23 January 2017
I woke up early for my first full day in Bucharest, still remembering that nice dinner at The Artist last night. Hearing about the awful morning traffic, I waited until it dissipated before going out to hop on a tram to visit the beautiful Bellu Cemetery. Was a bit treacherous with ice and snow, but I enjoyed the long walk through it.
A few hours later I left the cemetery, hopped on another tram towards the Old Town. I dropped into a well-known eatery Hanu’ lui Manuc (Manuc’s Inn), rich in history as a historic inn. The restaurant has a good reputation and I found both locals and tourists dining there.
I enjoyed some much-needed local wine as I ordered. Soon my soup arrived.
Now Romanians make their tripe soup on the sour side, different than further north. Nice, with a substantial amount of trip in the bowl, but the acidity was really noticeable. I can’t imagine how that helps a hangover especially when it’s an acidic hangover courtesy of excessive wine… In any case, much needed, the very spicy pepper added a nice kick. Then the main, which was recommended by the server…
Well, that polenta is huge. The pastrama lamb was actually rather boring. Did they tame it down for tourists? Never had pastrama so bland in my life. Too bad. And of course there’s no way of consuming so much polenta… Oh well. I settled up and headed out for the bus back to the hotel as my jetlag was really hitting me hard…
After a much-needed kip I headed back to the Old Town by bus and wandered a little before heading to dinner at another place that’s well-liked by locals and tourists, Lacrimi și Sfinți (Tears and Saints).
I was seated in a corner at the window, thank goodness as it was overheated outside and this was probably the coldest table. I took some wine and relaxed, placing my order. Perhaps it was the jetlag, but after the server left I had just remembered I accidentally ordered the same thing as lunch. Damn…oh well, compare and contrast then!
After a little bit my starter arrived, some traditional meatballs. Not bad, bit bland on their own but the mustard and chilli seasonings worked. I chilled out before my main course arrived, redux…
Sadly, another bland dish of pastrama. What’s happened, why is it so boring these days here in Bucharest? And another brick of polenta. Better than lunch’s version, but again…so bland. I can see a Turkish tourist pound his head on the table if this was presented… Oh well, at least the pepper helped the polenta…
I asked for some harder stuff to drink so a nice țuică and then a dessert.
A sweet cheesecake here, and it was pretty good. Enjoyed it. I then settled up and headed out.
Not a bad first full day here, though the 2 pastramas were quite disappointing. Perhaps my memories of that as the best thing I ate in Romania the last time I was here 2 decades ago was clouded by time and booze. Oh well…
Hanu’ lui Manuc
Strada Franceză 62-64
Lacrimi și Sfinți
Strada Șepcari 16