La Piazzetta di Gianfranco: Superior pizza and pasta joint
Restaurants in Sibiu are roughly split into two camps: pork-heavy Romanian places, which don't offer much for vegetarians, and those that serve a menu of pizzas, pastas and salads. Most of them weren't particularly inspiring and having such a reduced choice is rather dull.
La Piazzetta serves pizzas and pasta you'd be happy to eat in Italy, unlike the second-rate dishes we ate elsewhere. Presumably Gianfranco is Italian, and the food is authentic. With a local twist if you like - my pizza featured that Central European favourite, sour cream. I also saw people eating pizzas with a dipping sauce, something I saw in a few Romanian pizzerias.
Quality is good - my seafood pizza had gorgeous juicy prawns. Price is reasonable (31 RON for aforementioned pizza). Wines pleasant (we had a local red). View great (Piata Mica). Recommended.
Carciuma din Batrami: The best meal of all.........
If you want traditional food then what better place to visit than a traditional inn set in an outdoor museum of traditional, largely wooden, Romanian buildings?
I've included this place because I'm pretty sure you can get to it without actually entering the museum itself (certainly plenty of locals were doing so when I visited...you can drive down from the road) and because it really does offer traditional Romanian food.
I was visiting the museum (I spent 5 hours there, which gives you an idea of its size) and came across the inn at just the right time, when I was hot and thirsty and ready for something to eat.
There's a pretty extensive menu on offer. I chose a selection of pastoral nibbles ( a 'shepherd's lunch', if you like) : 'pork scraps', sheep's cheese, cucumber and tomato. The bread was free.
The 'pork scraps' were like soft English pork scratchings: cold chunks of fatty meat. Absolutely and entirely delicious, regardless of whether they are 'healthy' or not. The sheep's cheese was also delicious though rather too salty for my own taste. Both tomato and cucumber were, like all the tomato and cucumber I ate in Sibiu, the best I've ever tasted and a million times better than what we get in the UK. Romanian bread is hearty and filling...as was the largish bottle of Ursus beer I had to accompany the meal...so what I had was more than satisfying for a lunch.
The cost? Around 30 lei in total...7 euro or so.
If you are planing to visit the museum then I recommend you also plan to eat at this inn. There are plenty of full meals on offer (including non-Romanian food) as well as snacks and I'm sure you won't be disappointed. I sat outside at one of the many tables-under-awnings but there is also plenty of pace inside too.
I notice from their website that they also offer rooms. It would be a lovely place to stay if you have a car!
- Family Travel
Kulturcafe Sigi: Meal 1
I could have had any amount of pizza, pasta, steak, chips, burgers, salads etc...but when I visit a country I do prefer to eat the food of that country. So I spent a large chunk of my first proper evening scouting out what the numerous bars, restaurants and cafes in Sibiu's three adjoining squares (Piata Mare, Mica and Huet) and pedestrianised 'main street' had to offer.
I'd not bothered to have a meal after I arrived on a Saturday, having eaten at Munich airport during my transfer. A bottle of superb wine and a few nibbles from the local Billa supermarket was enough. I wasn't expecting much choice on a Sunday evening but everywhere was open and busy and, having wandered and pondered for a long time, I decided to settle on this place in Piata Mica. I hadn't realised at the time that it was based in the basement of Casa Luxembourg, a rather twiddly building originally dating from the 1200s and now a hotel.
What drew me was the Romanian dishes on offer..not many, but enough....and the reasonable prices. So I sat outside under the awnings, watched the many, many locals enjoying their evening strolls and decided on my meal.
I chose the pork with onions in beer gravy accompanied by baked potato slices with rosemary. The presentation was't particularly elegant (irrelevant anyway, imo) but the slice of pork (thick and juicy, a pork steak) was the most tasty and tender pork I've eaten for a very long time, and the onions in beer gravy were particularly delicious. I accompanied the meal with a glass of fruity rose wine (I'd actually ordered white wine but the waitress misunderstood, and rose is better than white with pork anyway).
It was a very tasty and very filling meal, especially as the weather was hot. So I didn't have any room for dessert. Total cost for wine and food was 40 lei, just over 9 euro.
The young waitress was efficient and charming and had very good English. There were lots of locals in the cafe, using the outdoor seating overlooking Piata Mica (the cafe is almost next to 'Liar's Bridge') ...in fact, there were lots of locals patronising all the eating places in the square.
Well worth seeking out if you don't want a full or more formal meal. There is inside seating as well, of course, and I believe Kulturcafe (as its name implies) often has exhibitions, live music and suchlike.
