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BUCHAREST
February - March 2013

In Your Pocket: A cheeky, wellwritten series of guidebooks. The New York Times

Bucharest In Two Days


Our definitive list of what to see if your time in Bucharest is limited

Calea Victoriei
The full-length remix

N81 - 15.00 lei


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Old Town/Lipscani In Your Pocket


A 17-page special feature on Bucharests Old Town

Contents

E S S E N T I A L C I TY G U I D E S

Contents
Bucharest Basics
6 Everything you always wanted to know about Bucharest and Romania, but were afraid to ask 10

Arrival & Transport


Navigating Bucharest

Culture & Events 14 Including full opera and classical music schedules Bucharest In Two Days
What to see if your time is limited 20 23 28
We have regularly over the past year or two featured Bucharests most famous street, Calea Victoriei, in the guide. This time we have pulled out all the stops to include a fully revised feature, spread over five pages from page 23.

Calea Victoriei
Bucharests finest street in all its glory

Where to Stay
From palaces of gold to bargain sleeps

Restaurants
Where to eat

38 58

Nightlife Clubs, bars, pubs and the like Sightseeing


What to see Where to spend your days

66 72 88

Old Town / Lipscani


The heart and soul of the city

Directory & Children


Everything you need including foreign embassies, pharmacies, dentists, playgrounds and private schools

Maps & Street Register


Lesser Visited Bucharest. As a juxtaposition to our Bucharest In Two Days feature, we take a look at one of Bucharests less-celebrated districts, Titan-Balta Alba. See page 22.

Northern Bucharest Central & Southern Bucharest Street Register & Hotel Map Index

94 96 98

bucharest.inyourpocket.com

February - March 2013

Foreword
It seems one thousand years ago that the centre of Bucharest was under siege from anti-government protestors and various assorted hooligans: in fact, it was this time last year. Much has changed since then of course - most notably the government. A new coalition of liberals and social-democrats was elected with a massive majority in Decembers parliamentary election, and although the president Traian Basescu hangs on, the madness that was the Romanian political scene for most of last year has abated. For now at least. So its very much now a case of as you were, with corruption the number one issue of the day. That and the UK governments rather craven idea of launching a campaign to persuade Romanians that they do not want to go to and live in Britain. The reaction to the idea in Romania has been quite wonderful: instead of panning the UK (the easiest and perhaps most predictable response) Romanians have launched their own campaign championing all thats great about this fine country. Bucharest and its many charms - especially nightlife most European cities envy - has figured heavily in the clever, witty Romanian response to the UKs perceived youre not welcome here approach. Fortunately, the opposite is not true: foreigners are very much welcome in Romania. Enjoy Bucharest, enjoy Romania. We love to hear from our readers: maybe you disagree with us, or maybe you think we have left out a venue or attraction that really should be included. Whatever you think, drop us a line at: editor@inyourpocket.com.

The World of In Your Pocket


Northern Ireland Ireland Estonia Latvia Lithuania Belarus Netherlands Poland Germany Belgium Czech Republic Ukraine Russia

Austria Switzerland Slovenia Romania Croatia Italy Bosnia Serbia Bulgaria Montenegro Kosovo Albania Greece

FYR Macedonia

Cover story
The glorious, Art Deco Union Building, just off Calea Victoriei. See page 26. Photo by Emi Cristea at Dreamstime.com.

More than 20 years since we published the first In Your Pocket guide - to Vilnius in Lithuania - we have grown to become the largest publisher of locally produced city guides in Europe. We now cover more than 75 cities across the continent (with Oristano, on the Italian island of Sardinia, the latest city to be pocketed ) and the number of concise, witty, well-written and downright indispensable In Your Pocket guides published each year is approaching five million. We also publish an iPhone app, including more than 40 guides, which can be downloaded for free from the AppStore. Search for IYP Guides by name. To keep up to date with all thats new at In Your Pocket, like us on Facebook (facebook.com/ inyourpocket) or follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/ inyourpocket).
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Text, photos and maps copyright IYP Romania Srl 1999-2013 unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, except brief extracts for the purpose of its review, without written permission from the copyright owner. The trademark In Your Pocket is used under license from UAB In Your Pocket (Bernadinu g. 9-4, Vilnius, Lithuania tel. (+370-5) 212 29 76).

E S S E N T I A L C I TY G U I D E S

Bucharest In Your Pocket Str. Stefan Burileanu 1-3 Bl. 21E, Sc. 1, Ap. 8 014191 Bucuresti, Romania tel. (+4) 021 321 44 18 fax (+4) 021 322 25 22 bucharest@inyourpocket.com www.inyourpocket.com ISSN 1454-5276 IYP Romania Srl Printed at MEGAPress SA, Bucharest Tel. (+4) 021 461 08 08/09 Published six times per year, up to 20,000 copies produced each issue

Editorial Editor Craig Turp Assistant Editor Raluca Tanasa Photography Craig Turp/IYP Romania Srl unless otherwise stated. Cover photo Emi Cristea at Dreamstime.com T rain timetable by Maximilian Turp-Balazs Sales To contact our sales team send an email to bucharest@inyourpocket .com, or call our office and ask for the sales department. Bucharest In Your Pocket is a member of the Romanian Audit Bureau of Circulation (BRAT)

Editors note
The editorial content of In Your Pocket guides is independent from paid-for advertising. We welcome all readers comments and suggestions. We have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of going to press and assume no responsibility for changes and errors.

Bucharest In Your Pocket

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Bucharest Basics
So where am I exactly?
Bucharest, capital of Romania. Situated in that part of the world which will - to those of a certain age - always be known as Eastern Europe, it would be more accurate to describe Bucharests geographical location as southeastern Europe. Founded, legend has it, in the 14th century, Bucharest is in that part of Romania known as Wallachia, one of the three historic principalities which make up the modern country (the others are Moldavia and Transylvania). Romania as a nation state is relatively new: while Moldavia and Wallachia have been united as a single country since 1859, Romania took on its modern form only on December 1st, 1918, when the Romanians of Transylvania voted to join in the fun. The official population of Bucharest is just over two million people, but as many migrants from the rest of the country do not bother to register as citizens of the capital, the true number is thought to be closer to three million. Bucharest is close to the Danube (just 69 kilometres to the south), which serves as the border between Romania and Bulgaria. The main crossing point is at Giurgiu, linked by a bridge with Ruse, the Bulgarian town on the other side of the river, whose pleasant centre is well worth a day trip if you are at a loose end. Alas you will need a car, as train services between Bucharest and Ruse (and the rest of Bulgaria) are poor. Bucharest is around 240 kilometres from Constanta and the Black Sea coast, but as the A2 motorway only goes as far as Cernavoda, even the maddest of drivers fail to do the trip in much under three hours. Like most trains in Romania, the Bucharest - Constanta service is slow and it takes four and a half hours. To the north of Bucharest is Ploiesti - the centre of Romanias oil industry, and beyond that the Carpathian Mountains, a two hour drive away.

Crime & Safety

We do not exaggerate when we say that Bucharest is one of the safest capital cities in Europe. Violent crime is rare and almost always carried out exclusively between rival gangs fighting for the control of territory in the citys less-salubrious areas. If you do not go looking for trouble, the chances of you getting into any are tiny. While pickpockets are everywhere (you should be particularly careful on crowded buses, and always watch your bag in busy pubs and clubs), petty thieves are by and large a cowardly lot in Romania and will run a mile at the first sign of any resistance. Knife-crime is unheard of, and even women can walk the citys streets alone at night in relative safety. The Romanian police force is also far better and less corrupt than it used to be and keeps a visual presence on the citys streets, especially in busy areas such as Old Town at night. The main police station in Bucharest is on B-dul Lascar Cartagiu (B-4), halfway between Piata Romana and Piata Victoriei. In a nutshell though, do not worry. Of all Bucharests many, many problems, crime really is one of the least of them. Just keep your wits about you, apply common sense and all will be well.

Customs Regulations

While Romania joined the European Union (EU) in 2007, which should facilitate the complete, unfettered movement of goods between member countries, United Kingdom customs officers appear not to have noticed. As such you are only permitted to take 200 cheap cigarettes purchased in Romania to the UK with you (we feel obliged to point out, however, that you will be passing through the blue channel on arrival in the UK and the chances of being stopped are almost zero...). If you are travelling elsewhere in the EU, there are no limits on the amount of cigarettes you can bring home from Romania. Alcohol is likewise unrestricted. For those of you travelling outside of the EU when leaving Romania, you should check the import limits on fags and booze with your destination country before travelling. The export of some antiques purchased in Romania (especially old religious icons) is subject to the completion of tedious paperwork, although any reputable antiques store or dealer will be able to take care of this for you. Ask when buying if you are not sure.

Etiquette

In their own homes, Romanians are by and large fabulous hosts. So much so that making friends and getting yourself invited should be top of your list of things to do while in the country! You had better be hungry, because the food never stops coming, on and on, dish after dish. You must bring something: flowers, chocolates or a bottle of good whisky. You will probably be offered local brandy, uica. It will grow on you. Most Romanians love to chat about their country, its politics, problems and troubled history. Dont be surprised if they ask you very direct questions. In all cases, it is probably best to be diplomatic in response.

Bucharest In Your Pocket

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bucharest Basics

Gara de Nord offers left luggage facilities, but no luggage lockers. You will find the left luggage counter next to the Relay press store, opposite the Wasteels office, a short walk from the platforms. The charge is cursory: 4 lei per small bag per 24 hours, 7 lei for a bigger bag. Note that the office keeps irregular hours (with staff taking breaks seemingly willy-nilly), so always make sure there will be someone on hand to give you back your bag when you want to pick it up. There are not currently any left luggage facilities at Otopeni airport.

Left Luggage

A Word From Bucharests Mayor


I am one of the over two million inhabitants of Bucharest. This is where I was born, and where I grew up. I know both the bright and dark sides of every nook and cranny. I have learned the history of each stone, and experienced romance while wandering in Herastrau Park or admiring the city by night. I have traveled a lot, but I have always come back home with infinite joy in order to discover my Bucharest over and over again. I am sure that there would have been no better place in Romania to build my medical career, with all the professional and academic opportunities that a capital city like Bucharest can offer. Yet I understood that for everything you get in this life you have to give something back. That is why now, as the Mayor of Bucharest, I commit myself to giving the people of this city a place to live in, not just a place to dwell in. Bucharest is Romanias most important cultural, economic, financial and political centre. It generates more than 20 per cent of the countrys GDP and is inhabited by more than 10 per cent of the Romanian population. All major financial and political institutions are based here. As one of 27 European capitals, Bucharest is eager to share its cultural heritage with the community and the whole world. I therefore invite you to explore this wonderful city, to discover its mystery and take its pulse: Bucharest is always ready to surprise and impress its guests with its eternal and motley poetry. Sorin Oprescu, Mayor of Bucharest

When Things Go Wrong


In an emergency call 112. You do not need to use the city code, whether calling from a landline or a mobile. You wll be asked which service you require (Politia/Police, Ambulanta/Ambulance or Pompierii/Firemen). Emergency call centre operators should speak English or French but in our experience they do not always do so. At least make sure you know the name of the street you are calling from. If you get into trouble with the Police, demand to call your embassy. There is a list on page 90. The citys main police station is the new building at (B-4) Str. Lascar Cartagiu 22, tel. (+4) 021 212 56 84. The best Casualty Unit (Emergency Room) in the city is at Spitalul de Urgente, (C-3) Calea Floreasca 8, next to Dinamo Stadium. More details in the Health box on page 8. There is a list of Pharmacies on page 92, and an English speaking Dentist on page 89.

bucharest.inyourpocket.com

February - March 2013

bucharest Basics
Time & People
Romania is in the Eastern European Time Zone: GMT + 2 hours. When it is 12:00 in Bucharest it is 11:00 in Berlin, 10:00 in London and 05:00 in New York. The population of Romania is 19,042,936, and of Bucharest 1.7 million according to figures from the 2011 census.

Health
Should you fall ill, the local health service is more than adequate, if not perfect. Hospitals do suffer from a lack of funds, and the frequent handing over of 10 lei notes to everyone from the receptionist to the cleaner is recommended. In an emergency you should call tel. 112 or tel. (+4) 021 9731 for an ambulance. The best state emergency hospital is Spitalul de Urgenta, C-3, Calea Floreasca 8, tel. (+4) 021 599 23 00. If your child becomes ill, you should take him or her to the excellent childrens emergency hospital, found at (B-4), B-dul Iancu de Hunedoara 30-32, tel. (+4) 021 212 93 64/66. A list of 24 hour pharmacies can be found on page 93.

Taxi Tactics
Bucharests dodgy taxi drivers have a refreshingly liberal sense of equal opportunities: basically, when it comes to ripping people off, they view anyone as fair game. Locals, foreigners, young, old, male, female: anyone who steps in the wrong kind of taxi can expect to be well and truly buggered. The important thing to remember when getting into a taxi in this city is that there are two kinds: those which are operated by a tried and trusted taxi company (usually good) and independents (usually bad). The problem is spotting the difference. By and large, trustworthy taxis are easy to spot as they are emblazoned with the name and phone number of the company they are associated with. To counter this, however, the independents have also started to plaster phone numbers over their cars, alongside copy-cat logos that look cunningly like those of decent taxi companies. The best way to avoid being ripped off however is to pay careful attention to the tariffs, displayed on the driver and passenger door of all taxis. There should just now be one single tarif displayed, and anything higher than 1.69 lei per kilometre should start alarm bells ringing. Be extra careful around Gara de Nord , Baneasa Airport, Bucuresti Mall, Piata Universitatii, Piata Unirii and in Old Town, at the National Bank. To avoid any problems, call one of the taxi companies listed below. If you are in a hotel or restaurant, ask your concierge or waiter/waitress to call a taxi for you. If you feel something is a bit suspect in any taxi, note down the drivers number and call his company to report him.

Local laws & Police

If you are driving, or are out late at night, it is a good idea to carry at least a photocopy of your passport and driving license. Drinking in public (except in designated areas) leaves you open to a fine, and despite appearances to the contrary, prostitution is illegal. If you are arrested ask to speak to your embassy. There is a list on page 90.

Money

Romanias currency is the leu (plural lei), divided into 100 bani. Notes come in denominations of 500, 200, 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1. These are supplemented by 50, 10 and 5 bani coins. The best place to get your hands on Romanian money is at an ATM. If you really do have to change cash, then please ensure that you do it inside a bank. Credit and debit cards (MasterCard and Visa at least) are accepted almost everywhere. American Express and Diners Club cards are less widely accepted.

Toilets

The only decent public toilets in town are those in the Piata Universitatii underpass (which are free) and those at Gara de Nord (for which you have to pay, 1 leu).

1 = 4.37 lei, 1 = 5.07 lei US$1 = 3.22 lei (As of January 31 2013)
Bucharest In Your Pocket

Some trusted taxi companies:

Autogeneral 021 9401, Cobalcescu 021 9451, Confort 021 9455, Cristaxi 021 9461, Leone 021 9425, Mavi 021 9450 Meridian 021 9444, Mondial 021 9423, Speed Taxi 021 9477, Taxi As 021 9435, Taxi Total 021 9424. Most of these companies have at least one operator who speaks English.

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10

ARRIVAL & TRANSPORT


Arrival 1: Otopeni
Bucharests only commercial airport is now Otopeni (officially Henri Coanda), 17km north of the city on the DN1. Opened in 1970 and recently extended, it is a spacious, efficient airport. Baneasa Airport - until recently the citys low-cost hub - closed its doors to airlines in March 2012. After getting off the plane and easing your way through passport control, youll find yourself in the baggage reclaim area. Ignore all of the services on offer here. You should especially ignore the currency exchange desks: they do not offer decent rates. Instead, grab your luggage, which usually arrives promptly (if it fails to arrive head for the small office on the right hand of side of the exit, where staff will help you find out where it might have gone), and then its off through customs to the arrivals area. Here there are loads of ATMs, a press shop and a small cafe. To the right is a passage leading to the departures terminal: the passage is lined with car hire desks and a few shops, including a chemist. At the end of January the Minister of Transport announced welcome plans to kick the rip-off taxis out of the airport, and allow taxis from ordinary Bucharest taxi companies - such as Apolodor, Autogeneral, Cobalcescu, CrisTaxi, Leone, Meridian, Mondial, National, Pelican, Prof or Speed Taxi - charging the regular price of 1.69 lei, to pick up passengers from directly outside the arrivals terminal. However, the situation was in flux as we went to press, and so we recommend that you continue to do what we have always recommended: ignore any taxi driver who approaches you at the airport, and either order one (from one of the companies listed above: phone numbers are on page 8) or, instead, walk through to Departures (turn right as you exit baggage claim) and simply take a regular taxi as it drops somebody off. There is a constant stream of these, even late at night, and you should never have to wait too long. In all cases, never pay more than 1.69 lei/km and make sure the metre is working! You can also get to town by taking bus 783, which stops underneath the arrivals hall, in front of internal arrivals and leaves for the city centre (stopping at Piata Victoriei, Piata Romana and Piata Universitatii) every 30 minutes during the day, and then every 40 minutes throughout the night. The full timetable of the 783 bus is online at ratb.ro. Another bus, the 780, runs from the airport to Gara de Nord from 05:15 to 23:00 roughly every 30 minutes. You need to purchase an Activ Card before boarding (get it from the little booth which youll find on your right hand side as you exit). A return journey into the city and back costs 7 lei (no singles are available, but there is no time limit on using the return). You also need to pay 3.70 lei for the card itself, but it can be recharged as often as you like at any ticket kiosk in Bucharest, with as much credit as you wish, and used on all Bucharest buses, trams and the metro. These cards cannot be bought on board. There is also a train which connects the airport to the main railway station, Gara de Nord. The train departs at irregular and infrequent intervals, however, and to get to the airports station you need to take a minibus. We do not recommend it. Timetables and tickets are available from a counter in the Arrivals hall. Look out for the Bilete CFR sign.

Arrival 2: Gara de Nord


If you arrive in Bucharest by train you will arrive at Gara de Nord. It is OK, but has the usual collection of rogues, tramps and thieves to contend with. There are ATMs, shops, kiosks and a McDonalds. To get to town take an honest taxi from outside (beware sharks) or take the metro: you are just two stops away from Piata Victoriei. To get to the airport from Gara de Nord, take bus 780. WARNING: None of Bucharests reputable hostels send people to Gara de Nord to speculatively meet trains. Anyone who approaches you (and if you have just got off the Budapest train and have a backpack, you will be approached) is trying to scam you: they will try and divert you from your intended destination (often by saying that the place you want to go to is closed) towards another hostel or hotel that they will recommend to you. Just ignore anything they say and wave them away.

Public transport
Even the most remote corners of Bucharest are served by bus, trolleybus or tram, and most main roads in the city centre benefit from three or four different bus routes. Most buses are overcrowded, however, and travelling on them is a less than pleasant experience. Buses, trolleybuses and trams run from very early in the morning (around 04:30) to around 23:00 (earlier at weekends), after which the night buses take over. The night bus network is extensive, and operates an hourly service throughout the night. All night buses depart from Piata Unirii.

Public Transport Tickets

To use a bus, trolleybus or tram you will need to buy an Activ Card before climbing aboard. These cards cost 3.70 lei, are valid on all forms of public transport (including the metro) and can be bought from the little kiosks next to major stops. They need to be loaded with credit (minimum 5 lei, maximum 50 lei) and are reusable: you can reload them as many times as needs be. The card is then debited each time you validate it at one of the orange devices located on buses, trams and trolleybuses, or at the entrance to the metro. One trip by surface transport costs 1.30 lei, a metro trip costs 2.00 lei. You can also purchase a day-ticket valid on all the citys buses, trolleybuses and trams. It costs 9.60 lei. You can now also buy joint bus and metro tickets, valid not just for one or two journeys but for an unlimited number of journeys over a designated period of time. A 60-minute RATB (bus, tram, trolleybus) and metro ticket costs 5 lei, while a 24-hour ticket costs 16 lei. Tickets are valid from the moment they are electronically franked on a bus or at a metro station, and must be franked at the start of each journey. Also - and this is a bonus - they are valid until the end of the last journey you make. So if you get on a bus or metro one minute before your ticket expires, you can still complete your journey without being fined. On all forms of public transport children under the age of seven travel free. After that age they need a full-price ticket. Bucharests metro was primarily built to ship workers from the vast housing estates of Titan, Berceni and Militari out to the huge industrial plants at Pipera, IMGB, Republica and Industriilor. Thats all very well if you are resident of Titan working at IMGB, but useless to almost everybody else. The city centre is poorly served by the metro and only the north-south M2 line, from Pipera to IMGB, which passes through Piatas Victoriei, Romana and Unirii, and the M1 branch to the Gara de

Metro

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ARRIVAL & TRANSPORT


Moving On
Getting from Bucharest to the capitals of neighbouring countries (Serbia, Hungary, Ukraine, Moldova and Bulgaria) is not as easy, quick or inexpensive as you would expect. Given the lack of good road connections you would think that there might be high-speed train connections instead. Well, think again. There are in fact direct trains to just two of the five neighbouring capitals (Budapest and Chisinau) both services painfully slow. To Sofia, Belgrade and Kyiv there is currently no direct train service from Bucharest. Anyway, here is a rundown of the fastest and cheapest ways of getting from capital to capital... T arom flies to Belgrade once a day, with prices from 218 return. Incredibly, there is currently no train service between Bucharest and Belgrade, unless you fancy a 40 hour trip via Budapest which includes no fewer than four changes.

11

Bucharest - Belgrade

Bucharest - Budapest

There are three flights from Bucharest to Budapest each day, all operated by T arom. Standard return prices start at 207, although you can often find cheaper tickets if you book far enough in advance. There are also three direct trains connecting the two cities: the fastest daytime leaves at 05:45 (arriving in Budapest at 18:50) while the night train leaves at 17:40 and arrives at 08:50. The price for a berth in a sleeping wagon is around 90 (one way), while a bed in a cuseta (sharing with up to five others) costs 53. Again, the best place to buy international train tickets in Bucharest is Wasteels, at Gara de Nord.

Bucharest - Chisinau

There are four flights a day between Bucharest and Chisinau, and if bought far enough in advance return plane tickets with T arom can cost as little as 122. Air Moldova also fly the same route, tickets costing slightly more, around 144 return. The overnight train to Chisinau departs Bucharest at 19:40, and arrives in the Moldovan capital at 09:02 the next morning. Tickets cost from 41 (single).

Bucharest - Kyiv

Getting to Kyiv from Bucharest takes plenty of spare cash or patience. Just one airline flies direct to Kyiv from Bucharest, Aerosvit, and prices start at a monopolytastic 334 return. The train to Kyiv takes a whopping 30 hours and 17 minutes, leaving Bucharest at 19:40, arriving in Kyiv at 00:57 the following night. The train is not direct: you need to change in Chisinau. Tickets cost from 63 (single).

Bucharest - Sofia

Flying to Sofia from Bucharest costs around 140, with either T arom or Bulgaria Air. There are two or three flights per day depending on the day of the week. There are not currently any direct trains from Bucharest to Sofia. Much faster (and cheaper) is the daily coach linking Bucharest and Sofia. It leaves the Gara Filaret coach station next to Parcul Carol (B-7) each day at 16:00, arriving in Sofia just under seven hours later. Tickets cost 18 single (35 return) and can be bought direct form the driver.

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February - March 2013

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ARRIVAL & TRANSPORT


Train Schedule
From Bucharest To Bucharest Dep Arr. Dep. Arr. IR 23:45 10:39 ARAD IR 18:53 05:43 IR 05:45 08:28 BRASOV IR 06:01 08:47 IC 13:10 15:36 BRASOV IR 09:23 12:00 IC 15:30 18:08 BRASOV ICN 09:40 12:10 ICN 17:40 20:09 BRASOV IR 17:10 19:48 IR 18:30 21:09 BRASOV IC 20:40 23:05 IR 20:30 06:07 CLUJ-NAPOCA IR 23:28 08:47 IR 08:30 11:25 CONSTANTA IR 13:30 16:10 IR 14:00 16:35 CONSTANTA IR 17:20 20:00 IR 12:45 15:43 CRAIOVA IR 19:32 22:27 IR 13:40 17:34 GALATI IR 09:25 13:18 IR 12:00 18:58 IASI IR 14:20 21:30 IR 23:00 05:53 IASI IR 23:30 06:30 IC 13:10 01:05 ORADEA IC 11:30 23:05 IR 21:20 11:13 SATU MARE IR 16:37 06:13 IR 15:30 21:04 SIBIU IR 15:30 21:14 IC 13:10 18:01 SIGHISOARA IC 18:22 23:05 IR 11:10 19:25 TIRGU MURES IR 13:12 21:40 IR 10:45 19:15 TIMISOARA IR 07:15 16:30 IR 12:45 21:11 TIMISOARA IR 14:10 22:27
Schedule valid from December 8, 2012. The full Romanian railway timetable is online at www.infofer.ro.

Nord, is likely to be of any use to visitors. Tickets are almost as cheap as for the trams and buses: they cost either 4 lei (valid for two trips; doua calatorii) or 15 lei (ten trips; zece calatorii) and can be bought from any metro station. You can also buy tickets valid for one day (abonament de o zi), costing 6 lei. The metro runs from around 05:00 to 23:00.

Trains
Given that Romanias roads are so bad, its comforting to know that the countrys railways are equally crap. Having said that, many long years of line upgrades on the Bucharest - Brasov and Bucharest - Constanta routes are now approaching completion, and journey times are more or less back to something approaching 1989 levels: two and a half hours to Brasov, slightly more to Constanta. Always try to get an InterCity (IC) or InterRegio (IR) train as they are the fastest and usually have the most modern rolling stock. Regio (R-) trains (which until recently were known as Personal), are slow and use much older rolling stock. You will also see trains designated as ICN: these are InterCity trains which stop at more stations than usual, and are more like InterRegios. Prices on all types of train are relatively cheap, but are rising fast. An InterCity adult single from Bucharest to Brasov costs 78.50 lei.

Bucharest is well linked to Budapest by train (there are four per day) but poorly to Belgrade, Sofia, Chisinau and Kyiv. To buy train tickets, visit either the station, the CFR agency we list below or buy online at www.cfr.ro/calatori. Your best bet for the purchase of international tickets is Wasteels at the station. In all cases, do not leave buying tickets to the last minute: long queues could mean you miss your train. Tickets cannot be purchased on the train, though in the worst case scenario you can try bribing the guard. Many locals do this habitually. Agentia de Voiaj SNCFR B-5, Str. Domnita Anastasia 1014, tel. (+4) 021 313 26 42, www.cfr.ro. CFRs advance booking office. Reservations for all kinds of trains. Q Open 07:30 - 19:30, Sat 08:00 - 12:00. Closed Sun. Wasteels A-4, Gara de Nord, tel. (+4) 021 317 03 70/021 300 27 30, www.triptkts.ro. Advance reservations for all types of trains, national and international. Helpful staff, western currencies accepted. QOpen 08:00 - 19:00, Sat 08:00 - 14:00. Closed Sun.

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ARRIVAL & TRANSPORT


Tourist Information
pass, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0746 25 29 22. Large, spacious tourist information centre. Usually stocks copies of our guide, or mini-guide. QOpen 09:00 - 18:00, Sat 10:00 - 13:00. Closed Sun. Info Tourist Point C-6, Metro Unirii 1, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 0725 21 73 18. Find it inside Piata Unirii metro station. Usually stocks copies of Bucharest In Your Pocket. QOpen 10:00 - 18:00. Info Tourist Point A-4, Inside Gara de Nord, MGara de Nord, tel. (+4) 0371 15 50 63, www.infotourist. ro. A small kiosk staffed by friendly young locals ready to help as best they can with all the questions new arrivals might have. The kiosk is stocked with leaflets, maps, brochures etc. and of course: Bucharest In Your Pocket. Q Open 09:00-21:00.

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Info Tourist Center C-5, P-ta Universitatii Under-

28, office@bavariarent.ro, www.bavariarent.ro. QOpen 09:00 - 18:00. Closed Sat, Sun. Also at Otopeni Airport, tel. (+4) 021 201 45 34, (+4) 0730 33 37 05, Open 08:00-02:00, Sat 08:00-20:00. Budget B-4, Str. Mihail Moxa 9, tel. (+4) 021 210 28 67, fax (+4) 021 210 29 95, reservations@budgetro.ro, www.budgetro.ro. QOpen 09:00 - 18:00. Closed Sat, Sun. Also at (B-3) Calea Dorobanti 5 - 7 (Howard Johnson Hotel), tel. (+4) 021 201 50 89, Open 09:00 - 17:00. Closed Sat, Sun and Henri Coanda International Airport, tel. (+4) 021 204 16 67, Open 08:00 - 20:00.

Cars4Rent Str. Drumul Odaii 1D (Hotel Charter), tel. (+4) 0723 34 71 92/(+4) 0730 09 39 85, fax (+4) 021 352 87 16, office@cars4rent.ro, www. cars4rent.ro.Good car hire from the people behind the Charter Hotel.Q Open 24 hrs.
A-4, B-dul N. Titulescu 1, bl A7, sc. 1, et. 6, ap. 16, tel. (+4) 0744 58 67 24, (+4) 021 312 98 57, fax (+4) 021 312 99 82, office@compact-rentacar.ro, www.compactrentacar.ro. Q Prices from 18/day. Europcar D-6, Str. Grigore Mora 17, tel. (+4) 021 310 17 97, (+4) 0747 28 06 49, fax (+4) 021 310 17 96, reservations@europcar.com.ro, www.europcar.ro. QOpen 09:00 - 18:00. Also at Otopeni Airport tel. (+4) 0374 00 40. Service also available in Cluj, Constanta, Sibiu, Timisoara. Hertz Piata Montreal 10, entrance F, 1st Floor, office 1.20, tel. (+4) 021 407 82 00, reservations@hertz.ro, www.hertz.ro. Q Also at Henri Coanda Airport, tel. (+4) 021 204 12 78, Open 08:00 - 22:00; Sixt New Kopel Calea Bucurestilor 201-203, tel. (+4) 021 9400, (+4) 0372 37 20 05, reservation@sixt.ro, www.sixt.ro. QOpen 09:00 - 17:30.

Compact Rent-a-Car

Car Rental

(One Star Smart Number), (+4) 021 210 43 44, fax (+4) 021 210 69 12, reservations@avis.ro, www.avis.ro. A delivery and collection service is available free of charge within the city limits; the service is on request, and it depends on the availability of the Avis rental office. QOpen 09:00 - 17:30. Closed Sat, Sun. Also at (C-5) InterContinental, tel. (+4) 021 314 18 37, Open 08:00 - 20:00; Henri Coanda International Airport, tel. (+4) 021 204 19 57, Open 07:00 - 02:00 and Avis Porsche Bucharest North, tel. (+4) 0723 612 011, Open 07:00 - 19:00, Sat 09:00 - 15:00, Closed Sun. Bavaria Rent Drumul Garii Otopeni 1B, tel. (+4) 0730 33 37 07, (+4) 031 802 22 22, fax (+4) 031 802 22

Avis B-dul Theodor Pallady 51, tel. *AVIS (*2847) - OSSN

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CULTURE & Events


Venues & Tickets
Tickets for all of the events listed on these pages can be purchased at branches at the box offices of the venues themselves or online at eventim.ro, bilete.ro, biletoo. ro and vreaubilet.ro. Bucharest In Your Pocket offers the widest selection of concerts, events, club nights and exhibitions in Bucharest. We in general welcome submissions, so if you have an event you want to publicise, however big or small, you can do so here: absolutely free. Send details of your event to bucharest@inyourpocket.com.

Arenele Romane Str. Cutitul de Argint 26 (Parcul


Carol), MEroii Revolutiei.

Rock & Pop Concerts


05.02 Tuesday Slash
B-5, Sala Palatului. Former Guns & Roses guitarist Slash, famous for sharing his house with a snake, comes to Romania with his current band, featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. Q Starts 19:30. Tickets from 100-360 lei from www.eventim.ro or the Sala Palatului box office. B-5, Sala Radio (Radiodifuziune). Fit as you like, Paula Seling is one of the countrys best female singers (and the last Romanian to put on a decent performance at Eurovision: she came third in 2010 wearing a magnificent pair of leather trousers) and this is a good chance to catch her in concert with a big band and an orchestra. Bargain priced tickets too. Get in. Q Starts 19:00. Tickets 20-30 lei from www.bilete. ro or the Sala Radio box office.

tate, tel. (+4) 021 315 25 67, (+4) 021 315 68 75 for tickets, www.fge.org.ro.QOpen 12:00 - 19:00, Sat 16:00 - 19:00, Sun 10:00 - 11:00, 16:00-19:00. Closed Mon. Tickets from 8.00 lei to 34.00 lei. Centre), MPiata Unirii, www.biletoo.ro. Buy tickets for more or less all events in Bucharest either online at biletoo.ro or at the various outlets around the city: the most central is in Unirea, on the ground floor just inside the entrance next to McDonalds.

Ateneul Romn C-5, Str. Franklin 1-3, MUniversi-

14.02 Thursday Paula Seling

biletoo.ro C-6, Piata Unirii 1 (Unirea Shopping

Cinema Patria C-5, B-dul Magheru 12-14, MPiata

Romana, tel. (+4) 021 316 92 66, www.cinemapatria.ro.

15.02 Friday Bad Boys Blue

Club Control C-5, Str. Constantin Mille 4, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0733 92 78 61, www.controlclub.ro.

Club Fabrica B-7, Str. 11 Iunie 50, tel. (+4) 021 335 0323, office@fabrica-club.ro, www.fabrica-club.ro.
021 206 62 61, sales@hardrockcafe.ro, www. hardrock.com/bucharest. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 12:00 - 01:00. Nicolae Blcescu 2, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 314 71 71, www.tnb.ro. Q Box office open Mon 10:00-16:00, Tue-Sun 10:00-19:00.

C-5, Cinema Patria. Multi-national, Germany-based Europop/dance trio who were massively popular in these parts during the late 1980s and 90s, with hits like Youre a Woman, Pretty Young Girl, I Wanna Hear Your Heartbeat and Come Back and Stay. Q Concert starts at 20:00. Tickets 100-250 lei from biletoo.ro. B-7, Club Fabrica. Romanias best Bob Marley tribute act, who have been around since 1999. Well worth seeing. Q Concert starts at 22:00. Tickets 20 lei in advance from biletoo.ro. B-5, Sala Palatului. One of Romanias best loved and longest-serving pop bands, led by the evergreen Dan Bittman who was, amongst other things, the first singer to represent Romania in the Eurovision Song Contest, back in 1994. Q Concerts start at 19:30. Sold out. A-2, Hard Rock Cafe. While the current Animals line-up includes two of the original band members (John Steel and Mickey Gallagher), The T roggs trot on with a threesome formed of Chris Britton, Pete Lucas and Dave Maggs, Reg Presley having sadly died earlier this year. Q Starts 21:00. Tickets 75-100 lei from www.infomusic.ro. For table reservations contact the Hard Rock Cafe direct.

22.02 Friday El Negro

Hard Rock Cafe A-2, Sos. Kiseleff 32, tel. (+4)

National Theatre (Teatrul National) C-5, B-dul

25.02 Monday - 26.02 Tuesday Holograf

MEroilor, tel. (+4) 021 314 69 80, www.operanb.ro. Q Box office open 09:00-13:00, 15:00-19:00. 70 00, www.romexpo.org.

Romanian National Opera (ONB) (Opera Nationala Romana) A-5, B-dul Kogalniceanu 70-72,

26.02 Tuesday The Troggs & The Animals

Romexpo B-dul Mrsti 65-67, tel. (+4) 021 207 Sala Palatului B-5, Str. Ion Campineanu 28, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 315 73 72. Q Box office open
Tue-Fri 10:00-19:00. Closed Sat, Sun.

27.02 Wednesday - 28.02 Thurs. Horia Brenciu

Sala Polivalenta B-dul Tineretului 1 (Parc Tineretu-

lui/ Calea Piscului 10), MTineretului, tel. (+4) 031 425 78 01, www.salapolivalenta.ro.

B-5, Sala Palatului. Best known as being a judge on the Romanian version of The Voice, Brenciu is not a bad performer himself, knocking out his own version of classic, swinging hits accompanied by his very own big band.

Sala Radio (Radiodifuziune) B-5, Str. Berthelot 60-64, tel. (+4) 021 314 77 70/(+4) 021 303 12 97, www.srr.ro. Silver Church A-5, Calea Plevnei 61, MIzvor, tel.
(+4) 0723 37 90 26, www.tscarena.ro.

01.03 Friday Legends

A-2, Hard Rock Cafe. Three of the best tribute acts in the world in one evening at the HRC. Jerry Carlson stars as Jerry Lee Lewis, Rob Kingsley as Elvis Presley and Joseph Lee Jackson as Freddie Mercury. Q Starts 22:00. Tickets 60120 lei from biletoo.ro. For table reservations contact the Hard Rock Cafe direct.

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Culture & Events


Ice Skating in Bucharest
The good people of Bucharest love to ice skate, and there are a number of open-air rinks around the city on which you can dream of perfect sixes. The best-known (and most central) is on the lake at (B-5) Gradina Cismigiu. The rink is in fact artificial (the lake is drained each winter) but the setting is fabulous. An hour on the ice here costs from 10 lei, with skate hire costing much the same. It can get busy so you might have to queue. Fortunately, there are mulled-wine sellers on hand to keep you warm. You will also find an open air rink in (C-2) Parcul Floreasca. If you want to skate indoors, then the AFI Palace Cotroceni shopping centre is the place to go. A modestsized rink offers 90 minutes skating for 12-17 lei (children) and 14-20 lei (adults). Skate hire costs 15 lei. The rink is open from 10:00-24:00. Mircea Eliade 16, www.clubwhite.ro. Large, popular open-air skating rink. Rent skates for 15 lei. QOpen 10:00 - 24:00. Admission 15 lei.

