Believe it or not, there was a time when
the good old Bucharest was famous for its pastry products. But why? Well,
that is a long story; or better say history. Our pastry was influenced by
the Turkish and the Greek cuisines (that’s why you’ll find our products
yummily greasy and heavy) and by the French cuisine (and that’s why you’ll
be surprised to find our pastry yet fine and easy to eat).
Now this indeed is history: you can’t find a place where they used to make
good pastry 20-30 years ago and they still do.
But you’ll still find some good places; at least I did.
Let me tell you what to look for: the first good thing is called merdenea.
What’s inside? Cheese. Salty old cheese, not sweet. It is named telemea
here. You have to eat it hot-hot-hot, bu the best merdenea is the one that
you can still eat hours later, when the pastry foils are just a little bit
Another merdenea has minced meat inside. It has to be combined with pepper
and lots of onions; you’ll see for yourself that not everybody does that.
Some cheap people put flour inside, or chopped mushrooms, or use
You can also find the merdenea stuffed with fine chopped mushrooms (prepared
as the meat is).
What else? Instead of merdenea you can choose the dobrogeana pie. It is
basically the same thing, but it is slightly different folded.
… Or you can choose pateuri: smaller than the merdenea, and different finer
pastry. The cheese here is not as salty as in merdenea; sometimes is sweet.
… Or the strudels: with apple or sweet cheese.
… Or the doughnuts. Not as a ring, but sometimes stuffed with jam,
chockolate, cheese… the stuffed ones are called langosi. The simple ones –
… Or bagels, named covrigi.
Well, so we know what to eat; but where to?
I know a little place, at the corner of the Grivitei Avenue with Mircea
Vulcanescu Street. Small place indeed! They cook the best minced-meat
merdenea in town, because they’re not cheap at all and use fine quality
ingredients! Everything there is good and most of it, it is fresh. They bake
everything in small quantities, and soon you’ll learn to tell them to keep
aside some goodies just for you! And besides pastry, they also make some
cakes which are delicious themselves.
The people there know how to serve and how to cook, so once there, you’ll
always remember this place! That’s why it keeps going on; though the area is
not at all crowdy nor commercial: just because they make good pastry.
Very good pastry – and this time in the center, the Romana place. Right
across the Mc Donald’s you’ll find a street named Take Ionescu: follow it
and you’ll find a small place with a big line outside. Follow the street and
pass the Amzei marketplace: you’ll also find another good pastry shop. Both
places are situated on the left side of the street.
Another good place: Kogalniceanu Blvd, corner to Vasile Parvan Street.
Famous for its doughnuts, but great pastry also!
Good pastry shops:
Banu-Manta Blvd, right across the City Hall.
Subway acces, downstairs, Victoriei Station.
Unirea Shopping Center: there is a kiosk outside where they serve hot very
We’re still paying high tribute to the
communist days, where instead of butter we used industrial margarines and
instead of cocoa… I fear to think what.
Well, the confectionery industry’s recovering and we have some good places
nowadays; and they’re spreading. The good thing is that we have great places
not only in the downtown are, but also in the various parts of the city;
though sometimes those places are indeed small.
The best example is probably the famous Tosca place in Dristor!
Small place but great diversity: it is called Constance (corner of
Banu-Manta with Ion Mihalache Blvds) and they’re the best at chocolat
cremes. They have tartes and eclairs and candies and everything! Another
Constance place is in Doamna Ghica St.
Ever dreamed about the 1001 nights’ sweets? Well, they’re all here! I’m so
glad I’ve found this Fadel place (corner of Maria Rosetti with J.-L.
Calderon St.) where Arrabian sweets are at their best! They have small
cookies and cakes and you have to know that everything is sweeter than
you’ve expected! Probably you’ll feel like you want to taste everything and
you’ll end up buying a little from everything! Great pastry also!
Other sweet sweets? The Ines, from the Bucur-Obor place (the one with kebaps
and everything too)
We also have some greek shops, called Agapitos and Nefeli (created by the
same people), where the sweets are sweeter than ours. They just seem to use
the main ingredients… differently!
Good confectionery, in Rahova (corner with Sebastian): Hristmari. One of the
better apple pies you’ve tried.
Sometimes the well known confectioneries are not that good. They might have
a bad-butter day or something, but sometimes it’s just the service.
As an example, there is a place called Chocolat (just near the Caru’ Cu Bere
restaurant) where everything is delicious, but… the products there are three
times more expensive than in other place. And they’re just as twice as good,
you know, so why the high prices? Perhaps the service, the attitude? Nay! -
so why the high prices, again?
So you’re on the street,
or in your lunch break; or just in the rush - and that’s more like it
nowadays. I’ll be the first to admit that shaorma could be the best choice.
As I know this city, one can easily find some great shaorma at any
crossroad. The only criteria that applies when choosing which shaorma to buy
is the length of the line of the people waiting to buy it.
So you just have to find a place that suits you and… enjoy!
The most famous shaorma in Bucharest seems to be in Dristor; though it
sounds funny, I have never tried it - probably because I was never hungry
enough when I was in the neighbourhood (and as a fact, there is a brilliant
confectionery named Tosca just 50 meters away and that’s more important).
But you can also find a delicious shaorma right across the Bucur Obor store,
and the funny thing is that they sell it in another great confectionery,
called Ines. They sell burgers pizza and pastry - and everything there’s
Well, the lunch break is the reason the fast-food was invented, right? So we
eat fast everyday: that’s why we have Snack Attack, Mc Donald’s, KFC, Spring
Time, Pizza Hut, Gregory’s… (or even Fornetti or Gogoasa Infuriata) – don’t
we search for something good, something fast, and neverheless affordable?
But I’ll reveal another nice place, called Toscana: you’ll find it in the
Victoriei Place (at its end toward the Titulescu blvd). They have great
sandwiches and also very good salads. You’ll drink there one of the best
fresh lemon juices in town too! And as they’re related with the Tosca
confectionery (remember Dristor?) they also have delicious cakes! Just try
the chocolat mousse, please!
Simply sandwiches now: there’s a place called Avec Plaisir (Stirbei-Voda st,
right across the Cismigiu gardens). Their sandwiches are good and always
fresh. They also keep some pastry products.
Still on the street: so we had a shaorma, so we had a sandwich or a burger;
the only thing missing here is pizza: and I still believe, after all this
years, that the best pizza to-go is the Panipat pizza. Sadly, most of the
Panipat places in town are closing, so we only have three left: one in the
North Railway Station, one on the Stefan-Cel-Mare blvd and another one at
Chirigiu place. I fondly remember their cakes too.
But there is always the Tip-Top chain: good pizza to go, good cakes,
sandwiches and also salads.
We do eat fast, that’s just the way it is. But we still dream about healthy
food, don’t we?
If you’ll ask, we’ll say: yes, take-away food is junk food. But that’s our
daily meal, at least in the work days. So at least let’s find a place with
good and tasty take-away food: the Primavara supermarkets (south-west side
of the city mainly) sells great salads, meatballs, pizza… you name it! And
everything is good, good and fresh.