- Family Travel
Deli's Restaurant: Evening meal 2: Piata Mica again
A second evening of wandering around seeking Romanian food at reasonable prices somewhere with outside seating led me back to Piata Mare. Having looked at various menus (the square is ringed with restaurants, cafes, bars and eating places and hugely popular with locals, especially at the weekend) I decided that the home-made sausages, 'peasant potatoes' and mushrooms with onions would do the trick on a rather chilly and damp evening.
The sausages were very tasty indeed but, for me, simply too salty. The potatoes were absolutely delicious (those 'peasants' certainly knew how to cook potatoes!) , as were the mushrooms-and-onions, although both were a little oily. The large glass of house white wine I chose was equally delicious (I didn't have a poor glass (or bottle) of Romanian wine anywhere....Romanian wine is excellent).
The whole meal came to around 35 lei (less than 8 euro). The courteous and efficient service of young gentlemen with at least sufficient English was a plus.
This place doesn't offer fancy dishes but the food is good, the wine is even better and the outside seating is an excellent spot for observing the evening perambulations of Sibiu's residents. There is indoor seating too, of course.
- Family Travel
Cafe Wien: Nice toastie with a good view
Cafe Wien is right by Sibiu's ancient Evangelical church...Biserica Evanghelică din Sibiu or the Lutheran Cathedral of St Mary, set in Piata Huet.
My last morning was chilly, damp and grey and after wandering the streets for a few hours i needed some lunch. The views from Cafe Wien's terrace over the lower part of Sibiu's historical centre are lovely so I decided to have a coffee and a snack there.
The toastie (cheese and ham) was very good indeed, as was the coffee. I have absolutely no idea why I did not sit inside the cafe rather than shiver at an outside table but when I did go inside, after eating and only to use the toilet (the ladies toilet has a super view!) I found a cosy, pleasant and wood-lined bar/cafe which rather reminded me of an English pub. I really should have eaten inside.......
Cafe Wien offers a variety of drinks (including alcohol) and snacks as well as a limited range of main courses (including breakfast). From their website it's clear they also have musical evenings. I think it would be a good idea to reserve a table in advance for one of those.
It's a very pleasant place for a coffee, a snack or a beer........
- Family Travel
Mojo: Upmarket cafe
This place was right next to my hotel and I'd noticed it was hugely popular with better-heeled locals, many meeting up after work for a drink and others meeting during the day for 'kafe und kuchen'. The weather was lovely so the comfortable outside seating was well-used and on a hot afternoon, I decided to treat myself to a fresh lemonade.
There was a large range of flavours on offer but the fresh ginger lemonade I wanted was not available. I settled for fresh mint-and-apple lemonade and I have to say it was absolutely delicious, freshly made and very cooling indeed. The coffee was also very good....Segafredo, which is a widely-seen Italian espresso brand and which always produces a decent cup of coffee.
The cafe also offers cakes and sandwiches as well as other soft and alcoholic drinks.
The seating was very comfortable indeed and the wifi was free, so I thoroughly enjoyed my sit-down. Only one thing rather spoiled the experience: the waitress (who was very pleasant and had excellent English) did not bring my change. I would happily have tipped her but I did object to the tip being taken for granted. I didn't bother making a point of the matter, but it did somewhat grate.
Apart from that blip, this is a very pleasant...if somewhat pricey..place to enjoy a few moments. I haven't got the bill, because the waitress never brought it back, but I estimate that my lemonade and espresso probably cost me around 6 euro (paid in lei, of course).
- Family Travel
Restaurant Pivnita de Vinuri: WienKeller
After a morning of exploration we were in need of some nourishment and found a little place just off of the small square, at the top of the stairs before they head down to Lower Town. The salad was full of greens. My veal in a cream sauce was delicious. Even though the place had a great wine list, it was warm and we opted for beer. We ate outside under the grape vines. It was a nice, relaxing place. Apparently the specialty was a quiche of some kind, but we found that out after our meal. \
- Food and Dining
- Arts and Culture
Cafe Einstein: Casual Mix
Well it seemed mostly pizza, but the Einstein menu did have a number of other items. I tried the avocado soup, but it did not have much of an avocado flavor. They did a good job on the pizza, with lots of pepperoni, mushrooms, etc. The beer was cold. The outside patio was comfortable.