Opera & Ballet


The Romanian National Opera (Opera Romana) is at B-5, B-dul Kogalniceanu 70-72, tel. (+4) 021 314 69 80, www. operanb.ro. It serves up a familiar repertoire of classic operas and ballets, and stages child-oriented matinees most weekend mornings at 11:00. Tickets cost from 5.30 - 63.60 lei, and can be purchased online at www.bilet.ro or from the Operas own box office, open 09:00-13:00, 15:0019:00. While black tie is not compulsory, you are expected to dress smartly when attending evening performances. Below is the full opera and ballet schedule for February and March 2013. Highlights include a wonderful production of the childrens fairytale The Snow Queen. February Date Time 6 19:00 7 19:00 8 19:00 9 11:00 9 19:00 10 11:00 10 19:00 13 19:00 14 19:00 15 19:00 15 11:00 16 19:00 17 18:30 21 19:00 22 19:00 23 18:30 24 11:00 24 27 28 March 2 2 3 6 7 8 9 9 10 10 14 15 16 16 17 17 21 22 23 23 24 28 30 31 18:30 18:30 18:30 11:00 19:00 18:30 19:00 18:30 19:00 11:00 19:00 11:00 19:00 19:00 18:30 11:00 19:00 11:00 19:00 19:00 19:00 11:00 19:00 19:00 19:00 19:00 19:00 Event The Nutcracker T urandot La Boheme The Enchanted Flute Giselle The Snow Queen Nabucco T ango Emocion A Winter's Journey From Classic to Modern The Snow Queen Gershwin Evening Don Giovanni Sleeping Beauty A Masked Ball Mephistopheles Snow White & the Seven Dwarves Don Giovanni Don Quixote Carmen The Enchanted Flute Ballet Evening Oedipus La T raviata Anna Karenina L'Elisir d'Amore A Midsummer Night's Dream Nabucco Hansel & Gretl Rigoletto Giselle Mephistoles A Midsummer Night's Dream Don Giovanni Snow White & the Seven Dwarves The Marriage of Figaro Sleeping Beauty The Barber of Seville The Children's Room La Boheme Il Corsaro Don Giovanni Gala: Verdi & Wagner 200 Gala: Verdi & Wagner 200 Venue ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB ONB

Club White (Patinoarul Floreasca) C-2, B-dul

Cotroceni on Ice B-dul Timisoara, MPolitehnica, tel. (+40) 21 448 17 32, www.aficotroceni.ro. Skate year round at this indoor ice rink inside the AFI Palace mall. Skate hire available. Holds classes weekend mornings from 9:00-11:00. QOpen 10:00 - 24:00, Fri 10:00 - 01:00, Sat 11:30 - 01:00, Sun 11:30 - 24:00. Admission 14-20 lei (adults), 12-17 lei (children). Skate hire costs 15 lei. Patinoarul Cismigiu B-5, Gradina Cismigiu, MUniversitate, www.cismigiuparc.ro. Cismigiu appears to have given up trying to freeze its lake, and so this year, as last, has drained the southern part of the lake and installed an artificial rink over it. Skate hire available, 10 lei. Q Open 10:00 - 21:00, Fri, Sat 10:00 - 24:00. Free entrance 10:00 - 12:00. Admission 10 lei, Fri, Sat, Sun 15 lei.

02.03 Saturday Smokie

B-5, Sala Palatului. Smokie, you know, Who the f*ck is Alice? Yes, them. Far bigger in these parts than anywhere else these days it would appear, Smokie are regulars in Romania, and the locals appear to love them. Enjoy. Q Concert starts 19:00. Tickets 90-250 lei from www.eventim.ro or the Sala Palatului box office.

07.03 Thursday - 08.03 Friday Stefan Banica Jr.

B-5, Circul Globus. For the third year running the top showman and housewives favourite Stefan Banica Jr. brings an unplugged approach to his rather Romanian take on rock and roll especially for International Womens Day. Q Shows start at 19:30. Tickets from 100-150 lei.

09.03 Saturday Pional

C-5, Control Club, www.control-club.ro. Spanish producer, remixer and electronic musician. Pional provides the vocals and all the instrumentation on his tracks, and plays drum machine during live shows. Q Starts 23:00. Ticket details not known as we went to press.

11.03 Monday Mono

A-5, Silver Church, www.tscarena.ro/tsca/. Japanese guitar-based, instrumental post-rock band, formed in 1999

Bucharest In Your Pocket

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in Tokyo. Primarily a live band, they have toured worldwide several times and their live show is meant to be rather special. Q Doors open 21:00. Tickets 60 lei on the night. B-5, Sala Palatului. Belgiums finest export since Eddy Merckx return to Romania for what is certain to be another sell-out show. With a string of hits to rival anyone they are one of our fave bands of the past couple of decades, so expect to see us there. Q Starts 20:00. Tickets from 120 lei to 300 lei, available online at www.eventim.ro ar the Sala Palatului box office.

15.03 Friday Vaya Con Dios

B-7, Arenele Romane. German power metal band founded in 1984. The band was a pioneering force in power metal and their second and third studio albums, Keeper of the Seven Keys, Pt. 1 and Pt. 2, are considered masterpieces of the genre. Gamma Ray - founded and fronted by Kai Hansen after his departure from Helloween - offer support. Q Starts 19:00. Tickets 87-97 lei from www.eventim.ro. B-5, Sala Palatului. Greek pianist, keyboard player, composer, and music producer who mixes jazz, classical, soft rock, and world music to create predominantly instrumental works. Very big in these parts his concerts have become an annual event. Q Starts 19:00. Tickets from 105-1200 lei, from www.vreaubilet.ro or the Sala Palatului box office.

16.03 Saturday Helloween & Gamma Ray

31.03 Sunday Yanni

Live Music
Finding good live music is no longer the problem in Bucharest it once was. In fact, on most nights - especially at the weekend - you will be spoilt for choice. Your first stop for regular live acts should be Mojo in the Old Town (see page 88) which hosts top local bands alongside its resident Mojo Band. Sankt Petersburg opposite also has live music a couple of times per week. Club A, on Strada Blanari, is another decent bet, while True Social Club has live music every night. Outside of the Old Town, Hard Rock Cafe, Control (see page 61) and Panic (page 63) are known for their range of live music, while Kulturhaus and Music Club similarly have live bands on most evenings. For live jazz, try Art Jazz Club and Green Hours (see page 64). At Divan (the best Turkish restaurant in the city) there is live oriental music and dancing, and a Turkish DJ, every Friday and Saturday night at 21:30.

Special Events

B-5, Sala Palatului. A stunning production of the classic ballet Swan Lake performed on ice by the Imperial Ice Stars. There are two performances, one at 16:00, and one at 20:00. Q First performance starts 16:00, second performance starts 20:00. Tickets from 150-250 lei from www.eventim. ro or the Sala Palatului box office. B-5, Sala Palatului. A ballet showcase featuring scenes from three of the worlds most famous ballets: Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty. Q Performance starts at 19:30. Tickets 60-150 lei from biletoo.ro.

20.02 Wednesday Ballet on Ice: Swan Lake

24.02 Sunday Russian Ballet

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Culture & Events


31.03 Sunday Madrid Flamenco Ballet
B-5, Sala Palatului. Artistic director Luciano Ruiz brings his latest show Espaa Baila Flamenco to Bucharest, featuring more than 30 top flamenco dancers, including Sara Lezana. Q Starts 19:00. Tickets 50-160 lei from www.eventim.ro or the Sala Palatului box office. DJ who has been one of the worlds biggest names for the best part of 20 years returns to Romania for a set at Club Kristal. Opening will be Alex & Mircea Babescu, as well as the clubs resident DJ Mahony. Q Doors open 23:00. Tickets in advance from www.myticket.ro 30 lei, or 40 lei on the door (before midnight), 50 lei after.

Superstar DJs

Sala Polivalenta. Cadenza Night presents Luciano, Mirko Loko, Andrea Oliva and Lee Van Dowski on one bill for a long night of top sounds at the Sala Polivalenta. Q Starts 22:00. Tickets 60 lei in advance from www.bilete.ro, Music Box (E-6; Str. Matei Basarab 16) or 80 lei on the night.

16.02 Saturday Cadenza Night

The Mission: Nina Kraviz, Ellen Allien, Miss Kittin, Alexandra


Arenele Romane, tel. (+4) 0722 39 92 28. The Mission brings a new twist to club nights in Bucharest especially for International Womens Day: an all-female line up of superstar DJs performing behind the decks at the Arenele Romane (in an enormous heated tent). Steamy. Q Starts 22:00. Tickets in advance from www.bilete.ro 40 lei, or 60 lei on the door.

08.03 Friday

23.02 Saturday John Digweed

B-5, Kristal Glam Club, B-dul Regina Elisabeta 34, tel. (+40) 722 795 184, www.clubkristal.com. Legendary

Classical Music Concerts


Classical music concerts are held at two venues in particular in Bucharest: the Atheneum and the Sala Radio.

Ateneul Romn C-5, Str. Benjamin Franklin 1-3, tel.

(+4) 021 315 25 67, www.fge.org.ro. Possibly the finest building in the city, the Romanian Atheneum was the work of French architect Albert Galleon, who also designed the National Bank of Romania. The building was inaugurated on February 26, 1888. Today the seat of the Romanian February 2013 Date Time 5 19:00 6 19:00 7 19:00 8 19:00 8 19:00 12 19:00 13 19:00 14 19:00 15 19:00 15 19:00 19 19:00 20 19:00 21 19:00 22 19:00 22 19:00 24 11:00 26 19:00 27 19:00 28 19:00 March 2013 Date Time 1 19:00 6 19:00 8 19:00 13 19:00 14 19:00 15 19:00 18 19:00 21 19:00 22 19:00 27 19:00 29 19:00 30 19:00

Philarmonic George Enescu, the main auditorium is renowned worldwide for its outstanding acoustics. QBox office open 12:00 - 19:00, Sat 16:00 - 19:00, Sun 10:00 - 11:00, 16:00-19:00. Closed Mon.

Sala Radio (Radiodifuziune) B-5, Str. Berthelot 60-64, tel. (+4) 021 314 77 70, www.srr.ro. The National Radio Orchestra is one of the best in the country and happens to have its very own music hall in the national radio building.
Venue Atheneum (Sala Mica) Sala Radio Atheneum (Sala Mare) Atheneum (Sala Mare) Sala Radio Atheneum (Sala Mica) Sala Radio Atheneum (Sala Mare) Sala Radio Atheneum (Sala Mare) Atheneum (Sala Mica) Sala Radio Atheneum (Sala Mare) Atheneum (Sala Mare) Sala Radio Atheneum (Sala Mare) Atheneum (Sala Mica) Sala Radio Atheneum (Sala Mare) Venue Sala Radio Sala Radio Sala Radio Sala Radio Sala Radio Sala Radio Sala Radio Sala Radio Sala Radio Sala Radio Sala Radio Sala Radio

Event Piano recital: Bach, Brahms Do you like Brahms? Symphony: Wagner, Lizst, Dvorak Symphony: Wagner, Lizst, Dvorak Radio Chamber Orchestra: Mendelssoh, Dvorak Piano recital: Chopin, Enescu, Messiaen Symphony: Rameau, Mozart, Ravel Symphony: Strauss, Schubert National Radio Orchestra: Wagner, Schumann, Berlioz Symphony: Strauss, Schubert Piano and flute recital: Toduta, Muczynski, Mower Recital: Broschi, Saint Saens, Rossini, Verdi, Mozart Symphony: Draga, von Weber, Stravinksy, Tchaikovsky Symphony: Draga, von Weber, Stravinksy, Tchaikovsky National Radio Orchestra: Debussy, Poulenc Classic Fantastic: Understanding Music (Wagner, Verdi) Classic jazz with Mircea Tiberian Radio Chamber Orchestra: Mozart Symphony: Mitropoulos, Brahms, Perpessus Event National Radio Orchestra: Mozart Piano Recital: Schumann, Beethoven, Brahms National Radio Orchestra: Ravel, Terenyi, Shostakovici Radio Chamber Orchestra: Salieri, Pulenc, Mahler Radio Choir: Romanian Religious Music National Radio Orchestra: Dvorak, Franck Radio Chamber Orchestra: Various Opera Overtures National Radio Orchestra: Enescu, Lalo Piano recital: Spanish Evening Radio Chamber Orchestra: Mozart, Haydn National Radio Orchestra: Dvorak Children's Radio Choir: The World of Disney

Bucharest In Your Pocket

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Driving in Bucharest
rules of the road as you know them simply do not apply. In Romania, a good rule of thumb is that the bigger and more expensive the car, the fewer rules of the road the driver has to obey. One-way signs, for example. are purely for decoration. People in Bucharest ignore them if they are inconvenient. Pedestrians are not taken into consideration when they are crossing the road, even if the priority is theirs. Even at pedestrian crossings, drivers will disregard anyone crossing the street. If a frail old lady is crossing too slowly, she can expect to be aggressively hounded. Drinking and driving is technically against the law, though it depends on who you are and how much money you have to offer. Many people in Bucharest - expats included - drink and drive as a matter of course. And if you think the people of Bucharest drive badly, wait until you see them park: anywhere and everywhere is a parking space in Bucharest. Though you can in theory have your car towed away for illegal parking, people rarely do. Our editor even has a website devoted to such things: visit bucharestlife.net/badlyparkedcars for a rogues gallery of idiots who have left their cars in often bizarre places. As with so many aspects of Romanian life, much of the fault for this (though not all) lies with the police force. Widely considered to be corrupt from top to bottom (a huge exaggeration, in fact), some policemen can sometimes appear to be in awe of the wealthy and their big cars. Indeed, some strata of Romanian society, such as the celebrated Manele singers, have allegedly driven unhindered for years even though they have never bothered taking driving tests, and have no driving license.

Even if your experience of Romanias roads has so far been limited to a taxi ride from the airport into town, then you already know that you are not dealing with the most thoughtful and considerate drivers on the planet. Quite what happens to the usually placid Romanian male when he gets behind the wheel is anyones business. Romanians are by and large an intelligent bunch, so quite why they think that vast queues of traffic can magically disappear at the prolonged sound of their horn is a mystery. Romanian women in general drive far better, less aggresively and more carefully, though the fie crowd (blonde tarts in sunglasses who drive jeeps bought for them by their sponsors) are an exception. If driving in Romania - especially in Bucharest - you will need to have nerves of steel, and bags of patience. The

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Bucharest in two days


Our latest readership survey revealed that the majority of our readers have just two days to see the sights of Bucharest. As such, we were asked to come up with a list of those sights which any visitor must see while visiting the city: the essentials, basically. Having consulted a few locals, a few expats and even a tour guide or two, this is the definitive list we came up with. Besides the sights listed here, we also suggest you find an hour or so to take a walk around the Old Town (see pages 72-87). profession: scientists in one part, actors in another etc). You should also be sure to visit the central chapel (which keeps the same hours as the cemetery itself), built in the 1880s in the style of the cathedral at Karlsbad (Karlovy Vary) and boasting stunning interior paintings. Next to the cemetery is the Cimitirul Eroilor, where those killed in Bucharest during the 1989 revolution are buried. QOpen 08:00 - 16:00.

Day 1
Armed with a metro ticket, we suggest you kick things off at the citys most famous building, the Casa Poporului. It is as essential as it is predictable. We then suggest taking the metro to Eroii Revolutiei before getting some fresh air while wandering around the amazing Bellu Cemetery. In the afternoon, head for Calea Victoriei, and even if you do not have time (or the energy) to walk the full length (see pages 24-28), make sure you take in the George Enescu and National Art museums.

Palatul Parlamentului (Parliament Palace; Casa Poporului) B-6, Calea 13 Septembrie 1, intrarea A3,

Enescu) B-4, Calea Victoriei 141, MPiata Victoriei, tel. (+4) 021 318 14 50, www.georgeenescu.ro. Mistakenly believed to be the great Romanian composer George Enescus former home, this outstanding Secession house was in fact built for landowner George Cantacuzino in 1905, and many older Bucharest residents still refer to it as the Cantacuzino Palace. It became state property in 1955, the year of Enescus death, and a year later opened as a museum dedicated to his life and work. You will find rooms full of the usual memorabilia and artefacts from the eventful life of Romanias most famous composer, as well as a full telling of the story of Romanian music in general. QOpen 10:00 - 17:00. Closed Mon. Admission 6 lei, children 1.50 lei. Free entry on the 26th of each month. National Art Museum (MNAR; Muzeul National de Arta) B/C-5, Calea Victoriei 49-53, tel. (+4) 021 313

George Enescu Museum (Muzeul National George

MIzvor, tel. (+4) 021 311 36 11, www.cdep.ro/pls/ cic/site.home?idl=EN. What is unquestionably Romanias most famous building, Palatul Parlamentului (known universally as Casa Poporului) was built during the darkest days of the Nicolae Ceausescu regime. Standing 84m above ground level on 12 floors, the building has long been shrouded in mystery, rumour and hyperbole. Originally designed to house almost all the organs of the communist state, it today plays host to the Romanian parliament and a modern, well equipped conference centre, as well as Romanias Museum of Contemporary Art. Much of the building, however, remains unused. The public tour of the building is thoroughly recommended (it is the only way to see the building, in fact) though the commentary often consists of little more than a guide reeling off endless superlative statistics. Youll see plenty of grand staircases, marble-plated halls and conference rooms, while - if you pay the extra - you may also have the chance to go on the roof, which offers perhaps the best view of central Bucharest. You can even now take a trip into the bowels of the building down below, though again this costs extra. To join one of the tours, you should make reservations a day in advance as parliamentary business means the official opening hours are subject to change. You will also need to bring your passport, driving license or other form of internationally accepted ID. Use the entrance on the right-hand side of the palace (if youre looking at it front-on). Izvor is probably the nearest metro station, but youll get a better view from Piata Unirii. Q Open 10:00 - 16:00 (last tour 15:30). Admission 25 lei adults, 13 lei students (standard tour); 30 lei adults, 13 lei students (standard and basement); 35 lei adults, 18 lei students (standard and terrace); 45 lei adults, 23 lei students (standard, terrace and basement). Free for children under 18 and the disabled. An additional fee of 30.00 lei is payable by those with cameras, either still or video.

30 30, www.mnar.arts.ro. The countrys largest, and most impressive art collection is housed inside the splendid former Royal Palace, first built in 1812 as a private home by the wealthy trader Dinicu Golescu. When his sons fell into financial ruin some years later, they were forced to sell the building to the state, which carried out huge modifications, adding a number of new wings. It became a royal residence in 1859, when it became the site of the court of the first prince of the united principalities, Alexandru Ion Cuza. Although slightly remodelled in the 1930s, the building we see today is more or less the original, revolutionary damage notwithstanding. Indeed, some parts of the building have only recently been reopened after the mindless vandalism of those mad days in December 1989, when the building was ransacked by the iconoclastic mob, which saw the building (named the Palace of the Socialist Republic during the communist period) as a symbol of the regime. There are two permanent galleries, split over three floors of the main building. National Art (itself divided into Medieval Romanian Art - featuring icons, carved altars, illustrated manuscripts and bibles, and fragments of frescoes, and Modern Romanian Art, with all of Romanias greatest 20th century artists well represented, including Theodor Aman, Constantin Brancui, Gheorghe Patracu, and Gheorghe Tattarescu); and European Paintings and Sculpture, which plays host to a fine collection of Old European Masters from all of the major schools. The museum also hosts a fine selection of temporary exhibitions, currently including frescoes from the Arges Monastery, and the works of Carol Popp de Szathmri and the artistic revelation of the Orient. Essential. Q Open 10:00-18:00. Closed Mon, Tue. Admission 8 lei for The Gallery of European Art, 10 lei for The National Gallery (T reasure included) and 15 lei for combined tickets (both galleries). P

Bellu Cemetery (Cimitirul Bellu) Calea Serban Voda 249, MEroii Revolutiei, tel. (+4) 021 636 35 71, www. bellu.ro. Founded in the 1850s, this is Bucharests most historic cemetery, the final resting place of just about every great Romanian academic, scientist, artist, writer, musician and poet you can think of, as well as the odd politician. Each has his or her own plot, usually with an accompanying monument (our favourite is that devoted to the comic actor Toma Caragiu, tragically killed in the Bucharest earthquake of 1977). You could spend half a day here wandering between the gravestones, memorials and statues (the graves are grouped by Bucharest In Your Pocket bucharest.inyourpocket.com

bucharest in two days


Day 2
Kick off Day 2 at either the Grigore Antipa Natural History Museum or the Peasant Museum. As they are more or less opposite each other, just north of Piata Victoriei metro station, you can mix and match according to where he queues are shortest (during the week there are unlikely to be any queues at all). In the afternoon, walk around Herastrau Park, before ending your Essential Bucharest tour at the wonderful Village Museum.

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Jewish Bucharest
As recently as 1937 there were over 100,000 Jews and more than 80 synagogues in Bucharest: today there are around 4,000 Jews and just three working synagogues. Yet though it may be small, the Jewish community is incredibly active in the city, and besides the synagogues has a theatre, a school and a museum. There is also now a Holocaust Memorial - built in 2009 - which has gone a long way towards finally drawing a line under Romanias involvement in the Holocaust. For a thorough account of the Holocaust in Romania, we recommend Radu Ioanids book Holocaust in Romania: The Destruction of Jews & Gypsies by the Antonescu Regime. For a slightly different look at life as a Jew in 1930s and 40s Romania, you can do no better than the brilliant Journal: The Fascist Years, by Mihai Sebastian.

1, MPiata Victoriei, tel. (+4) 021 312 88 26, fax (+4) 021 312 88 63, www.antipa.ro. One of Romanias finest museums, and one of the best natural history museums in Europe, which recently benefited from a three year, 14 million refit. Packed with terrific exhibits (including the obligatory dinosaur skeletons) which will keep kids of all ages and their parents occupied for the best part of the day, there are all sorts of hands-on, interactive displays, as well as 3D films, artificial caves and - in the basement - a thorough guide to the incredible amount of animal and plant life native to Romania. The building which houses it all is itself worthy of note, purpose built in 1908 at the behest of Grigore Antipa, a noted Romanian naturalist who then set-up and ran the museum for almost five decades until his death in 1944. QOpen 10:00 - 18:00, Sat, Sun 10:00 - 20:00. Closed Mon. Admission 20 lei, pensioners 10 lei, children/students 5 lei.

Grigore Antipa Museum of Natural History (Muzeul de Istorie Natural Grigore Antipa) B-3, os. Kiseleff

Choral Temple C-6, Str. Sf. Vineri 9-11, MPiata Unirii,


tel. (+4) 021 312 21 96. Built in 1857, the red brick temple has a memorial in front of it (visible from the street) that commemorates the Romanian Jews sent to their deaths during the Holocaust. Usually the busiest Bucharest synagogue, it is currently closed for extensive renovation.

Peasant Museum (Muzeul Taranului Roman) B-3,

os. Kiseleff 3, MPiata Victoriei, tel. (+4) 021 317 96 61, fax (+4) 021 317 96 60, info@muzeultaranuluiroman.ro, www.muzeultaranuluiroman.ro. The Peasant Museum is one of the most enjoyable in Bucharest, and one of the best in the country. Housed in a wonderful red brick building designed by Nicolae Ghica-Budeti, dating from 1912, the museum offers a range of exhibitions showing you all you need to know about the diverse and fascinating history of life around the Romanian countryside over the past four centuries. There are exhibitions covering all aspects of Romanian peasant life, from handpainted Easter eggs to terracotta pottery, from colourful religious icons to a huge range of traditional clothing. Replicas of some of what is on display can be bought in the excellent museum shop. Fittingly for the building that from 1948-89 was home to the Museum of the Communist Party and Romanian Revolutionary Workers Movement, there is a collectivisation exhibition in the basement. The Peasant Museum hosts excellent craft fairs in its courtyard at least once a month. It also puts on childrens puppet shows at weekends (usually at 10:30 and 12:00, both Saturday and Sunday) and has a terrace cafe (open all weathers thanks to lots of outdoor heaters). QOpen 10:00 - 18:00. Closed Mon. Last admission 17:00. Admission 8 lei, students and children 2 lei, pensioners 3 lei. There are audioguides available in English, French, German and Romanian from 12 lei. Entrance to the craft fairs (held every month or so in the rear courtyard) costs 6 lei.

Holocaust Memorial B-6, Str. Ion Brezoianu/Str. Ilfov, MEroilor. Unveiled in October 2009, Romanias Holocaust Memorial finally recognises the countrys role in the genocide of Europes Jews. The Romanian Holocaust and the deportation of the countrys Jews was ignored by the Communists, and was minimized by subsequent governments after the collapse of Communism. Jewish Cemetery (Cimitirul Evreiesc de Rit Sefard) C-7, Calea Serban Vod, MEroii Revolutiei.

Fascinating though harrowing cemetery, full of monuments to those who died during Romanias pogroms (of which there were many at the turn of the 19th century) and the Holocaust. As with all of the citys cemeteries and parks, beware stray dogs. Q Open from noon to dusk.

Unirii, tel. (+4) 021 311 08 70. Seperate exhibitions display how the once vibrant Jewish community of Bucharest used to live. Housed in an old synagogue built in 1850, the main display is in fact a sculpture that mourns the 350,000 Romanian Jews sent to their deaths at Auschwitz in 1944 and 1945.QOpen 09:00 - 14:00, Fri, Sun 09:00 - 13:00. Closed Sat. Admission free.

Jewish History Museum (Muzeul de Istorie a Evreilor din Romania) C-6, Str. Mmulari 3, MPiata

Herstru Park B-3, Sos. Kiseleff 32, MAviatorilor.

The most popular of Bucharests parks is centered on a lake with which it shares its name. Home to numerous attractions, including childrens playgrounds, an aquarium and some classy cafes and restaurants, you should look out for the eclectic collection of statues in the alleyways and paths which fan out from the entrance. Try and spot local artists Nicolae Grigorescu, Constantin Brancusi and Theodor Aman, as well as writers George Cosbuc, Alexandru Vlahuta and Romanias national poet, Mihai Eminescu. Foreigners honoured include William Shakespeare, Ady Endre, Sandor Petofi and

The Great Synagogue C-6, Str. Vasile Adamache 11, MPiata Unirii. Bucharests Great Synagogue was built from 1845 -1846 by the Ashkenazi Polish-Jewish community. With an impressive mixture of baroque and rococo architectural styles, the Great Synagogue remains the most important Jewish building in the country. The synagogue hosts an excellent exhibition dedicated to Romanias Jewish martyrs, and to Dr. Moses Rosen, who served as Romanias Chief Rabbi for 30 years until his death in 1994. QOpen 08:30 - 15:00, Fri, Sun 08:30 - 13:00. Closed Sat. Morning Prayers Sun-Fri 08:00, Sat 09:30, Evening Prayers Sun-Fri 19:00.
C-4, Str. Tache Ionescu 9, MPiata Romana. In a busy side street off Bulevardul Magheru is Bucharests second temple. Q Services take place when Sabbath commences on Friday evenings, as well as on Saturdays at 09:00.

Yeshoah Tova Synagogue (Sinagoga Eua Tova)

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February - March 2013

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bucharest in two days


Victor Hugo. There is even a statue of Prince Charming (Fat Frumos). Oh, and theres a memorial to Michael Jackson. Yes, really. You should also not miss the earth houses of Straja, dug in to the ground and topped with thatched roofs, or the brightly painted dwellings of the Danube Delta. The museum has a great souvenir shop, and a stall selling traditional Romanian sweets and cakes. Children love the museum, and it makes for a perfect family outing. QOpen 09:00 - 17:00. Admission 10 lei, pensioners 5 lei, students/children 2.50 lei. Audioguides available for 50 lei, guided tours in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian 300 lei: call in advance). Note that while the museum is open on Mondays, the monuments are not.

(+4) 021 317 91 10, fax (+4) 021 317 90 68, contact@ muzeul-satului.ro, www.muzeul-satului.ro. Outstanding. Founded by Royal Decree in 1936, and covering some 15 hectares on the shores of Lake Herstru, Muzeul Satului is one of the greatest outdoor museums in the Balkans. There are more than 60 original houses, farmsteads, windmills, watermills and churches from all of Romanias historic regions: Transylvania, Oltenia, Dobrogea and Moldavia. Every exhibit has a plaque showing exactly where in Romania it was brought from. Some even now have recorded commentary in four languages (if the stickers are missing, press the second button for English). Most of the houses date from the mid 19thcentury, but there are some, such as those from Berbeti, in the heart of Romania - celebrated for their intricately carved entrances - which date from as early as 1775. The highlight of the museum is probably the steep belfry of the wooden Maramure church, complete with exquisite but faded icons.

Village Museum (Muzeul Naional al Satului Dimitrie Gusti) A-2, Sos. Kiseleff 28-30, MAviatorilor, tel.

Lesser Visited Bucharest: Titan-Balta Alba


those who wanted to create modern homes for hundreds of thousands of people in a short space of time. Although the area may not appear to be anything more than block after endless monolithic block, there is if you look hard enough a couple of streets of terraced housing in Titan, on Stradas Fildesului and Doicesti, just off Strada Campia Libertatii, built in the early 1950s (vaguely) on the English model (inside, however, the houses were divided into small flats, some with collective kitchens). Designed by Tiberiu Niga who would later design the huge blocks in front of the Sala Palatului they were constructed at a time when the block had not become sacred, and the regime was experimenting with a number of different kinds of low-cost housing. The monumental Titan metro station (left) is the most spectacular on all the Bucharest system. Cavernous, and gargantuan in scale its astonishing main hall is as close as Bucharest comes to recreating the jaw-dropping experience of the showcase stations on the Moscow metro. There are other places on the system which hint at grandeur (the marble at Piata Unirii and Izvor, the galleries above Universitate) but none have the same amount of visual impact as Titan. Titan/A.I. Cuza Park, which surrounds Lake Titan, is amongst the nicest in Bucharest. Indeed, it was the first park in the city after 1989 to be properly renovated and re-landscaped: most work was done in 2008-2009. Whole terraces were built, lawns laid and there are playgrounds at every turn. There are even peacocks. Perhaps the most remarkable sight in Titan however is the Maramures-style church that stands on the edge of Titan Park, on Strada Liviu Rebreanu. The church (officially named the Biserica Pogorarea Sfantului Duh) was built from 1994-6 on the initiative of local residents, priests and architects as a reaction to the utilitarian nature of the Titan district. It was a bold statement of intent which made it clear that not just had the era of state atheism come to an end, but that the era of concrete had come to an end. too The church is now a focal point of the local community and one of the best attended in the city. On major religious holidays you cant get within 500 metres of the place. Other churches like it were originally intended to be built around the city, but never were. You can, however, see two original Maramures churches in Bucharest, one at the Peasant Museum, and one at the Village Museum (see above). Davin Ellicson davinellicson.com That an old Romanian textbook of ours contains a passage about the Titan-Balta Alba area of Bucharest, complete with the immortal words Titan-Balta Alba is a new district full of beautiful, tall, comfortable blocks has become something of a standing joke in the Bucharest IYP office. And lets be honest: Titan is not the most attractive area of the Romanian capital, and it is unlikely to feature in any mainstream guide to Bucharest anytime soon. In Y our Pocket of course is anything but a mainstream guide, and as we passed through Titan on our way to a supermarket a couple of weeks ago, we couldnt help think that the area does rather have at least a couple of points of interest that the jaded sightseer or resident might actually fancy taking a closer look at. For a start, there is the history of the area itself to consider. Titan-Balta Alba was the largest urban development ever built in Romania, dwarfing even the later Centru Civic and the Casa Poporului. Built mainly between 1960 and 1970, around a lake and huge park, Titan was designed to house over 450,000 people in modest, bland yet modern apartments. For many of those people who moved here, these new homes provided their first experience of running water, inside toilets and central heating. That by the 1980s the central heating was rarely turned on should not reflect too poorly on the vision of

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CALEA VICTORIEI

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Calea Victoriei c. 1925 No street in Bucharest has a history to match that of Calea Victoriei, the citys most famous thoroughfare which runs - much as it has for more than three centuries - from Piata Victoriei in the north of the city all the way down to Piata Natiunilor Unite and the Dambovita river. Lined with fine houses, palaces, churches, hotels, upmarket shops and museums, it remains perhaps the most prestigious address in the city. Calea Victoriei was first opened to traffic - or what passed for traffic in those days - in 1692, originally part of the route from the Old Court (Curtea Veche) to Mogosoaia, where Constantin Brancoveanu, that great ruler of these parts who did so much to modernise the country during his long and distinguished reign - had his main palace. The street has had many names over the years, including Ulita Sarindar, Drumul Brasovului and Drumul Mogosoaia - its name until 1878 when it was christened Calea Victoriei in honour of victories recently won by Romanian armies fighting to preserve the countrys newly won independence from the Ottoman Empire. The street - originally covered with logs, as was the norm in those days - was fully paved by 1825, one of the first in the city (Strada Franceza, in Old Town/Lipscani, closer to the Old Court, was in fact the first). There followed a blossoming of construction as the street became a magnet for wealthy merchants who built homes along its length, keen to be spared the ignominies of the mud streets which persisted elsewhere. Though much has changed since, and not a few majestic buildings have fallen victim to earthquake, war, socialist planning or modernisation, many of the buildings which went up along Calea Victoriei in the 19th century remain, and to walk the streets length (around three kilometres) is to at once enjoy an architectural treat and history lesson.

Orientation: modern Calea Victoriei can be split more or less neatly into two sections: the residential northern part (extending as far south as Calea Grivitei), noted mainly for its fine houses and palaces and the commercial southern part, packed with hotels, shops, banks, restaurants and cafes. To start a walk of the full length of the street at the northern end (which we recommend, as you can then end up by relaxing in one of the cafes of Old Town), simply take the metro to Piata Victoriei.

Piata Victoriei to Calea Grivitei


For all its history, Calea Victoriei does not start well. Piata Victoriei is by and large an awful place, all cars and traffic, smoke and dust. The modernist building on the far side is the Palatul din Piata Victoriei, home today of the Romanian government (though when it was built in the 1930s it was the Foreign Ministry). On the other side of the square is the Grigore Antipa Museum of Natural History, built in 1906 and one of the best museums in the country. Elsewhere, Piata Victoriei is a socialist nightmare, with its more recently built office blocks barely more attractive than those built before 1989. Heading off from here along Calea Victoriei itself, you need to walk for 200 metres or so alongside tall, communist-era blocks on either side until you get to the first of many neglected architectural gems, the huge Banloc-Goodrich building at No. 218. Designed by Octav Doicescu in 1938 it was completed only in 1946, and is elegantly functional, the bulk of the building being set back from the street, creating a small square flanked by the buildings twin wings. Banloc-Goodrich was the first tyre-manufacturer in Romania, nationalised in 1948. The building, now owned by the state, has been vacant for some time. It is also known as the Red Building,

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February - March 2013

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CALEA VICTORIEI
Victoriei, built around 1820 in an eclectic style incorporating many of the architectural trends of the time. For years it was regarded as the most beautiful house in the city, and belonged initially to Filip Lens, a lawyer and politician. On his death in 1852 the house became a residence for military officers, the Ministry of War moving in shortly afterwards. Another politician, Gheorghe Vernescu, bought it from the state in 1886, and had it extensivley remodelled over a two-year period from 1887-9. It was at this time that the majority of the stunning interior frescoes were added. Until recently the building housed a casino and a restaurant, but has alas stood empty for a while now. The Casa Vernescu is almost eclipsed by the equally grand house opposite, the Palatul Ghica-Gradisteanu. Built first in the 1850s before being completely remodelled in 1898, it currently hosts the Romanian-Chinese Cultural Centre. Those visitors to (and residents of) Bucharest who speed along in Calea Victoriei in cars - pausing only to watch the traffic lights turning green - often fail to realise that the street is blessed with a number of small parks. The Nicolae Iorga Park is just one of these. A gorgeous little place, the park is home to two large busts: one of Nicolae Iorga (a 19th century politician and polymath), and one of Nichita Stanescu, Romanias finest 20th century poet. The large, handsome church overlooking the park is the St. Nicolae Tabacu church, first built in 184. Opposite (and built at a right angle to the street) is the imposing Library of the Romanian Academy, a Duiliu Marcu design (Marcu was also the architect behind the Palatul din Piata Victoriei ) constructed from 1936-7. More than four million books are kept inside. The house on the south-western corner of the Calea Victoriei/Bulvardul Dacia intersection (opposite the new-ish Golden Tulip hotel), hidden behind advertising hoardings and trees is the once fabulous Casa Monteoru. One of the oldest on Calea Victoriei it dates from around 1810, although it was almost entirely reconstructed in the 1880s (to designs by Ion Mincu - an architect whose name you come across a lot in Bucharest). The building is distinguished by its uneven character: the ground floor is much smaller than the upper floor, the gorgeous balcony of which is supported by two broad, Corinthian columns. Eclectic both inside and out the building is today one of a number in the city owned by the Romanian Writers Union. Next door is a fine palace, known as the Palat Romanit which hosts the Museum of Art Collections. The central corp was built in 1834, then rebuilt and extended in 1883, when the wings were added. For much of the 19th century the building was home to the Ministry of Finance, becoming an art museum in 1948, when the wealthiest families in Romania were made an offer they couldnt refuse by the communist government, and forced to donate much (in many cases all) of their extensive art collections to the state. Speaking of the state, the elegant, modernist if rather neglected (spotting a theme?) linear building opposite, at No. 152, is another Duiliu Marcu design, built from 1936-40 and which was from 1948-1989 home of the State Planning Committee (in other words, the building where bureaucrats tried to ensure that every collective farm in Romania had enough paper clips). Looking every inch a 1930s Italian railway station, the clock on the sublime tower is a gem. It is to be hoped that the building will soon be restored to past glories: it is one of the most overlooked and ignored in the city. This is a real shame.

