While not Michelin starred, we visited two very nice restaurants in Bucharest, Romania. The first one was L’Atelier which is located in the The Epoque hotel. A short Uber ride, (yes Uber exists and so does a competitor called Bolt) from our hotel to the restaurant, we were pleasantly surprised at the restaurant’s interior with a lot of glass windows. The restaurant is small and very nice. The noise level was low, and you could actually have a quiet conversation since music wasn’t blaring and people weren’t trying to talk over the music.
We were grateful to be able to make our own choices with the ala carte menu and shared the starter of baked beets with cheese and walnuts. We love good beets, and this was excellent. Then we selected the glazed duck breast, which was cooked to perfection and spinach and ramson gnocchi which was very different than any gnocchi I’ve ever seen but was tasty! And of course, we ended the meal with a sweet treat, Almandina which is a traditional Romanian dessert made of chocolate and a fondant and in this case, it was topped with a lemon ice cream. The fresh bread was wonderfully warm, and the service was impeccable. We highly recommend L’Atelier when you are in Bucharest. This was our first fine dining experience in Bucharest, and it set the bar high for the rest of our eating adventures in Romania.
Blank at the Marmarosch
The Marmarosch Hotel is part of the Marriott family. As a long time Marriott loyalist, I love it when I find Marriott hotel with a history. The Marmarosch is named after the Jewish family who once owned the bank, which was its previous life. Marriott kept the beautiful ceiling, stairs and the bank vault and made it a wine bar named ‘The Vault.’ I loved the interior of the hotel.
My favorite thing about the Marmarosch decor was the irreverent humor. I’ve included some pictures here as I thought they were hilarious.
As a lifetime platinum elite Marriott member, our view was pretty undesirable. Okay, truth is …. No matter what Marriott membership status you have, the view was UGLY!
We got in late one night from sightseeing and decided to dine in the Marmarosch Hotel restaurant that was highly touted, named Blank. Its name matched the food and service – it was a Blankety-blank-blank meal. Service was so bad that at one point Bob went up to ask for water after the server took the empty bottle as he dropped off the food without even asking if we wanted more – and yes, we wanted more since we were drinking only water with our meal. I ordered the raw oysters which was nice but everything after that was downhill. I don’t have pictures of our dinner at Blank – which completes the entire Blank experience.
The staff at the bar continued the disappointment. The bartender acted like we were a huge burden when we asked to see the cognac menu and then asked about the Romanian cognac/brandy called Brancoveanu. We were introduced to Brancoveanu at L’Atelier and found it to be a very nice end to a meal. When we finally figured out on our own that this wasn’t available, we took a Glenfiddich whiskey to our room rather than sit at the bar with a snotty bartender. The restaurant and bar were the only disappointment at the Marmarosch Hotel, where we spent 3 nights.
The staff (outside of Blank restaurant and the attached bar) were amazing and the overall atmosphere of the hotel was great.
Our final fine dining in Bucharest was at Le Bistrot Francais. The building where the restaurant is located is the former residence of a French architect, Albert Alleron. The restored building is beautifully decorated. The front dining room is small but there are several rooms in this restaurant that can serve a lot of guests. Le Bistrot Francais offers several tasting menus; we chose the 9-course Orient Express. Chef Patricio Massimino created this French tasting menu for us. A menu with so many courses takes at least 2.5 hours and we enjoyed every course. The service was perfect. Make a reservation at Le Bistrot Francais and you will not be disappointed.