- Food and Dining
- Arts and Culture
NORICA: TRADITIONAL RESTAURANT IN GURA RAULUI
Saturday, June 22, 2013
Part of our VT Bus Tour included lunch and that was in the tiny town of Gura Raului at the restaurant NORICA. Our lovely hostess, greeted us all with trays of shot glasses of a local blueberry liquer. After taking some group pictures outside, we all went in to have lunch. First we had platters of appetizers including meats, cheeses and fresh field tomatoes.
Then a platter of traditional Romanian fare including cabbage rolls (sarmale), sweet cabbage, polenta and home-made sausages.
Lunch included bottles of water, wine and coffee/tea. Also had a lovely dessert. All in all a wonderful experience.
The Norica also is a Pension, offering rooms to travelers.
La Turn: Tasty Italian food in an historic old restaurant
A group of us had dinner here on our first evening in Sibiu. Despite arriving unexpectedly we were easily accommodated inside and I think everyone was happy with their meal choices, though the service was maybe a little slow (but there were quite a lot of us). My ravioli with butter and sage was cooked nicely all dente and well flavoured. With a draft beer it cost 32 Lei (about €8).
After dinner I drank a very good local palinca, a pear schnapps. We had drifted out on to the terrace outside by this time and it was a lovely spot to relax with friends, overlooking the Small Square. Many of us returned here on the last night of the meeting, not to eat, but to enjoy again the relaxing atmosphere of the outside terrace and a last few drinks with friends.
La Turn occupies an historic building in the heart of the city, which dates back in part to the 15th century and was once the family home of an eminent local family, the Reissenfels.
Next tip: the Pardon Café
Pardon Café: Shady tables by the old city walls
A little weary and very hot after our guided walk through old Sibiu on the Friday morning of the meeting, some of us decided that we could not (or rather, would not) walk another step more than we had to, and collapsed here on the terrace of the Pardon Café. There was shade from the large parasols, a menu of refreshing drinks from which to choose, and we could relax here while listening to the philharmonic orchestra rehearsing in the nearby theatre.
I wasn’t hungry but was thirsty, so I chose the fresh lemonade with raspberries, which was so good (though not cheap at 15 Lei) that I had to have another! Once I had cooled off I also had an espresso as I needed my caffeine fix for the day. A couple of people in our group did order food and seemed to enjoy their pasta.
I returned here on the morning of my last day in Sibiu as I had come this way to get some more photos of the old walls and towers that make up the southern stretch of the defence system. This time I opted for a simple lemonade which cost 8 Lei and was equally refreshing.
The Pardon gets good reviews for its food and cosy atmosphere so if I were to return to Sibiu I would certainly consider having a meal here.
Next tip: our first official meeting dinner at the Casa Weidner
Casa Weidner: My first taste of some local specialities
The first group dinner organised as part of the VT Euromeet was at the very centrally-located Casa Weidner. This is a hotel with a basement restaurant, which is where we ate – a (fairly) cool cellar with lots of character. There were drinks to welcome us and plenty of room to circulate and greet old friends before the meal was served – a pre-requisite for the first meeting dinner, I feel!
The extensive menu arranged for us included:
Cold buffet dishes: bell peppers filled with cheese, tomatoes filled with eggplant salad, stuffed eggs, meatballs, ham rolls with horseradish, salami, pork loin, various salads
Warm buffet dishes: spicy beef stew, fried perch, pork and chicken, sarmale (a local delicacy of sour cabbage rolls with minced pork stuffing, served with more sour cabbage, a little like a mild sauerkraut, cheesy polenta, baked beans, potatoes, rice, vegetables, pickles;
Dessert: excellent pancakes and another local speciality, delicious papanasi, which are doughnut-like pastries served sour cream and cherry jam
Beer, wine and water were also included in the very reasonable price of €20. Good local musicians played traditional music and lots of old hits (Beatles songs, Elvis etc.) as we ate, and afterwards for dancing – although as it got rather hot for that, and the evening air outside had cooled, many of us drifted upstairs to the outside terrace and sat there for our after dinner drinks.
Favorite Dish: I loved my first taste of sarmale and papanasi, and I also thought the cold buffet selection was excellent. Overall I thought this was easily the best of the three group meals in Sibiu, and the best value too.
Next tip: Saturday night’s dinner at Hermania
Restaurant Hermania: Lovely room, but food not so good
The second official dinner for the 2013 Euromeeting was held here in the Hermania Restaurant. The building is lovely, having been previously the home of the Philharmonic Orchestra (hence the name of the restaurant I assume, and the street it is on). The high ceiling gives a real feeling of space and the air-conditioning was very welcome on a hot, sticky evening. I liked the big old fireplace too – I imagine it could be very cosy here in winter.