Calea Victoriei in 1937 apparently because in its early years the exterior was painted red. Opposite, on the corner of Strada Sevastopol, is another neglected gem, a vaguely Secessionist house whose original wrought-iron balconies remain intact. Look out too for the sculptures over the windows. Walking past two lovely little eateries: Faju and El Bistro, the brand new Victoria Center faces another rather lovely building with Secessionist features, on the corner with Strada Frumoasa. The building would be the highlight of many streets in Romania, but not Calea Victoriei. For next door is the Palatul Cantacuzino at No. 141, usually referred to (mistakenly) as the Casa Enescu. The building does house the Romanian Museum of Music (which carries the name of George Enescu, the countrys finest composer) but - contrary to popular belief, Enescu never actually lived here. There is a connection, however. The vaguely baroque, Louis XVI-style building dates from 1898, when it was built for the wealthy politician Gheorghe Cantacuzino. On his death in 1913 the palace became the property of Cantacuzinos eldest son Mihai, who in turn left it to his wife, Maruca, when he died in 1929. Maruca subsequently married Enescu - in 1939 - but they chose to live in a smaller house at the rear of the palace. The building became the George Enescu Museum of Music in 1956, a year after the composers death. In a well-kept courtyard opposite is the Church of St. Vasile the Great, rebuilt in 1848 after the 18th century original was destroyed in an earthquake. Its lovely gate is bettered by the churchs neoclassical portal, above which an eye keeps watch for sinners. Its worth popping inside to take a look at the murals painted by Anton Serafim in the 1880s. The church is better lit than many in the city. Next door is the Casa Dissescu, built for Constantin Dissescu - a lawyer and for a short time the Minister of Justice - in 1910. It is today home to the Romanian Institute of the History of Art. It has a rather nice raised loggia, but the street has over the years encroached to be almost directly underneath. Crossing Strada Gheorghe Manu and ignoring the building site on the right hand side of the road, you will come across two gorgeous houses next to each other: the Neo-Classical yet very French Casa Nenciu, was built in the 1830s for a Wallachian princess, the exotically named Cleopatra Trubetkoi. In 1847 Franz Liszt stayed here while on an extended visit to the Bucharest. Next door at No. 192, and set back slightly from the street, is the Casa Manu, completed in 1843 for the modernising administrator Alecu Florescu, but named for the man who bought it in 1848: the legendary general Gheorghe Manu. The Casa Lens-Vernescu at No. 133 (to give the mansion its full name) is one of the finest on Calea

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CALEA VICTORIEI
Commercial Calea Victoriei
It is at the crossroads with Calea Grivitei that you notice a real change in the mood of Calea Victoriei. The road and pavements narrow, and houses, palaces and small parks give way to blocks - many of which are nevertheless elegant if run down - most of which are now used as offices, with shops on the ground floor. But there are exceptions, such as the Stirbey Palace at No. 107, which dates from 1835, but which is rather hemmed in by the 1960s apartment blocks which surround it, and its facade is spoilt by the impromptu car park directly in front. For decades a museum of arts and crafts, the building is currently in limbo. Past the courtyard that leads to the legendary jazz club Green Hours, next to which is a later 19th century low rise house that looks very out of place in such high-rise company is the extravagant, deliberately over-engineered neo-Romanian AGIR building at No. 118. Designed by Petre Antonescu and completed in 1925 its facade apparently pays tribute to the engineering genius of Roman aqueducts. The AGIR was the pre-war association of Romanian engineers, and the building was very much seen as a look what we can do calling card. The next building of real interest will for most people be the little white church set back from the street in a small square on the corner of Str. George Enescu. Known colloquially as the Biserica Alba (White Church), it is offically the Biserica Sf. Nicolae and is one of the oldest in Bucharest, being founded in 1700. The current structure dates from 1827 however (the original was destroyed in an earthquake), with the interior frescoes for which it is famed having been restored a number of times, most recently in 1988. After the last major earthquake in Bucharest (in 1977) the foundations of the church were consolidated, and it is now considered one of the safest in the city. The glass and steel opposite belong to the Radisson Blu hotel, opened in 2008 after a refit of several years had turned the tired, old and often infamous Hotel Bucuresti into the five-star wonder the rich and famous throng to today. The hotels interior courtyard is home - in the right weather - to one of the few outdoor swimming pools in the city. (The original Hotel Bucuresti was built from 1982-4). In what is very much Bucharests Hotel Row, directly across the road from the Radisson is the Athenee Palace Hilton, one of few hotels in the world whose history is so intriguing that books have been written about it (Rosie Waldecks Athenee Palace details the intricate diplomatic discussions - official or otherwise - which took place here in the 1930s and 1940s). The hotel opened in 1912 (it was designed by a Frenchman, Teophile Bradeau) and was built on the site of an old inn, the Hanul Gherasi. The Calea Victoriei wing was added in the 1960s, and the hotel was entirely renovated again in 1997 when it became a Hilton property. Most recently the ground floor brasserie was remodelled and reopened as the Cafe Athenee. Despite all the changes, the Athenee Palaces historic English Bar remains wonderfully old fashioned and has barely changed in decades. The Athenee Palace vies for attention on Piata Revolutiei with the Atheneum, the Former Royal Palace, the University Library, the statue of Carol I, the Former Central Committee Building, the Revolution Monument and the Cretulescu Church. (In fact, there are two squares here: the area as far as the Carol I statue is Piata George Enescu, with Piata Revolutiei only kicking in beyond that. Most people refer to the whole open space as Piata Revolutiei, however). Most of those buildings are covered elsewhere in this guide (see Buildings With a History, page 66), but there are a couple we should point out for you.

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Shopping on Calea Victoriei


Anthony Frost English Bookshop B-4, Calea Victoriei 45, tel. (+4) 021 311 51 38, www.anthonyfrost.ro.QOpen 10:00 - 20:00, Sat 10:00 - 19:00, Sun 10:00 - 14:00. Cellini C-5, Calea Victoriei 102-108, tel. (+4) 031 432 90 41, www.cellini.ro.QOpen 10:00 - 20:00, Sat 10:00 - 18:00. Closed Sun. Also at B-dul Nicolae Balcescu 16, tel (+4) 021 312 22 02, Plaza Romania and many other locations. Emporio Armani C-5, Calea Victoriei 60-64, tel. (+4) 021 310 81 31/(+4) 0721 23 30 47, www. emporioarmani.com. QOpen 10:00 - 20:00, Sat 10:00 - 17:00. Closed Sun. P Ermenegildo Zegna B-4, Calea Victoriei 63-81, tel. (+4) 021 316 89 75, www.zegna.com. Q Open 10:00 - 20:00, Sat 10:00 - 17:00, Sun closed. Frey Wille C-5, Calea Victoriei 118, tel. (+4) 031 620 13 54, www.frey-wille.com. Q Open 10:00 20:00, Sat 10:00 - 18:00. Closed Sun. Also at Soseaua Bucuresti-Ploiesti 42D (Baneasa Shopping City), tel (+4) 031 432 69 44. L Gerard Darel B-4, Calea Victoriei 118, tel. (+4) 0316 20 53 93, www.gerarddarel.com. Q Open 10:00 - 20:00, Sat 10:00 - 19:00. Closed Sun. Gucci C-5, Str. Episcopiei 1-3, tel. (+4) 0734 45 05 50, www.gucci.com. QOpen 10:00 - 21:00, Sat, Sun 11:00 - 18:00. P Helvetansa B-4, Calea Victoriei 68-70, tel. (+4) 031 226 22 02, www.helvetansa.ro. Swiss-made watches that you buy once in a lifetime. QOpen 10:00 - 20:00, Sat 11:00 - 16:00. Closed Sun. Also at (B-4) Calea Victoriei 88, tel. (+4) 021 310 38 00. Hugo Boss B-4, Calea Victoriei 145, tel. (+4) 021 311 88 97, www.hugoboss.com. Open 10:00 - 20:00, Closed Sun. Humanitas Kretzulescu B-4, Calea Victoriei 45, tel. (+4) 021 313 50 35, www.libhumanitas. ro. Q Open 10:00 - 20:00, Sat 10:00 - 19:00, Sun 10:00 - 16:00. Max Mara C-5, Calea Victoriei 63-81, tel. (+4) 021 316 89 77, www.maxmara.com. Q Open 10:00 20:00, Sat 10:00 - 17:00, Closed Sun. Mengotti C-5, Calea Victoriei 48-50, tel. (+4) 021 305 59 57, www.mengotti.ro. QOpen 10:00 - 21:00, Sat 10:00 - 20:00. Closed Sun. Micri Gold C-5, Calea Victoriei 56, tel. (+4) 021 312 00 57, www.micrigold.ro.QOpen 10:30 - 19:00, Sat 11:00 - 15:00. Closed Sun. Romartizana B-4, Calea Victoriei 16-20, tel. (+4) 021 313 14 65, romartizana@digicom.ro, www. romartizana.com.ro. Good place to buy some traditional souvenirs at slightly exorbitant prices. QOpen 10:00 20:00, Sat 09:00 - 13:00. Closed Sun. Also at P-ta Montreal 10 (World Trade Plaza) tel. (+4) 021 319 12 16. Sepala by Mihaela Glavan C-5, Str. Benjamin Franklin 9, tel. (+4) 0722 52 52 72, (+4) 0730 09 73 23, contact@sepala.ro, www.sepala.ro. Shoes are high quality, hand made, unique, with hand-painted and embroidered satin uppers designed to fit the personality of the customer by Romanias leading shoe designer, Mihaela Glavan. QOpen 11:00 - 19:00, Sat 10:00 - 17:00. Closed Sun. February - March 2013

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CALEA VICTORIEI
Carol I: The First King of Romania
Few visitors to Bucharest will leave without seeing the enormous horseback statue of Carol I - the first king of modern Romania - which appeared in front of the University Library in (B/C-5) Piata Revolutiei at the end of 2010. Looking directly at the former Royal Palace (now the National Art Museum), the statue is one of the largest in the city and unquestionably the most prominently positioned. But who was this Carol chap? Born Karl Eitel Friedrich Zephyrinus Ludwig of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen in Sigmaringen in southern Germany in 1839, Karl was an officer in the Prussian army until being invited by Romanian politician Ion Brtianu in 1866 to become the nascent countrys king. Romanias own royal, the authoritarian Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza, had been exiled after falling out with the countrys politicians and most powerful families earlier in 1866. Scouring Europe for a suitable (non-Romanian) replacement, Brtianu sought the advice of Napoleon III, a relative by marriage of the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen family. It was - allegedly - on Napoleon IIIs recommendation that the young Karl was approached. Though reluctant, Karl was encouraged by his family to accept the offer, and Bratianu returned to Romania to make preparations. Karls trip to Romania the next month was as bizarre as his somewhat random selection as the countrys king. Due to ongoing conflict between Prussia and the Austrian Empire, Karl travelled incognito by railroad from Dsseldorf to Budapest, under the name of Karl Hettingen. From Budapest he travelled by carriage, as there was no railroad to Romania. As he walked across the border onto Romanian soil, he was met by Brtianu, who bowed before him and asked Karl to join him in a carriage. On 10 May 1866, Karl entered Bucharest. The news of his arrival had been transmitted through telegraph and he was welcomed by a huge crowd eager to see the new ruler. In Bneasa he was given the key to the city. That day, rain fell, ending a long period of drought a favourable sign. As he was crowned, Karl swore to guard the laws of Romania, to maintain its rights and the integrity of its territory. Not yet able to speak Romanian, he took the oath in French, but adopted the Romanian version of his name, Carol. In his 48 years on the throne, Carol can be considered to have done rather well. He greatly assisted the cause of Romanian independence from the Ottoman Empire - which came in 1878 - raised the countrys prestige (not least at the 1906 Grand Exhibition, held in the Bucharest park which now carries his name), and - in the main - allowed politicians to run the economy without interference. He never forgot he was German, however, and his pet project, the Peles Castle, Sinaia, was quite deliberately built in German style, as a reminder of the kings origin. Carols German roots also caused much tension at the outbreak of World War I: his subjects were by and large sympathetic to the French. As a result, Romania kept out of the war until Carol died, in 1916.

Bucharests first skyscraper: The Telephone Palace First off, the University Library. It was designed by the French architect Paul Gottereau and built from 1891-95. Badly damaged during the revolution of 1989, it was faithfully restored from 1993-96 and is now one of the citys finest buildings. Take a look also at the building just behind it: a modern green office block inside the ruins of an old house first built in 1890. What happened here is simple: the original building was all but destroyed during the 1989 revolution (this square saw most of the action: it was from the balcony of the Former Central Committee Building that Nicolae Ceausescu gave his last public speech, before fleeing the next day from the roof in a helicopter). It was taken over by the Architects Union who then created the rather splendid mix of old and new we admire today. There is a cafe on the ground floor. The Revolution Monument is a less impressive affair, mocked by locals who call it an olive on a stick. It seems a most unworthy memorial for those who died here in 1989. Shops of the classy and expensive kind occupy the ground floor of the buildings that line Calea Victoriei as it closes in again, at least as far as the two hotels - historic both for differing reasons - that greet you at the crossroads with Ion Campaneanu. Before moving on to the hotels, take a look to your left at the Union Building on the corner of Str. Academiei and Str. Ion Campaneanu: it is an art deco masterpiece built in 1928-9 whose central facade looks much like a rocket about to blast off. It was renovated in 1999. A more recent renovation is the Grand Continental Hotel, reopened in 2009 after being almost totally rebuilt. Opposite is the Novotel, whose faux Neo-Classical entrance is an exact replica of that of Bucharests original National Theatre, which stood here from 1852 until it was destroyed in an allied bombing raid in August 1944 (just days before Romania changed sides in World War II). Next to the Novotel is one of Calea Victorieis most instantly recognisable landmarks, the art deco Palatul Telefoanelor (Telephone Palace). Built over three years from 1929-32 to serve as the headquarters of Romanias

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CALEA VICTORIEI
national telephone company (which it remained until the early 1990s) it was the first building in the country to be constructed in the manner of an American skyscraper: concrete reinforced by a steel frame. Just over 53 metres high, until the Inter Continental was built in the early 1970s it was the tallest building in Bucharest. There are three other hotels on this part of the street: the Majestic, the Capitol and the Casa Capsa - the latter being one of the oldest in the city, dating back to 1886. The cafe on the ground floor was for decades - especially in the 1920s and 1930s - the unofficial home of Romanias best writers, who would wile away their days here. The name refers to the founder of the hotel, Grigore Capsa, who was said to be able to spot a decent writer a mile away: writers (a superstitious bunch at the best of times) came to his cafe to seek his approval. While the Pasajul Villacrosse further along the street is the most famous of Bucharests 19th century arcades, it is certainly not the only one. Opposite the Telephone Palace is the Pasajul Victoriei, which, while not as architecturally pleasing as Villacrosse, has perhaps an even richer history: built in the 1830s it was home for a long time to the citys biggest (and most luxurious) brothel. King Carol II was allegedly a regular client. The brothel was closed in 1947, but the goings-on inside (and in the pasaj in general) are immortalised in Ion Matei Caragiales Craii de Curtea Veche, a novel published in 1929 for which life the pasaj provided much inspiration. An even narrower pasaj, the Pasajul Comedie, can be found on the left hand side of the Odeon Theatre (opened in 1911). A statue of the great Turkish leader Kemal Ataturk stands in front of the theatre. The Cercul Militar was completed in 1912, on the site of a former monastery, the Sarindar. A recently renovated fountain in front of the building preserves the Sarindar name. Opposite is one of the more striking blocks built during the early communist period: the Romarta Block (completed in 1960), complete with a covered walkway on three sides. When In Your Pocket first came to Romania in 1999, our office was on the 5th floor. Across the busy road junction is the Hotel Bulevard, built in the 1860s and the first in the city to have running water in all of its rooms. It closed in 2005 ahead of a five-star refit which looks to finally now be nearing completion. On the opposite corner, find the little courtyard (next to the take-away section of Pizza Hut) which leads through to one of Bucharests many hidden churches (Romanias communist authorities had a habit of building tall apartment blocks around churches to hide them from public view). Dating from 1683 the churchs name is a mouthful: the Biserica Intrarea Maicii Domnului n Biseric (the Church of the Entrance of the Mother of God into Church). The recently restored frescoes are worth popping inside to see. The block above Pizza Hut is known as the Delta Dunarii (Danube Delta) block. Until the early 1990s a famous fish restaurant of the same name occupied the ground floor. From here Calea Victoriei heads gently downhill towards the river. You will see the rather yellowy-orange facade of the Bucharest Police Headquarters, next to which is the Magazinul Victoria, built in 1928, and originally known as the Galeries Lafayette. It was the first department store to open in Romania. Lurking across the road is the Bancorex building (now called the Bucharest Financial Plaza): the first modern office block to be built after 1990. Bancorex - a bank set up to absorb and disperse foreign loans and investment in the early 1990s went bust in 1999, and the banks name has since become a byword for post-communist corruption. Opposite on the corner of Strada Lipscani is the 19th century Palatul Dacia (built for the long defunct Dacia insurance company). Next to that is the Zlatari Church,

27

CEC, with the Bancorex building behind it built in the 1850s and most notable for the interior frescoes, painted by Gheorghe Tattarescu. Just past the church is the National History Museum (see page 69) while the Old Town/Lipscani (see page 81) area lurks behind the History Museum. Opposite is the amazing CEC building (see Buildings With a History, page 66) one of the citys finest, with the elegant and recently renovated Casa Prager two buildings along. First constructed in 1770 for the Vacarescu family it carries the name of Sigmund Prager, who bought it in 1887. A wealthy merchant he opened a shop selling furs on the ground floor. It is of all things today the headquarters of the Romanian national lottery. At the very bottom of Calea Victoriei, facing the river, are the Gloriette Buildings, neither of which is in the best of shape. Designed by local architect Petru Antonescu and completed in 1926, they are worth noting for the sinister reason that their design (particularly the belvedere at the top) was used a blueprint for the apartment buildings which went up in the Civic Centre along Bulevardul Unirii in the 1980s (and which, it should be said, have weathered no better). On the other side of the river next to the Palatul Justitiei (again, see Buildings With a History), the high rise Gioconda Block was completed in 1950 and was considered a wonder of the new utopian age Romania was about to enter. Where did it all go wrong?

The House at C.A. Rosetti 8


C. A. Rosetti 8 (Theodor Aman Museum) C-5, Str. C. A. Rosetti 8, www.museum.ici.ro/mbucur/ romanian/theodoraman.htm. One of the most remarkable houses in Bucharest is the little place at Strada C.A. Rosetti 8 (C. A. Rosetti is the street which links Piata Revolutiei with Bulevardul Magheru). Built in 1869 by the painter Theodor Aman as a home with studio, the house became a museum dedicated to Aman in 1908, remaining open until 2010, when it was closed for renovation. It remains, alas, closed. That should not stop you from admiring the exterior, however, which is stunning. Designed by Aman himself (he also did the frescoes on the ceilings inside) it incorporates bas-reliefs and statues, arches and porticos in a linear yet never rudimentary fashion. That it has been closed for so long is real shame, as having visited some years ago now, we can confirm that the interior is even more stunning. February - March 2013

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Where to stay
Cream of the Crop
021 303 37 77, fax (+4) 021 315 21 21, reservations. bucharest@hilton.com, www.hiltonbucharest.com. Much spoken of in the past tense (this place has a seriously long and legendary history; a home of intrigues and adventure for more than a century) it is less often referred to in the present. This is a shame, as to dwell on the past ignores the fact that this is a great, modern hotel. Luxuriously furnished, the immense rooms offer the latest in gadgetry and perhaps the fluffiest bathrobes in Romania. Ask for a room with a view over Piata Revolutiei for best effect. Fine dining on site courtesy of one excellent restaurant and the brilliant Cafe Athenee. Q 272 rooms. Prices from 975-5475 lei. Prices include breakfast, but not local taxes and VAT (9%). POTHR6UFLGKDCW

Athenee Palace Hilton C-5, Str. Episcopiei 1-3, tel. (+4)

Symbol Key
P Air conditioning O Casino T Child friendly R Internet (Standard) F Fitness centre K Restaurant C Swimming pool A Credit cards accepted H Conference facilities U Disabled facilities L Guarded parking G Non-smoking rooms D Sauna W WiFi Internet

M Nearest metro station J Old Town location

Carol Parc Aleea Suter 23-25, tel. (+4) 021 336 33 77, fax (+4) 021 336 37 36, info@carolparchotel.ro, www. carolparchotel.ro. Luxurious, certainly, but offering something a bit different to the bigger players, the Carol Park is coquette and secluded: you have to know about this place, as you do not find it by chance. A gorgeous place where the finest things are offered to all who pass through its doors, expect only fine, classic furnishings and very personal service. International stars who value discretion above all else tend to stay here when visiting Bucharest. Q 17 rooms. Prices from 120515. Prices include breakfast. VAT and taxes not included. PHRLGKW Crowne Plaza Bucharest A-1, B-dul Poligrafiei 1, tel. (+4) 021 224 00 34, fax (+4) 021 318 13 02, reservations@crowneplaza.ro, www.crowneplaza.com/ bucharest. Contemporary and welcoming, the Crowne Plaza Bucharest offers all the reassuring global standards you would expect of the brand, from first class accommodation to world class facilities. With a renowned reputation for individual and friendly service, the hotel can also offer the greenest setting in the capital, surrounded as it is by beautifully maintained grounds. Can also boast a large swimming pool, big, comfortable rooms (and bathrooms to match) and some outstanding drinking and dining options. Q 164 rooms. Prices from 6902100 lei . Extra bed 120 lei. Prices include Buffet Breakfast. VAT not included. PTHRUFGKDCW Epoque B-5, Str. Intrarea Aurora 17C, tel. (+4) 021 312
32 32, fax (+4) 021 300 57 23, info@epoque.ro, www. hotelepoque.ro. Now heres a hotel we have no problem in recommending. Opened during the Autumn of 2010 the Epoque has a number of things going for it, not least its location on the edge of Cismigiu Park: close enough to the heart of the city yet at the same time offering the impression of a retreat. Rooms are large and tastefully furnished, there are plenty of extras (not least a plunge pool), breakfast is good and for what you get, the prices are a steal. Q 44 rooms. Prices from 160410. Extra bed on request in the apartment. Prices include local taxes. Breakfast and VAT not included. PTHRUi FLGKDCW

rooms. Prices from 280-800. Breakfast, VAT and local taxes included. PTHR6UFLGKDW

Howard Johnson Grand Plaza Bucharest Hotel B-3, Calea Dorobantilor 5-7, MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 021 201 50 00, fax (+4) 021 201 18 88, sales@hojoplaza.ro, www.hojoplaza.ro. This is a high-rise hotel in the busy centre of Bucharest, where the sleek, modern exterior is matched by the interiors, all of which carry the signatures of top-name designers. The breakfast is perhaps the best in the city, coming as it does with champagne (for those who enjoy such things in the morning), and the dining opportunities in general are excellent: there is a wonderful Japanese restaurant, Benihana, on site. To really get the best out of this place though, ask for a room on one of the upper floors, for the views over the city. Q 285 rooms. Prices from 135-385. Prices do not include breakfast, VAT or taxes. POTHR6UFLGKDW
MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 310 20 20, fax (+4) 021 312 04 86, reservations@interconti.ro, www.intercontinental.com/bucharest. Still the tallest hotel in Bucharest (complete with a small swimming pool and - during the summer, sun terrace - on the top floor) the InterContinental was the first major five star hotel to open in Romania, at the beginning of the 1970s. Today it is one of many but remains something of a first choice for journalists and business people, many of whom have been loyal guests for decades. The rooms here all boast big balconies with great views of the city, there is first class dining in the building, and the management is commendably hands-on. The new Club Lounge on the 21st floor is the best in the city, offering great views of Bucharest, cocktails, meeting rooms, internet, a library and an all round exclusive atmosphere. Non-guests can use the Club Lounge for 35 per day. Its open 06:30-22:30. Q 257 rooms. Prices from 115-295. Prices include breakfast, but not local taxes (9%). POTHR6FLGKDCW 13 Septembrie 90, tel. (+4) 021 403 00 00, fax (+4) 021 403 00 01, jwbucharest@marriott.com, JWMarriottBucharest.com. To the south of Casa Poporului the JW Marriott occupies something of a palatial building that at first glance probably makes it the most immediately impressive of Bucharests big five star hotels. The scale of the place, and its cavernous interiors, betray the fact that it was built as part of the same grand plan as the Casa Poporului itself. Yet the rooms are homely and well-furnished, providing a welcome contrast to the building. Plenty of good dining options, and home to the biggest swimming pool in the city (we think).Q 401 rooms. Prices from 445-5000 lei. Extra bed on request in the apartment. Prices do not include breakfast and VAT. POTHR6UFLGKDCW

InterContinental C-5, B-dul Nicolae Blcescu 2-4,

JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel B-6, Calea

Grand Hotel Continental C-5, Calea Victoriei 56, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0372 01 03 00, fax (+4) 0372 01 03 01, info@grandhotelcontinental.ro, www.grandhotelcontinental.ro. Making the very best of a wonderful building (which dates from 1886) on chic Calea Victoriei, todays Grand Hotel Continental is the result of more than two years of loving renovation and restoration. Theres marble at every turn, though do not think that modern touches are missing, for they are not. The audio-visual systems in the rooms for example are state of the art. For the great location and for a change from the big chains, its well worth trying out. Q 59 Bucharest In Your Pocket

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Where to stay
Novotel Bucharest City Centre B-4, Calea Victoriei 37B, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 308 85 00, fax (+4) 021 308 85 01, H5558@accor.com, www.novotel.com. Few locations are better than this, right on fashionable Calea Victoriei. The entrance is impressive: a replica of the old neoclassical National Theatre which stood on this exact site until the British bombed it to next week during the Second World War. Shiny and new the main part of the hotel is wonderful: rooms are big, with bathrooms particularly impressive. Excellent, lively lobby bar and a big indoor swimming pool are other added benefits of staying here. Q 258 rooms. Prices from 65 -200. Extra bed on request in the apartment. Prices do not include breakfast, VAT or taxes. POTHR6Ui FLGKDCW Pullman Bucharest World Trade Center A-1, P-ta Montreal 10, tel. (+4) 021 318 30 00, fax (+4) 021 316 25 50, pullman@pullman.ro, www.pullmanhotels.com. The spacious, luxurious rooms are the main attraction at this high rise in the north of the city, where the bathrooms boast perhaps the deepest bathtubs in the city. There are separate showers, and all in all we think that the square-meterage-pereuro ratio is higher here than anywhere else in Bucharest. A good on-site steak house keeps you well fed, and though there is no pool there is a good fitness centre with sauna and massage available. Q 203 rooms. Prices from 205-800. Extra bed 20. Prices do not include VAT, local taxes and breakfast. PTHR6UFLGKDW Radisson Blu B-4, Calea Victoriei 63-81, tel. (+4) 021
311 90 00, www.radissonblu.com/hotel-bucharest. A gleaming temple of steel and glass amongst the more classical buildings of Calea Victoriei, the Radisson excels in playing the role of futuristic Bucharest hotel of choice. As you walk in the glass bar strikes you as daring and modern, and the rooms themselves are equally avant garde in design. Bathrooms offer both tubs and showers, and there is both an indoor and outdoor pool, so you can swim whatever the weather. Excellent restaurants, especially the sublime Prime Steaks and Seafood. Q 718 rooms. Prices from 500-8500 lei. Prices include breakfast (except single, double and extra bed rates). PJHRUFLGKDCW

Over 150
Cismigiu C-5, B-dul Regina Elisabeta 38, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 031 403 05 00, fax (+4) 031 403 05 10, www. hotelcismigiu.ro. One of the most famous hotels in Bucharest *there is even a song about the place: Hotel Cismigiu, by Vama Veche) reopens its doors after being closed for almost two decades. In a fantastic location right in the heart of the city, millions have been spent making the hotel look better than at any time in its century-old history. The contemporary rooms - all of which are in fact suites - are enormous, many even boasting kitchens. Theres a fitness centre, wifi throughout, a great breakfast is included and there is even onsite parking. Worth every penny. Q 60 rooms. Prices from 210-270. Extra bed 30. Prices include breakfast, VAT and local taxes. PTHRUFLGKW Duke C-4, B-dul Dacia 33, MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 021 317 41 86/(+4) 021 317 41 87, fax (+4) 021 317 41 89, www.hotelduke.ro. Now this place is central. A proverbial stones throw from Piata Romana, this modern hotel is squeezed in to a tight spot between two classic Bucharest buildings of the past. Rooms are well-sized, bathrooms have tubs and showers, and theres free and fast Wifi throughout. Beds get high marks for their excellent mattresses. Q 37 rooms. Prices from 75-145. Extra bed 20. Prices include VAT and breakfast. PRGKW

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Where to stay

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K+K Elisabeta C-5, Str. Slanic 26, MUniversitate, tel. (+4)

021 302 92 80, www.kkhotels.com. We loved this place for a number of reasons, not least the fact that the huge breakfast buffet stays open until 11:00, meaning late starters can still get breakfast. The hotel is located in a huge, renovated period house just behind Piata Universitatii. The discretion of the location betrays the fact that this is the kind of place you come to if you like old fashioned luxury, good service, and possess exceptional taste. Q 67 rooms. Prices from 100-160. Prices include VAT, local taxes and breakfast. PTHRFGKDW

Ramada Bucharest Parc A-1, B-dul Poligrafiei 3-5, tel. (+4) 021 549 20 00, fax (+4) 021 319 87 82, www.ramadabucharestparc.ro. The Hotel Parc has been around a while, but only came under the Ramada banner a short while ago. A high-rise in a leafy suburb (close to Romexpo and Herastrau Park - hence the name) it boasts nice rooms which - while not big - are comfortable and boast brightly coloured dcor and gorgeous, soft cotton sheets on the beds. Great buffet breakfast included in the price. Q 267 rooms. Prices from 139-210. Prices include breakfast. PHRGKW
Daniel Danielopolu 44A, tel. (+4) 021 233 50 00, fax (+4) 021 233 50 01, www.ramadanorth.ro. Well named, for it is indeed in the north of the city. It has great rooms - amongst the biggest, on average, in Bucharest - and the bathrooms are tremendous: all have bathtubs. The hotel boasts a good spa centre (with excellent Turkish bath), big fitness room with loads of equipment and has a good lobby bar. The on-site dining is decent too. Q 232 rooms. Prices from 75-99. Extra bed 10. Prices include all taxes, VAT and breakfast. PTHR6Ui FLGKDCW sitate, tel. (+4) 021 310 27 72, www.ramadamajestic. ro. Standing (dare we say it) majestically on Calea Victoriei, the Majestic has long been one of Bucharests best hotels. It offers very big rooms with glorious bathrooms, a great breakfast and - a real bonus - a swimming pool (albeit a rather small one). In a city in which even some of the five star hotels lack pools, the Majestics makes it well worth that little bit extra cash. Q 111 rooms. Prices from 240-1200. Prices include all taxes, VAT and breakfast. PTHRUFLGKDCW

NH Bucharest D-6, B-dul Mircea Voda 21, tel. (+4) 021 300 05 45, fax (+4) 021 317 91 54, nhbucharest@nhhotels.com, www.nh-hotels.com. Not located in the most attractive area of the city, the NH makes up for that by offering a modern, contemporary hotel experience for a fair amount of money: you can usually stay here for far less than the rack rates. Expect well sized rooms with plenty of extras and a very good on site restaurant. Good place to stay with children and babies: the staff make a point of making them feel welcome. Q 76 rooms (150). Prices include VAT. Breakfast not included. PTHRUFLGKW Parliament A-6, Str. Izvor 106, tel. (+4) 021 411 99 90, fax (+4) 021 411 99 91, www.parliament-hotel.ro. So named because it is located behind Romanias parliament building, Casa Poporului, which you can see from almost all of the rooms. This hotel has been around for a decade now and offers a four/five star experience: many of the rooms have jacuzzis in their bathrooms and are packed with luxuries such as the huge, high double beds, which are among the best weve come across in Bucharest. Q 56 rooms. Prices from 100-170. Extra bed 20. Prices include VAT and breakfast. PHRUGKW bucharest.inyourpocket.com

Ramada Hotel & Suites Bucharest North C-6, Str.

Ramada Majestic B-4, Calea Victoriei 38-40, MUniver-

February - March 2013

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Where to stay

Ramada Plaza Bucharest B-dul Poligrafiei 3-5, tel. (+4) 021 549 30 00, fax (+4) 021 319 87 82, reservations@ ramadaplazabucharest.ro, www.ramadaplazabucharest. ro. Slightly more upmarket than its sister establishment across the road, what you get here is a slightly bigger room than at the Parc, and much bigger bathrooms. The design of the place is nicely futuristic, and we loved the beds which we think are amongst the best in Bucharest. Free Wifi is a bonus, there is a good lobby bar and a decent on site bistro. Good value for the money. Q 298 rooms. Prices from 159-270. Prices include breakfast. PHRUFGKW Scala Bucuresti C-5, Str. C. A. Rosetti 19, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 031 104 11 11/(+4) 031 104 11 13, fax (+4) 031 814 61 48, www.hotelscalabucuresti.ro. As central as they come, this gorgeous conversion of a glorious ancien regime Bucharest house is as fine a place to stay as now exists in the Romanian capital. You will love the grand, classically furnished rooms, which come complete with high ceilings and restored, original wooden flooring. The loft suite, complete with skylights, is a special treat if you can splash the extra cash. Q 11 rooms. Prices from 159-259. Extra bed upon request. Prices include VAT, all taxes and breakfast. PTHRLGKW Z Executive Boutique Hotel C-5, Str. Ion Nistor 4, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 031 140 02 00, www.zhotels. ro. You want central? Well this place is central. In a building on a street hidden a little behind the Sutu Palace this is a great place from which to enjoy the delights of Old Town and indeed the whole of central Bucharest. Rooms are big and modern, tastefully furnished and come with comfortable beds and good bathrooms. Plenty of little luxuries, not least full, free Wifi throughout. The breakfast room is great, and theres an on site bistro with great views of the busy streets outside. Q 21 Bucharest In Your Pocket

rooms. Prices from 99-129. Extra bed 20. Prices include all taxes, VAT and breakfast. PTHR6ULGKW

100-150
283, tel. (+4) 021 203 65 00, info@angelo-bucharest. com, www.angelo-bucharest.com. The hotel closest to Bucharests Otopeni airport. The Angelo is operated by Vienna Hotels, and its bright exterior is matched by the interior: bold colours abound in all the rooms and the common areas. There is high speed Wifi throughout, and a fitness centre complete with sauna. Transport to and from the airport is complimentary. Great buffet breakfast. Q 177 rooms. Prices from 100-170. Prices include VAT, local taxes and breakfast. PTHR6UFLGKDW 77, fax (+4) 021 312 04 06, rezervari@hotelarmonia. ro, www.hotelarmonia.ro. Not altogether that inviting from the outside, the Armonia offers terrific (though not all that big) rooms that come complete with what have to be contenders for the best bathrooms in the city prize we often mention but never get round to handing out. In good weather the terrace at the back is a great place to take your breakfast (included in the price of a room). Q 32 rooms. Prices from 65-75. Extra bed 10. Prices include VAT, all taxes and breakfast. PHRLGKW

Angelo Airporthotel Bucharest Calea Bucurestilor

Armonia D-4, Calea Mosilor 112, tel. (+4) 021 312 04

Berthelot B-5, Str. General Berthelot 9, tel. (+4) 031 425 58 60/(+4) 0771 65 40 09, fax (+4) 031 425 58 61, office@hotelberthelot.ro, www.hotelberthelot.ro. Smart, modern and dead central. What more could you want? For your money you are getting a good deal here: the rooms are big and well furnished with plenty of mod cons, such as LCD televisions, bucharest.inyourpocket.com

Where to stay
while the bathrobes in the sumptuous bathrooms are suitably fluffy and the cosmetics a cut above the norm. Q 43 rooms. Prices from 109-129. Extra bed 20. Prices include VAT, all taxes and breakfast. PTHRLGKW 021 315 56 36, www.thhotels.ro. Central by name, central by nature. Slap, bang on Bucharests version of Broadway (its all relative), amongst cinemas and theatres, the Central was totally renovated last year and is now one of the best (and best value) stays in the city. We like the staff who are always friendly, and who go out of their way to make sure you do not get ripped off by dodgy taxi drivers: such attention to detail is to be applauded. Q 62 rooms. Prices from 140-180. Extra bed 20. Prices include all taxes and breakfast. PTHR6UGW

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Central B-5, Str. Ion Brezoianu 13, MUniversitate, tel. (+4)

El Greco C-5, Str. Jean Louis Calderon 16, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 315 81 31/(+4) 021 315 81 41, fax (+4) 021 315 88 98, office@hotelelgreco.ro, www. hotelelgreco.ro. Located in the heart of what was, pre-World War II, the most stylish residential area in the city. This is one such villa dating from that period, though it has of course been renovated and refurbished to include a rack of modern luxuries. Fortunately, however, the ambience of the ancien regime has been preserved, making this one of the best villa conversions in the city. Q 20 rooms. Prices from 95-140. Prices for suites include all taxes, VAT and breakfast for one person. PTHRULGKW Europa Royale Bucharest C-6, Str. Franceza 60, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 021 319 17 98, fax (+4) 0372 37 65 00, bucharest@europaroyale.com, www.europaroyale.com. Who said Old Town refits have to be kitsch? This one certainly isnt. The Europa Royale is a gorgeous place that complements instead of overpowering its surroundings. Literally a stones throw from where Bucharest began, at the Curtea Veche, facing Piata Unirii, it is as ideally located as you ever hope for. Inside the rooms are big, classy and we found the staff exemplary. A genuinely welcome addition to Bucharest and the Old Town, and not as pricey as you might think. Q 92 rooms. Prices from 85-200. Extra bed 20. Breakfast, VAT and local taxes included. PTH6UGKW Opera B-5, Str. Ion Brezoianu 37, tel. (+4) 021 312 48
55, fax (+4) 021 312 48 58, info@hotelopera.ro, www. thhotels.ro. You could quite literally throw a stone from the rooms here into Cismigiu Park (though we do not recommend it), and as such we think this is a great place for families with children to stay when visiting the capital. Not cheap, we think that you get value for money, especially given the size of the rooms and the terrific breakfast spread they lay on every morning for guests. Staff happy and smiley too. Q 33 rooms.

