Tips and tricks from a local vegetarian in Bucharest
Unfortunately, Bucharest only has a few vegetarian restaurants, so vegetarians have no other choice than look for vegetarian dishes on non-vegetarian menus. That could be a real challenge sometimes and in many cases the only vegetarian option one restaurant offers could be pretty disappointing.
After living in Bucharest for more than 8 years, my friend has discovered those ‘hidden gems’ leading to a great ‘eating-out’ experience. I confess that my friend is quite picky, so the selection of places takes into account multiple quality aspects, so the following criteria were checked during the process of selection: tasty food, decent portions, overall atmosphere of the place, the design and style of the place, quick service, friendly staff.
Learn how to ask for ‘de post’ food
- There is no translation for this, but ‘de post’ food is eaten several days a week and before major religious celebrations in Romania. ‘De post’ food means usually no meat and no dairy, sometimes not even oil and vinegar.
- It’s funny but ‘de post’ or vegan are not synonyms, but they have the exact same meaning.
Mix and match
- Check the side dishes list, in Romania you’ll find the most creative potato-based dishes. So you can always choose a potato side + a vegetable mix or anything else.
Fall in love with Cream Soups
- Broccoli cream soup, mushroom cream soup, tomato cream soup or even cheese cream soup are easy to find in most of the menus.
Don’t be too picky
- Remember you are in a meat-eating culture, where barbeque is a national hobby
If you don’t care about calories, always go for the Italian restaurants
- I am very honest when I say that in Romania you can find the best Italian food. Bonus: most of the Italian restaurants have reasonable prices.
- As a vegetarian you can find plenty of options, from traditional Italian pasta recipes (Quatro Formaggi or Arabiatta) to more fancy ones (Tagliatelle with truffles or Spinach and butter filled Tortelinni), from different types of pizza (Funghi or Vegetariana) to the famous garlic-basil-tomatoes bruschetta, you will find yourself in front of a large variety of tasty and filling options.
Recommendations from a vegetarian in Bucharest:
1. Alt Shift (casual dining)
Zucchini Calabrese: Zucchini, mozzarella, tomato sauce, parmesan, mushrooms, veggie sour cream
Vegetarian Quesadilla: pita bread, mushrooms, hard cheese, mozzarella, leek, pesto
2. Simbio (forever hipster)
Warm sandwich with grilled eggplant, courgette, red pepper, red beans spread and mustard
Quinoa burger served with avocado, salad, yoghurt and mint dressing in a home-made bun
3. Sinbad (Lebanese)
The classical combination of hummus and falafel
If you don’t mind garlic, add the Arak Salad
4. Social 1 (fusion cuisine)
Lasagna Meat-Me-Not: meatless, but tendered with delicious vegetables, Bechamel sauce and a hint of garlic
Vegan pleasure with Bulgur: in the form of a salad with avocado, fresh cauliflower, baby spinach, green apple, tomatoes, roasted sesame and a dash of curry
5. Caru’ cu Bere (traditional Romanian food)
Polenta with grated Romanian Cheese, sour cream and a fried egg
Grilled cheese in bread crumbs
Baked potatoes with rosemary
Mushrooms stuffed with vegetables baked in the oven
Vegetarian platter: Fresh eggplant dip, smoky eggplant „Zakusca” dip, Romanian bean casserole with onion, roasted peppers.
Romanian bean casserole with onion
6. Tuk-Tuk (Thai food)
Pad Thai (noodles with fried vegetables and peanuts)
Red Curry (Thai basil, coriander, fresh vegetables, lemongrass, galangal, coconut and rice)
7. Energiea (Gastro Pub)
Cream of cauliflower soup, cottage cheese, parsley oil, croutons
Salad with breaded cheese, served with horseradish, sweet mustard, honey, and ginger dressing
Couscous with tofu, turmeric, walnuts, dried tomatoes, garlic, mint, hot pepper
8. Paine si vin (Rustic)
Baked Camembert with pears and rosemary, served with dried apricots, mixed nuts, honey and toasted bread
Pizza with sour cream, champignon mushrooms, pleurotus mushrooms, blue cheese, leek, fresh parsley, truffle oil
9. Orasul Interzis (Chinese food)
Dou Fu: tofu set in a spicy sauce, served with bell peppers, mushrooms, cloud ear fungus, cooked in a hot stove
Fried rice with vegetables and egg
10. La Placinte (traditional Romanian food)
– Moldavian Pie ‘Domneasca’ with sweet cow cheese and raisins
– Moldavian later pie with cow cheese and herbs
-Moldavian pie ‘Ciobaneasca’ with sheep cheese
-Moldavian pie with potatoes
-Moldavian layer pie with pickled cabbage
Other ‘Must Try’:
-Dumplings with potatoes in sour cream with mushrooms
-Eggplant salad (traditional Romanian recipe)
-Beaten beans salad (traditional Romanian recipe)
11. Meze Taverna (Greek)
Kolokithakia tiganita: Fried zucchini in olive oil, served with Tzatziki
Melitzana pshth me feta: Aubergine cooked on the grill filled with feta cheese, garlic and olive oil
Feta tiganiti: Feta cheese wrapped in pastry, marinated in pine honey, wine vinegar & sesame
12. Il Calcio (Italian)
Mushroom cream soup
Whole pasta with red pesto, courgettes, mushrooms, peppers, leeks
13. Aubergine (Mediterranean)
Stir-fried veggies with garlic and extra virgin olive oil
Aubergine Salad with figs, walnuts, and cheese
Eggplant with chopped entrecote served with tahini and mixed leaves