The set menu for our dinner was:
To start: trout in parsley sauce with mixed vegetables – the fish and sauce I thought were quite nice, but unfortunately for me the vegetables had peas in the mix, which I can’t stand and which proved quite hard to extricate from the rest.
Main course: beef in berry sauce with baked potatoes – this looked good but was disappointing as the beef was over-cooked and too dry despite the sauce, though I did like the potatoes and the sour cream and dill topping.
The dessert was a strudel, which was OK but not a patch on Friday's wonderful dessert!
Overall I was disappointed with this meal, which was definitely the least good we had as part of the meeting. The restaurant gets (mostly) good reviews on Trip Advisor but I think the challenge of doing a set meal for such a large group was too much for them, unfortunately. On the plus side, the beer was good and very refreshing, although to have only one large glass included in the €20 bill, after the generosity of the alcohol that flowed at the Casa Weidner on the previous evening, was a little disappointing too.
It would have been pleasant to have again sat outside over a post-dinner drink or two, as on the previous night, but the Hermania has no terrace and when Katherine and I walked back to the Large Square to get a drink there we found that a cool (even chilly) wind had got up and was blowing lots of grit around. There were frequent flashes of lightening too and you could feel the electricity in the air. We decided not to stay out, headed back to the hotel, and got back to our rooms just as a terrific storm broke! Photo five is my attempt to capture the effect of the lightning as seen from my room.
Next tip: Sunday lunch in the Large Square at L'Atelier
L'Atelier: Disappointing lunch in the Large Square
After a lovely walk in the Lower Town with Lori, Katherine and Teresa, and a refreshing iced coffee, Lori returned to the hotel. The rest of us opted to have some lunch and were joined by DAO. We were heading for the Pardon Café, as we knew that was good and in a pleasant location, when our attention fell instead on L'Atelier as we were passing. The thought of not walking any further but instead grabbing a shady table right here on the Large Square appealed, and the menu seemed to have enough choices to satisfy all our tastes, so we settled on this – but that decision proved to have been unwise!
I decided to look for something a little different to drink and chose an interesting cranberry beer called Redd's. This had a good flavour though was rather flat for a beer. My lunch choice, Salad Tricolore, was nothing like a “Tricolore” and was nothing special, and the accompanying pizza bread was dry and seemed stale. None of the other dishes chosen by my friends was much better, and Katherine's chicken risotto was just weird – see photo three to see what I mean!
On the plus side, the location is great and the interior, when I went in to use the toilets, was attractive. But that’s about all this place has going for it, as the service was slow and not especially friendly. You can find much better in Sibiu, so give this one a miss.
Next tip: our final official dinner at the Golden Tulip Hotel
Golden Tulip Hotel: A room with a view!
The final dinner of the VT meeting was held in a very different setting from the others – the top floor restaurant of the modern Golden Tulip Hotel, a short distance from the old town where most of us were staying. Being on the top (11th) floor meant for some great views over the city, although I was a little disappointed that the picturesque old town is on the side with the fewest windows (though it is visible from the lift).
The restaurant is a very pleasant, light and airy space, and there was lots of room for us at the three large tables allocated to our group. But I felt a bit sorry for the two couples dining at the other side of the room, especially when we all headed over there en masse to see the sunset, and when a couple of members decided to sing for us, good though they were.
The food was served buffet style and was on the whole very good, with lots of variety, especially cold appetisers. These included:
cream cheese tortilla, perch and salmon terrine, chicken with olives and bacon, vol au vent with ham and cucumber, tomatoes filled with eggplant salad, mushrooms and vegetables, bell pepper with vegetables, salad
Of these, I especially liked the terrine and the salads.
The hot main courses on the buffet were:
grilled pork, steak with mushrooms, baked chicken thighs, vegetables cooked in butter, rustic potatoes with bacon, coleslaw
The potatoes were the stand-out dish of the evening, with most of us going back for seconds. Many also enthused about the beef, but while it was certainly an improvement on that we had been served in the Hermania on the previous evening, it was still a little overdone for my taste – great mushroom gravy though.
For dessert there were two cakes, which looked fantastic, but neither was especially good despite being quite laden with alcohol!
The price of €25 included water & soft drinks, house wine or beer, and coffee. I drank the white wine and enjoyed it, and I thought the price was reasonable for the overall quality and quantity of the food in such a nice setting.
Next tip: lunch in a wine bar