Prices from 130-170. Prices include all taxes and breakfast. PTHR6UGKW

Residence Arc de Triomphe A-3, Str. Clucerului 19,

tel. (+4) 021 223 19 78/(+4) 0372 15 07 00, fax (+4) 021 222 90 46, reservations@residence.com.ro, www. residencehotels.com.ro. Fantastic hotel in a good area of the capital, offering large, excellent value rooms and super services. There are little touches of class all over the hotel that suggest they really care. The wrought iron beds, for example, are fabulous, as is the newly added spa, complete with sauna and jacuzzi. The restaurant is also worth a visit, serving good international cuisine. Q 35 rooms. Prices from 90-120. VAT not included. Prices include breakfast. PTHRLi GKDW

Residence Domenii Plaza A-2, Str. Al. Constantinescu 33, tel. (+4) 021 224 50 44/(+4) 0372 15 06 00, www. residencehotels.com.ro. A wonderful villa, this place offers real luxury and a quiet, understated atmosphere. Its a classy place for classy people, basically. All the rooms, studios and apartments are bright, big and have stunning bathrooms. It also has a fantastic spa, complete with sauna, steam bath and enormous jacuzzi, perfect for tired business types in need of evening relaxation. The rooftop terrace has fine views of what is the citys best residential area, and the food in the restaurant better than most of Bucharests restaurants: it is really that good. Q 33 rooms. Prices from 90-120. Prices include breakfast. VAT not included. PTHRLGKDW Siqua A-5, Calea Plevnei 59A, tel. (+4) 021 319 51 60,
fax (+4) 021 319 51 61, rezervari@hotelsiqua.ro, www. hotelsiqua.ro. Simple, good value rooms in a decent location

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Where to stay
just behind Bucharests Opera House. Each room has individual air conditioning/heating, always a bonus as far as we are concerned, though note that most of the rooms have showers only, no baths. Apartments are good value and come with fluffy bathrobes. Q 40 rooms. Prices from 95-130. Prices include VAT, local taxes and breakfast. PTHRUGKW

Starlight Suite B-4, Str. Grigore Alexandrescu 89-97, tel. (+4) 021 211 34 13, fax (+4) 021 211 34 14, manager. buc@starlighthotels.com, www.starlighthotels.com. At the bustling junction of B-dul Iancu de Hunedoara, and glitzy Calea Dorobantilor is Starlight, the first hotel of its kind in Romania. Every room is a suite, complete with separate living and sleeping areas; some have two bedrooms. All have air conditioning, the latest in home entertainment systems, and kitchenettes complete with microwaves. The fitness centre is free to guests, and a continental breakfast is included in the price. Excellent value for money. Q 78 rooms. Prices from 81-115. Prices include all taxes, VAT and breakfast. PTHR6UFLGKDW Venezia B-5, Str. Pompiliu Eliade 2, MIzvor, tel. (+4) 021
310 68 72, fax (+4) 021 310 68 73, info@hotelvenezia. ro, www.thhotels.ro. Lovingly renovated with care, taste and not a little style, the Hotel Venezia completes a handy little triumvirate of three-star accommodation options in and around Bulevardul Kogalniceanu (the others being the Opera and Central hotels, all part of the same chain). Expect some unique rooms, some with real character provided by the shape of the building, lovely staff and some thoroughly reasonable prices. Add in speedy internet connections, air conditioning in all rooms and a non-smoking environment, and you have a winner. Q 49 rooms. Prices from 130-170. Extra bed 20. Prices include all taxes and breakfast. PTHR6UGW

Under 100
313 94 00, fax (+4) 021 313 94 94, reservations@hotelamzei.ro, www.hotelamzei.ro. Want a room in the heart of Bucharest? This place is for you. A delicious villa conversion in the middle of Piata Amzei, close to, well, everything. The rooms are all enormous, all are individually furnished and have bags of character, many with sloping ceilings and hidden nooks and crannies. The bathrooms are a little more modest, but are a decent size and very well decorated. Q 22 rooms. Prices from 79-129. Extra bed 20. Prices include breakfast, VAT and local taxes. PTHRLGKW

Amzei B-4, P-ta Amzei 8, MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 021

Andy A-4, Str. Witing 2, MGara de Nord, tel. (+4) 021 300 30 50, www.andyhotels.ro. You can see Gara de Nord from your bedroom window if you stay here: you can decide for yourself if thats good or bad. Its a decent hotel, especially compared to those surrounding it, and if you are in two minds as to which station hotel to stay in, make sure you choose this one. It even has a sauna and jacuzzi. Q 49 rooms. Prices from 30-50. Prices include all taxes, VAT and breakfast. PR6GKDW
tel. (+4) 021 310 56 68, office@hotelmonaco.ro, www. hotelmonaco.ro. A nice place on a quiet(ish) street yet still close enough to the city centre to be within walking distance. There is an elegance to the decoration that suggests theyve taken real time and effort over things, and the beds are large, comfortable and covered with crisp yet soft sheets. Wifi, flatscreen TVs, good bathrooms. The kind of place you feel should cost a lot more than it does: seriously good value for money. Q 8 rooms. Prices from 50-65. Prices include all taxes, VAT and breakfast. PTLW

Boutique Hotel Monaco C-5, Str. J. L. Calderon 74,

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Drumul Odaii 1D, Otopeni, tel. (+4) 021 352 87 19, fax (+4) 021 352 8716, office@hotelcharter.ro, www.hotelcharter.ro. For what you pay at this hotel, you get a large amount of room indeed. Really: these must be the biggest hotel rooms in Bucharest, and they cost about 1 per square metre. Close to the airport (on the other side of the road to McDonalds) this place is perfect if you have an early flight, though it is only fair to say that it is a good 30 minutes or so to the city centre. Still, with rooms and services to match anywhere, and at prices as low as these, we doubt anyone will be complaining. Q 21 rooms. Prices from 20-55. Prices include all taxes, VAT and breakfast. PTRLGW C-4, Str. Ion Slatineanu 13, MStefan cel Mare, tel. (+4) 021 210 73 03/(+4) 021 210 73 04, office@hotelchristina.ro, www.hotelchristina.ro. A smart hotel in the northern part of the city centre, located on a quiet side street. The rooms are well sized, bright and have splashes of colour all over them (and each room is a different colour). A great buffet breakfast is served in the hotels cool restaurant, there is fast free Wifi and they even claim to offer a free shirt-pressing service. Q 24 rooms. Prices from 79-89. Extra bed 15. Prices include breakfast, VAT and local taxes. PTHKW Str. Garlei 30A, tel. (+4) 037 213 57 00, fax (+4) 037 213 57 03, reception@class-hotel.ro, www.class-hotel. ro. Close to Baneasa Airport what this place lacks in city centre-ness it more than makes up for with comfort. This is to all intents and purposes a five star hotel, complete with luxurious bathrooms and perhaps the best indoor swimming pool in the city. Really. If you are looking for a leafier location than the city centre can offer, and a little luxury at a

Charter

decent price, then its a decent choice. Q 63 rooms. Prices from 59-140. Prices include VAT, all taxes and breakfast. PHRFGKDCW 58, tel. (+4) 0727 59 95 99, office@hoteldan.ro, www. hoteldan.ro. Smart addition to Bucharests enormously popular three-star scene. The location is central without being noisy, and the rooms themselves are all well-sized and wellequipped. Staff are friendly, befitting a small hotel, and ready to see to your every need. Q 15 rooms. Prices from 45-85. Extra bed 25. Prices include all taxes, VAT and breakfast. PHRULGW

Dan B-4, B-dul Dacia 125, tel./fax (+4) 021 210 39

Christina

DoubleTree by Hilton

Class Bucharest

D-7, Str. Nerva Traian 3A, tel. (+4) 021 200 62 70, fax (+4) 021 200 62 73, daniela.lazar@hilton.com, www. doubletree.com. Located just off Bulevardul Unirii, the DoubleT ree is something of a beacon of glass and steel in an area not known for anything except monumental socialist architecture. The hotel is a decent place offering big-ish rooms, with commendably big bathrooms. Happy, multi-lingual staff are a bonus not always found in Bucharests hotels. Good cafes (there are two) to choose from on the ground floor: one has a covered terrace. Q 87 rooms. Prices from 115-250. Prices include local taxes, VAT and breakfast. PTHRUFLGKDW MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 021 212 55 58, eservation@ goldentulipbucharest.com, www.goldentulipbucharest. com. Half-way along Calea Victoriei, a pleasant walk to both Piata Victoriei and Piata Universitatii, the Golden Tulip is a fine hotel that makes great use of the space available. The bathrooms for example are not huge but feel far bigger than

Golden Tulip Bucharest B-4, Calea Victoriei 166,

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Where to stay
Short Term Rental
Apart Homes C-6, Str. George Valentin Bibescu 33, bl. X/2, sc. A, ap. 6, tel. (+4) 021 232 04 06, fax (+4) 021 232 17 04, office@accommodation.com.ro, www.aparthomes.ro. These people have been offering great apartments in central Bucharest since 1996: they were one of the first players in the market, and are still the best. They have a range of city-centre apartments, from studios to two-bedroomed places, as well as a villa in Baneasa. Whats more, they have someone on call 24 hours for any emergencies, maid service twice a week and offer a variety of other services, from city tours to laundry. Magic. Q 20 rooms (5 singles/doubles 50, 5 triples 85, 5 suites 100, 5 apartments 150). Prices include breakfast and local taxes. VAT not included. PTR6GW
eanu 1-3, tel. (+4) 0720 77 27 72, office@certaccommodation.ro, www.cert-accommodation.ro. A good selection of fully furnished, elegant, serviced studios, one, two and three bedroom apartments in and around the city centre. Children and babies are welcome: cots can be supplied on request. Q 20 rooms (1 studio 40, 9 apartments 55 - 100). Prices include local taxes and VAT. Breakfast not included. POTFLGKW Expect a room a bit bigger than standard Ibis size, the usual services, few frills (breakfast costs extra) and all in all a good value stay. The name is not misleading: it is dead opposite the station. Q 250 rooms. Prices from 49-79. Prices include VAT and local taxes. Breakfast not included. (9 per person). PHR6ULGKW

Cert Accommodation B-5, Piata Walter Maracin-

they are, and all have enough room for bathtubs. Bright and modern in design we think its suited best to business travellers looking to get great value for their companys dollar. Q 81 rooms. Prices from 85-105. Prices include VAT, all taxes and breakfast. PTJHRUFLGKW

Golden Tulip Times E-6, B-dul Decebal 19, MPiata

Muncii, tel. (+4) 021 316 65 16, www.goldentuliptimes. com. This, people, is a very good hotel where you get a hell of a lot of room for a relatively small amount of money. All come furnished well with terrific beds, big desks and comfy armchairs. Bathrooms are equally impressive and modern. There is Wifi throughout and a host of extras: not least of which is the fantastic breakfast. The on site restaurant is one of the best hotel-based eateries in the city. Q 70 rooms. Prices from 78-98. Extra bed 29. Prices include VAT, all taxes and breakfast. PTHRLGKW

Ibis Palatul Parlamentului B-6, Str. Izvor 82-84, tel. (+4) 021 401 10 00, reservations.parlament@ibishotels. ro, www.ibishotels.ro. If you want a view of Casa Poporului then this is perhaps the best place in Bucharest to come. Other than that it is a fairly standard Ibis hotel, just as you love them (or otherwise!) from anywhere else on the planet. Not entirely ideally located if you are not driving, it does boast non-smoking rooms and very good staff. Q 161 rooms. Prices from 49-95. Prices include VAT and local taxes. Breakfast not included. (9 per person). PTHR6ULGKW
tel. (+4) 021 311 15 55, reservation@minerva.ro, www. minerva.ro. It is really hard to knock the Minerva so we will not even try. Having been around so long it is entitled to a gold watch, it remains a great choice for business people who pay their own bills: you get great service, a good room (a choice of smoking or non-smoking), a dead-central location yet are only asked for a fraction of what the five-stars charge. The oldest Chinese restaurant in Romania is located on the ground floor, there is a lively bar and a good spa, complete with jacuzzi, sauna, Turkish bath and massage. Q 147 rooms. Prices from 75-111. Prices include all taxes, VAT and breakfast. PHRFGKDW

Minerva B-4, Str. Gheorghe Manu 2-4, MPiata Victoriei,

tel. (+4) 0372 12 18 00, reservation@hellohotels.ro, www.hellohotels.ro. Two stars never looked so good. For your paltry amount of cash you are getting a lot of hotel room here, complete with flat screen televisions and mattresses thicker than many a five-star. Bathrooms are a bit pokey but they are more than adequate, and as far as value for money goes we think this is one of the best deals in the city. Find the place a short walk from the station. Q 150 rooms. Prices from 33-69. Prices include VAT and taxes. Breakfast not included. PR6ULGKW

Hello Hotels B-4, Calea Grivitei 143, MGara de Nord,

Ibis Gara de Nord A-4, Calea Grivitei 143, MGara

Rembrandt C-5, Str. Smardan 11, MUniversitate, tel.


(+4) 021 313 93 15, fax (+4) 021 313 93 16, info@ rembrandt.ro, www.rembrandt.ro. Always full (reserve well in advance) you will see why when you arrive. The Rembrandt is what happens when people with taste renovate buildings in Old Town Bucharest (the gorgeous cafe next door belongs

de Nord, tel. (+4) 021 300 91 00, reservations.nord@ ibishotels.ro, www.ibishotels.ro. A hotel for more than 40 years this building (and the whole area) was given a real lift when it became a good old Ibis some several years ago now.

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- unsurprisingly - to the same people). Luxurious without overdoing it, expect to find original 1920s wooden floors and period furnishings complimented by up-to-the-minute technology. The hotel celebrated its eighth birthday in January 2013: long may it go on. Q 16 rooms. Prices from 75-118. Extra bed available. Prices include all taxes, VAT and breakfast. PTRUGKW 49 27/(+4) 021 311 49 28, office@hoteltrianon.ro, www. hoteltrianon.ro. If location really is everything then you cant do much better than this cracking place on Str. Cobalcescu, next to the Ministry of Defence and opposite Cismigiu Park. The building is a superb Secession renovation on a street that boasts some extraordinary buildings: it is a shame not all are up to this standard. Inside the rooms are simple, tastefully decorated and offer excellent value for money. Bathrooms have either a bath or a shower. Q 26 rooms. Prices from 85-133. Extra bed 18. Prices include all taxes, VAT and breakfast. PTHR6UGKW B-4, Str. Biserica Amzei 3, MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 0734 33 30 20, www.barrio.ro. Bang in the centre of the city this villa, once the residence of the legendary Cartagiu family, is a terrific choice for anyone looking to be close to the citys best night spots and restaurants. Rooms are not big but are comfortable, equipped with all mod-cons and have excellent en suite bathrooms. Besides, as they have just opened and the prices are seriously low, these must currently be the best value rooms in Bucharest. Q 8 rooms. Prices from 30-40. Prices include local taxes and VAT. Breakfast not included. PHGW

families of all ages. Friendly and welcoming the owners do a great breakfast (included in the price) and are a wealth of inside info when it comes to getting the best out of Bucharest. Q 6 rooms. Prices from 20-54. Prices include breakfast, VAT and local taxes. T6GW

X Hostel C-6, Str. Balcesti 9, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4)

Trianon B-5, Str. Grigore Cobalcescu 9, tel. (+4) 021 311

021 312 76 13/(+4) 0785 21 15 15, Bucharest@xhostel.eu, www.xhostel.eu. Bucharests newest hostel, and already forging for itself something of party-central reputation. As such it is probably not the best place in town for a quiet night in, yet the young crowd that frequents the place hardly mind that. Good, clean dorms and bathrooms, and a number of singles for those who can splash the extra cash. Free Wifi, but breakfast not included. Q 24 rooms. Prices from 5-45. Prices include local taxes and VAT. Breakfast not included. PT6GKDW

Villa Barrio

Hostels & Villas


Doors Hostel C-7, Str. Olimpului 13, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 021 336 21 27, office@doorshostel.com, www. doorshostel.com. Clean, colourful and rather spacious hostel a short walk south from Piata Unirii. Located in a classic Bucharest house it benefits from a gorgeous garden/courtyard, an all you can eat breakfast and free Wifi, amongst much else. Note that they have only shared, mixed dorms: there are no private rooms. Q 5 rooms. Prices from 12-35. Breakfast, VAT and local taxes included. PTLGKW Vila 11 A-4, Str. Institutul Medico Militar 11, MGara de Nord, tel. (+4) 0722 49 59 00/(+4) 0722 49 59 01, vila11bb@hotmail.com. Located in a lovely 1920s house close to Gara de Nord (one block east of Strada Vespatian and Dinicu Golescu) Vila 11 has a variety of private rooms, dorm facilities and family suites available for backpackers and bucharest.inyourpocket.com February - March 2013

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Restaurants
American
Champions B-6, Calea 13 Septembrie 90 (JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel), tel. (+4) 021 403 19 17, champions@marriott.com, www.championsrestaurant. ro. Still serving one of the very best burgers in Bucharest (you can choose one or design your own from an endless choice of toppings), a fact undisputed by anyone weve ever met. It is also one of the biggest. In fact, now we think of it, the portions of everything here are enormous: even the childrens servings are very healthy indeed. Besides the burgers you will find a great selection of American pub food, as well as Tex Mex treats and even some more refined, slow food options. Famously good cocktails, and more televisions showing sport than you could ever hope for. Find it in the Marriott: up the stairs as you go in and to your right. Q Open 12:00 - 24:00. . PTLSW

Hard Rock Cafe A-2, Sos. Kiseleff 32, tel. (+4) 021 206 62 61, sales@hardrockcafe.ro, http://www.hardrock. com/bucharest. One of the largest Hard Rocks in Europe, you cant go wrong here, whatever time of day you visit. Come for lunch with the kids (who are always well looked after and have their own menu), dinner with the crowd from work or late drinks and live music with your mates. All things to all people the burgers and ribs are a cut above the usual, desserts are as outsized and sweet as they should be, and the service comes from smiley waitresses and expert bar staff. We love it. Lets rock. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 12:00 - 01:00. . PLESW

Asian
The Gang Restaurant & Lounge C-3, Calea Floreasca 111-113, tel. (+4) 0721 51 22 91, www.thegang.ro. Very nice indeed. Though probably more famous as being the top peoples club, The Gang also has a restaurant serving some fabulous Asian/Fusion food prepared by not one but two (count them: you will see them as the kitchen is open, how refreshing) Nepalese chefs. Whats more, though its location in Dorobanti/Floreasca screams fitze, the place itself is understated and decorated with incredible restraint and good taste. Add in some eclectic live music and you have a winner. QOpen 10:00 - 03:00. . PLESW

Belgian
Waterloo D-5, Str. Traian 188, tel. (+4) 021 320 35 88/ (+4) 0744 526 048, www.waterloo-taverne.com. This is a rough and ready type place, with long bench seats - meaning you may find yourself sitting with a stranger who turns out to be the person of your dreams. The prices are such good value, youll be shocked. The quality wont shock though, as it is good; very good. Well worth the visit. Go for it. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. . PBSW

British
(+4) 021 211 31 51, www.trafalgarpub.eu. Popular with all sorts of expats who have a regular rendezvous here, this place is a pub and bistro in one, where you can get a decent meal for little money while enjoying usually decent company. The menu has a few British dishes - we can recommend the Spinach and Stilton Pie - but best of all we like the ciorba de vacuta - one of the best in the city, and the ciolan cu varza - pork knuckle with cabbage and beans. Guinness on draught at a decent price, and there is a heated, enclosed terrace at this time of year. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 12:00 - 01:00. . PLVBSW

The Trafalgar Pub C-4, Str. David Emmanuel 4A, tel.

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Chinese
Restaurant Nan Jing B-4, Str. Gheorghe Manu 2-4,
MPiata Victoriei/Piata Romana, tel. (+4) 021 318 12 85/(+4) 0726 10 34 07, www.restaurantnanjing.ro. Dating back to 1980s this little piece of Bucharest foodie history was the first Chinese restaurant in the land. It is still one of the best, as its longevity (no mean feat in a city where good eateries come and go fast) testifies. Prices are reasonable, the setting is good, with a nice covered terrace overlooking busy Bulevardul Lascar Cartagiu. You will find the Nan Jing on the ground floor of the Minerva hotel. Q Open 12:00 - 24:00. . PLVBSW

Embassy C-4, P-ta Lahovari 8, MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 0733 50 03 00, contact@embassy-club.ro, www. embassy-club.ro. Popular with a wealthy crowd, the central and original Embassy (there are a couple of spin-offs in town now) has been around a few years now, and in this city longevity alone is a sign of how good it is. Serving a good gourmet burger - widely regarded as one of the citys best - and much else besides (including some great cocktails) it is the kind of place that grows on you as the evening wears on, and in all likeliness you will stay until very late. We usually do. QOpen 11:00 - 02:00, Fri, Sat 11:00 - 03:00. . BSW Market 8 B-3, Str. Serban Petrescu 8, tel. (+4) 0734 80 80 80/(+4) 021 231 51 43, restaurant@market8.ro, www.market8.ro. Have we been along this road before? Yes, there was once a Market 8 in Lipscani: it didnt last very long, so lets hope this one lasts longer, for its nice. Using much the same concept as before (designer goodies alongside designer Fusion - and then some - food), the new location is perhaps better suited to the crowd it wants to attract (monied, trendy) and despite initial doubts we were more than won over on our first visit. QOpen 10:00 - 24:00. . PSW The Harbour B-4, P-ta Amzei 10-22, MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 021 319 72 57/(+4) 0724 38 86 86, office@ harbour.ro, www.harbour.ro. A top location, in Piata Amzei, with food to match, as well as friendly and efficient staff. The atmosphere is relaxing, the food better than average, though the real joy of this place is its view to the market. We came here for lunch recently and were stunned by how many foreigners were eating here: it must be one of the most popular tourist and visitor spots in town. QOpen 11:30 - 01:00, Sun 13:00 - 24:00. . PLVEBSW February - March 2013

Food & Drink


What do we mean by Food & Drink? Simple: places in which you could just as easily sit down and have a three course meal as you could spend a night on the beer or cocktails.

18 Lounge A-1, P-ta Presei Libere 3-5, tel. (+4) 0733 50

14 01, office@18lounge.ro, www.18lounge.ro. Lunch or dinner with a view? This is the place to come people. On the 18th floor of one of the newest office buildings in the city, this place doesnt need to serve decent food to attract clients: fortunately, it does. More than just a restaurant though the lunch is a great deal, and late in the evening it becomes a smooth, relaxed pace to hang out. It is also a self-declared anti-fitze establishment (much like its sister locations in the centre of town) and the vibe is always a little trendy but never kitsch. We like it. QOpen 10:00 - 24:00, Sat, Sun 10:00 24:30. . PLESW

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Restaurants

French
Boutique du Pain C-5, Str. Academiei 28-30, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0728 44 33 00, boutiquedupain@gmail. com, www.boutiquedupain.com. Everything you want from a city-centre eatery and a lot more. This is in fact more bistro than anything, serving breakfast, lunch and evening meals in fresh, bright surroundings. The selection of morning pastries is the best in the city, with office workers going out of their way to stop here for fresh supplies. For lunch there is a range of sandwiches hard to beat anywhere else, and the small selection of hot meals of an evening - the menu changes daily - are perfect for a casual dinner. Serving great coffee and a magnificent hot chocolate, we (and our kids!) love this place. QOpen 08:30 - 22:00, Sun 08:30 - 20:00. . PSW Escargot Bistro D-4, Str. Toamnei 101, tel. (+4) 021 201 71 33/(+4) 0746 79 50 29, bistro@escargot.ro, www.escargot.ro. Bucharest foodies: this is the place for you. A little non-descript from the outside, it is a sensational French restaurant where the love and care the chef has for his food oozes onto your plate. Duck that takes 48 hours to prepare, an onion soup of the like weve never eaten in Bucharest, fresh snails, outstanding wines and all served in minimalist surroundings: the food is king here. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. . SW French Bakery Le Restaurant C-5, Str. Nicolae Golescu 17, MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 021 310 33 02, info@frenchbakery.ro, www.frenchbakery.ro. It had to happen. A French restaurant that actually delivers the goods time after time yet does so in an atmosphere that begs you to spend more time here. The menu features a number of simple, new-wave French cuisine which - for this city - is very well-priced. The tasty duck dishes stood out for us, as did the Bucharest In Your Pocket

desserts and the excellent wine list which - while featuring a great list of French grape - for once acknowledges that the New World can make decent wine too. In short, this place is a mini-revolution on the Bucharest dining scene and worthy of your time. QOpen 12:00 - 24:30. . PBSW

Ici et La C-4, Str. Mendeleev 43, MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 0731 45 36 08/(+4) 0731 35 26 08, icietla43@ yahoo.fr, www.icietla.ro. As regular readers will know we are suckers for an open kitchen, and that is what we have here: sit and watch the chef and owner prepare your gorgeous homemade French meal. They are rather proud of their smoked salmon here (and rightly so) and the wine list features plenty of affordable grape. Top it all off with the magnificent creme brulee. QOpen 10:00 - 23:00. Closed Sun. . PVESW
MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 0725 21 06 08, contact@ lacantinedenicolai.ro, www.lacantinedenicolai.ro. Those who know their food know that this place is one of the top ten restaurants in the land. Beyond the Warhol prints on the walls this is French du terroir, where simple yet perfect flavours are allowed to breathe by a gifted chef who cooks for his customers as though he is cooking for his best mates. It is not cheap, but then dishes like scallops with mash potatoes and a truffle and veal sauce never can be. Special. QOpen 12:00 - 23:00. . PSW

La Cantine de Nicolai B-4, Str. Povernei 15-17,

Fusion
Avalon B-3, Calea Dorobantilor 5-7 (Howard Johnson Grand Plaza), MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 021 201 50 30, avalon@hojoplaza.ro, www.hojoplaza.ro/ro/avalonrestaurant. At Avalon, the jewel in the HoJos dining crown, knowing diners come to enjoy the flavours and smells of the bucharest.inyourpocket.com

Restaurants
superb Fusion cuisine. Every time we visit (and we visit as often as we can) we find something new and interesting - and usually inventive - on the menu (which changes regularly) and a good new wine to go with our meal. Q Open 12:00 - 15:00, 19:00 - 23:00. Sunday Brunch 12:00 - 16:00, 180 lei/pers, children under seven free, children between seven and 12 years half price. . PLSW

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Barrio by Embassy B-4, Str. Biserica Amzei 30, MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 0733 22 27 77, enjoy@barrio.ro, www.barrio.ro. Wonderful bar, cafe and restaurant (the place works as all three) where besides expertly mixed cocktails you can enjoy some sensational food, chosen from one of the most adventurous menus in the city. Roasted duck breast with rice and kumquat sauce and sea bass with ratatouille and celery sauce are just two of the standout dishes we entirely recommend. Not as dear as you might think either. Worth a visit. QOpen 10:30 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 10:30 - 01:00. . PKSW Loft Lounge C-4, B-dul Iancu de Hunedoara 56-60, MStefan cel Mare, tel. (+4) 0756 38 56 38, viviana@ zeroevents.ro, www.loftlounge.ro. It might be too fashionable for some tastes, but the truth is the food is amongst the best in the land, cooked by perhaps the best chef in the land. Its not just us who say so either: ask anybody in the city who knows their food and you get the same reply: its brilliant. Inventive and magnificent food (seafood dominates), cooked to perfection. The squid served with risotto, for example: it sounds so simple yet its a taste sensation. Not cheap of course, but worth the cost. Q Open 12:00 - 16:00, 19:00 24:00. Closed Sun. . PLESW

German
0737 50 01 50/(+4) 0737 50 01 51, rezervari@berariabragadiru.ro, www.beraria-bragadiru.ro. This legendary beer hall looks better than ever. With German food as good as anywhere in the city (the potato and sausage soup is a winner, as is the ciolan) alongside a live Bavarian oompah band every night it is the perfect place for big groups looking for a raucous night out. Our only complaint would be that there seemed to be no German beer on draught. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. . PESW

Beraria Bragadiru B-7, Calea Rahovei 157, tel. (+4)

Die Deutsche Kneipe C-3, Str. Stockholm 9, tel. (+4) 021 233 94 62/(+4) 0722 28 45 60, office@diedeutschekneipe.ro, www.diedeutschekneipe.ro. Really, one of our favourite places in Bucharest, now as ever (and it has been around for more than a decade). Serving giant portions of great German sausages (all made on the premises) as well as pork knuckles, kraut and the like, they keep the prices down and their punters very happy. You usually need a reservation at weekends. Good place for a simple pint of German beer too. QOpen 15:00 - 23:30, Sat 14:00 - 23:30. Closed Sun. . PNSW

Symbol key
P Air conditioning T Child friendly U Facilities for the disabled V Home delivery M Nearby metro station W Wifi 6 Animal friendly N Credit cards not accepted L Guarded parking E Live music G Non-smoking S Take away

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Price Guide
(Based on a good meal with wine) Expensive (More than 30 per person) Middling (10-20 per person) Not cheap (20-30 per person) Cheap (Less than 10 per person)

the treats out back, with the lamb rogan josh - ordered extra hot - never failing to hit the spot. In fact, we counted no fewer than 10 lamb dishes on the menu, a rare treat in these parts where the raw material is so hard to find. QOpen 13:00 24:00. . PVBSW

International
Balkan Bistro C-5, Calea Victoriei 56 (Grand Hotel Continental), MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0372 01 03 00, info@ grandhotelcontinental.ro, www.grandhotelcontinental. ro. Very interesting indeed. A a restaurant brave enough to admit that food in this part of the world is truly Balkan, and that the edges between Serbian, Turkish, Greek, Romanian and Bulgarian food can sometimes be very blurred indeed. You will find a rich range of dishes on offer: all presented on the menu in their original language. See you there. Q Open 12:30-15:30, 18:30-22:30. . PLGW

Barbizon Steak House A-1, P-ta Montreal 10 (Pullman

Indian
Haveli D-4, Str. Episcop Radu 3, tel. (+4) 021 211 03
90/(+4) 0721 72 16 40, contact@haveli.ro, www. haveli.ro. Convincingly authentic Indian cuisine served in a brightly decorated villa, where the sauces are by nature toned down for locals but where chef will - with pleasure - spice things up for the more experienced diner. We like the long list of vegetarian dishes, of which the Bhangan Bharta (aubergine with tomato and onion) is a particular favourite. QOpen 12:00 - 23:00, Mon 19:00 - 23:00. . PLVSW

Bucharest World Trade Center), tel. (+4) 021 318 30 00/ (+4) 021 202 16 35, www.pullmanhotels.com. This is the latest restaurant to open up in the Pullman, and is the best eatery weve been to at this particular five star. As you would expect, steaks top the bill, and what steaks! All the beef is shipped in fresh from South America, and though prices reflect the quality you will not argue at the end of the evening. Good wine list (we like the inclusion of Moldovan wines) and an open kitchen is always welcome. Q Open 12:00 - 15:30, 18:00 - 23:30. . PLW

Karishma D-5, Str. Iancu Capitanu 36, tel. (+4) 021 252 51 57, office@karishma.ro, www.karishma.ro. This place, by warrant of its bits and pieces layout, is perhaps the closest thing you will find to a classic British/Indian curry house in Bucharest. No less than three Indian chefs cook up

Barka Saffron A-2, Str. Av. Sntescu 1, tel. (+4) 021 224 10 04/(+4) 0745 00 36 60, barka.saffron@gmail. com. We have been coming here since the last century, when there was precious little choice in Bucharest for people wanting something a little different; a little more spicy. Now there is plenty of choice but we still trot up to Barka whenever we can. On our last visit we went for the lamb with spinach in tomato sauce which was as good as we had hoped. The onion bhajis remain Bucharests best. First class cocktail list. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. . PESW

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Romana, tel. (+4) 0722 30 89 60, home@becaskitchen. ro, www.becaskitchen.ro. Following much the same path as that trodden by Violetas Vintage Kitchen, this new restaurant is a magnificent place serving wonderful, homecooked food. The place itself is gorgeously simple in its decor, at once homely and welcoming. The food is fantastic, with the menu changing more or less every day: check the blackboard for todays specials. You can also buy homemade jams, pickles and the like. Terrific. QOpen 12:00 - 22:00. Closed Mon. . PSW

Becas Kitchen C-4, Str. Mihai Eminescu 80, MPiata

to Piata Dorobanti. Good Romanian food served in decent portions at fair prices. The ciolan afumat is always cooked to perfection, and there are always plenty of tasty ciorbas available too. Also usually has a number of seasonal specials, and at this time of year serves both mulled wine and boiled tuica. QOpen 12:00 - 01:00. . PLSW

Chez Marie C-4, Str. Dionisie Lupu 48, MPiata Romana,

Be Nat A-4, B-dul Nicolae Titulescu 4-8, MPiata Victoriei, tel. (+4) 031 437 96 03/(+4) 031 437 96 01, www. benat.ro. Light and spacious diner overlooking Piata Victoriei serving excellent value hot lunches, salads, tea, coffee and cakes. Look out for the daily specials, while - if they have it - the gazpacho is as good as any in the city. Sit upstairs for the best views of the street below. QOpen 07:00 - 22:00, Sat, Sun 09:00 - 18:00. . PVGSW
MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 021 211 46 98/(+4) 0722 63 37 93. One of those places that merits praise simply for having been around for so long. Weve been coming here for years, and have always loved the welcoming atmosphere and simple, tasty bistro food. There is something for everyone, from sandwiches for the lunchtime crowd to good coffee and even hot chocolate for the kids. Leafy terrace in summer. Q Open 08:00 - 02:00. . PBW (+4) 021 231 09 08/(+4) 0748 75 00 29, www.bistromoncheri.ro. Good little eatery on a side street close

tel. (+4) 031 107 20 33/(+4) 0730 34 48 10, www.chezmarie.ro. A wider variety of dishes you are unlikely to find in a Bucharest restaurant, and most of the time everything on the menu is available. We have always stuck with the beef dishes: both the steak with gorgonzola and the beef stroganoff are good efforts, but if you simply want a ceafa de porc with fries, they will rustle that up too. Good drinks list and the place itself is rather nice. QOpen 11:00 - 24:00. . PLW

Bistro Mon Cher B-3, Calea Dorobantilor 20-28,

Collage A-3, B-dul Ion Mihalache 10-12, MPiata Victoriei, tel. (+4) 0758 10 10 40, www.collageworld.ro. Opposite the Peasant Museum this is a designer restaurant, lounge and bar where white furniture is in abundance, from the tables to the white leather sofas. Opens early enough to be a breakfast venue for late-risers, and lets face it, the kind of people who come here are not your average nine to five crowd. Its arty, its smart and its got just the right amount of attitude. And we love the dogs on chains outside keeping the parking spaces for the rich and famous. Lounge that stays open until 03:00 at weekends. QOpen 10:00 - 24:00. . PLEW Concerto Restaurant C-5, Calea Victoriei 56 (Grand
Hotel Continental), MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0372 01 03 00, www.grandhotelcontinental.ro. Oh yes. The fine dining stakes in Bucharest got notched up even further with the appearance of the Grand Continentals showcase dining

Bistro Mon Cheri C-3, Str. Tudor Stefan 16, tel.

