with shrimp muffins, catfish canapés and an original Delta flatbread with secret ingredients; a soft Sauvignon from 2010 accompanied by a mini baguette with goat cheese au gratin, prosciutto local asparagus and soufflé omelet; 2013 Pinot Noir with crispy chicken wings and flatbread, confit vegetables, and asparagus cream; 2009 Terra Rosa, coupage from Cabernet, Merlot, Black Maiden and Shiraz, paired with turkey lasagna, rice, olive, and confit tomato muffin.
A dessert like lavender ice cream or cherry clafoutis is more enjoyable accompanied by a 2008 Sauvignon.
Privo, Târgu Mureș
Chef Henrik Sebok achieved 1 chef hat and 12 Gault&Millau points for the restaurant
The best restaurant in the town of Târgu Mureș has a well-balanced décor of minimalism and art nouveau that sets a perfect ambiance for fine dining. Seating placed near large windows gives you the feeling of eating outside in pleasant sunlight and under garden trees.
Before you take a sensorial journey to France, USA, or Romania with dishes that look like pieces of art, the sommelier can take you through some stories of the wines that he knows so well. The wine cellar has a large selection with 350 labels carefully chosen to match the menu.
Most appreciated by reviewers are: pork tenderloin with roasted onion glaze, mushroom cream soup, French onion soup, New Zealand mutton chop, sea bream with asparagus and rosemary potatoes, Belgian black and white chocolate mousse and in-house ice cream, but many more are waiting to be discovered.
In assessing restaurants, the Gault and Millau Guide judges first take into consideration the menu, which makes up 70% of the score, while the service, atmosphere, design, and price-quality ratio make up the remaining 30%.
The chefs were rewarded for their authentic voices that transcended in the recipes of Romanian core taste. We would be happy to learn about your Romanian culinary experiences.
Want to learn more about top Romanian restaurants and chefs? Check out our interview with rising star Chef Raul Vidican of Roca Bruna.