If anybody would have told me – once I decided to walk on the immigration path – that the thing I would miss the most is the food, I would have called him exaggerated.But well, I can hardly wait to go home to eat some of my favourite Romanian and very traditional dishes.
Needless to say, while I lived there I had little interest for them: I used to eat pizza and Chinese and Turkish food and any other delicatessen from the market. Now, my only concern is finding new places that cook some of the desired dishes.
Last Christmas, for the traditional (just saying) lunch with Dani, we made reservations at a famous place, owned by Mircea Dinescu, poet and revolutionary (here’s why he’s so famous, you might have seen this video back in December 1989, during the Romanian revolution – he’s the guy who reads the news).
The place was empty, the waitresses pretty rude and pissed off, but the atmosphere and the food soon balanced the first impression. We spent some lovely time there, between the appetizers – deliciously interpreted salată de vinete (aubergine salad but called Balcanic salad) and the very traditional pârjoale (Chef’s wonder meatballs) – and the old-timers găluște cu prune (plum dumplings).
Dani experimented with some ‘crispy macaroni’ with three types of cheese (delicious, by the way) and then we went for ‘well-tempered sausages’ (goose, pork, lamb and veal mix sausages with fine herbs pan-fried in lard) and ‘pork on a borderline’ (Mangalița tenderloin, pan-fried with orange, garlic and white wine). Lots of meat, but hey, that’s the Romanian way of cooking. They all mixed well with pickles. For desert, my better half ordered his favourite: apple pie (here called ‘sincere pie’). He liked it!
We enjoyed very much the wine, the way every dish was presented, the mise-en-scene (as you can see from the gallery below). The restaurant’s website tells the story of the food and of its furniture: the ingredients are organic and the fish does not come from aquaculture, but from fishermen. When you arrive, take a look around at the different stools and chairs brought from various parts of the country, touch the wood (no worries, the owner doesn’t mind) – it is old and reused.
Take a look at the Lego hen (a nice reinterpretation of the hunting trophies – nope, it is not a Romanian tradition to embalm chicken’ heads and place them on the walls on regular basis) and all the objects surrounding you: they are real and were used before time in various areas of the country.
Poet Dinescu’s restaurant and the recipes are Romanian, but with a touch of modernism. The place is well known because of its owner, but the dishes deserve their place on the wall of fame. If it is your first time in Romania, that’s the place for you: Lacrimi și Sfinți – Teardrops and Saints: relatively small portions according to the Romanian tradition and interesting atmosphere (not as rustic as most competitors have).