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room, a match for any other in the city. This is the place to come for highly creative nouvelle cuisine, accompanied by a long list of the worlds finest wines (from Romania, France, Italy, Spain, South Africa, North and South America). The setting is to die for, and the staff are knowledgeable about both food and wine and will talk you through everything on the menu. Bucharests gourmands are now indeed spoilt for choice. QOpen 12.00 - 23.00. . PLGW B-4, Calea Victoriei 63-81 (Radisson Blu), tel. (+4) 021 311 90 00, www.radissonblu.com/hotel-bucharest. The best thing about this place is that the cracking breakfast (the best in the city) is open to allcomers: simply turn up before 10:30, pay your money and fill up for the day (we would have liked to have stayed for the day such was the wealth of goodies on offer, but they had to get ready for lunch...). Q Open 06:30 - 10:30, Sat, Sun 07:00 - 11:00. . PLEGSW B-3, Str. Ankara 7, tel. (+4) 0746 22 24 44, www.doncafebrasserie.ro. Open early for breakfast (they do a decent English fry and delicious pain chocolat) its busy throughout the day, catering to lunching ladies and business types as well as a trendy crowd in the evenings. Great salads, a good range of homemade pasta (and we mean homemade: it is put together on the premises), a terrific osso bucco and a divine cheese cake are our fave dishes from the menu. You go pick your own. QOpen 08:30 - 24:00. . PLSW

with onion marmelade, an outstanding chicken and artichoke salad, a couple of duck dishes and good steaks. Prices are more than fair given the location, setting and quality of food. Find it on the corner of Stradas Calderon and Verona. QOpen 08:30 - 01:00. . PLVBSW

Kopels A-7, Str. Sirenelor 87, tel. (+4) 0740 89 09 61. One

Dacia Felix

of those places that we often think we should keep to ourselves and not put in the guide. Set in a small house on a street that amazingly survived the Centru Civic bulldozers, this is a restaurant that is quite simply a labour of love for all involved. The food is inventive, mainly seasonal and the chef is never afraid to try something new. The cheesecake is something of a Bucharest legend. Kids are welcome, many of the customers appear to be regulars, and the atmosphere is one of the most relaxed in the city. Top food usually comes with an attitude: not here it doesnt. QOpen 12:30 - 22:00. . PLVBSW

Doncafe Brasserie

La Brasserie A-1, B-dul Poligrafiei 1 (Crowne Plaza), tel. (+4) 021 224 00 34, www.laveranda.ro. Redesigned and reinvented, La Brasserie is now less about fine dining (pop over to The Vineyard for that) and more about good quality, simple food for all the family. The menu is available buffet-style or a-la-carte, and makes a great choice for families or groups on the run. The wine list remains a work of art and the atmosphere is now cosier than ever. QOpen 06:00 - 24:00. Sunday Brunch 12:30 - 16:30, 177 lei/pers, children between six and 12 years half price, children under six free. . PEGSW Le Theatre B-5, Str. George Enescu 2-4, MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 021 318 28 74/(+4) 0733 97 64 71, www.letheatre.ro. A bit of food with your jazz? Or a bit of jazz with your food? There is always usually something happening at Le Theatre, and even if there isnt, the food is enough bucharest.inyourpocket.com

Gargantua C-5, Str. J.L. Calderon 69, tel. (+4) 0726 55

56 93/(+4) 0722 70 25 60, www.restaurantgargantua. ro. Bright and airy place that gloriously lets the light in through its huge windows. Fine food, including a luscious fried brie

Bucharest In Your Pocket

Restaurants
to keep you here for most of the evening. The lamb chops we ate were terrific: pink and tender, and they went down well with a plate of fresh spinach. Great atmosphere, good people, a decent choice for dinner. QOpen 11:00 - 24:00. . PEBSW

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Maison 13 C-4, Str. Dumbrava Rosie 2, MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 0751 13 13 13. For years this place was Balthazar, one of the best restaurants ever in Bucharest. Dare we suggest that Maison 13 is even better? Completely different to its predecessor it is brighter, more contemporary and, if you want our opinion, more welcoming than the often stuffy and stuck-up Balthazar could be. This is fine dining without the heirs and graces, so get here and enjoy a menu of adventurous treats that changes regularly: so much so that individual recommendations are pointless. Q Open 10:00 - 23:00. . PBW Morgan La Dud C-5, Str. Sperantei 7, tel. (+4) 0752
70 03 00, www.morganladud.ro. Dud in Romanian means mulberry, so you will understand the reason behind the name of this place the minute you see an impeccably preserved Morgan and step inside the gorgeous courtyard complete with mulberry tree in the middle. The food is special, from the pasta (all made on the premises) to the exciting variations of Romanian classics (sarmale made with mutton and rolled in mulberry leaves, for example). The White Duchess gateaux makes for a smashing dessert. With a range of fine wines from one of Romanias best vineyards this place is top notch. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. Closed Mon. . PLSW

Omnivores Dilemma B-4, Calea Victoriei 214, MPiata Victoriei, tel. (+4) 021 212 56 66, www.omnivores.ro. Brilliant! Tiny place serving the best cooked lunch in central Bucharest. There are just a few dishes to choose from each day: ask the staff whats good, hand over a pittance and try and bag a seat at one of the tables (there are only three or four). You can take away if there is no space. The kind of place Bucharest needs loads more of. QOpen 12:00 - 22:00. Closed Sat, Sun. . PVGSW Phill Str. Drumul Potcoavei 120, tel. (+4) 0743 17 20 17, phill@phill.ro, www.phill.ro. This place, located in Bucharests northern suburbs, takes restaurant design in the Romanian capital to new heights: we have not seen its like before. Contemporary, bright, modern yet with a traditional twist it is a sensational place to eat. Whats more, the food, which could easily be overwhelmed by such surroundings, is as fresh and inventive as the design. Great place to impress clients or dates. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. . PLVSW
Vacarescu 241A, tel. (+4) 0756 10 05 00, rezervari@ gosofa.ro, www.gosofa.ro. Sensational contemporary restaurant which caters during the day to the movers and shakers in the nearby office buildings, while in the evening it becomes the eatery of choice for Bucharests foodie set. Everything on the menu, from the duck with foie gras to the saffron risotto with tempura prawns is fantastic, and worth every penny. Theres a cheaper but no less tasty bistro menu too. Q Open 12:00 - 24:00 (Restaurant), 08:00 - 24:00 (Bistro Cafe). . PLESW

Sofa Restaurant & Bistro Cafe C-2, B-dul Barbu

Teatro B-4, Calea Victoriei 37B (Novotel Bucharest

City Centre), MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 308 85 30, fax (+4) 021 313 11 37, www.novotel.com. So-called because the Novotel stands on the site of Bucharests preWorld War II National Theatre, this is a great new addition to the citys restaurant scene. Expect inventive, exciting new flavours, all served in a warm and most un-hotel like

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atmosphere. An instant hit. QOpen 06:00 - 23:00. Sunday Brunch 12:30 - 16:00, 190 lei/pers, free for children under 12. . PTULGW A-1, B-dul Poligrafiei 1 (Crowne Plaza), tel. (+4) 021 224 00 34, contact@laveranda.ro, www.laveranda.ro. The feather in the Crowne Plazas cap, this is now the hotels flagship restaurant, a work of great detail where everything is lovingly prepared by Exec Chef Ashlie Dias and his highly experienced team. Based around Mediterranean cuisine you can always expect to find something exotic and a bit different on the daring menu, and a number of the dishes require waiter or audience - thats you, diner -participation. An indulgent treat. QOpen 18:00 - 23:00. Closed Sat, Sun. . PEW

The Vinyard

tury house, this elegant restaurant combines good food with good wine and good jazz music: there is a live performance most evenings. Serves the best broccoli soup weve eaten in this city, and look out for the lunchtime set menu: a bargain. QOpen 12:00 - 22:00. Closed Sun. . PLVBSW

Veranda Casa Frumoasa B-4, Str. Clopotarii Vechi 5, MPiata Victoriei, tel. (+4) 0733 73 59 32, www.verandacasafrumoasa.ro. Simply put, this one of the top five restaurants in Bucharest. Combining a contemporary setting with fine food, this is a gourmets delight. The frequently changing menu is a mix of cuisines and flavours and always - no matter how often you come - features something new and exciting to try. The conservatory-esque setting is terrific, and there are outstanding wines and champagnes to complement the food. A top, top place. QOpen 12:00 - 23:00. . PLSW

Uptown Bar & Grill B-3, Str. Rabat 2, tel. (+4) 021 231 40 77, office@uptown.ro, www.uptown.ro. Uptown indeed. In the wealthiest part of the wealthiest part of the city, the citys wealthiest people come here to eat. The real draw is the enclosed terrace which means you can eat al fresco even when its snowing outside. The food is good, a mix of Italian-esque and modern European dishes, which share a menu with an excellent wine list. Prices not cheap but value for money very high. Make sure you reserve well in advance or turn up with a local celebrity if you want a table on the terrace. QOpen 10:00 - 23:00, Sun 10:00 - 21:00. . PBSW Varr D-4, Str. Silvestru 67, tel. (+4) 021 210 30 39, www.varr.ro. Calling itself The House of T astes there are certainly plenty of tasty treats on the menu here. Set over three levels (including a lovely loft) in a wonderful 19th cen-

Italian
tel. (+4) 021 601 34 36/(+4) 021 311 90 00, caffecitta. bucharest@radissonblu.com, www.caffe-citta.ro. Styled as a Northern Italian city centre cafe/bistro the emphasis here is on good, simple, urban food. Try the risotto with saffron, the saltim bocca and the tiramisu: all signature dishes and all done to perfection. The drinks menu is a bit special: go for the apple mojito (as delicious as it sounds) or try any number of great wines, all available by the glass. Keep the kids happy with the freshly made ice cream. QOpen 11:00 23:30. . PLGBW

Caffe Citta B-4, Calea Victoriei 63-81 (Radisson Blu),

Capricciosa B-dul Ion Ionescu de la Brad 2, tel. (+4)

021 233 06 35/(+4) 0722 22 47 99 (+) 0723 26 90 30, capricciosa_restaurant@yahoo.com, www.restau-

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rantcapricciosa.ro. A bustling Italian restaurant and pizzeria whose menu is a veritable dictionary of pizza. They even do truffles and, lets face it, you dont see those every day on a menu in Bucharest. Well worth making the journey uptown for both the food and the atmosphere, which demonstrates that top restaurants dont have to be fitze. QOpen 12:00 24:00. . PLSW

Cucina B-6, Calea 13 Septembrie 90 (JW Marriott Bu-

charest Grand Hotel), tel. (+4) 021 403 19 02, www. cucinarestaurant.ro. Bright and breezy, Cucina at the JW Marriott is a wonderful Italian restaurant where you can find probably the best (and perhaps only) swordfish steak in the city. The veal cutlets are incredibly expensive but worth every penny, while for a simple reminder of great cooking and intense flavours, the pumpkin and goose liver soup is a masterpiece. No fewer than 19 good Italian reds grace the wine menu. Q Open 12:30 - 16:00, 18:00 - 23:00, Sun 18:00 - 23:00. . PLESW 87/(+4) 021 231 23 86, office@grano.ro, www.grano. ro. An Italian the likes of which many of the other so-called Italian restaurants in Bucharest can only dream of becoming. Serving simple yet delicious food - such as the saffron risotto - that will have you telling all your friends to come here, you can also buy many of the special ingredients they use in their little shop. Oh, and did we mention the chocolate cake? QOpen 09.30 - 22.00, Sun 09.30 - 18.00. . PLESW

Alfonso Salvaggio in the kitchen, the Italian stakes continue to get ratcheted up another notch, and it is all to the benefit of us diners. All the pasta here is made fresh, the meat is the finest Argentine and Scottish beef or New Zealand lamb, and the wine is a selection of the best the world has to offer. The warm foie gras with onion confit starter was probably our favourite dish, however. Prices are high-ish, but reflect quality, and by no means reach the levels of a few other places we could mention. QOpen 18:00 - 24:00. Closed Sun. . PLW

Osteria Gioia A-3, B-dul Ion Mihalache 16, MPiata

Grano C-3, Str. Putul lui Zamfir 40, tel. (+4) 0731 14 81

Victoriei, tel. (+4) 021 311 37 50/(+4) 0734 04 46 42, rezervari@osteriagioia.ro, www.osteriagioia.ro. One of very few genuinely brilliant Italian eateries in Bucharest. Everything is done properly, from pasta made on the premises to the correct oils for the different dishes. We ate the excellent troffiette with smoked pancetta, porcini mushrooms, truffles and pecorino, which was followed by slow-cooked veal shanks in wine and aromatic herbs. Even the place itself is wonderful: long, narrow, with a great bar it is a foodies heaven. Go there. QOpen 12:00 - 23:00. . PLBSW

Modigliani Pasta/ Carne C-5, Str. Batistei 9 (InterContinental), MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0730 64 48 06, modigliani@interconti.ro. A new menu this spring means that you just have to get along here, to what is the InterContinentals showpiece restaurant. Boasting top chef

A-3, Str. Clucerului 7, tel. (+4) 0729 57 48 02, catalina_ r23@yahoo.com, www.trattoriailcalcio.ro. As opposed to T rattoria Il Calcio? Yes. For this is a ristorante, a notch up from trattoria. Expect a more refined menu and surroundings, but the same warm, friendly service and great value (if pricier) food youve come to expect from the Il Calcio boys. This first Il Calcio restaurant is in a lovely house on Strada Clucerului, quickly becoming something of a magnet for great places to eat. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 12:00 - 01:00. . PLBSW

Ristorante Il Calcio

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Restaurants
Romanian History to 1945
Romania BC The Danube basin first becomes recognisable as a state under Burebista (82-44BC), whose empire of Geto-Dacians comprehended what we today call western Wallachia, Transylvania and the Banat. The Roman Years The Geto-Dacians are defeated after two campaigns (from 101-102 and from 105-106) by a Roman Empire about to reach its zenith under Emperor Trajan. The Romans abandon Dacia in 271, its borders having become increasingly costly to defend. The Middle Ages After Goths, Pechenegs and Cumans all came and went, the Magyars emerge as the dominating force in Transylvania by the end of the eleventh century, and the province becomes an important regional military and political centre within the greater Hungarian Empire. Many ethnic Romanians withdraw to the Danube basin, where Basarab (c. 1310-1352) creates the principality of Wallachia. Moldavia becomes an independent principality after Bogdan of Cuhea defeats a Hungarian army during the winter of 1364-1365. 16th Century After the death of Stephen the Great (Stefan cel Mare; 1504), Moldavia and Wallachia are forced to accept Ottoman suzerainty, and when Hungary is defeated by the Turks at the Battle of Mohacs in 1526, Romania finds itself entirely at the behest of the Sublime Porte. In 1600 Michael the Brave (Mihai Bravu) briefly unites the three principalities, but the new state lasts less than a year. 18th Century As the Turkish Empire begins to crumble throughout the region, so the Russian and Hapsburg Empires fill the void. 19th Century Moldavia and Wallachia achieve independence after the First Russo-Turkish War in 1829. In 1859, Wallachia and Moldavia are unified. In 1881 a German, Prince Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, is invited to become the countrys king, and takes the name Carol. Early 20th Century Carol dies in 1914 and his nephew, Ferdinand I, becomes King. The country remained neutral during the Great War until 1916, when Romania sided with Britain, France, Italy and Russia. At the 1919 Paris Peace Conference Romania was awarded Transylvania, Bucovina, Bessarabia, Southern Dobruja (Dobrogea) and part of the Banat. In 1930 Ferdinand died, and was succeeded by his wayward, playboy son, Carol II, who reigned until 1940 before being forced to abdicate in favour of his son, Michael. Romania remained neutral at the outbreak of the Second World War, but after General Ion Antonescu formed a government in September 1940, Romania declared war on the USSR. Romanian forces then occupied Bessarabia, and fought on the side of the Nazis until August 23, 1944, when Michael attempted to stave off a Soviet invasion by ousting Antonescu in a palace coup (quite literally - Antonescu was arrested at Peles Castle, in Sinaia). Romania then re-entered the war on the side of the Allies on August 26, but the Red Army occupied Bucharest shortly after.

Robertos C-5, Str. Episcopiei 1-3 (Athenee Palace

Hilton), tel. (+4) 021 303 37 77, fax (+4) 021 315 21 21. Robertos is bigger and better than ever. It now boasts an open kitchen, three distinct dining areas and a private dining room. The food is simple, classical, with the menu boasting the best dishes from a number of Italian regions. The Gualtiero Machesi risotto with gold leaf is amazing, and the baccala with mash sensational. Its not cheap, but prices reflect the high quality. In a nutshell, its worth every penny: this is one of the top five restaurants in the land. Q Open 06:30 - 10:00, 12:00 - 15:00, 19:00 - 24:00. Sunday Brunch from 13:00, 195 lei/pers, 92 lei/children between six and 18, free for children under six. . PTGSW

1, MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 0735 33 30 21, www. trattoriadonvito.ro. They get a lot right here, not least the bean soup that is a meal in itself. Excellent salads, and the seafood-packed signature Don Vito pasta was memorable. There is pizza too, the sweets are delicious and the place itself is decked out well without ever overdoing it. Well worth a look. Note that downstairs is a totally non-smoking section. Commendable. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 12:00 - 01:00. . PSW

Trattoria Don Vito Ristorante C-4, Str. Mendeleev

Trattoria Il Calcio C-5, Str. Benjamin Franklin 1-3, tel. (+4) 0732 52 81 40, www.trattoriailcalcio.ro. What we have here is the best use of perhaps the best terrace space in the city. As with the original Il Calcio, service can be a bit hit and miss but the good - if not outstanding - Italian food at fantastic prices makes this a good default choice for dinner. Stick to the pizzas, salads, have a little patience and you will love the place. Q Open 12:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 12:00 - 01:00. Also at (C-4) Str. Mendeleev 14, (+4) 0722 13 42 99; (I-4) Str. Delea Veche 36, tel. (+4) 0726 01 03 83; (C-3) Calea Floreasca 118-120, tel (+4) 0728 63 99 06, Soseaua Nordului 7-9, tel (+4) 0724 70 66 65. . PBSW
tel. (+4) 021 210 81 57/(+4) 0722 36 87 45, www. trattoria-roma.ro. Brilliant, truly brilliant, and we rarely give praise that high. It might nominally be an Italian but what people come to this place for is the seafood. The huge plates of steaming mussels are top value, and theres fresh lobster (fresh as in they pick it live out of a fish tank). Add in decent house wine at giveaway prices, good pasta (a classic aglio, olio is recommended) and you have a winner. The Eminescu location is our favourite place in the city right now, and that from a city guide not meant to have favourites... QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. Also at (A-6) Str. Dr. Lister 1, tel. (+4) 0766 33 42 24, (+4) 021 441 63 30. . PLSW

Trattoria Roma D-4, Str. Mihai Eminescu 114-116,

Japanese
Grand Plaza), MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 021 201 50 30, www.hojoplaza.ro/en/benihana. With cracking new menus specially put together for the season, this is a great time to come and try the vast array of terrific Japanese specialities on offer at Benihana. A staple on the Bucharest dining scene for some years now, it is a tremendous mix of the new, the daring and the traditional. Expert chefs and staff will explain Japanese cuisine to newcomers, and the chances are you will want to come more than once. Great value, and perfect for big groups. Q Open 12:00 - 15:00, 19:00 - 23:00. . PTULSW

Benihana B-3, Calea Dorobantilor 5-7 (Howard Johnson

Sushi Ko B-1, Sos. Nordului 1, tel. (+4) 0736 88 86 88, www.sushiko.ro. Three wonderful restaurants. The food is fantastic, and the extensive menu covers every area of bucharest.inyourpocket.com

Bucharest In Your Pocket

Restaurants
Japanese cuisine, from sushi to sashimi. The vibe is casual, the set menus are great value, and remember that there is an Old Town location too. Staff are friendly and helpful, taking time out to explain the finer points of Japanese dining to beginners. All three locations are well worth a visit, and if you cant get there in person, theres home delivery too. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. Also at (C-6) Str. Stavropoleos 8, tel. (+4) 0758 08 84 00, lipscani@sushiko.ro, open 12:00 - 24:00 and at Sos. Bucuresti-Ploiesti 42D (Baneasa Shopping City, ground floor), tel. (+4) 0744 34 44 44, open 12:00 - 22:30. . PSW

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Lebanese
Al Wady C-4, Calea Dorobanti 18, MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 0730 96 66 66, dukhi_ali@yahoo.com. A new entry that goes straight to the top of the Lebanese in Bucharest charts. Superbly cooked and presented authentic Lebanese food in a fabulous villa located close to Piata Romana, at prices that are more than accessible to all pockets. Service is good, staff friendly and at this time of year you can enjoy it all al fresco. Perfect. QOpen 10:00 - 24:30, Fri, Sat, Sun 10:00 - 01:30. . PLBSW
(+4) 0740 00 78 78, www.cheztoni.ro. Terrific Lebanese food in the leafy, away-from-it-all setting of the Pescariu Tennis and Sports Club. All your Middle Eastern favourites are here, from Antaki, Adana and Beiti kebabs to sujuk (those tangy, spicy little sausages) and simple yet perfectly grilled sea bass (and a ton of other fresh fish). Everything is cooked by the resident Lebanese chef. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. . PLESW

Chez Toni C-2, Str. Glodeni 3, tel. (+4) 021 242 02 04/

Grenadine B-5, Str. George Enescu 23, MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 0732 98 47 38, www.grenadine.ro. Bucharests most centrally located Lebanese might just be its best yet. The decor is a step up from other restaurants of the genre, and the Lebanese menu is both authentic and extensive. We loved the sambusik - the cheese and spinach ones especially - the lamb chops and the signature Grenadine salad, packed with olives and nuts. For the less adventurous there are a few international stand-bys to choose from. QOpen 11:00 - 24:00. . PVBSW Piccolo Mondo A-3, Str. Clucerului 9, tel. (+4) 021
222 57 55/(+4) 0722 20 50 20, www.piccolomondo.ro. Lebanese food that is both filling (with plenty for vegetarians to choose from) and well made. Kebabs are one of the chefs strong points, and are very tasty indeed. After your meal you can enjoy a smoke on a hookah pipe. Always packed so reserve a table. QOpen 10:30 - 24:30. . PVBSW

Medieval
Taverna Templierilor B-5, B-dul Mihail Kogalniceanu 3, tel. (+4) 021 367 17 01. A medieval extravanganza of a restaurant where you can sit at wooden tables - including a round one, ala King Arthur - and tuck into massive portions of all your Romanian favourites, from pork knuckles to home-made sausages and juicy steaks. There is live music most nights from a top taraf band, and its very difficult not to have a good time here. Groups especially will love it. Q Open 24hrs. . PVESW

Mediterranean
Cerisiers A-2, Str. Al. Constantinescu 33, tel. (+4) 0722
59 98 05, www.restaurantcerisiers.ro. We attended a Christening at this place recently, and were blown away by

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Restaurants
the quality of the food: really outstanding. The seafood and fish dishes are the best of whats on the menu, but there is more than that to enjoy: try the cracking salads or the beef carpaccio. As for the rooftop terrace, there is no more romantic place to eat in the city. In the right weather of course. Q Open 12:00 - 24:00. . PLBSW 18 89 42/(+4) 021 232 24 41, reservation@lescolonnes.ro, www.lescolonnes.ro. French, Spanish and seafood is on the menu at this excellent eatery in the north of the city. We ate the lemon chicken with grilled vegetables and loved it, and the live jazz singer made it all the more memorable an evening. An active kind of place that wants to be more than just a dining room its warm, friendly and the staff make you feel part of the family. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. . PLVEKSW seen to be believed. The stained-glass skylight being the (quite literal) highpoint. Theres live music and even tango some evenings - phone to check when. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. . PTLEBSW

Mexican/Tex Mex
C-4, Str. Iancu Capitanu 30, tel. (+4) 021 252 66 88/ (+4) 0728 17 60 59, www.eltorito.ro. Tex-Mex as it should be: spicy, tasty but free of frills. Expect the biggest and best burrittos in the city, topped with lashings of tangy cheese; sizzlingly hot fajitas, no fewer than eight types of taco and best of all - that splendid Mexican staple so often forgotten or passed over as being dull: cream of corn soup. The super nachos are worth trying too: filled with ground beef the portion is big enough to serve as a main course. In fact, beware: all the portions here are supersized. Though you would be a fool to forego a nosh here, if you just fancy a drink at the bar nobody seems to mind. Let the margaritas and the mojitos flow. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. . PVEBSW

Les Colonnes Str. Virgil Madgearu 33, tel. (+4) 0741

El Torito

Novi Aquarium Calea Floreasca 111-113, tel. (+4) 031 405 05 97/(+4) 0730 07 77 23, info@noviaquarium.ro, www.noviaquarium.ro. From the people who brought you what was for years the citys best Italian restaurant, Aquarium, is Novi Aquarium, an even better place to eat and be seen, this time located on one of the most fashionable streets in the city. The food has moved from Italian to Mediterranean, with a heavy accent on superior seafood, as well as a few dishes we have not seen on other menus in Bucharest. The lamb risotto for example: simple yet fantastic. Great wine list too, with something for all pockets. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. . PLVESW
0733 07 74 82, tortugamt@hotmail.com, www.tortugarestaurant.ro. Mediterranean restaurant with a heavy accent on seafood, and lots more besides. Great, big salads, huge plates of mixed meze (perfect for big groups to share) and no fewer than four lamb dishes, including some of the best lamb chops weve eaten in Bucharest. Modern, contemporary yet understated design adds to the joy of dining here. We like it. QOpen 09:00 - 23:00. . PLSW

La Tortilla A-3, B-dul Ion Mihalache 23, tel. (+4) 0734 44 22 11/(+4) 0731 22 11 21, www.latortilla.ro. A short walk north from the Peasant Museum along B-dul 1 Mai is this fairly good Tex-Mex joint serving passably good fast-food style burritos, tacos and quesadillas. Decent prices, attracts a lot of lunching office workers as well as late night clubbers. Q Open 24hrs. . PVSW

Restaurant Tortuga D-5, Str. Traian 234, tel. (+4)

Modern European
Cafe Athenee C-5, Str. Episcopiei 1-3 (Athenee Palace
Hilton), tel. (+4) 021 303 37 77, www.hiltonbucharest. com. The village pub, where the city comes to meet and have a terrific lunch. The menu boasts a burger long considered one of the best in the city, and a couple of desserts that will have you loosening your belts. There is also a bites menu of substantial finger food for executive snacking, and a bigger, wider range of beers, wines and cocktails then ever, which is why it is now as popular as an after-work venue as it is at lunchtime. Q Open 08:00-20:00. . PESW

Sharkia B-4, Calea Victoriei 63-81 (Radisson Blu), tel. (+4) 021 311 90 00. Sharkia blows in to the Radisson like the eponymous wind and brings with it some top class dining at the hotels latest restaurant. In place of Le Bistro what we have here is a dining room where the focus is on Eastern Mediterranean food, the freshest seasonal ingredients and supremely healthy eating. You can feast on a great range of dishes from across the region, there are some fine wines and its all done with that magical Radisson swish. We love it. QOpen 12:00 - 23:00. . PLG Studio 80 Aleea Privighetorilor 80, tel. (+4) 0749 78
83 46/(+4) 031 437 97 29, office@studio-80.ro, www. studio-80.ro. For something a bit different in a location well away from the bustle of the city centre it is worth trying the fare on offer here at Studio 80. A good range of food on offer, from good meats to fish and sea food, and all done with a genuine Mediterranean twist. Top wine list and prices are certainly reasonable. Worth the trip. QOpen 12:00 - 01:00. . PLVBSW

Prime Steaks & Seafood B-4, Calea Victoriei 63-81

(Radisson BLU), tel. (+4) 021 311 90 00, www.primerestaurant.ro. Boasting a menu put together by Executive Chef Bernd Kirsch, who has been in charge of the kitchen here since Prime opened more than two years ago, what is perhaps Bucharests best restaurant recently got better. Now serving the finest fillet steak in the world (the Irish Hereford Prime - which we can tell you, as we have eaten it, is amazing), we can also recommend the duet of foie gras with raspberry mousse and caremelized pineapple, the grilled scallops and the lobster bisque. (And just about everything else). Its genuinely amazing this place, and worth every last penny. Q Open 12:30 - 15.00, 18.00 - 23.00, Sat 18.00 - 23.00. Closed Sun. . PLG

Romanian
650 50 00, www.bistrojaristea.ro. From the people who have long brought you some of the citys finest Romanian food comes this place, a contemporary eatery for friends. Duck breast with sweet cabbage, smoked fish and potato salad, baked carp with garlic and mamaliga are just a few of the great dishes you will find on the menu. Add in a bright, breezy setting, good service, visinata by the glass and you have a terrific new place to eat and spend most of the evening. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. . PLSW

Bistro Jaristea B-4, Str. Henri Coanda 5, tel. (+4) 021

211 80 78/(+4) 0755 04 14 81, office@villarodizio.ro, www.villarodizio.ro. A brand new South American churrascaria (thats a steak house to you and me) serving prime Brazilian steaks alongside a fine selection of Mexican and Argentinian dishes. The place itself is a splendid turn of the century (the 19th, that is) villa renovated to within an inch of its life and looking quite stunning. The interiors have to be

Villa Rodizio C-5, Str. I. L. Caragiale 32, tel. (+4) 021

Bucharest In Your Pocket

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Restaurants
Bistro La Taifas B-4, Str. Gheorghe Manu 16, tel. (+4) 021 212 77 88, www.bistrotaifas.ro. The thinking mans La Mama. La Taifas means having a chat and thats exactly what you and your friends will feel like doing at this tres jolie venue. We remain convinced that the original venue behind the Hilton on Str. Episcopiei was better, but the new location is more spacious, and hosts more regular musical soirees. The food is great, and booking is still essential. QOpen 12:00 - 01:00. . PLEBSW Casa Doina B-3, Sos. Kiseleff 4, tel. (+4) 021 222 67
17, restaurant@casadoina.ro, www.casadoina.ro. Alma mater of Romanian restaurants, an integral part of the citys rich tapestry. This classy place pulls in the cream of Bucharest society, served by charming, splendid waiters in smart dress. The food is superb, and in a city where standards rise only to fall so often, Casa Doina can be considered a paragon of consistency. QOpen 11:00 - 01:00. . PLESW peoples homes. Seriously: only in two or three other places in Bucharest will you find carnati de oaie (mutton sausages) or bors de peste. If you are feeling really hungry go for the platou mioritic: a huge plate of meaty treats. QOpen 10:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 10:00 - 02:00. . PJEBSW

Locanta Jaristea B-6, Str. George Georgescu 50-52, tel. (+4) 021 335 33 38/(+4) 0721 96 19 36, www. jaristea.ro. This is that rarity in Bucharest (and indeed Romania): an upmarket Romanian restaurant. The surroundings, location, exquisitely decorated dining rooms, service and choice of high quality food will convince you of that. This is one of very few places in Romania where you can enjoy an entire suckling pig (though note that you will need to phone ahead and ask then to start preparing it a day in advance) and sample some of the best vintage wines Romania has ever produced. QOpen 11:00 - 02:00. . PLVESW Nicoresti C-5, Str. Maria Rosetti 40, tel. (+4) 021 211
24 80, www.restaurantnicoresti.ro. Maybe we have been harsh in the past with our reviews of Nicoresti. It is, after all, one of the most celebrated Romanian restaurants in the city, and given that the service - always our biggest problem with the place - has improved no end of late, we think it is about time we give it another chance. We suggest you do the same, for the food has always been very good. The ciolan de porc (pork knuckle) with beans is legendary: ask anyone in the city! QOpen 11:00 - 23:00, Sun 13:00 - 23:00. . PS

Blcescu 4 (Hotel InterContinental), MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 310 20 20, www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/ ic/1/en/hotel/BUHHA/dining. Breakfast, lunch or dinner on the boulevard; Magheru, that is. If this place doesnt occupy the best people-watching spot in the whole of the city, then we dont know where does. The menu has gone more local of late: you can now enjoy exemplary sarmale and mamaliga here, as well as a brilliant iahnie de fasole with ciolan (pork knuckle with beans to you and me). Also still home of the best brunch in town. Q Open 06:30 - 10:30, 12:00 - 23:00, Sat 06:30 - 11:30, 12:00 - 23:00, Sun 06:30 - 11:00. 12:00 - 23:00. Sunday Brunch 12:00 - 16:00, 175 lei/pers, children under six free, children between six and 12 half price. . PTLEBW

Corso Brasserie & Terrace C-5, B-dul Nicolae

Good Old Times (Golden Tulip Times Hotel) E-6, B-dul Decebal 19, MPiata Muncii, tel. (+4) 021 316 65 16, www.restauranttimes.ro. The prawn spring rolls we ate here were just about the crispiest, lightest and tastiest we have come across in Bucharest. We couldnt make better at home (and we tried). There are plenty of other treats on a varied international (with a hint of Romanian) menu here too. This is a real surprise of a restaurant: do not let the hotel location put you off. Note the last kitchen order is at 22:30. QOpen 12:00 - 23:00. . PLGSW Hanu Berarilor Casa Soare B-6, Str. Poenaru Bordea
2, tel. (+4) 021 336 80 09, (+4) 0729 40 08 00, www. hanuberarilor.ro. This place is the new must visit restaurant in Bucharest. Housed in the former Casa Bucur (a place you could write a book about) it is a very good Romanian restaurant serving the kind of food you only usually get in

Rossetya C-5, Str. Dimitrie Bolintineanu 9, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 031 805 91 99/(+4) 0748 22 02 20, rossetya@gmail.com, www.rossetya.ro. Romanian food is never going to win any awards for originality, it being a mix of various Balkan cuisines, yet Rossetya tries harder than most to take it to new levels. As such this is as upmarket as you can get, and the beef dishes here are especially good. Try the sote de vacuta aromat cu cognac: tender beef sauteed in cognac with mushrooms and tomatoes. Also worth trying is the iahnie de fasole: a Romanian bean stew that packs something of a kick and proof that Romanian does do vegetarian food. QOpen 11:00 - 24:00. . PSW
sitate, tel. (+4) 021 315 83 75/(+4) 0721 20 08 00, vatra@vatra.ro, www.vatra.ro. We have been eating here for years and we cant recommend the place highly enough. You really will have go a long way to find better value Romanian food than this. A brilliant, well-priced restaurant close to Old Town and very close to Cismigiu Park, expect big portions of tasty local dishes. Great ciorbas, terrific mici and a decent pint of beer to wash it all down with. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. . PLSW

Vatra Restaurant B-5, Str. Ion Brezoianu 19, MUniver-

Bucharest In Your Pocket

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Restaurants

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(+4) 021 310 06 81, www.violetas.ro. The concept is great: very good traditional and modern Romanian food (the cook is not afraid to experiment) with more than a nod towards the vegetarian served off a menu that changes every day. You can check the menu online (it is always up to date) and then decide if you fancy anything before setting off. Chances are you will spot plenty you like. The place itself is tiny yet lovely, the staff wonderful and as a whole it is just so un-Bucharest that you will want to squeeze it and hug it. QOpen 09:00 - 22:00, Mon 12:00 - 22:00, Sat 10:00 - 22:00. Closed Sun. . PGBSW

Violetas Vintage Kitchen C-5, Str. Batistei 23, tel.

Str. Ion Campineanu 10, tel. (+4) 031 620 12 39 and many other locations around the city. .

Seafood
2, MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 0721 98 28 48, www. fishbonegrill.ro. Another fish restaurant more than worth the name adds itself to the growing list of such establishments in Bucharest. Well prepared, fresh fish in bright, modern surroundings with a great selection of side dishes and plenty of cracking wine to wash it all down with. Good lunchtime deals and friendly, happy staff ready to make your time here memorable. Certainly one of our fave places to open this year. QOpen 10:00 - 24:00. . PSW (+4) 021 224 00 34, www.laveranda.ro. This place at the Crowne Plaza is housed inside a glass terrace offering wonderful views of the garden outside: a joy in any weather. It serves deceptively simple yet exquisite fish and sea food as fresh as the day it was caught, and the chef will happily cook to order. Q Open 06:00 - 10:30, 12:00 - 16:00, 18:00 - 23:00, Sat, Sun 06:00 11:30, 12:30 - 16:00, 18:00 - 23:00. . PLEW

Fishbone Lunch & Pub C-4, Str. Gen. Ernest Brosteanu

Sandwiches
(+4) 0754 08 17 75, www.paul.fr. Upmarket sandwich shops par excellence, now in more and more locations around the city. The finest, crispiest bread gets wrapped around upmarket fillings. There are pastries too, and even soups. A couple of tables inside, but it is mainly a takeaway-place for the office workers of the area. QOpen 08:00 - 22:00, Sun 10:00 - 22:00. Also at various locations around the city. PGBSW

Paul B-2, Str. Radu Beller 1, tel. (+4) 021 230 17 33,

La Veranda A-1, B-dul Poligrafiei 1 (Crowne Plaza), tel.

Sandwich Factory B-4, Calea Victoriei 12A, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 031 620 12 77, www.snackattack. ro. The best thing to happen to lunchtime in Bucharest... ever. Sandwich Factory, now with more than eight outlets around town, stocks well made, well filled sandwiches of all shapes and sizes, from baguettes to bagels to classic English doorsteps. Ignore all other sandwich shops and get here immediately. Q Open 08:00 - 19:00. Closed Sat, Sun. Also at (D-4) Str. Batistei 17, tel. (+4) 031 620 12 43; (C-4) bucharest.inyourpocket.com

Mercado Fish & Grill B-2, Str. Prof. Ion Cantacuzino 8, MAviatorilor, tel. (+4) 0753 99 93 33. Its all change at Mercado, the restaurant formerly known as Arcade. With a new name, new look (both inside and out) and superb new menus it looks set to hang on to its long-earned reputation as one of the citys best eateries. The big terrace (at the right time of year) is one of the finest in Bucharest, the location on a relatively quite street helping to give it an exclusive, secluded atmosphere. QOpen 12:00 - 23:00. . PLSW February - March 2013

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Restaurants
Osho Fish B-2, B-dul Primaverii 19-21, tel. (+4) 021 311 88 26/(+4) 021 311 88 69, www.osho-restaurant. ro. Doing for Bucharests fish supper scene what Osho did for meat. Expect fine pieces of fresh fish and prime, fresh seafood cooked and prepared simply, with real class and with great care for the natural flavour of the fish. Prices reflect the high quality of the raw material, so charge it to expenses if you can, for this is a faultless establishment we have grown rather fond of. Get in there. QOpen 10:00 - 23:30. Closed Sun. . PVEBSW Taverna Pescareasca La Zavat E-5, Str. Popa Nan
16, tel. (+4) 021 252 29 56/(+4) 0766 52 67 91, www. taverna-lazavat.ro. Top little place with more atmosphere in its small toe than most other restaurants have in their entire bodies. Cracking menu of primarily fish and seafood, though there are local Romanian and international favourites too. An exemplary wine list (for all budgets) makes it a super place for vineyard fans: all of Romanias top wineries are represented. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. . PSW

Steak Houses
JW Steakhouse Bucharest B-6, Calea 13 Septembrie 90 (JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel), MIzvor/Eroilor, tel. (+4) 021 403 19 03, jwsteakhouse@marriott.com, www.jwsteakhouse.ro. The JW Marriott hosts one of Bucharests best chophouses: the JW Steakhouse, only the second such signature venue to open in Europe. You can expect a very American steakhouse experience, right down to the Black Angus beef imported from the US. The Tomahawk steak - weighing in at nearly a kilo - is the pick of the steaks, but there is much more besides, including broiled lobster and Australian lamb chops. There is a great selection of new world wines, and they open early for breakfast: the JW steak and eggs is a great way to start the day. Q Open 06:30 - 11:00, 12:30 - 16:00, 18:30 - 23:30, Sat 06:30 - 11:00, 18:30 23:30. Sunday Brunch 12:00 - 16:00, 195 lei/pers, children between six and twelve half price, children under six free. . PLESW
B-2, B-dul Primaverii 19-21, MAviatorilor, tel. (+4) 021 568 30 31, www.osho-restaurant.ro. Sometimes when writing a review, all you really want to write is this place is brilliant. This is a butchers shop and restaurant serving T-bone steaks you would scream for in the dark. There is more than steak on the menu though, such as a top burger (which comes in three sizes) and tangy lamb chops, and take note that all the meat is Romanian. Plus, theres a kids menu. We also have to admit to being pleasantly surprised about the prices: given the location (this is Beverly Hills, Bucharest) they are more than reasonable considering you get the best of the best. Packed at lunchtime. QOpen 10:30 - 23:30, Sat 10:00 - 24:00, Sun 10:00 - 22:00. . PVBSW

Spanish
MPiata Romana/Universitate, tel. (+4) 021 313 20 91/ (+4) 021 310 11 52, www.nadamas.ro. Nice. A bright, spacious and thoroughly modern eatery behind the Ateneu. For starters, take either the gazpacho (as good as it should be) or the mix of Spanish hams and sausages before moving on to the decent choice of seafood or meat main courses. We ate the very good oxtail - which we have not seen on a menu for years - as well as a portion of paella, which was richly packed with seafood. Then throw in some walnut tostados for dessert if you have room. At lunchtime there are very well-priced set menus. QOpen 12:00 24:00. Closed Sun. . PLSW

Osho

Restaurant Nada Mas C-5, Str. Nicolae Golescu 16,

Bucharest In Your Pocket

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Restaurants

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Texas West Grill Restaurant A-4, B-dul Banu Manta

2, MBasarab, tel. (+4) 021 222 03 00/(+4) 0732 49 58 95, rezervari@texas-west.ro, www.texas-west.ro. Not one but two people whose judgement on these things we consider beyond reproach told us that Texas West was now serving Bucharests best American burger. Having now visited ourselves, we can confirm that it is indeed special. There is much more besides burgers, such as the filet mignon with mashed sweet potatoes topped with Roquefort cheese. There are chicken skewers, beef skewers, lamb skewers and much more. They even have a childrens menu. The setting is bright and open, and the service impeccable. We loved it. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. . PTSW

food is the real deal, of which the food will convince you immediately. We had the Pla Praew Waanfish stir-fry followed by the prawn Phad Thai: both were sensational and well worth the money (its good value if not exactly cheap). Get there now. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. Last kitchen order 23:00. . PTLBW

Turkish
021 314 28 25, golden.falcon@bizcity.ro, www.goldenfalcon.ro. Still the greatest kebab house in the land, and still packing in the punters who come back time and again. There are no menus here: instead the waitresses will parade a trolley-full of meze before you to pick from, before coming round with the kebabs: pick which one you want then send it to be cooked in the open kitchen. We usually always go for the lamb kebabs, but in our experience all of them are well worth trying. Great desserts too. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. . PLS

Golden Falcon C-5, Str. Hristo Botev 18-20, tel. (+4)

Vacamuuu C-3, Calea Floreasca 111, tel. (+4) 0731 35 11 35, office@vacamuuu.com, www.vacamuuu. com. Currently the most talked-about chophouse in the city. Serving a range of steaks so wide and so good that even the most jaded of beefeaters will be drooling, you can also feast on lamb, veal and pork chops, while the burgers are a match for anywhere else. There is a kids menu, and the weekend all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet is top value. Most of the meat can be bought to take home and cook yourself should you wish, and then theres the wine list: a surprise we will let you discover yourself when you come here. QOpen 09:00 - 23:00. . PiTVSW

Urban Contemporary
Restaurant Madame Pogany C-3, Str. Banu Antonache 40-44, tel. (+4) 0744 10 56 13/(+4) 0743 66 17 82, razvan@madamepogany.ro, www.madamepogany.ro. Fine, upmarket yet casual restaurant of the new school in Floreasca/Dorobanti. The spacious, modern, well-lit dining room gives you a real sense of grandeur without ever becoming kitsch: a trick few have managed to pull off in Bucharest. There is little point telling you about the food as the menu changes almost daily: what we can say is that whatever you order you are likely to be happy with it. This is a great restaurant. QOpen 09:00 - 24:30, Sat, Sun 09:00 02:00. . PLBSW February - March 2013

Thai
Kunnai Str. Copilului 6, tel. (+4) 0722 68 73 43, www.
NEW

kunnai.ro. At last, place for those of us who have been craving something Thai since Moods closed a while ago now. This place is terrific, found on the ground floor of a new apartment block in a leafy northern part of Bucharest. The

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CAFs

Cafe Antipa by Artex A-3, B-dul Ion Mihalache 2, MPiata Victoriei, tel. (+4) 0730 03 01 40. Bucharests best museum (well, a contender for that title, anyway) also has its full-on cafe, right inside the museum building. Currently attracts a cool, trendy crowd of young arty types and coffeebreak mums, you will love it and want to stay all day: it could just be the most peaceful, relaxing coffee fix destination in the land. QOpen 09:00 - 24:00. PLBSW Cafe Times E-6, B-dul Decebal 19, MPiata Muncii, tel. (+4) 031 224 80 16, www.cafetimes.ro. Free Wifi with your (excellent) coffee and a can-do attitude from the staff who appear to realise that sometimes people are busy, and need their coffee double quick. Not every cafe in Bucharest does realise that... Having said that, this is the kind of laid-back place that you end up spending the whole afternoon in, no matter how busy you are. Q Open 07:00 - 24:00. PLESW Cafe Verona C-5, Str. Pictor Arthur Verona 13-15, MPiata
Romana, tel. (+4) 0732 00 30 60, info@cafeverona.ro. Sublime. The brilliant Carturesti bookshop has long served coffee with its books, and now there is wine; and cocktails too. And if there is a better place to drink coffee this close to the centre of Bucharest than this place then we know not of it. For lunch, long lazy afternoons or laid-back evenings with friends it is great, while for weekend brunch it makes a brilliant alternative to the big, expensive hotels. Always packed, a reservation is a good idea. QOpen 09:00 - 24:00. W

room. Great coffee and tea served in great mugs from gorgeous tea pots at tables which fill up early as the world pops in for espresso on its way to work. Lovely. QOpen 08:00 - 22:00, Fri 08:00 - 24:00, Sat 09.00 - 24.00, Sun 10.00 - 22.00.

