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Chef: Daniel CHEREGI
Located in a historical building between the river Bega and a park, with the elegant architecture finely emphasized by the classic décor, Merlot promises an exclusive, fine dining experience. Inspired by the Mediterranean cuisine, the menu reflects throughout the chef’s skills and vision. The foie gras is accompanied by a kumquat jam and a red berries clafoutis, while two crunchy chocolate spheres reveal a core of turkey and lychee mousse. The beef cheek is fork tender, served with a velvety mash of purple potatoes. Desserts such as the lavender cheesecake also impress through flavors and presentation. The beautiful wine list and attentive service make it the restaurant to go for special occasions.
Chef: Sanda KOTAI
Meat Busters started as a food truck promoting all things meaty, American style – welcome, you pulled pork evangelists! Then, it grew into a proper establishment, with a roof over its head but nothing fancy, for everything here revolves around our pork almighty. (OK, beef too.) Pulled pork is the centerpiece – spiced, slow-cooked and smoked, served in sandwiches such as the signature Smokey Jack, with coleslaw and pickles. Grilled pork and beef cuts, burgers and some other eye-catching dishes, such as the mac and cheese with BBQ bacon and chives, or the Jalapeno Poppers will keep you coming for more. Then again, if we also consider the local craft beer selection (OK, wines too), you might never leave.
Chef: Ema BOBU RESANDE
Caruso instantly gives you the feeling of entering a 1920s black and white movie scene. The monochrome décor is sleek and modern, animated by color accents and pictures of the Italian tenor who inspired the restaurant’s name. The menu proposition is international and far from being black and white, showing an interest in variety and creativity. The octopus with mango, red beans, and apples is a well-rounded dish, with flavors truly enhanced by the chili. Another dish with a twist is the sweetbread with parsnip purée, gravy, apple and mustard sauce – an overall well-balanced, satisfying experience. The wine menu, with a few options by the glass, lists enough Romanian bottles to complement any meal.
With the cozy, welcoming atmosphere of a rustic yet somewhat elegant tavern, Casa Antinori will engulf you in the vast universe that is the Italian cuisine. The extensive menu offers an impressive variety of dishes, from seafood to poultry, game meat and more. The scallops and porcini mushrooms gratin arrives flaming, crunchy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside, every bite perfectly harmonious. The duck breast with wild berry sauce, duck liver and mashed sweet potatoes is boldly seasoned and well balanced. Don’t worry about the wine pairing since the selection is just as substantial, and make sure to save room for the Pavlova cake, perfect in its simplicity.
Chef: Gheorghe Cristian IRIMIȚĂ
With its mix-and-match furniture, vintage carpets, and bird cage lamp shades, Homemade gives the feeling of entering a quirky grandma’s house, where you can and should expect to be pampered with homey comfort food. The menu offers a hearty mix of vegetarian and meat dishes, for an unpretentious and honest meal. This isn’t a place for showing off the latest culinary discoveries, but for feel-good food shared with family and friends. The cinnamon spiced chicken pâté has a homemade taste indeed, and so does the bread to spread it on. The earthy, warm flavor of cinnamon also shows up in the pumpkin panna cotta, nicely balanced in taste and texture by a sticky forest berry jam and crunchy chocolate cookie crumbs.
Chef: Binh Minh DINH THI
With seemingly little interest in design, yet friendly and welcoming, Little Hanoi is where you come for an unpretentious, fresh and authentic Vietnamese meal – with some additions from Thailand or Korea. The spring rolls, fresh or fried, are a good introduction. As a follow up, you might be interested in a traditional soup, or dive straight into the generous main course section, based on all kinds of meat, sea food and vegetables, served with rice or noodles. A good choice is the crispy duck with vegetables – tasty, tender and flavorful. A classic dessert such as the fried banana with honey, along a Vietnamese coffee, tea, or even a beer, will bring a well-rounded ending to this Asian escapade.
Chef: Sayeed RAHMAN
The quiet pedestrian street, tall windows inviting light to flow in, and casual design create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for Locanda Del Corso. The menu is varied and consists of dishes that will cater to all tastes, while the staff is polite and professional. A zucchini carpaccio with shrimps offers a light and refreshing start to the meal. The pan-fried sea bream fillet, served on a leek and orange garnish, shows attention to details and an interest to go beyond standard recipes. The panna cotta with forest berry coulis, as classic as it may be, is creamy, fresh and well balanced.
Chef: Daniel MITROI
La Calul Alb strives to bring a modern interpretation to the traditional, through quality ingredients and personal touches. Varied and well thought, the menu showcases advanced culinary techniques – the dumplings stuffed with veal cheeks, served in a white sauce with forest mushrooms and black truffles are creamy, soft and harmonious, while the beef tenderloin with truffle mashed potatoes is an intensely flavored, satisfying dish. All ends well with a dessert such as the pistachio mousse with raspberry coulis – simple, well done and with a twist. And a glass of wine from the skillfully put together selection.
Bright and cozy, with a modern design that complements the original vaulted ceilings and brick walls, Vinto elegantly sets the scene for the everlasting love story between food and wine. Consequently, the menu is signed by both chef and sommeliers and includes a dedicated pairing section, as well as dishes that vary according to the current wine region to be explored. The pork fillet tagliata, in a lemon balm and peanuts sauce, served with a side of green beans and beetroot puree, is tender and very well-seasoned. The wine list offers a new way of enjoying your meal, and the friendly, knowledgeable staff will serve as perfect guides.
Chef: Sorin PURICE
@FABRIKA is set in a quite eye-catching glass pavilion, with an industrial design and enough room to accommodate any groups of friends out for food and drinks. The menu is typical gastro-pub fare, with burgers, homemade pastas and pizza, meat and fish dishes – simple but well-prepared. The Bucatini Stroganoff is a hearty choice from the pasta section, while the aged beef from Uruguay is fairly tender and accompanied by Escalivada, a melt in your mouth side of roasted eggplant and pepper with olive oil. As for desserts, the dedicated bar is also rather eye-catching, as well as the all-Romanian wine menu.