Green Tea D-5, Str. Dr. Burghelea 24, tel. (+4) 021 320 93 96/(+4) 0749 09 02 02, www.greentea.ro. We know that there have been tea houses in Bucharest before, but none were ever like this. A gorgeous villa whose many rooms have all been lovingly decorated in a different theme (one is like your favourite Grans front room, another is like a country house) the list of teas available is as long as your arm. Some are very exotic indeed. And yes, besides taking tea here, you can buy just about all of the teas in the shop.QOpen 10:00 - 23:00, Sat, Sun 12:00 - 23:00. PGSW Kafeterya Cafe B-5, Str. Schitu Magureanu 8, MIzvor,
tel. (+4) 0726 22 25 67, www.kafeterya.ro. We know people who come here so often, and spend so much time here, that they should probably be paying rent! It is that kind of place: a friendly, local cafe serving top coffee, cocktails, light meals, salads and desserts to die for (the waffles are probably the best in Bucharest). Its packed with comfy sofas and armchairs, and we can guarantee that one visit will not be enough. QOpen 07:30 - 24:00. PLEXSW

Music Rooms Cafe D-4, B-dul Dacia 32, MPiata Romana,

Camera din Fata Str. Mendeleev 22, tel. (+4) 021 311
15 12, www.cameradinfata.ro. One of the best cafes to open in Bucharest for years. The name means Front room, and being here is in many ways just like being somebodys front

NEW

tel. (+4) 0726 53 73 78. Three rooms offering three different kinds of music: jazz/rock, Cuban and chillout. There is funky decor in all three, the prices are very good considering the location (just off Piata Romana, opposite the Howard Johnson hotel) and the crowd that congregates here is fun and trendy yet never tiresomely so. Definitely worth checking out at any time of day. QOpen 09:00 - 01:00, Sat, Sun 11:00 - 03:00. PSW

Readers Cafe B-4, Str. Grigore Alexandrescu 89-97, MStefan cel Mare, tel. (+4) 0737 32 33 77, www. readerscafe.ro. This place is one of the great things about the Metropolis Centre, of which the Starlight Suites and Loft restaurant also form part. You will find Readers on the ground floor, a modern, bright and well-lit space where you can read, drink great coffee or eat - far better than you would expect. The breakfast is terrific, the sandwiches tasty and well-filled, the salads big and the pasta light. Well separated smoking and non-smoking sections. Nice. QOpen 09:00 - 23:00, Sat 10:00 - 23:00. Closed Sun. PLESW Serendipity Tea House C-4, Str. Dumbrava Rosie 12, MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 0743 28 33 42, www. serendipity-tea.ro. Tea, and lots of it. There are more than 55 types of tea available, including the trademark Serendipity, an aromatic yet fruity green tea with more than a hint Bucharest In Your Pocket bucharest.inyourpocket.com

CAFs

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of strawberries. A quiet location just off an otherwise busy central street make this a superb choice for long, peaceful afternoons reading a good book with a great cup of tea or two. Oh, and we should point out that the coffee menu is not bad either. QOpen 17:00 - 23:00, Sat, Sun 11:00 - 23:00. TEGW

Subsol Bar

C-5, Str. Demetru Ion Dobrescu 5, MUniversitate, tel. +(4) 021 315 60 98, contact@subsolbar.ro, www. subsolbar.ro. Perhaps the most iconic building in Bucharest. Inside the shell of an old house destroyed during the 1989 revolution a new building has risen, home - fittingly - to Romanias architectural association. The cafe and bar which occupies part of the building is more than worthy of its location, a contemporary space where you can enjoy coffee and cocktails in the company of a good young crowd. There are tasty sandwiches too, which can be taken away of you are if a hurry. QOpen 10:00 - 24:00. PSW

Una B-5, Str. Dona Nicolae 18, tel. (+4) 0743 09 59 65, cafeneauauna.wordpress.com. Not a cafe, not a bar, not a pub. This is a bright, happy place for all sorts of events, from karaoke evenings to childrens craft fairs, poetry evenings to film nights. Oh, and we forgot to mention the dance classes and exhibitions. Check their website to see whats on when: chances are it will be something well worth checking out. QOpen 14:00 - 22:00, Fri, Sat 17:00 - 22:00. Closed Sun. G Vienna Lounge B-6, Calea 13 Septembrie 90 (JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel), tel. (+4) 021 403 19 01, viennalounge@marriott.com. The Marriotts posh flagship caf, which is exactly as youd expect: classy, enjoyable and expensive. Sit and try to read those unmanageable newspapers on a stick, while enjoying the occasional live piano music, plus the sight of business types buzzing about to conferences. QOpen 09:00 - 23:00. PLESW

Tekaffe B-4, Calea Grivitei 143 (Hello Hotels), MGara de Nord, tel. (+4) 0372 12 18 00. The in-house cafe at the Hello Hotel is as smart, cheap and good value as the hotel itself. Serves good coffee, pastries and the like, and all with added Wifi. A more than decent meeting place. QOpen 09:00 - 02:00. PLSW
Romana, tel. (+4) 0723 44 80 80, office@tonka.ro, www.tonka.ro. This place has indeed got soul, and plenty else besides. Warm and quiet coffee house by day, it becomes the perfect aperitivo spot when the sun goes down, then gets really wild as the music gets louder and the hours get shorter. Theres a good internet cafe in the basement. Q Open 24hrs. PRESW

Tonka Soul Cafe B-4, Str. Biserica Amzei 19, MPiata

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Nightlife
Bars
By Bars we refer to places where you are likely to do little else other than drink and be merry (though bar snacks may be available). By Pubs we mean venues where you can drink and get half-decent food.

English Bar C-5, Str. Episcopiei 1-3 (Athenee Palace Hilton), tel. (+4) 021 303 37 77 ext. 6759. One of our regular haunts. This little corner of the Hilton that will forever be associated with intrigue and spies (it has been around for nearly a century, as long as the hotel) remains today a classy bar serving champagne by the glass and much else besides (including a tremendous pint of Guinness). Packed with business leaders and stylish people most evenings it is hard not to love it. Even now has a DJ some nights. Q Open 17:00 - 02:00. PLW Intermezzo Piano Bar C-5, B-dul Nicolae Blcescu 4 (Hotel InterContinental), MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 310 20 20. Legendary hotel bar in the lobby of the Eenter, which was a den of iniquity and intrigue during the communist period, all spies and journalists, plots and honey traps. Now its merely a very cool place to meet and have a drink in superb surroundings. Another one of the many reasons why the InterContinental is once again a decent place to spend time. QOpen 08:00 - 01:00. PLEW
0730 88 33 77, andrei_gregorian@yahoo.com, www. pillow.ro. The odd Ikea coffee table aside (and lets face it, who hasnt got at least half a dozen Ikea coffee tables these days?), Pillow is the kind of place we like to see opening up. It is cool without being pretentious, serves Illy coffee and has a couple of tables that double as beds, hence the name. It is in fact the kind of place where you could happily enjoy an exotic smoke, though as this is Bucharest, not Amsterdam, the smoke will be limited to tangy middle eastern tobaccos taken through a narghilea. QOpen 19:00 - 03:00, Fri, Sat 19:00 - 05:00. PLW

Pillow Bar & Lounge C-4, Str. Comanita 5, tel. (+4)

Sky Bar B-3, Calea Dorobanti 155, tel. (+4) 0724 75 92

Ramayana Cafe A-5, Str. Baldovin Parcalabul 11, MGara de Nord, tel. (+4) 021 317 16 81/(+4) 0788 59 55 95, www.ramayana.ro. Looking like a cross between a Maharajas bedroom and the most luxurious hotel in Delhi, this cafe and cocktail bar is quite frankly unique. You will not find anywhere in Bucharest quite so startling in design, nor will you find a better place to bring a secret date for a little tete-a-tete. With more nooks and crannies than your grandmothers country house, pull up a cushion, sup on a hookah pipe and drink a green tea. Exceptional. Q Open 24 hrs. PEBSW

27, office@skybar.ro, www.skybar.ro. Leaving aside the disappointment that Sky Bar - despite being on the roof - is actually only on the fifth floor, its a classy little place for the monied set which comes here to drink cocktails and dine on very good food. The salads are outstanding, as are the steaks and there is plenty of buffet-style finger food if you just want nibbles with your drinks. Its corporate and business like but makes a change from drinking in yet another cellar in Old Town. QOpen 10:00 - 02:00. PVBSW

Stadio Sports Bar C-5, Str. Ion Campineanu 11, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 312 24 92, www.stadio.ro. Bright new sports bar (what else?), although note that the sports in question are more than likely to be Romanian: if a Premier League match clashes with a Romanian game you will be watching the local excuse for football. The food here is far better than you might expect for a sports bar: the salads especially are big and packed with fresh, tasty ingredients. QOpen 10:00 - 24:00, Sun 12:00 - 24:00. PJSW
Continental), MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0372 01 03 00, info@grandhotelcontinental.ro, www.grandhotelcontinental.ro. Elegant English bar and cigar lounge that - with its gorgeous leather armchairs - immediately reminded us of our favourite bar in Vienna (which shall rename nameless). And thats exactly what weve found ourselves doing here: its a great place to get away from the bustle of the city for a bit, to enjoy the fine selection of English teas (theres good coffee too) and later on one of more than 100 spirits. Oh, and they have a top selection cigars too, we should add. Q 24 hours. PLW

Victoria Club C-5, Calea Victoriei 56 (Grand Hotel

Bucharest In Your Pocket

bucharest.inyourpocket.com

Nightlife
Pubs
Almost all of the pubs in Bucharest listed here serve decent bar food alongside drinks.

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Cafeneaua Actorilor C-6, Str. Lipscani 66, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0721 90 08 42, cafeneauaactorilor@ ymail.com, www.cafeneauaactorilor.ro. Eternally popular late night choice of the actors who work in the National Theatre next door, this legendary bar remains a favourite of ours too. Loads of quiet corners for secret tete-a-tetes, you could conduct all sorts of affairs from down here. Not easy to find, the entrance is on the northern side of the National Theatre (opposite the InterContinental). They serve a great pizza. QOpen 10:00 - 03:00. PLNBW
B-5, Str. Gen. Berthelot 111, tel. (+4) 0723 11 22 00/ (+4) 0744 36 63 50, dreamerspub@gmail.com, www. dreamers.ro. As Spock might say, its Dreamers Jim, but not as we know it. For if you remember the old location as always being a bit cramped (though we have to admit it was not without its charms) then you are in for a nice shock at the new place. Everything you would expect from a pub is here, from football on the television to Guinness in the taps. QOpen 10:00 - 02:00, Sat 14:00 - 05:00, Sun 14:00 - 02:00. NSW C-5, Str. Edgar Quinet 9, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 314 18 43. At lunchtime office boys and students mix happily as they tuck into great sandwiches and salads, while in the evening a similarly mixed crowd of good time people enjoys the laid back atmosphere always on offer here. It gets crowded downstairs at weekends, but that just adds to the fun. Recently given a thorough makeover. QOpen 10:00 23:00, Sat, Sun 14:00 - 23:00. PNSW 0736 37 44 32, contact@energiea.ro, www.energiea. ro. The latest industrialesque bar to open in Bucharest. We like this place though: the high ceilings and big windows make it a good choice day and night, the original (we think?) floor looks great and there are a number of different rooms, not all of which carry the industrial-chic look. Best of all though we like the raised interior balcony. Top cocktail-sipping territory. QOpen 12:00 - 01:00, Fri, Sat 12:00 - 02:00. PLESW

Dreamers

Edgars Pub

Old Nick Pub C-4, Str. Dionisie Lupu 88 (Piata Lahovari),

Energiea B-6, Str. Brezoianu 4, MUniversitate, tel. (+4)

MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 0733 52 51 50, oldnickromania@gmail.com, www.oldnickpub.ro. Three-level venue in Piata Lahovari, featuring a club downstairs (open until 4am), with a pub on the ground floor and a cafe on the first. The pub is great, unsurprising when you find out that it is run by the same people who have for ten years operated the legendary Old Nick Pub in Sinaia. Besides decent drinks at decent prices there is a good bar food menu, and the cafe upstairs comes complete with art on the walls (for sale, we believe) is well worth a visit. QOpen 09:00 - 24:00, Sat, Sun 12:00 - 24:00. PSW

Happy Pub B-4, Str. Caderea Bastiliei 36, MPiata

Victoriei, tel. (+4) 0729 89 27 68/(+4) 0742 03 49 90, ionimanzatu@yahoo.com, www.happypub.ro. What could be termed as a good, solid, no frills pub that eschews clutter and trendy crap and concentrates on the beer, the cocktails and treating its customers well. Theres a regular crowd of locals and foreigners, and its the kind of place where you never feel too young or too old. Top selection of brews (including several imported British beers and stouts), decent music and bar food. We like it. QOpen 10:00 - 01:00, Sat, Sun 18:00 - 02:00. PSW

tel. (+4) 0732 22 26 66, www.primuspub.ro. Big pub that goes a long towards convincing us that we do not need to go to Old Town to find a decent drinker in Bucharest. From the very good attempt at an English breakfast to a decent pint of both Guinness and Kilkenny you can add their own beer, Primus, a decent-tasting bargain. The huge windows open fully so it feels much like a street cafe. Service is good too, and we love the retro-style black and white tiled floor. QOpen 09:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 11:00 - 02:00, Sun 11:00 24:00. PBW C-4, Str. Eremia Grigorescu 17, tel. (+4) 021 211 22 72, info@shiftpub.ro, www.shiftpub.ro. Its doubtful that youve seen anything like this place in Bucharest before. Shift is a Bohemian restaurant/bar/club of some style. It is, in a word, gorgeous, and has been packed since opening day with the hippest and coolest people in the land. Late at night this is the smartest chill-out venue in the city, and we (and just about everybody else) love it. QOpen 12:00 - 03:00, Sat, Sun 12:00 - 05:00. PSW

Primus B-5, Str. George Enescu 3, MPiata Romana,

212 48 86/(+4) 0728 92 06 20, lacalderon80@yahoo. com, www.lacalderon80.ro. With its wooden interior, inoffensive music and gangs of young people clustered round big tables, La 80 does little to distinguish itself from a swathe of similar establishments. Reasonable food and prices, and this little place opposite Gradina Icoanei is a nice retreat from more frantic places elsewhere. QOpen 11:00 - 01:00. PBSW

La Calderon 80 C-5, Str. J.L. Calderon 80, tel. (+4) 021

Shift

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Nightlife

Terminus B-5, Str. George Enescu 5, MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 021 318 16 67/(+4) 0730 22 25 55, contact@ terminus.ro, www.terminus.ro. Pub/bar on the ground floor, while downstairs there is a basement bar which becomes more a nightclub with an industrial feel as the evening wears on. Theres a big bar and getting a drink - once not easy - is now a joy thanks to top staff. The central location right between the Radisson and Hilton guarantees it a steady flow of thirsty visitors. Guinness on tap. QOpen 09:30 - 04:00, Sat, Sun 09:30 - 06:00. PEBW White Horse B-3, Str. George Clinescu 4A, tel. (+4) 021 231 27 95, office@whitehorse.ro, www.whitehorse. ro. The White Horse has been around so long it should probably consider going out to stud. Or should it? On a recent visit we found it to be in surprisingly good shape, and packed with both locals of the ordinary people variety, as well as group of rowdy expats. There is still good food in the more formal part upstairs, with bar snacks served down, and though we have always loved the square bar. QOpen 12:00 - 02:00. PBSW

Clubs & Discos


Bucharests club scene is dynamic and one of the best in this part of Europe. There is just about something for every taste, from mega-clubs bringing in top foreign DJs each week to local live music venues. 06, office@barletto.ro, www.barletto.ro. It has now had a few names this place, but it remains one of the citys best, most exclusive and of course most expensive uber-clubs. Featuring some of the sexiest dancers in Romania Friday and Saturday nights here are wild. The music is supplied by the worlds best DJs. You will need to take a taxi here, but then this is not the kind of place for people who use public transport anyway... Q Open 23:00 - 06:00. Closed Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Sun. PLEW

Barletto Club Str. Oltetului 30, tel. (+4) 0751 04 04

Europes Smoking Section


Last year, flying in the face of what the rest of the civilised world is up to, Romania actually softened its existing anti-smoking legislation. In fact, to all intents and purposes, there will soon be no more anti-smoking rules in Romania. This really is The Smoking Section of Europe. You see, while smoking will as planned now be theoretically outlawed in all public spaces (thats the headline which they will send to the EU), the owners of those public spaces will now be able to override the law and decide for themselves if a place is to be designated smoking or non-smoking. If a place decides to designate itself as a smoking venue (and lets face it, they almost all will) under the new law it will not even have to have a non-smoking section. As such, in our listings we have only included a nonsmoking symbol where a venue is completely nonsmoking. (There arent many). Otherwise, assume that venues will allow smoking almost anywhere. While most will - for now - retain at least a token non-smoking section, this can often be just one table in a corner somewhere. Note that when it comes to hotels, we have used the non-smoking symbol to indicate those hotels which have fully non-smoking rooms.

Irish Pub
Dubliner A-4, B-dul N. Titulescu 18, MPiata Victoriei, tel. (+4) 021 260 26 78. Legendary boozer in the sense that it was the first real pub to open in Bucharest (back in 1995), the Dubliner remains a favourite of many old school expats, although the location makes it a bit of a trek for Old Town or city centre-based visitors. Serves a good chicken pie and English breakfast, an exemplary Guinness and offers a wide range of sports courtesy of Sky TV. QOpen 09:00 02:00. PSW

Bucharest In Your Pocket

bucharest.inyourpocket.com

Nightlife
Vice Advice
Wth more brothels, massage parlours and sex shops per square inch than most places in Eastern Europe, you could be forgiven for thinking Bucharest was the sex capital of the continent. You could also be forgiven for thinking that prostitution was legal: we can assure you of the fact that it certainly isnt, despite any and all appearances. This being Romania however, the law is more a minor obstacle to be overcome than a serious impediment, so you can indeed get away with sin, sin and more sin anytime you like, though discretion remains essential. If you are looking for sins of the flesh, you basically have three options: one legal, one not exactly legal but not exactly illegal either, and one completely illegal. The legal option (and the only option we recommend) is erotic massage at a reputable massage parlour. You will almost certainly not be offered any sexual encounters at these places, but there is still much fun to be had, from simple hand assistance to full body massage from one, two or even three nubile young ladies. Prices start at around 50 though climb higher at the more central, luxurious establishments. The second (and not-always-above-board) option is to simply head for a brothel (surely erotic nightclub? Ed). These establishments advertise themselves in seedy publications as legitimate strip clubs, but act mainly as fronts for whorehouses, usually run by very dodgy, and often quite dangerous businessmen. After sitting yourself down at a table you will be served expensive drinks, before being joined by some very bored and not always attractive young ladies (most of Romanias best-looking prostitutes are allegedly plying their trade in Germany and the Czech Republic). These girls sometimes lap dance for you, and always try to convince you to buy them cocktails (in fact orange juice with an umbrella, usually costing about 15). After half an hour of bored conversation you will be asked if you would like to retreat to a more intimate location, usually a room above, or even in, the night club itself. For an hour of whatever it is you fancy expect to pay a minimum of 100, as well as the obligatory bottle of sparkling wine, which usually costs at least another 50. All this on top of the tab you have already run up of course. But be careful. Not all of these night clubs are worth your time. Indeed, some can allegedly cause you physical harm. One such establishment, allegedly, is Stars Night Club on Strada Ion Campineanu, opposite the Novotel. A recent Romanian newspaper report claimed that a group of American soldiers were recently beaten up here after refusing to pay a bill of 3,000. Approach all night clubs with caution. The third (and entirely illegal) option is to call one of the escorts who advertise in many of the poor quality city guides found around town. These escorts are usually unattractive prostitutes who charge 150 upwards for sex. Bait and switch operations (you order an 18 year-old with large breasts and you get a 48 year-old with large everything) are commonplace, and you should really think twice before calling them.

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BOA (Beat of Angels) B-3, Sos. Kiseleff 32, tel. (+4) 0736 30 07 00, www.boaclub.ro. From the outside a fairly non-descript building that looks vaguely like a warehouse, but once in, Wow! It is an enormous place that mixes luxury with great music courtesy of two top local resident DJs. There is plenty of space to dance, plenty of places to chill out and even the toilets are spacious and damn well luxurious. You will leave wanting to go back and cursing your luck that it is only open twice a week. Oh, and wear sunglasses, everybody else seems to! QOpen 23:00 - 05:00. Closed Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Sun. PLEBW Chaos E-6, Str. Turturelelor 11, tel. (+4) 0731 49 51 14.
Smashing live music club. Expect good - mainly local but often foreign - live acts most nights of the week, with a reasonably big name performing at least once or twice a month. Good beer, a very good atmosphere and a real favourite of big groups of friends looking for a great night out. You can eat here too: theres a restaurant serving some terrific, big-portioned Romanian food on site. QOpen 20:00 - 04:00. Closed Mon, Tue, Wed, Sun. PLEBSW

C-5, Str. Constantin Mille 4, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0733 92 78 61, rezervari@control-club.ro, www.controlclub.ro. Its moved, but still tops our list of clubs for people who do not like clubs. We have to admit that as we went to press we had not been to the new location (it hadnt actually opened), but we have been promised that Control will continue its commitment to live music, as well as playing a good mix of music. A little more electro, we are told, while Panic, which has appeared in where Control used to be, will be keeping it alternative rock. QOpen 12:00 - 02:00, Sat, Sun 14:00 - 06:00. PEW

Control Club

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Nightlife
tel. (+4) 021 311 23 22/(+4) 0721 91 82 79, rezervari@ dejavu-club.ro, www.dejavu-club.ro. A place that goes from strength to strength. Still the best cocktail bar this side of the River Prut, it is now open during the day for food too: you could spend your whole life in here. The draw though remain the participatory cocktails, some of which involve fire, and a few which involve wearing a World War II Russian army helmet. They also serve at least one which involves a young Russian girl squeezing lemon into your mouth with her teeth. At weekends it is packed and the small dancefloor is the sweatiest place in Bucharest. You will love it. QOpen 12:00 - 04:00. PENW

Deja-vu C-5, B-dul Nicolae Balcescu 25, MUniversitate,

Cinemas
Bucharest is blessed with plenty of good cinemas, from big multiplexes in the shopping malls to small, musty, independent cinemas in the city centre. Films in Romania are shown in their original language with Romanian subtitles. The exceptions are animated films: these are usualy dubbed into Romanian, though in larger multiplexes you can usually also find the original language version. The key words to look for are dublat (dubbed) and subtitrat (subtitled). To find out which films are showing, check the individual websites of each cinema, or browse the full programme of all the citys cinemas at cinemagia.ro. Note that some cinemas are open even on Christmas Day.

0728 55 60 43, office@elgrandecomandante.ro, www. elcomandante.ro. Socialists with an interest in rock music of the world unite! Despite killing lord knows how many people, Che remains cool, and all those who blithely wear his t-shirt will love this little rock club, dedicated to the mans memory, with portraits at 10, 12 and 2 oclock. If you can leave aside the politics, then its actually quite good. It is nice to hear music which doesnt thump, thump, thump, and the warren of little rooms is probably great for plotting the downfall of the capitalist system. Drinks are cheap. Revolutionary! Q Open 21:00 - 06:00. Closed Mon, Sun. PLW MPiata Unirii/Izvor, tel. (+4) 0733 97 47 28/(+4) 0726 80 41 42, office@expirat.org, www.expirat.org. A club with two faces. Expirat is home to some of Bucharests most eclectic sounds, and as it has an OtherSide (Expirats club within a club), chances are there is bound to be something going on you fancy. The music policy is a bit of everything: folk (usually live on Mondays), electro, alternative, rock and indie with hip-hop, reggae and disco sometimes thrown in for good measure. (Check the venues Facebook page to see whats on the night you fancy going). Drinks are well priced, and there are two bars meaning that you never have to wait too long to get served. Top notch. Q Open 20:00 - 06:00. Closed Mon, Tue, Sun. (Expirat); 20:00 - 06:00. Closed Mon, Tue, Thu, Sun. (The OtherSide). PEW fratelli.ro, www.fratelli.ro. Top notch. One of Bucharests uber-clubs, where the richest and best looking people in the city come to see and be seen. Serving up a neverending supply of top DJs from both Romania and abroad, it is clear that the people who run this place consider the music to be as important as anything else: something not every club in this town can boast. Not cheap (kind of the point) if you stick to the beer and do not sit at a table (which requires you buy

El Comandante Grande D-4, Str. Viitorului 26, tel. (+4)

Expirat & OtherSide Club B-5, Str. Ion Brezoianu 4,

Cinema Pro C-5, Str. Ion Ghica 3, tel. (+4) 031 824 13 60, www.cinemapro.ro. City centre, one-screen cinema behind Universitate, which shows the latest releases, with the film changing each Friday. Completely renovated a couple of years ago, the seats are comfy, sightlines are good and ticket prices OK: from 9.50 to 17.9 lei depending on the day and time. Hollywood Multiplex E-7, Calea Vitan 55-59 (Bucuresti Mall), tel. (+4) 021 327 70 20, www. hmultiplex.ro. The best complex of cinemas in the city, offering ten screens, good popcorn and comfortable seats. Q Tickets 17.40 - 34.90 lei. IMAX/Cinema City B-dul Vasile Milea/B-dul Timisoara, MPolitehnica, tel. (+4) 021 407 00 00, www.aficotroceni.ro. The first (and still only) IMAX cinema in Romania is part of the Cinema CIty complex in the Cotroceni Palace shopping centre. Q Tickets 18-37 lei. P Movieplex B-dul Timisoara 26 (Plaza Romania), tel. (+4) 021 407 83 00, www.movieplex.ro. Big, multi-screen cinema in the Plaza Romania offering up to 25 different films a week. Features all the latest Hollywood and local releases, and tends to screen them long after theyve disappeared from other cinemas. Q Tickets from 14.90 to 45.00 lei. The Light Cinema Sos. Progresului 151-171 (Liberty Center), www.lightcinemas.ro. Decent multiplex a short tram ride (No. 32) from Piata Unirii. Find it in the Liberty Center mall.Q Tickets 10.00 - 35.00 lei.

Fratelli Str. Glodeni 1-3, tel. (+4) 0731 03 62 22, office@

a bottle of spirits) then you can still have a reasonably priced night out here. Brilliant. QOpen 23:00 - 05:00. Closed Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Sun. PE B-5, Str. George Enescu 25, tel. (+4) 0755 56 97 82, office@joypub.ro, www.joypub.ro. Club which hosts all sorts of events from stand-up comedy to theatre and live music of all stripes: rock, folk, jazz. Definitely a sound choice for those of you looking for a more cerebral, grown up and less rowdy crowd than found elsewhere. Drinks are a decent price and service is surprisingly good for these parts. QOpen 12:00 - 03:00. PEW

Joy Pub

Bucharest In Your Pocket

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Kristal Glam Club B-5, B-dul Regina Elisabeta 34, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0722 79 51 84, office@clubkristal.ro, www.clubkristal.ro. Its moved. A bit further out of town than it used to be, it is still the number one venue in the city for top international DJs, who play here before they play anywhere else in Romania. The cavernous interior doesnt have the intimacy or the garish decor of the old place, but the size of the new Kristal, and the concave roof, mean it doesnt feel too claustrophobic even when half the city turns up to dance. QOpen 23:00 - 05:00. Closed Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Sun. PNW Kulturhaus C-6, Str. Sf. Vineri 4, MPiata Unirii/Universitate, tel. (+4) 021 313 55 92, www.kulturhaus. ro. Good riddance Twice, wilkommen Kulturhaus. A nakedly non-commercial club that attracts a nakedly (though not naked, except on fetish nights!) non-commercial crowd on two levels offering hard rock, folk rock, new wave, punk and indie upstairs, and pretty much the same downstairs (though it depends on the DJ...) Has a live band playing at least once a week, bags of other events and refreshingly says NO to table service: yes, you will have to get your sorry ass to the bar to get a drink. We are fans. QOpen 23:00 - 06:00. Closed Mon, Tue, Sun. PLE
0729 53 42 42, office@legaga.ro, www.legaga.ro. Stylish and contemporary without ever being as over the top as a few other places in Bucharest we could mention, Le Gaga is that most unique of clubs: people here actually seem to be having a good time. You do not have to be dressed like an idiot to fit in, the music is a good mix of local and international, and there are regular personal appearances by top local acts. To call it decent would be an understatement. QOpen 23:00 - 06:00. Closed Mon, Tue, Wed, Sun. PLEBW

C-6, Str. Baratiei 31, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 0720 88 71 15, music.club.bucuresti@gmail.com, www.musicclub.ro. Just about the best live music venue in Bucharest right now, Music Club is where youll find a great resident band most evenings performing creditable covers of all your favourite classic hits. They are more often than not joined on stage in the early hours by leading Romanian musicians who have quickly made this place their preferred haunt. Very nice indeed. Be prepared to have a very good time. QOpen 22:00 - 04:00. Closed Mon, Tue, Wed. PEW Str. Academiei 19, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0766 05 61 70, rezervari@panic-club.ro, www.panic-club.ro. Panic!, possibly the first club in Bucharest named after a song by The Smiths, offers a mix of music centering on (but in no way confined to) alternative rock. There are plenty of live acts performing regularly and theres always a good crowd of music lovers to share it all with. Refreshingly, its open every night of the week (many clubs in Bucharest are not) and there is always, always something going on. Get in. QOpen 14:00 - 05:00, Sat, Sun 18:00 - 06:00. PEW

Music Club

Panic!

Le Gaga Str. Oltetului 30, tel. (+4) 0727 53 42 42/(+4)

Remember: there are loads more Cafes, Bars, Pubs and Clubs in Bucharests Old Town. See pages 72-87.
February - March 2013

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Nightlife
MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 021 311 89 96, www.planters.ro. Another Bucharest venue that wins admirers for its sheer longevity. For more than a decade Planters has been a default night out location for many people in Bucharest, locals and visitors alike, although it is barely recognisable from how it looked back when it opened in 1999. Open by day as a cafe/lounge and by night (at the weekends) as a club expect mainstream sounds, theme nights and tasty dancers. QOpen 09:00 - 02:00. Club open Fri, Sat 22:00 - 05:00. PW (+4) 0720 73 47 34, www.theplayer.ro. There are clubs in Bucharest, and then there is this place, which is probably why it is packed most nights until dawn. Always heaving with beautiful, successful yet never over-the-top people dancing around to top sounds direct from the dance capitals of Europe, The Player is the kind of place that puts the hedonism back into Bucharest nightlife, but in the right way. QOpen 23:00 05:00. Closed Mon, Tue, Thu, Sun. PLW (+4) 0723 37 90 26, www.tscarena.ro. Currently the best place to see good local bands. Looking (inside) very much like a, well. silver church (albeit one which has dropped plenty of acid), its a cavernous venue with terrific acoustics and it is this mix of big club/small concert hall that gives it the edge over some other venues. A winner. QOpen 22:00 - 05:00. Entrance 20 lei. PUE

Planters Club & Lounge C-4, Str. Mendeleev 8,

Casinos
Casino Bucharest C-5, B-dul Nicolae Blcescu 4
(InterContinental Hotel), MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0728 83 38 28/(+4) 021 312 26 00, concierge@ casinobucharest.ro, w w w.casinobucharest.ro. QOpen 18:00 - 06:00. PLVK

Player Hall of Fame Club Str. Primo Nebiolo 1, tel.

Grand Casino B-6, Calea 13 Septembrie 90 (JW


Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel), tel. (+4) 021 403 08 00, marriott@grandcasinoromania.com, www. grandcasinoromania.com. Q Open 24 hrs.

Havana Princess Casino C-5, B-dul Regina Elisabeta 13, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 310 39 10, www.worldofprincess.com. Q Open 24 hrs. PL

The Silver Church A-5, Calea Plevnei 61, MIzvor, tel.

Platinum Casino B-4, Calea Victoriei 63-81 (Athenee Palace Hilton), tel. (+4) 031 710 22 34, (+4) 0720 22 74 66, platinum@platinumcasino.ro, www. platinumcasino.ro. Q Open 24 hrs. PLK Queen Casino B-3, Calea Dorobantilor 5-7 (Howard
Johnson Grand Plaza), MP-ta Romana, tel. (+4) 0372 76 34 45, www.queen-casino.ro. Q Open 24 hrs. PRULKW

Jazz Clubs
Art Jazz Club B-4, Calea Victoriei 52, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0731 64 59 18, www.artjazzclub.ro. Sometimes packed and bubbling over, at other times less so but always smoky, Art Jazz Club puts on as many jazz concerts as it can every week (usually three or four). The quality of the music is almost always good, and the drinks are amongst the cheapest in the area. Entrance is actually through a small door next to a little car park behind the Senate, rather than on Balcescu as the address suggests. QOpen 17:30 - 04:00. PENW Green Hours 22 Club Jazz Caf B-4, Calea Victoriei 120, tel. (+4) 0788 45 24 85, www.greenhours.ro. Legendary, trendy, atmospheric jazz club, where its almost impossible to find a table. Make sure you reserve in advance if you want to sit down. There is live music and other arty stuff - including theatre, comedy, book launches and the like - most evenings. Popular with a crowd that encompasses all ages, from 18-80, its definitely a place you should visit once before leaving Bucharest. Q Open 24hrs. PENBW

Home Delivery
Jerrys D-6, B-dul Octavian Goga 24, tel. (+4) 021
311 21 21, www.jerryspizza.ro. Though still delivering good pizza, there is much more to Jerrys than pizza though these days. Hot chicken wings, subs and salads, for a start. Friendly delivery boys in our experience: always worth an extra mark. QOpen 09:00 - 23:00, Fri, Sat, Sun 09:00 - 24:00. Jerrys at Night Open 23:00 - 04:00, Fri, Sat, Sun 24:00-04:00, tel. (+4) 0722 33 41 41. VS

Orasul Interzis D-5, Str. Silvestru 3, tel. (+4) 0733


50 07 50/(+4) 0720 99 33 33, rezervari@orasulinterzis.ro, www.orasul-interzis.ro. Home delivery arm of the excellent Chinese restaurant of same name. QOpen 12:30 - 23:00. PSW

Restaurant Nan Jing B-4, Str. Gheorghe Manu 2-4, MP-ta Victoriei, tel. (+4) 021 318 12 85/(+4) 0726 10 34 07, comanda@lachinezesc.ro, www.nanjing. ro. Yes! The Nan Jing now does home delivery. Just head to their website for the full home delivery menu. Q Open 12:00 - 24:00. . PLVBSW Trenta Pizza, tel. (+4) 021 9645, www.trentapizza.
ro. This is the real deal. Thin, crispy pizzas served piping hot to your door for peanuts. They do the thick-style pizzas too: make sure you ask for baza subtire - thin base. They will also bring you a tomato sauce to accompany the pizza: the hot one is genuinely hot. QOpen 11:00 - 23:00, Fri, Sat, Sun 11:00 - 24:00.

Bucharest In Your Pocket

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What to see
Once you have ticked off the sights we highlight in our Bucharest In Two Days feature (see pages 20-22), you should start on this little lot...

Bucharest Curiosities
From Caragiale statues to Army Memorials, a small selection of Bucharests weird and wonderful.

Buildings with a history


Arcul de Triumf A-2, Piata Arcul de Triumf, MAviatorilor. Bucharests Arc de triumf was raised in 1922 to commemorate Romanias World War I dead. The original Arc was made of wood, replaced by the present, Petru Antonescu designed concrete structure only in 1935. Standing 25 metres high, the Arc has a staircase that allows visitors to climb to the terrace on the top of the monument, though it is strangely closed most of the time and only opened on special occasions (usually on national holidays). The sculptures and reliefs that decorate the monument (and which need serious restoring) were created by the leading artists of the day, including Ion Jalea, Constantin Medrea and Constantin Baraschi. The Arc is scheduled to be renovated this year, and a pedestrian underpass built which will allow people to get to it without risking their lives. Atheneum (Ateneul Romn) C-5, Str. Benjamin Franklin 1-3, tel. (+4) 021 315 25 67/(+4) 021 315 87 98, office@fge.org.ro, www.fge.org.ro. Possibly the finest building in the city, the Romanian Atheneum, with its sublime baroque cupola, stands proudly at the flux of the citys busiest public square, competing with the Athenee Palace Hilton hotel, the Royal Palace and the old national library for attention. The work of French architect Albert Galleron, who also designed the National Bank of Romania, the building was inaugurated on February 26, 1888, and was built almost entirely with money donated by ordinary citizens of the capital, when a campaign called Give a penny for the Atheneum (Dati un leu pentru Ateneu) rescued the project from folly after the original patrons ran out of funds. Today the seat of the Romanian Philarmonic George Enescu, the auditorium can seat 800 spectators comfortably, and is renowned worldwide for its outstanding acoustics. QOpen 14:00 - 16:00.
Libere 1. An impressive edifice standing somewhat menacingly at the entrance to the capital, Casa Scanteii (as it is still universally known) was designed by architect Horia Maicu and completed in 1956, one year after the strikingly similar (though much taller) Palace of Science and Culture in Warsaw, Poland. Originally housing the editorial offices of almost all of the capitals newspapers, it today carries out pretty much the same function. Jurnalul Naional, one of the countrys most popular dailies, is just one newspaper still produced here. The impressive archive of Rompres, the state press and photo agency, is also housed here. The facade - once rather fetching - has in recent years been defaced by the addition of advertising hoardings. B-4, Calea Victoriei 13. The home of the National Savings Bank (Casa de Economii si Consemnaiuni; CEC) is one of the most fabulous Neo-Classical facades in the city: the enormous arch that houses the entrance, with its mighty Corinthian columns, is a highlight of any architectural tour of Bucharest. Built during the last decade of the nineteenth century, to the designs of French architect Paul Gottereau, the building is no less impressive on the inside, not least the huge entrance hall with its sensational glass roof, and dome that nods towards the style of later Byzantine cathedrals. The main halls are elaborately decorated with murals by Mihai Simonidi.

Foisorul de Foc D-5, P-ta Foisorul de Foc/B-dul Ferdinand 33, tel. (+4) 021 252 28 84. The Foisorul de Foc (Firewatch Tower) was constructed in 1893 and was at the time the tallest building in the city. It is 50 meters high. Contrary to the popular belief its purpose was simply to be a place from where the citys authorities could watch for fires. It at no stage stored water. The tower today hosts a less than gripping and mono-lingual Museum of Firefighting and Policing, the best bit of which is the view from the old observation deck, closed for decades but now thankfully reopened. Note that it is usually packed with kindergarten and school groups. QOpen 08:00 - 16:00. Closed Sat, Sun. Admission 3.00 lei adults, 1.50 leu children. Kilometre 0 & Cristian Paturca C-6, P-ta 21 Decembrie 1989, MUniversitate. The statue marks Romanias Greenwich - the spot from where all the distances to other Romanian cities are measured. Next to it is a memorial to Cristian Paturca, best known as the man who wrote Imnul Golanilor, the song of Romanias student revolutionaries of April, May and June 1990 who tried and failed to bring down the Ion Iliescu regime. Romanian Army Memorial Palatul Copiilor, B-dul
Tineretului, MTineretului. Bizarre both in design and in location - some way from the city centre, at the entrance to Tineretului Park, in front of Palatul Copiilor (the Childrens Palace) - stands, complete with an honour guard of two soldiers, this memorial to all those soldiers who have died fighting for Romania, unveiled in 2010.

Casa Presei Libere (Casa Scnteii) A-1, Piata Presei

Romulus & Remus C-6, B-dul Lascr Catargiu.


In Piata Roma, at the entrance to Strada Lipscani, is this statue of the Roman wolf nurturing Romulus and Remus. A replica of a similar monument in Rome, it was a presented to the city by the Italian state in 1906, to signify Romanias Latin origins. Officially called the Lupa Capitolina, it has led a nomadic existence, and was most recently kept in Piata Romana. It moved back here to its original location in 2010. There are three other identical statues around Romania, in Cluj, Targu Mures and Timisoara.

CEC (Palatul Casei de Economii si Consemnaiuni)

its marble facade, was built in 1937 to the designs of Duiliu Marcu, originally to house the Foreign Ministry (which is now elsewhere, on Aleea Alexandu, in far less grand building). Note that ever since several thousand uninvited coal miners trashed the place in 1991, entrance to the building has been granted only to those on government business.

Palatul Justitiei (Tribunalul Capitalei) B-6, Splailul Independentei 5, MPiata Unirii. Romanias supreme court, host to any number of libel trials involving our good selves, is housed in a monumental but rather run down building on the banks of the Dambovita. Dating from 1890, the Palace of Justice was designed by Romanian architect Adrian Ballu in the style of the French renaissance. The recently renovated and impressive facade is almost 100 metres long. Sala Palatului B-5, Piata Palatului, www.salapalatului. ro. The rather startling Sala Palatului, with its concaved roof, was designed by Tiberiu Ricci (also responsible for the TVR bucharest.inyourpocket.com

Palatul din Piata Victoriei (Palatul Victoriei) B-4, B-dul Ilie Pintilie 1, MPiata Victoriei. Today the home of the Romanian government, this linear construction, with Bucharest In Your Pocket

What to see
building) and built over 15 months from January 1959 to April 1960 as an extension of the Royal Palace (to which it is connected). The massive main auditorium, which seats 4,000, was originally used to host the five-yearly congress of the Romanian Communist Party. It today plays host to exhibitions and concerts. To make way for the building, and for the apartment blocks opposite, a 17th century church was demolished: the first of many to fall victim during the communist era remodelling of central Bucharest.

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Spitalul Coltea (Coltea Hospital) C-6, B-dul. I. C. Bratianu 1, MUniversitate. The oldest hospital in Bucharest, dating from 1704, the Coltea was built on land belonging to the Vacaresti family, who at the time owned great swathes of the capital. The original building was destroyed by an earthquake in 1802, and the neoclassical building we see today in fact dates from 1888. Recently renovated (the facade, at least), it has seldom looked better. The hospital remains a functioning municipal health centre, and you may enter only if you have official business. Teatrul National (National Theatre) C-5, Piata 21 Decembrie 1989, MUniversitate. A building in two parts, the original National Theatre was built between 1967 and 1970, to the design of three Romanian architects, Horia Maicu, Romeo Belea and Nicolae Cucu. Originally styled to honour the architecture of Moldovas famous monasteries, it was unfortunately ruined in 1984-5 when the concrete casing that now stands gloomily in the shadow of the InterContinental was placed over the earlier structure. However, the rebuilding work currently being carried out on the building is intended to return the National Theatre to its original design by the end of this year. The odd statue in front of the theatre is called the Caruta cu paiate, a tribute to Romanias best loved playwright, Ion Luca Caragiale. It features characters from Caragiales plays, and was unveiled in December 2010. Universitate (University of Bucharest) C-5, Piata Universitatii, MUniversitate. Standing moodily over Piata Universitatii is the main building of the University of Bucharest. It was built over a twelve year period from 1857 to 1869 at the behest of Alexandru Ioan Cuza, at the time Prince of Romania. It originally housed three faculties (Law, Humanities and Science), but today houses just the Faculty of Letters and Languages, as well as the universitys administrative departments. The central corp of the building was entirtely rebuilt in the late 1940s after it was destroyed during heavy allied bombing during 1944. Though rebuilt as an exact replica of the original, many sculptures and basreliefs by Carol Storck were deemed irreplaceable and lost forever.

built in 1715, and restored in 1936. Inside the church is brimming with some rather strange portraits, all of which are well worth seeing. Among the portraits are those of the churchs founder, Voivod Matei.

Armenian Church (Biserica Armeneasc) D-5, B-dul Carol I 43, tel. (+4) 021 313 90 70, www.armenianchurch.ro. Now overlooked by a hideous skyscraper, this is nevertheless one of the largest and best preserved Orthodox churches in central Bucharest, the Armenian Church (built between 1911-15) is an exact replica of a cathedral in the Armenian city of Ecmiazin, and serves the citys once large but now miniscule Armenian population. Next to the church is an interesting library with a large number of documents relating to the Armenian population (phone ahead for access). Baratiei Church (Biserica Baratiei) C-6, Str. Baratiei 27, MPiata Unirii/Universitate. Almost poking into Bulevardul Bratianu, this Roman-Catholic church was built in 1828, although there has been a church here since the late 1590s. Boasting a couple of superb stained-glass windows the church holds services in Romanian and Hungarian. The name, Baratiei, derives from the Hungarian word for friend, barat. Colea Church (Biserica Colea) C-5, B-dul Nicolae
Blcescu 1, MUniversitate. To the left (face on) of the Colea hospital, the church of the same name was built from 1701-2 on the site of an older, wooden construction. Recent renovation has restored much of the rich ornamentation of the interior, most of which was painted in 1876 by Gheorghe Tattarescu. Look out for the Cantacuzino family crest above the vaguely Italian baroque portal. The church (like the hospital which surrounds it) was founded by courtier Mihai Cantacuzino. A statue of Cantacuzino stands just inside the entrance to the hospital courtyard.

Historic Churches
Antim Monastery (Manastirea Antim) B-6, Str. Antim
29. The splendid Antim Monastery, with its elegant dome and gold finish was constructed between 1708 and 1715 on the orders of polymath Antim Ivireanul, patriarch of the Orthodox Church in Wallachia at the time. Antim originally intended the monastery to be a refuge for fallen women, and refugees, as well as a seat of learning. The bell tower through which we today enter the monastery was added in 1857. The monastery church is particularly worth admiring, for its sumptuous icons featuring scenes from the Nativity and Revelations, painted in 1812 by Petre Alexandrescu.

Apostles Church (Biserica Sfintii Apostoli) B-6, Str. Sfintii Apostoli 33A, MPiata Unirii. One of the oldest churches in Bucharest (with parts dating back to the 16th century, when it served as the church of the Trnovului Monastery) the Apostles Church is notable for its sublime steeple, bucharest.inyourpocket.com

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What to see
Creulescu Church (Biserica Creulescu) C-5, Calea Victoriei 47, MUniversitate. Probably the most celebrated historic church in Bucharest. Biserica Creulescu was raised from 1720-2 by Iordache Creulescu and his wife Safta, a daughter of Romanian humanitarian Constantin Brncoveanu. The outstanding paintings on the entrance are original, the work of an unknown artist, while the interior icons were added in 1859 by the prolific Gheorghe Tattarescu. Damaged during the fighting of December 1989, the church has recently been restored to its full glory, and is a must.
Calea Victoriei 28, MUniversitate. One of Bucharests many hidden churches: find it in the little courtyard behind Pizza Hut on the corner of Calea Victoriei and Bulevardul Regina Elisabeta. The church dates from 1683, and was built on the orders of Princess Maria, wife of Prince Serban Cantacuzino. The church was the first in the city to boast octagonal stone pillars: note the decorative floral motifs of oriental origin at the foot and top of each column. They also decorate the door. B-6, Str. Sfintii Apostoli, MPiata Unirii. To say this church has been the victim of bad luck is an understatement. Built in 1885, the church is named after Constantin Brncoveanus sixth daughter, who built an earlier church on the site in 1744, but which burnt down soon after. In 1751 a second church was built; but that was also later damaged, during an earthquake in 1838. Building work almost immediately started on a third church, but that too proved unstable and just 40 years later it was replaced by the current, orange-coloured, NeoRomanesque building. Serious cracks that appeared after another earthquake in 1940 were repaired in the 1960s, only to be damaged again in the massive earthquake of 1977. Be cautious when viewing.

Parks & Gardens


Botanical Gardens (Grdina Botanic) Sos. Cotroceni 32, MPolitehnica, tel. (+4) 021 410 91 39, www.gradina-botanica.ro. Bucharests Botanical Gardens were founded in 1860 with the significant financial backing of Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza, at the time the leader of the nascent Romanian state. Completed in 1866 to the designs and instructions of Ulrich Hoffmann, they were originally in the grounds of the Cotroceni Monastery, moving to their present location in 1884. The garden, administratively part of Bucharest Universitys Botanical Institute, today extends over an area of more than 17 hectares, and hosts more than 10,000 species of plants, approximately half of which are cultivated in the impressive glasshouses. Q Gardens open 09:00-17:00. Botanical museum open 10:00-15:00, 09:00-13:00 Sat, Sun, closed Fri. Greenhouses open 10:0013:00, closed Mon, Wed, Fri. Admission to the gardens 5.00 lei, students and children 2.00 lei. Museum and greenhouses cost extra: 2 lei adults, 1 leu children. Carol Park (Parcul Carol I/Parcul Libertii) C-7, Calea Serban Vod, MEroii Revolutiei. So close to the city centre yet strangely forgotten by many, this large park was created for the Romania in the World exhibition which was held here in 1906. (The Technical Museum, to the left of the main entrance, is housed in one of the original exhibition pavilions). Designed by the French landscape artist Eduard Redont, the park is today dominated by the massive Monument to the Heroes of the Struggle for Freedom and Socialism (it stands 48 metres high) built in 1963 and which until 1990 housed the remains of communist leaders Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej and Petre Groza (it is today empty). The park offers some pleasant walks along tree-lined paths, playgrounds and terraces, and good view of central Bucharest from the monument. The open-air Arenele Romane in the west of the park, next to the observatory of Bucharest Universitys Astronomy Department is a popular if rather rundown venue for concerts. Close by is the gorgeous Cutitul de Argint Church, built in 1796 and famous for its many exterior icons. On the other side of the park it is worth looking out for the medieval-looking Tepes Castle (which in fact dates from 1906), once a water tower but now used as offices by the Romanian Armys veterans association. Cismigiu Gardens (Grdina Cismigiu) B-5, Between B-dul Regina Elisabeta, Calea Victoriei, Str. Stirbei Vod and B-dul Schitu Mgureanu, MUniversitate. The most central of the citys public gardens, Cismigiu is a haven of lawns, trees, flowers and lakes. Often mistakenly referred to as a park, Cismigiu is actually a large garden, first designed and laid out in 1845 by the German landscape architect Carl Meyer, but not completed until 1860. More than 30,000 trees and plants were brought in from the Romanian mountains, while exotic plants were fetched from the botanical gardens in Vienna. Highlights of the 17 hectare garden include the Roman Garden, laid out in the style of ancient Rome, and including busts of Romanias most famous writers, the lake, which can be explored by rowing boat in summer or skated upon during the winter, and Ion Jaleas French Memorial in Carrara marble, which commemorates those French troops killed on Romanian territory during World War I. The park has a couple of cafes, refreshment kiosks and - in summer - terraces, as well as some good, large childrens playgrounds. It can get very busy in good weather, but it is a lovely place to spend time.

Doamnei Church (Biserica Maicii Domnului) C-5,

Domnia Balaa Church (Biserica Domnia Balaa)

Icon Church (Biserica Icoanei) C-4, Str. Icoanei 12. The Church of the Icon is named after the 17th century icon of the Holy Virgin in the nave, a gift from Constantin Brncoveanu. A wooden church was built on this site in as early 1681-82, the first brick church being erected in 1745-50, only for it to collapse during a devastating earthquake in 1838. Rebuilt the same year, the high altar was added in 1850. Note the grave of General Ioan Odobescu (1793-1857) alongside the church, adorned with a helmet.
C-5, B-dul N. Blcescu 28, MUniversitate. Juxtaposed by 1930s blocks on the busiest street in the city, the red brick Italian church looks a little uncomfortable in its setting. Look at it from the other side of the road however, and its glorious Neo-Gothic exterior, complete with Florentine tower is quite stunning. The interior is nothing of note, but acts as a lovely refuge from the bustling street outside. The church is owned by the Italian government. Q Daily services (in Romanian) at 18:00. On Sundays, services are as follows: 09:00 (German), 10:00 (Romanian), 11:00 (Italian), 17:00 (Polish).

Italian Church (Chiesa Italiana/Biserica Italian)

Lutheran Church (Biserica Luterana) B-5, Str. Luteran 2, tel. (+4) 021 313 31 65. The unmistakably steep spire marks the site of Bucharests Lutheran church, founded in 1778 to administer to the spiritual needs of the citys Saxon community, then made up mainly of textile traders. German-language mass is still held here, as are occasional concerts: the churchs organ is one of the countrys finest. Q Religious services in German every Sunday at 10:00.
B-6, Str. Sapienei 2, MIzvor. Another of the churches that was moved to make way for the Civic Centre, Mihai Vod was

Mihai Vod Monastery (Mnstirea Mihai Vod)

Bucharest In Your Pocket

bucharest.inyourpocket.com

What to see
Contemporary Art Gallery
(+4) 0727 89 07 20, www.zorzinigallery.com. Fine contemporary art gallery working with both established and emerging Romanian artists that correspond to the gallerys aesthetic agenda, which includes graphics, painting, installation and mixed media. QOpen 12:00 - 20:00. Closed Sun. PLBSW originally built in 1601. After a fire in 1761 it was left to rot before thorough rebuilding was carried out from 1827-38. In 1985 it was moved 285 metres east - on rails - and hidden in its present location behind the apartment blocks.

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Zorzini Gallery C-5, Str. Thomas Masaryk 31, tel.

by collectivisation there are a number of paintings of Stalin and Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, but none of Ceausescu (collectivisation was before his time). Be sure to take a Romanian speaker along to translate the rather chilling newspaper articles reporting the progress being made towards full collectivisation that are stuck on the walls. Q Open as per the Peasant Museum, see page 21).

New St. Georges Church (Biserica Sf. Gheorghe Nou) C-6, Piata Sf. Gheorghe, MPiata Unirii. The largest

of the churches built in Bucharest during the reign of Constantin Brncoveanu, New St. Georges Church was consecrated on June 29th, 1707. It was a wonder of the age, having been designed by an Italian, Vaseleli, and decorated by the great Romanian maestros of the times: the painter Mutu, the carpenter Istrate and the sculptor Caragea. Damaged in a fire in 1847, the church was renovated from 1852-3 by the Spanish architect Villacrosse. New and outstanding interior murals were added by Marian Popp. Brncoveanu is himself allegedly buried under the church, in an unmarked grave. Mitropoliei, MPiata Unirii. Set atop one of the citys few hills, known as Mitropoliei, the Patriarchal Cathedral has been the centrepiece of the Romanian Orthodox faith since the seventeenth century. Built to a design based on the Curtea de Arges, near Pitesti, it has undergone a number of facelifts over the years, but the overwhelming majority of the cathedrals structure is the original, built between 1654 and 1658. The outstanding bell-tower at the entrance was built in 1698, and restored in 1958. Next to the church - and closed to the public - is the Patriarchal Palace, residence of Daniel Ciobotea, the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church. It was built in 1708.

Patriarchal Cathedral (Patriarhia) C-6/7, Str. Dealul

Cotroceni Museum B-dul Geniului 1, MPolitehnica, tel. (+4) 021 317 31 07, www.muzeulcotroceni.ro. Constructed from 1888-93 at the behest of Romanias first king, Carol I, Cotroceni Palace has since 1991 been the official residence of the Romanian President. Built on the site of a former monastery (the foundations and cellars of which remain, and form part of the tour of the palace), the palace was designed by a French team of architects, led by Paul Gottereau. The design would form something of a blueprint for Romanian domestic architecture for years to come. It served as the Bucharest residence of the Romanian royal family until 1939. Part of the palace is open to the public, and can be visited on a tour. You will see a number of function rooms, many of which were decorated to the whims of Marie, the English wife of Carols heir, his nephew Crown Prince Ferdinand. You will also be able to view her astonishing art collection. During the construction of the new wing in the 1980s, ruins of the original monastery church were discovered, including part of the original interior frescoes. The church has been partially rebuilt and can be visited without joining the full palace tour. QOpen 09:30 - 17:30. Closed Mon. Admission 27.00 lei, students and children 21.00 lei. Admission includes entrance and the compulsory guided tour. Tours are available in Romanian, French and English. Last tour begins at 16:30. Geology Museum B-3, Sos. Kiseleff 2, MPiata Victoriei,
tel. (+4) 021 212 89 52, www.geology.ro. Far more than just a collection of old rocks and fossils, Bucharests Geology Museum is one of the citys must sees. First off, there is the museum building itself to admire. Built in 1906 on the orders of King Carol I to house what was then known as the Royal Romanian Geology Society, the building is a splendid example of Neo-Brancovenesque architecture, and is far more impressive than its red-brick neighbour, the Peasant Museum. The museums permanent collections are impressive in size and - being logically presented - clarity, with a decent number of English captions. The museum is also one of the most active in the city, playing host to varied and never less than fascinating temporary exhibitions. It also runs creative workshops for children some Saturday mornings. QOpen 10:00 - 18:00. Closed Mon. Admission 8.00 lei, students and children 4.00 lei. There is an extra charge for cameras of 30 lei. Guided tours in Romanian 20 lei, English and French 30 lei.

C-6, Str. Radu Vod 24A, MPiata Unirii. The church of the former Radu Vod Monastery stands on a hill on the banks of the Dmbovia, though the construction of the Civic Centre hid it from the river and from general view. There was originally a wooden church on this site, built during the reign of Mihnea the Bad, around 1508. The monastery was added in 1570, and was dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The present church - which resembles the Curtea de Arge, outside Piteti - dates from 1613-4, though it was extensively rebuilt during the 19thcentury, when the frescoes (all the work of peerless painter Gheorghe Tattarescu) were added.

Radu Vod Monastery (Mnstirea Radu Vod)

Sibiu In Your Pocket


European Capital of Culture in 2007, the Transylvanian city of Sibiu has long been considered one of Romanias best destinations to visit. It is no surprise therefore that some of the biggest names in the hotel business have opened up shop there, as has In Your Pocket: we now publish a quarterly Mini-Guide to the city, available at all good Sibiu hotels or at any of the citys three Tourist Information Offices.

Museums
As well as those listed here, do not forget the Grigore Antipa Museum of Natural History, the National Art Museum, the Peasant and Village Museums, which we have included in our Bucharest in two days feature on pages 18-21.

Collectivisation Memorial B-3, Inside the Peasant Museum, MPiata Victoriei. Our favourite part of the Peasant Museum; a small but shocking and moving cellar room featuring a collection of communist-era busts, paintings and nostalgic memorabilia. Called a reminder of the pain caused bucharest.inyourpocket.com

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What to see
Calea Victoriei 12, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 315 82 07, fax (+4) 021 311 33 56, www.mnir.ro. The beautiful, monumental and simply superb Neo-Classical building that houses Romanias National History Museum was constructed from 1894-1900 to the designs of local architect Alexandru Svulescu. It originally served as the headquarters of Pota Roman, the Romanian postal service. When the post office moved away in 1970, the History Museum moved in. The museums exhibitions are spread over 60 display rooms, and include a fine collection of antiquities, including statues brought from a Bronze Age necropolis close to present day Cernavoda. The finest exhibit is the replica of Trajans Column in the central lapidarium. The museum is less good on Romanias recent history. The bizarre statue on the museums steps - which appeared during May 2012 - allegedly represents the emperor Traian holding a wolf. It has not unsurprisingly been the subject of much ridicule, and is a popular object for both locals and visitors to ironically have their photo taken with. Q Open 10:00-18:00. Closed Mon, Tue. Admission 8 lei, students and children 2 lei.

History Museum (Muzeul National de Istorie) C-5,

(+4) 021 336 93 90. Often unfairly derided as an outdated (if amusingly so) museum of technology, it should be remembered that the machines, turbines, inventions and gadgets on display here are not meant to be cutting edge. At least not in this day and age. They were all, however, cutting edge when they first appeared, with some of the older steam engines dating back to the beginning of the 19th century. The museum is housed in something of a cherished relic itself: the last remaining pavilion (of many) built to host the 1906 Romania Fair, a showcase of everything great in and about Romania at the time. QOpen 10:30 - 18:00. Closed Mon, Tue. Admission 4.00 lei, students, children 2.00 lei.

National Technical Museum (Muzeul Tehnic Dimitrie Leonida) C-7, Str. Gen. Candiano Popescu 2, tel.

Dr. Minovici 3, tel. (+4) 021 665 73 34, muzeuldeartaapuseana.blogspot.ro. This amazing red brick, mock-Tudor house holds the small yet stunning renaissance art collection of Dumitru Minovici, who made barrels of lei in the oil business in the 1930s. Inside are fine collections of Belgian tapestries, Dutch furniture, Swiss stained glass, a complete library and Italian paintings from the 16th/17th centuries. The house itself is a thing of wonder, from the stained glass windows to the wooden balustrades and overgrown garden. To get there, walk north-east from Piaa Presei Libere or take bus No. 131, 301, 335 or 783 to the Mioria Fountain. QOpen 09:00 - 17:00. Closed Mon, Tue, Wed. Free admission.

Minovici Museum of Ancient Western Art (Muzeul de Arta Veche Apuseana Ing. D. Minovici) Str.

Sutu Palace / Museum of Bucharest C-5, B-dul I.C. Bratianu 2, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 315 68 58, www.muzeulbucurestiului.ro. Much overlooked museum, despite its location in the very centre of the city. The highlight is probably the selection of maps of Bucharest through the ages, while there is also an original log from the Podul Mogosoaia: the forerunner of Calea Victoriei, in the days when the street was paved with logs. The exhibition is well captioned in Romanian and English, and while small an enjoyable hour can be spent here. You will leave feeling as though you want more, however. The museum is housed in the elegant, Neo-Gothic uu Palace, built from 1833-4 for the wealthy merchant Costache uu. QOpen 10:00 - 18:00. Closed Mon, Tue. Admission 6 lei, 3 lei children, students and pensioners. Children under seven free. Some temporary exhibitions cost extra. Theodor Pallady Museum (Casa Melik) D-5, Str.
Sptarului 22, tel. (+4) 021 211 49 79. Theodor Pallady (1871-1953) was an early Cubist artist widely regarded as Romanias most influential 20th century painter. Schooled in Dresden and Paris, Pallady was influenced by the Symbolist environment of the late 19th century, and his paintings before 1916 contain Symbolist motifs, sometimes with echoes of Moreau and Puvis de Chavannes. Alas the small museum that today bears his name has only six of his paintings, a couple of his sketches and assorted other art. The museums saving grace is the house in which it is hosted: the oldest in Bucharest. Originally called the Casa Melik, it was built around 1750 by the rich Armenian Hagi Kevork Nazaretoglu. Walk over the enchantingly creaky wooden floors and admire the decorated tavane (ceilings). Q Open 11:00 - 18:00. Closed Mon, Tue. Admission 5.00 lei, students and children 2.50 lei.

13 Septembrie 1, entrance E4 (Palatul Parlamentului), MIzvor, tel. (+4) 021 318 91 37, fax (+4) 021 318 91 38, info@mnac.ro, www.mnac.ro. Making excellent use of the wide open spaces of the Parliament Palace, this vast gallery displays the work of Romanias finest contemporary artists. There are also works on display by international artists, and regular topical exhibitions. We think its one of the highlights of the citys cultural scene and a visit here has the added bonus of getting you into the Casa Poporului without taking the guided tour. The museum even has a great cafe, and if the weather is good enough its terrace offers fantastic views of the city. QOpen 10:00 - 18:00. Closed Mon, Tue. Admission 5.00 lei. Free entrance for children and artists.

National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC; Muzeul National de Arta Contemporana) B-6, Calea

Sightseeing Tours
Carpathian Travel Tel./fax (+4) 0269 21 13 44, www.carpathian-travel-center.com. Tours of historic Brasov, Sibiu, Sighisoara, as well as the surrounding areas. Carpathian Travel also organise hiking tours, biking tours and trips to the Danube Delta. Cultural Travel & Tours Tel./fax (+4) 021 336 31 63, tel. (+4) 0724 71 88 48, www.cttours.ro. CT&T provides tailor-made heritage sightseeing tours of Bucharest (from 29), a number of themed tours around Wallachia and Transylvania, and several nationwide tours of varying lengths. Other flexible services and guides in a variety of languages are available on request. Bucharest In Your Pocket

Zambaccian Museum (Muzeul Zambaccian) B-3, Str. Muzeul Zambaccian 21A, tel. (+4) 021 230 19 20, www.mnar.arts.ro/Muzeul-KH-Zambaccian. A not-to-bemissed chance to see the large collection belonging to the long deceased Armenian businessman Krikor Zambaccian (1889-1962; youll see the requisite portraits) that includes the only Cezanne in Romania, as well as the best of Romanian painters Nicolae Grigorescu, Ioan Andreescu, tefan Luchian, Gheorghe Petracu, Nicolae Tonitza, Nicolae Drscu, Theodor Pallady, Iosif Iser, Corneliu Baba, Alexandru Ciucurencu, Horia Damian, Alexandru Padina, Ion uculescu, and a smaller yet notable group of sculptures by Dimitrie Paciurea, Oscar Han, Corneliu Medrea, Ion Jalea and Constantin Brncui. It really is a thorough look at modern Romanian art. There are also 19 paintings by French artists, including Delacroix, Renoir, Pissarro, Sisle, Bonnard, Utrillo, Marquet, Matisse and the only Cezanne in Romania (Portrait of a Little Girl). Q Open 10:00-17:00. Closed Thu, Fri. Admission 7 lei, children, students 3.50 lei. bucharest.inyourpocket.com

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OLD TOWN

OLD TOWN

the war didnt destroy (and it destroyed a fair bit: allied bombing was fierce during the early part of 1944) communism did, most notably in the form of the grandiose Civic Centre project that saw almost a fifth of the total area of the city flattened to make way for Bulevardul Unirii and Casa Poporului. That anything survives at all is little short of a miracle. While we at Bucharest In Your Pocket tend to call the area Old Town, many will know it better as Lipscani, with most locals calling it the Centru Istoric (Historic Centre). The area is historic in the main because this is where Bucharest was founded. Kind of. According to legend, Bucur the Shepherd founded the city in the 1300s, when he built a church somewhere on the eastern bank of the Dmbovia river: nobody is sure exactly where this church was (or even if it actually existed). What we do know is that by the first reign of Vlad epe (1459-1462) there was a palace and court (the Palatul Curtea Veche) in the area we today call Old Town, and that the city grew quickly around the palace. By the middle of the 17th century the area was Bucharests merchant district, which it to all intents and purposes remained until the end of World War II, when many of the rightful owners of the houses and businesses which lined the areas streets were arrested by the communist authorities, and their property confiscated and left to rot. The entire area - viewed as being far too bourgeois for communist tastes - was then neglected for decades, with many of the empty buildings being occupied over the years (legally or otherwise) by Gypsies. Many of these Gypsies remain today, and add real character and colour to the area.

Old Towns Sights


While much of Bucharest has changed beyond recognition over the past two decades, nothing compares to the recent transformation of Old Town/Lipscani, which in the past three years has turned what was very much a no-go area with almost nothing to offer into the Romanian capitals liveliest entertainment district. The area is still something of a work in progress, but its a rewarding place to explore, one of the few areas of the capital that is. You will certainly not want for things to do, to see, or for places to eat, drink and dance.

The area of Bucharest described by the Dambovita river to the south, Calea Victoriei to the west, Bulevardul Brtianu to the east and Bulevardul Regina Elisabeta to the north is more or less all thats left of pre-World War II Bucharest. What

Old Town: A Brief History

The best place to start any exploration of Old Town is at Universitate (C-5), at the twin semi-circular buildings (one is a bank and the other houses a casino) originally built in 1906 to serve as the headquarters of Romanias largest insurance company. In front of them are four statues, of Gheorghe Lazar (founder, in 1818, of the first Romanian school in Bucharest), Ion Heliade Radulescu (a founding member of the Romanian Academy), Mihai Voievod Viteazul (the first person to unite the three Romanian provinces, in 1600) and Spiru Haret (a mathematician, astronomer and politician who as education minister in the 1880s and 1890s created the foundations of the modern Romanian education system). Opposite is the university building itself, constructed over a twelve year period from 1857 to 1869 at the behest of Alexandru Ioan Cuza, at the time Prince of Romania. It originally housed three faculties (Law, Humanities and Science), but today houses just the Faculty of Letters and Languages, as well as the universitys administrative departments. The central corp of the building was entirely rebuilt in the late 1940s after it was destroyed during heavy allied bombing in 1944. Though

Bucharest In Your Pocket

bucharest.inyourpocket.com

old town
rebuilt as an exact replica of the original, many sculptures and basreliefs by Carol Storck were deemed irreplaceable and lost forever. From this rather drab square its rather a delight to head into Old Town proper, especially given that the first sight that will probably grab your attention (it will be difficult to miss it) is the beautiful, colourful St. Nicholas (Students) Church. It is known colloquially as the Russian Church. Built in 1905-09 with a 600,000 gold rouble donation from Tsar Alexander II, this orthodox church is topped with seven typically Russian onion domes and crowned with an orthodox cross. The wooden, gold-gilded iconostasis (catapeteasm) is allegedly a copy of the altar in Arhangelsk Cathedral, in Moscows Kremlin. On your right as you exit the church - at the end of the street - is the Neo-Gothic uu Palace, home of the Museum of the History of Bucharest (Muzeul de Istorie al Municipiului Bucureti; Open 10:00 - 18:00. Closed Mon, Tue. Admission 6.00 lei, students and children 3.00 lei). The palace was built from 1833-4 for the wealthy merchant Costache uu. Old postcards and costumes depict life in the Romanian capital in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Retrace your steps past the Russian Church and you will come to the Czech Cultural Centre (Ceske Centrum), a lively hive of cultural activity which has regular film screenings and exhibitions. Carry on to the far end of Str. Ion Ghica and you will see in front of you the unmistakably Neo-Classical exterior of the National Bank of Romania (BNR). It stands on the site of one of the most famous buildings in Romania: the Hanul Serban Voda, which from 1678 until 1883 was the home of various things, from a pub, to an inn to a dormitory for a nearby girls school. After two fires gutted the building however, the land was levelled and in 1883 work began on the BNR, completed to the designs of French architects Cassien Bernard and Albert Galleron in 1885. The building boasts a facade with Corinthian columns, and an enormous central banking hall. The passing of time has seen the building become rather hemmed in, but it remains a classic worthy of admiration. On the banks far side (on Str. Lipscani) look out for the remains of another 17th century inn: visible below street level through hardened glass. Str. Lipscani gets its name from the large number of traders who, in the 18th century, sold wares here brought from Leipzig, which at the time was one of the largest trading posts in Europe. As Str. Lipscani was the main commercial street in the Old Town, it over time lent its name to the whole

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Old Town Shops


Souvenir Shop C-6, Str. Blnari 5, MUniversitate,
tel. (+4) 021 310 32 25, shop@souvenir-shop.com. ro, www.souvenir-shop.com.ro. Everything you would want from a decent souvenir shop - with both Romania and Bucharest branded gifts available - and more besides. We came across the best Dracula T-Shirts weve seen so far here, complete with the slogan Send more tourists, the last ones tasted great. We bought two. QOpen 10:00 - 18.00.

Thomas Antiques C-6, Str. Covaci 19, tel. (+4)

0752 44 08 18, (+4) 021 310 43 89, www.thomasantiques.ro. By common consent the best antique shop in the city. Stocks everything from furniture and paintings to clocks and decorations, with new pieces being added all the time. Upstairs you can even drink coffee, beer or cocktails in the bar: yep, sit and drink coffee on an antique chair and picture yourself doing the same at home. QOpen 10:00 - 22:00, Fri, Sat 10:00 - 23:45.

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area. Ironically - its name and history aside - modern Str. Lipscani has little to recommend it, although it does have some exceptional bars, pubs and clubs, and a theatre. It also has some hidden treasure: if you walk through the little alley opposite Str. Selari (an alley now packed with cafes and bars) you will come to Str. Blanari, home to the St. Nicolas Church. The church was built in the 1880s as a private chapel for Romanias first royal couple: Note that the king and queen still have special seats on the left and right of the churchs 18th century icon kept for them should they ever return. The icon itself is said by churchgoers to have magical healing powers. Back on Str. Lipscani, the Hanul cu Tei is a wonderful courtyard (once part of a large inn) which today houses art galleries, antique shops, second-hand book shops, gift and souvenir shops, studios and portrait artists, as well as a lively and bar/restaurant. Head next for Str. Stavropoleos , named for the eponymous church found along its length ( Biserica Stavropoleos; Open 08:30 - 18:00. Services (in Romanian) on Sunday at 09:30, 10:30). The church was built in 1724 at the insistence of a Greek monk, Ioanikie Stratonikeas. It is characterized by its beautiful stone and wood carvings, of which the finest are on the main doors. The courtyard outside (beautiful on a sunny afternoon) has a curious collection of tombstones dating from the 18th century, and you might often see skilled craftsmen working on restoring them. For a beer, coffee, bite to eat or simple jaw dropping experience (the interior is astonishing) head for Caru cu Bere, a beer hall and restaurant dating from 1875. It is on the other side of the road to the church a little further up. Church fans might also want to venture out on to Calea Victoriei. A few steps to the right is the Zlatari Church (Biserica Zlatari) built in the 19th century on the site of an earlier church and featuring interior frescoes by Gheorghe Tatarescu. They were painted from 1853-6. The ornate building on the other side of the road is the headquarters of CEC, the national savings bank, while the Neo-Classical giant facing it is the National History Museum, now of course boasting a bizarre statue of Emperor Traian on its steps. On the far side of the museum is Str. Franceza, another Old Town street now blessed with more restaurants, cafes, bars and such like than you could wish for. About half way along look out for the Sf. Dumitru Church: Sf. Dumitru is the patron saint of Bucharest. On the other side of the church (which is currently being renovated) is Bucharests comedy theatre. The busiest street in the Lipscani area is Str. Smardan, home today to any number of bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants. History buffs might like to know that in January 1859 at No. 42 (then the Hotel Concordia), Wallachian deputies elected Alexandru Ioan Cuza as their Prince. As Moldavian deputies had already done likewise a week earlier, the election that took place here created the first unified Romanian state since Mihai Bravus short-lived reign of 1600. At the bottom of Str. Smardan turn left in order reach the birthplace of Bucharest, the Old Court Palace and Church (Palatul i Biserica Curtea Veche; Open 10:00 - 18:00. Closed Mon). The Old Court, first built on this site in the second part of the 15th century by Vlad epe, was considerably extended during the 16th century, by Mircea Ciobanul, and again a century later, this time at the hand of Constantin Brancoveanu, who added a splendid voievodal palace, decorated with marble and icons. The palace was by and large destroyed by a series of fires in the 19th century however, and subsequently neglected. Much of what remains today was uncovered during archaeological digs that took place from 1967-72, when the palace ruins were first opened as a museum. There are fragments of the original 15th century walls, as well as remnants of the voievodal palace throne room, in which most of the relics found on the site are exhibited. Next door to the palace is the Old Court Church, the oldest in Bucharest, dating from 1545. It was enlarged in 1715, during the reign of tefan Cantacuzino, and the frescoes inside, painted by maestros Constantin Lecca and Miu Papa, were added in 1847. The churchs exterior was recently renovated, and it looks better than ever. Opposite is the Hanul lui Manuc. Built in 1808 by an Armenian merchant, it was bought and sold many times throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries before being nationalised in 1949. It remained state property until 2006, when Constantin erban Cantacuzino the heir of its last private owner won an epic legal battle (which had lasted the best part of ten years) to recover ownership. Closed a year later ahead of renovation, part of the inn (the restaurant/bar, courtyard and some function rooms) was finally reopened in 2011. The inns hotel (the Dacia) remains closed but is poised to reopen soon.

Old Town Cafes


Cafe Manuc C-6, Str. Franceza 62, MP-ta Unirii, tel.
(+4) 0769 07 58 44/(+4) 021 313 14 11, cafemanuc@ hanulluimanuc.ro, www.hanulluimanuc.ro. Hanul lui Manucsclassic cafe is one of the best places in the city to sit and enjoy either coffee - and there is a huge range - or cocktails (both with and without alcohol). Sit by the window and watch the world pass by outside on busy Piata Unirii. And remember: the place itself is a living piece of the citys history. QOpen 07:30 - 01:00. PSW

French Bakery

C-6, Str. Smardan 13, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 316 10 27, www.frenchbakery.ro. It had to happen. Bucharests smartest chain of bakeries comes to Old Town, complete with its fine selection of sandwiches, delicious tarts and cakes, great coffee and a super, covered (at this time of year) terrace outside on the sexiest part of Old Town. Could be just about the best place in Bucharest for coffee, regardless of the time of day. QOpen 09:30 - 24:00. PSW tel. (+4) 021 313 97 40/(+4) 0730 03 07 64, www. giocafe.ro. Something of a Bucharest legend now, this is a perennialy popular cafe that hosts business types in the mornings, who come here to talk big numbers over coffee and pastries, giving way as the day moves to a stylish, hip clientele that comes for the good light meals - pasta, soups and the like - and a cracking list of cocktails. There is another big, vibrant Gio Cafe on P-ta Alba Iulia. QOpen 07:30 - 24:00, Sat, Sun 09:00 - 24:00. Also at (E-6) B-dul Burebista 2, tel. (+4) 0730 03 07 64, Open 09:00 - 24:00, Sat, Sun 09:30 24:00. PJBSW

Gio Cafe C-5, Str. Toma Caragiu 3, MUniversitate,

Grand Cafe Van Gogh C-6, Str. Smardan 9, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 031 107 63 71, www.vangogh.ro. Amazing how quickly this place became the default Bucharest meet you there venue. Its genius is that its ideal at every time of day: morning coffee or breakfast sat in front of one of the long windows, a business lunch at one of the wooden tables, a

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meal and a late night at the bar. The food is good - simple and very reasonably priced - and this Dutch owned, friendly cafe is a winner: you will go back more than once. There is also a specialist wine bar downstairs, meeting and function rooms upstairs, and they now do a great brunch, on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00-16:00. QOpen 08:30 - 24:00, Fri 08:30 - 01:00, Sat 10:00 - 01:00, Sun 10:00 - 24:00. Non-smoking lounge open 17:00 - 24:00, Sat, Sun 12:00 -24:00. PJSW

Old Town Food & Drink


sitate, tel. (+4) 0733 50 03 03, www.embassy-hanulcutei. ro. Making very good use of the courtyard of Hanul cu T ei, always one of our favourite parts of Lipscani, Embassy is a terrace (in summer) and indoor lounge which serves food and drink to an older, wiser and simply nicer crowd than many other places we could mention in Old Town. Good bistro food, decent cocktails and reasonable prices. QOpen 10:00 - 02:00. Also at (C-4) P-ta Lahovari 8, Open 11:30-03:00. . PBSW

Embassy Hanul cu Tei C-6, Str. Lipscani 63-65, MUniver-

Klein Cafe C-6, Str. Smardan 11, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 313 93 15, www.rembrandt.ro. Good cafe situated on the mezzanine floor of the Rembrandt hotel; it is the only non-smoking cafe in the Old Town we believe. They serve a great continental breakfast until 10am, with a vast selection of croissants, muffins, Dutch cheeses, meats, yoghurts, cereals and freshly squeezed orange juice, while throughout the rest of the day fresh, warm waffles are served with a choice of toppings. Good hot chocolate, and a wide range of exotic teas. Nice. Q Open 07:00 - 24:00, Sat, Sun 08:00 - 24:00. PJGSW
C-6, Str. Smardan 20, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 021 310 60 52/(+4) 0720 13 29 94, www.lesbourgeois. ro. A veritable Strada Smardan legend of a venue, whose longevity is a credit to its management who keep rethinking and reinventing the menu and making sure there is always good reason to come and eat, drink or just have one of over 30 (we counted) coffees here. Foodwise, there is plenty to choose from: so much in fact that making individual recommendations is pointless. Everyone will find something they like. Top desserts, too. Get in. QOpen 10:00 - 02:00, Fri, Sat 10:00 - 04:00. PJSW

French
21 98/(+4) 0721 37 56 22, www.bonrestaurant.ro. Fabulous food in a wonderful setting, created using antique doors and window frames, the work of the designer du jour in this part of the world, who also came up with the concept for Energiea, Atelier Mecanic, Biutiful and La Bonne Bouche (to which it bears a passing resemblance). The food is worthy of the surroundings: the onion soup with Gruyere is amazing, the New Zealand lamb chops tender, and the mussels fresh. Prices are reasonable given the quality. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00, Mon 18:30 - 24:00. .

Bon Str. Smardan 33, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 021 367

NEW

Les Bourgeois

Boutique Restaurant Chocolat Createur de Gout C-5,


Calea Victoriei 12A, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0728 03 41 75, www.chocolat.com.ro. Hard to pin this place down. Is it a cafe serving chocolate, or a chocolate shop serving a little coffee? In fact, it is neither. It is a brilliant restaurant serving delicious, well priced light meals (soups, pasta, salad) of a French and Italian bent. There is chocolate of course - loads of it - as well as more kinds of gourmet bread than we could possibly list. Find it next

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Coco Bongo C-6, Str. Covaci 1, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4)
0754 02 04 34, www.coco-bongo.ro. Love the name, love the attitude. Looks more like a pub from outside, and in fact it is both pub and restaurant, the kind of place you can eat very well but nobody minds if you just spend all night on the sauce. The food is Italian, is good if a little pricey (some of the dishes, anyway). The pizzas are good and cheap though, and the service good, quick and friendly. Worth a look. QOpen 12:00 - 02:00, Sat, Sun 12:00 - 03:00. . PVBSW Unirii, tel. (+4) 0733 11 04 64, www.trattoriabuongiorno.ro. We have always loved Trattoria Buongiorno, and have quickly become big fans of its new location in the Old Town. Decent Italian food (there is a small but good selection of fish dishes which are well worth looking out for). and one of the biggest and busiest terraces in Bucharest (at the right time of year) make it a seriously good eat and watch the world go by type place. (And at weekends, it can feel like the whole city is going by). QOpen 12:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 12:00 - 02:00. Also at Baneasa Shopping Center, 1st floor, tel. (+4) 0731 49 66 59. . PBSW

Trattoria Buongiorno C-6, Str. Franceza 52, MPiata

to Caru cu Bere. QOpen 08:30 - 23:30. Also at (B-3) Str. Radu Beller 13, tel. (+4) 021 230 23 83. . PSW Unirii, tel. (+4) 0731 24 78 76, www.labonnebouche.ro. Does what it does - simple French bistro food - better than anywhere else in the city. Try the sublime onion soup, calves liver with sage and garlic mash and the lemon meringue pie. Look for the chefs specials too. An open kitchen is always a good sign, and we love the variety of reading material in the toilets. Just a brilliantly simple place. Accepts Amex.QOpen 09:00 - 23:30, Mon 18:00 - 23:30. . PEBSW

La Bonne Bouche C-6, Str. Franceza 30, MPiata

Negresco C-6, Str. Stavropoleos 3, MUniversitate, tel.


(+4) 0720 66 77 66, info@negresco.ro, www.negresco.ro. Probably the best new restaurant to open in Bucharest this year. This place is classically French, serving a terrific onion soup, two fabulous duck dishes (the duck breast with fennel and coriander is amazing), fresh pate, snails and a super apple tart with vanilla sauce to finish. There is a wide range of wines (many available by the glass) and it is all served in a well-restored, classy Bucharest house dating from the 1890s. Downstairs is a bar perfect for private parties. QOpen 12:00 - 01:00. . PESW

C-6, Str. Covaci 16, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 031 430 95 77, www.vecchio.ro. We love it. Making fantastic use of a gorgeous old building on Strada Covaci, this Italian restaurant looks and feels like the kind of place you want spend all evening in. The food is superior Italian, as you would expect from one of the citys best chefs, and while prices are not cheap they certainly reflect quality. The jacket potatoes in a salt crust are one of the best (and most original) starters we have ever tasted in Bucharest. Go there. QOpen 12:00 24:30. . PBSW

Vecchio 1812

Lebanese
C-6, Str. Franceza 62, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 0769 07 58 44/(+4) 021 313 14 11, www.hanulluimanuc.ro. Good Lebanese food, upstairs at Hanul lui Manuc, the citys last surviving caravanserai. There is a huge range of dishes to choose from, and its difficult to go wrong: we ordered a load of food, and loved it all, being especially impressed by the lahme bahjeen (minced beef and lamb in pitta bread), the kafta kebab and the marinated lamb cutlets. Well priced too. QOpen 11:00 - 01:00. . PSW

Manuc Levantin

Greek
Meze Taverna C-6, Str. Nicolae Tonita 6, MPiata
Unirii, tel. (+4) 021 539 53 53, www.mezetaverna.ro. The newest Greek restaurant in Bucharest, but one which immediately takes the citys best award. It even looks the part - we love the lampshades made from empty olive oil cans - while the food itself is seriously, seriously good. There is tons of seafood on the gorgeous menu (the fish soup and the prawns with tomatoes and cheese are musts), alongside what is probably the best lamb weve eaten in Bucharest. The Greek chef Georgios is always coming up with tasty daily specials, so ask your waiter whats cooking. Ouzo? Let it flow. QOpen 10:30 - 24:00. . PSW

Sindbad C-6, Str. Lipscani 19, MUniversitate, tel. (+4)

Italian
Bel Mondo C-6, Str. Covaci 6, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 0725 96 66 36/(+4) 0728 94 10 26, www.restaurantbelmondo. ro. A good Italian restaurant, one of the better ones in the Old Town, which offers decent food - we recommend the fresh tomato soup with mozarella - at prices that are more than reasonable. The pizzas are excellent (and huge) and the space itself is big, open, light and blessed with sensationally high ceilings. Easily the best occupant of the old Amsterdam Cafe location since Amsterdam itself. Big terrace too as soon as the weather is good. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. . PBSW Bucharest In Your Pocket

021 317 77 88/(+4) 0735 22 28 88, www.restaurantsindbad.ro. New Lebanese restaurant in Old Town serving what might just be the best lentil soup in Bucharest. Fabulous fresh bread too (made on site) and a decent range of mutton dishes as main courses. Theres both an exterior (at the right time of year) and interior terrace, and the decor is vaguely Middle Eastern without over-doing it. We liked the comfy chairs. QOpen 11:30 - 01:00. . PVBSW

Mediterranean
(+4) 0737 50 38 90, office@charme.ro, www.charme. ro. Some of the finest food in Old Town, served in one of the most elegant and classiest locations around. Check out the nice little touches such as high quality bread and olives, the high ceilings and airy atmosphere, then order some fine, light Californian-inspired cuisine. Its a winner from start to finish. QOpen 10:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 10:00 - 01:00. . PSW

Charme C-6, Str. Smardan 12, MUniversitate, tel.

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Romanian Restaurants in Old Town
Caru cu Bere C-6, Str. Stavropoleos 5, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 313 75 60, (+4) 0726 28 23 73, carucubere@citygrill.ro, www.carucubere.ro. Should be the first stop on the list of any visitor to Bucharest. Wonderful interiors - painted ceilings, ornate woodwork - make the place an attraction in itself, but do not leave without trying some food. The breakfast is worth getting up early for, the sarmale with mamaliga terrific, and the baked apple a simple, tasty treat. Good beer, good service (now: it never used to be) and a great terrace in summer. Q Open 08:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 08:00 - 02:00. . PJESW
(+4) 0729 62 62 62/(+4) 021 314 24 89, www. citygrill.ro. They call these places your dining room in the city, and given the homely food and cheap prices (the lunchtime deals are just about unbeatable) they might just be right. Dont expect haute cuisine, but do expect big portions of simple Romanian food. We like the carnati de plescoi, tasty smoked sausages made with mutton and pork. Theres a good selection of local beers to choose from too. Recently renovated, the place itself looks better than ever too. QOpen 07:00 - 22:00. Also at (B-2) B-dul Primaverii 3, tel. (+4) 021 233 98 18 and many other locations. . PJVEBSW

City Grill C-6, Str. Lipscani 12, MUniversitate, tel.

Crama Domneasca C-6, Str. Selari 13-15, MPiata

Modern European
The Artist Restaurant C-6, Str. Nicolae Tonitza 13,
MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 0728 31 88 71, www.theartist. ro. Food as art: a first for Bucharest and a first for Romania. The work of a young Dutch chef, this amazing restaurant is set to be a massive hit with the citys foodies, longing for something a bit different. The grilled jumbo scallops were probably our pick of the menu, while the lobster sarmale were a fantasic twist on that most Romanian of dishes. In keeping with the food the restaurant itself is contemporary and upmarket, a mix of the bright and the simple, chic without ever going over the top. Prices reflect the amazing quality. QOpen 12:00 - 23:00. Closed Mon. . PLW

Unirii, tel. (+4) 0726 32 20 04/(+4) 0722 29 11 95, rezervari@cramadomneasca.com, www.cramadomneasca.com. Right in the heart of Bucharests historic centre, this is Romanian food of indeed historic proportions. You can expect right royal portions of all your Romanian favourites, from spare ribs and mutton to tender pork steaks. The home baked bread is always served warm (if it is not, send it back) and the wine flows copiously as evenings get longer and longer. Its the kind of place where you will be discretely but contentedly loosening your belt before the night is done. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. . PJEBSW

Oriental
Adeline Restaurant & Pub C-6, Str. Blanari 9, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0725 73 93 98, www.restaurantadeline.ro. Newly opened where until recently there was Excalibur. Serving a wide range of international cuisine alongside a good selection of top oriental food, this is as good a place to eat in Old Town as anywhere to open last year. Add in live music and dancing and you have a winner. Decent prices too. QOpen 11:00 - 24:00, Sat, Sun 11:00 04:00. . SW

Unirii, tel. (+4) 0372 77 39 99/(+4) 0725 55 82 86, mihai@lacrimisisfinti.com, www.lacrimisisfinti. com. Romanian poet, revolutionary and raconteur Mircea Dinescus latest culinary adventure is this classy place in the Old Town. As much a showcase for the (very good) wines Dinescu produces on his country estate as anything else, the food is good: a selection of traditional Romanian dishes with a big focus on game. The prices are decent enough and though a little spartanly furnished and decorated the ambience is good: you want to stay way after you have finished your meal. QOpen 12:30 - 02:00, Mon 18:00 - 02:00. . PJESW

Lacrimi si Sfinti C-6, Str. Sepcari 16, MPiata

Pizzerias
Vero Pizzaiolo C-6, Str. Smardan 37, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 0752 97 93 16, www.veropizzaiolo.ro. One of the first places to open up when Smardan became gentrified, Vero Pizza is just about all you want from a pizza joint. Good, thin and crispy pizza, cheap drinks and service that at least pretends to be interested. Try the house pizza, the pizzaiolo. Q Open 10:00 - 24:00, Sun 12:00 - 24:00. . PVBS Bucharest In Your Pocket

Manuc Bistro C-6, Str. Franceza 62, M Piata Unirii, tel. (+4) 021 313 14 11/(+4) 0769 07 58 44, cafemanuc@hanulluimanuc.ro, www.hanulluimanuc.ro. Bucharests oldest inn (and one of only two surviving caravanserai in Europe - the other is in Albania) which reopened its doors last summer. A new bar has been put in on the ground floor, and the place had been spruced up rather nicely. Sit in the gorgeous courtyard (when the weather allows, of course) and enjoy a beer or good, simple Romanian food. QOpen 11:00 - 01:00. . PJESW bucharest.inyourpocket.com

old town
South American
La Historia de Sudamerica C-6, Str. Sf. Dumitru 3, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 0722 62 60 43, www.lahistoria. ro. Found opposite the T eatru de Comedie in a side-street off Smardan, it carries the seal of approval of the El Comandante gang, who run it. Expect a Latin American-influenced drinks menu, bistro-ish food (they serve a good spicy chicken with roast potatoes) and a crowd of young, successful, advertising/media types. Music is played at a level allowing people to talk to each other. A wonderful thing. Q Open 24hrs. Also La Historia de Cuba at (D-5) Str. Sf. Stefan 13 (corner with Str. Plantelor) tel. (+4) 0785 27 38 75 and La Historia de Argentina at (D-4) Str. Viitorului 26, tel. (+4) 0724 39 60 43. . VEBSW

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Steak Houses
Red Angus Steakhouse C-6, Str. Franceza 56, MPiata
Unirii, tel. (+4) 0734 88 44 99, www.redangus.ro. Does exactly what the name suggests: serves great steaks to customers who like their meat cooked to order. The steaks come from all over the world, from the US to New Zealand, and there is more than just classic steaks (like the Rib-Eye): there are great baby back ribs too, a magnificent burger, and the desserts - if you still have room after a big meaty feast - are well worth trying, not least the lemon merengue pie. And they have a childrens menu. Admirable. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. . PVESW

Swiss
La Fondue Restaurant C-6, Str. Franceza 56, MPiata
Unirii, tel. (+4) 0722 51 12 99, www.lafondue.ro. Oh la la. Real French fondue, both cheese and meat, on - what else - Strada Franceza. The first fondue restaurant to open

in Bucharest we think, and from what we cold tell it is already popular with groups of friends looking for something just a bit different to the Old Town norm. You would do well to make a reservation. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. . PEW

Mica Elvetie St. Moritz Str. Franceza 60, MPiata

Unirii, tel. (+4) 021 224 50 17, info@micaelvetie.ro, www.micaelvetie.ro. In a superb new setting in a lovingly renovated building on the edge of Old Town the Bucharest cooking legend Jakob Hausmann is still delivering the goods more than a decade after opening his first restaurant. The menu changes regularly, with a wide variety of daily specials, all based around the seasons freshly available ingredients. If you are a foodie who cares about subtle, simple flavours you are going to love this place. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00. Closed Sun. . PSW

Turkish
C-6, Str. Franceza 46-48, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 021 312 30 34, info@thedivan.ro, www.thedivan.ro. From the Middle Eastern atmosphere and superb decor to the great service, Divan is a lesson in creating a good restaurant. The well-priced food is good value Turkish/Middle Eastern, and its very good indeed. They will even cook you a whole lamb if you give them at least 24 hours notice. We opted for the less Sultan-like beef and lamb kebabs. Very good they were too, as was just about everything on the menu. After your meal you can enjoy a smoke on a hookah pipe: theres a huge range of flavours to choose from. Live music and belly-dancing at weekends, and a Turkish DJ on Fridays.QOpen 10:00 - 02:00. . PESW

Divan

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Old Town Bars


tel. (+40) 21 310 35 66. Late-night bar (well, thats when we think its at its best) upstairs at Covaci 6. Serves a huge range of beers (its run by the same people as 100 Beers around the corner) and exotic drinks, including absinthe, which comes complete with a natty water dispenser. QOpen 12:00 - 02:00. PW

Absintherie Sixtina C-6, Str. Covaci 6, MPiata Unirii,

furnished and decorated with parts of old bicycles. On the second floor of a Lipscani house the place boasts a good long bar, plenty of stools (some of which incorporate old bike seats) and a couple of leather sofas for those who want something a bit more comfortable. Coffee by day and cocktails by night is the order of things, and at the weekend the place has a DJ and quite frankly rocks. Tour de France? Tour de force. QOpen 16:00 - 02:00, Fri, Sat 16:00 - 05:00. PW

Atelier Mecanic C-6, Str. Covaci 12, MPiata Unirii, tel.

(+4) 0726 76 76 11. You will like it the minute you walk in the door. Perhaps even before that. Old Town has needed something a bit different for a while, and this place is it. A modernist, minimalist bar/cafe where every chair and table is different, and which has something of a What communist Britain might have looked like-chic about it. The price of beer is good, and they serve a variety of wines by the glass. Brilliantly simple it is antifitze Bucharest at its best and as a result you can expect to see us here often. QOpen 10:00 - 05:00. PBSW

Beer OClock C-6, Pasajul Vilacrosse, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0767 23 33 35, office@beeroclock.ro, www. beeroclock.ro. This little pub in Pasajul Villacrosse has probably the biggest selection bottled beers in the city: so it is aptly named. With brews from all over the world you could drink a different beer every night for a month and not try the same one twice. Whats more, besides the beer they also have the appropriate glass in which to serve it: great attention to details. Tiny, with only a few places to sit, its worth reserving if you want to be sure of a seat. Note: there is now a much bigger Beer OClock on Strada Gabroveni further down in Old Town. We prefer the tiny original. QOpen 16:00 - 02:00. Also at (C-6) Str. Gabroveni 4. Open 17:00 - 02:00. PBW Beraria Kovaci C-6, Str. Covaci 3, MPiata Unirii,
tel. (+4) 021 312 05 52/(+4) 0722 80 01 86, www. berariakovaci.ro. Beer (more than 40 kinds), very good pizza and fair bit else besides in a rather nice setting on Strada Covaci, which, with the recent opening of a few other decent places is quickly becoming the new Lipscani street-to-be. Beraria Kovaci is a sweet little place, decked out with wood and boasting perhaps the comfiest chairs of any pub in the city. Drinks are well priced and service comes with a smile. An excellent place for a livener or two. QOpen 14:00 - 02:00. BW
NEW

Corks Cozy Bar Str. Bacani 1, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 021 311 22 65, www.corks.ro. Nice little wine bar tucked away on an Old Town side street which has quickly won itself a handy following of admirers and regulars. A look at the wine list will be enough to tell you why, offering as it does a vast range of wines from across the world. Almost all of them are available by the glass. The idea behind this place was to create a wine bar where anyone - no matter how little they know about wine - would feel welcome, comfortable and not be intimidated. In that regard, its a total success. QOpen , Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu 13:00 - 01:00, Fri, Sat 13:00 - 04:00, Sun 13:00 - 24:00. PW
0722 10 01 93, dan@interbelic.ro, www.interbelic.ro. A cosy little speakeasy in a well-hidden location (find it in the alleyway which links Str. Blanari to Str. Lipscani) and the perfect place to conduct all sorts of secret business, affairs and anything else that springs to mind. Drinks and coffees are reasonably priced, the staff are friendly and its worth checking out: if only to show off to someone just how well you know Bucharest and its backstreets. QOpen 15:00 - 02:00, Thu, Fri, Sat 15:00 - 05:00. PNW

Interbelic C-6, Str. Selari 1, MUniversitate, tel. (+4)

Klein Bar & Bistro C-6, Str. Smardan 11, MUniversi-

tate, tel. (+4) 021 313 93 15, www.rembrandt.ro. Bar and bistro inside the Rembrandt hotel. Its a great place to enjoy a drink with friends, and the location at the edge of Bucharests newly-formed pedestrian zone makes it a favourite for those looking for something just a little more restful. Good bistro food too, and like the hotel itself, everything comes at very reasonable prices. QOpen 07:00 - 23:00, Sat, Sun 08:00 - 23:00. PGW MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0722 52 80 40. Our new favourite Old Town location? Possibly. Its a cocktail bar (there is beer too, of course, on tap, as well as hundreds of teas) where everything has been thought out to the minutest detail. The name means Cocktail Factory, so you get your Tom Collins or Mojito or whatever takes your fancy in a conical flask, while the bar itself looks like an old pharmacy. Unusually,

Laboratorul de Cocktailuri C-6, Str. Stavropoleos 8,

(+4) 0735 61 62 98. The name means Bicycle, and it will not take you long to work out why: the place is by and large

Bicicleta C-6, Str. Lipscani 38, MPiata Unirii, tel.

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they have even invested in decent bar stools. Trendy without overdoing it. Commendable. QOpen 17:00 - 03:00, Fri, Sat 17:00 - 06:00. PNW

Papiota C-6, Str. Lipscani 43, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 315 40 43, www.papiota.ro. The madcap bar Atelier Mecanic has proven to be so popular that quasi-clones are starting to appear. Papiota is therefore much like Atelier, packed with odd chairs, tables and industrial bits and bobs, but (whisper it) might actually be preferable given that it is a bit bigger and that late on a Friday you stand a chance of getting in the door. It also has lots of big windows, the drinks are reasonably well priced (this is Old Town) and the music is clubby without over- (or under-) doing it. QOpen 17:00 - 01:00, Thu, Fri, Sat 17:00 - 04:00. PW Revenge C-6, Str. Selari 9-11, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4)
0722 33 12 26, www.revenge.ro. It is the music that we like best about this pub and club in the heart of the Lipscani area. A mix of everything from the sublime to the ridiculous, it hardly matters that you might not like whats playing: you will not have to wait long to hear an old favourite. Add in a casually-dressed, non-fitze crowd and you have a winner. QOpen 17:00 - 07:00, Fri, Sat 17:00 - 09:00. PNW

Thomas Antiques Bar C-6, Str. Covaci 19, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 0752 44 08 18, www.thomas-antiques.ro. Above the Thomas Antiques shop in Old Town is a cafe, tea house and bar where you can enjoy a hot white chocolate (or something stronger) while discussing the merits of the goods youve been admiring. Theres nothing quite like taking tea on an antique chair you might end up taking home. Regular events too, from string quartets to book launches and the like. QOpen 12:00 - 22:00, Fri, Sat 12:00 - 24:00. Closed Sun. PW

Old Town Pubs


Arcade Cafe C-6, Str. Smardan 30, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 0727 25 70 22, www.arcadecafe.ro. One more reason to hail Strada Smardan as the new Messiah of nightlife destinations. This little place is a cool mix of cafe, DJ bar and deadly serious club, though the music is always at the right volume and never stifles conversation. Basically there are two parts to this place: upstairs is the cafe (serving hot milk: our kids liked it!) and downstairs is the club. The cafe is open from (around) 10am. QOpen 10:00 - 05:00. PESW Barbero C-6, Str. Lipscani 38, MUniversitate, tel. (+4)
NEW

Shakespeare C-6, Str. Blanari 21, MUniversitate, tel.


(+4) 021 311 19 92, shakespearbar@yahoo.com, www. shakespearebar.ro. A cracking pub on Strada Blanari, right opposite the big church, where from day one they appear to have got it right. A bit spacier and a bit more comfortable than your average Lipscani venue, expect to find comfy sofas in the windows, strange but rather fetching art on the walls and decent staff who know how to pull a decent beer. The crowd tends to be studenty during the day, getting a bit smarter and sophisticated as the evening wears on. We like it. QOpen 11:00 - 04:00. PBW

0767 50 80 80. New Lipscani bar that we liked the moment we first walked in. The whole place is brightly tiled and done in the style of an old barbers shop (as the name might suggest). We love the red lamps hanging down over the (long) bar, designed to look like old hair dryers. Good music, usually provided by a DJ, and well priced drinks. QOpen 15.00 - 05.00.

Biutiful C-6, Str. Gabroveni 6-8, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4)

0737 29 72 97, www.biutiful.ro. Easily the most talkedabout venue to open in Bucharest. When you walk in, you will see why: it is indeed biutiful, an enormous industrial-chic

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space with a little added glamour (check out the lights and the comfy sofas), creating a rather special atmosphere rather like an upmarket, contemporary central London bar and grill. The food is more than decent - salads, tapas and burgers - with the beef and horseradish sandwich a confirmed winner; The fish and chips wasnt bad either. A must visit for either drinks or food, preferably both. Note that they only take reservations up to 19:00, after that its first come first served. QOpen 12:00 - 01:00, Mon 15:00 - 01:00. PESW 0748 88 10 85, www.bordellos.ro. Pub, club and eatery where there is always something going on. From quiz nights and live music to the burlesque every Friday night, this is a one-stop shop for hedonists. Theres Heineken, Murphys and Paulaner on tap and Sky Sports on four screens. The food is great tapas in the pub (the ribs are just about the best weve ever had in Bucharest) and more sophisticated fare in the Mulanruj restaurant bit. Head down to the Boudoir for one of the best nights out in the city. You cant miss this place by the way: just look for the tarts in their underwear beckoning you in. No wonder it is always full. QOpen 12:00 - 02:00, Wed, Thu, Fri 12:00 - 05:00, Sat 14:00 - 05:00, Sun 14:00 - 02:00. PESW

very casually dressed mix of rockers in leather and rollers in jeans. Make of it what you will. Q Open 16:00 - 02:00, Thu, Fri, Sat 16:00 - 04:00. PBW C-6, Str. Lipscani 66, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0721 56 69 09, www.gangladspub.ro. The opening night party at this pub was one of the wildest (and simply one of the best) Bucharest has seen for some time. We hope that having set such a cracking standard nothing will change. Early signs are good: this place serves a decent pint of Guinness (on tap, note, unlike a few other places in this town) and has regular live music. Theres food too: of a somewhat overwhelming variety. Punches above its weight this place; see you there. QOpen 10:00 - 04:00. PEW

Gang Lads Pub

Bordellos C-6, Str. Selari 9-11, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4)

Late Night Food


Bun de tot Str. Franceza 52, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 0733 11 04 64, www.citygrill.ro. The name means good for everything and everything is what they have here, from kebabs (which are OK) to hot dogs, burgers and the like. Q Open 24 hrs. Chicken Staff C-6, Str. Smardan 31, MPiata Unirii. KFC on the ground floor of Unirea closes at 23:00, so instead get yourself here for your late night/early morning fried chicken fix. Q Open 11:00 - 05:00. Dristor Kebap C-6, Str. Franceza 17, MPiata Unirii, tel.
(+4) 021 315 55 40, www.dristorkebap.ro. Legendary chain of kebab shops, which began in Dristor but has now spread city wide, even in to Old Town. Q Open 24 hrs.

Clocks C-5, Str. Ion Ghica 3, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 031 438 17 59/0723 20 59 59, rezervari@clockspub. ro, www.clockspub.ro. Its been a few things over the years, this venue, but Clocks might well be the best yet. A cafe, bar and pub it is open all day and seems to be as popular with business-types taking early morning coffee here as it is later in the evening with party-goers having a quick snifter before hitting the clubs. Comfy chairs a bonus. QOpen 08:00 - 24:00, Sat, Sun 10:00 - 24:00. PLEW Curtea Berarilor C-6, Str. Selari 9-11, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 021 313 75 32, www.curteaberarilor.com. Once upon a time the whole of the Curtea Sticlarilor was given over to artisans - especially glassmakers, from whence the name. Now only a few survive and no less than four bars have opened here. This one has given itself the rather cheeky name Curtea Berarilor (Brewers Courtyard), though there is no brewing done on the site. Instead make do with plenty of on-tap pints, of which the default option is Timisoreana. QOpen 13:00 - 04:00, Mon, Tue, Wed 13:00 - 01:00, Sun 12:00 - 24:00. PBSW Elephant Pub & Live Music C-6, Str. Gabroveni 16,
MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 021 311 22 67, www.elephantpub.ro. Live music pub and club that launches itself into direct competition with the more established Mojo next door. Besides the music there are plenty of screens for watching sports and the like, the beer is well priced and the crowd a

Gyros Thessaloniki Str. Gabroveni 2, MPiata Unirii. In our opinion, this place serves the best chicken kebab in Bucharest. Its a regular late-night haunt of ours and the queues speak for themselves. Alongside the kebabs there are also salads, lamb dishes and sweets. Q Open 24hrs. McDonalds C-6, P-ta Unirii 1 (Unirea Shopping Centre), MPiata Unirii, www.mcdonalds.ro. The good news is McDonalds has finally brought breakfast to Romania, so that much sought-after Sausage and Egg McMuffin can now be yours at most central Bucharest McDonalds outlets. But only until 10:00, alas. We do wish they would serve them all day. Q Open 07:00-24:00, Fri, Sat 07:00-01:00. McDrive at (A-4) Str. Dr. Felix 8-10, (E-6) Sos. Mihai Bravu 307, Sos. Pierre de Coubertine 3-5, (C-3) Str. Barbu Vacarescu 146-158 and Str. Brasov 23A all open 24hrs.

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Oktoberfest C-6, Str. Selari 9 -11, MPiata Unirii, tel.

(+4) 0724 33 32 33, www.oktoberfest-pub.ro. What makes this place so special is how very ordinary it is. You will find the crowd more local than foreign - never a bad thing - and ordinary, out for a drink and a good time locals at that, not the fitze crowd. The owners try to make something happen every night, whether its football on the television or impromptu drinking competitions. The house Oktoberfest beer is a bargain at 4 lei a glass. Upstairs is Oktoberfest 2, which has a small terrace. The club Octopus is also inside (on the ground floor). Q Open 24hrs. PNBW

also - as you would expect for a Russian-themed placed - now fewer than seven kinds of vodka, and they even serve caviar pancakes. Definitely a first in Bucharest! QOpen 12:00 04:00. PESW

Old City C-6, Str. Lipscani 45, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0729 37 77 74, www.oldcity-lipscani.ro. Good pub on Lipscani with a huge beer garden out the back. Serves very good cocktails (a sweet as you like mojito went down very well with Mrs. In Your Pocket) and some pub grub that is far better than you would assume. The burger was great: try it with the roast potatoes in fresh rosemary for something a bit different. A big screen shows football and the like. QOpen 10:00 - 05:00. PBW Otro Clandestin Bistro C-6, Str. Franceza 7, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 0772 08 29 54, www.otroclandestin.ro. A welcoming, charming bar and bistro on Strada Franceza. The karaoke night (usually Thursday) is quickly becoming one of the most popular in the city, they show lots of live sport on television and the bistro food is good value for this particular neck of the woods. QOpen 15:00 - 02:00. Closed Mon. PLSW Sankt Petersburg Pub C-6, Str. Gabroveni 55, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 021 311 89 68/(+4) 0729 19 18 55, www.sanktpetersburgpub.ro. At the end of a well-marked passageway on Strada Gabroveni is this place, a bright, colourful bar and club that puts on something different every night of the week. Besides the long cocktail list there are bucharest.inyourpocket.com

Team Pub C-6, Str. Lipscani 36, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0760 32 34 17, www.teampub.ro. Decent enough pub on the corner of Lipscani and Selari, with good proper bar stools and a decent range of beers. Efficient waitresses in red tops serve the customers well. Its popular too: first time we came here (just after they had opened) it was empty: now (especially on a Friday or Saturday night) you can barely get through the door for revelers. QOpen 12:00 - 02:00, Fri, Sat 12:00 - 03:00. PBW Trinity College C-6, Str. Selari 9-11, MPiata Unirii, tel.
(+4) 0747 50 75 07, www.trinitycollegepub.ro. Upmarket burgers, tapas and the like served in an all-American atmo-

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Communist Romania
At the end of World War II, a semblance of democracy was preserved in Romania by the occupying Soviet Union until the summer of 1947, when the pre-war political parties, who had been harassed and persecuted since 1945, were all banned, and its leaders imprisoned at the notorious prison at Sigheul Marmaiei, in the north of Romania. King Michael was given an ultimatum in December 1947: exile or arrest. He chose exile, and abdicated on December 30. Though Petru Groza was de jure prime minister until 1953, real power rested in the hands of Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, General Secretary of the Romanian Workers (Communist) Party. Dej was the leader of a group of communists who had stayed in Romania during the war, and which by the late 1940s had defeated another group, led by Ana Pauker, who had spent the war in Moscow. Life for most people under Dej was tough: the need to pour resources into industrialization meant that the production of consumer goods was neglected, and there were perennial shortages. The rights of workers were non-existent, and conditions in factories were generally awful. In the countryside collectivization of agriculture had reduced most farmers to a status little better than slaves, though in some remote parts of the country (including parts of the Apuseni and Maramure) opposition to collectivization had been so strong that local party cadres simply gave up trying to implement it. Dej died in 1965, just two months before the Ninth Congress of the Romanian Communist Party. The keynote address of the congress was delivered by the relatively youthful (he was 47) Nicolae Ceauescu, who, to the astonishment of his audience, denounced the abuses of the Dej years. Most delegates left the congress full of hope for a more liberal and open society. Initially their hopes were fulfilled. American films were again shown in cinemas, foreign books translated and foreign plays staged. Russian disappeared from the school curriculum, replaced with French. In 1968 Ceausescu pulled off a political masterstroke by memorably condemning the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. In the early 1970s Romania began borrowing heavily in order to boost industrilaization. Yet these loans were taken at a time when country was already heavily in debt, and its capacity to repay had been based on overly-optimistic export projections. By 1981 the countrys external debt reached $10.2 billion. In 1967 it had been just $3.6 billion. Yet astonishingly, in December 1982 Ceausescu announced that Romania would repay its entire foreign debt by 1990 in order to preserve the countrys independence. Achieving this goal, however, meant exporting almost everything produced in Romania, resulting in a sharp drop in living standards. At the beginning of 1983 rationing was introduced in some provinces for flour, bread, sugar and milk. By the end of that year only the capital was free of rationing. Other restrictions were placed on the consumption of petrol, electricity (there were constant power outages throughout the 1980s) and gas. From 1986 onwards many homes went unheated in winter. By 1989 Romania was a failed country. Schools closed early in winter for a lack of heating, nobody worked as people spent all day queuing for basic foodstuffs, and a rampant black market saw speculators and corrupt officials make small fortunes. Yet even as late as November 1989, when the Communist Party held its four-yearly congress, electing Ceauescu as president for another four-year term, there was no sign that the regime was in any trouble. When the end came a month later, it came very quickly indeed. sphere to an (almost) all-Romanian crowd. Good ribs, good pizza, good cocktails and Leffe on draught. Stays open late, and at weekends often has DJs on duty to make sure the music is good. QOpen 11:00 - 03:00. PBW

Vintage Pub C-6, Str. Smardan 43, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 0743 79 71 73, www.thevintagepub.ro. Another Smardan drinking den. And its not bad. Staff are incredibly hospitable, and the interior dcor is pub-ish without overdoing it. The Vintage aspect is provided by the hanging of various antiques on the walls. Cheapish drinks, salads, sandwiches and a big terrace (at the right time of year) attract a young, studenty crowd. Hosts loads of events. Q Open 13:30 06:00. PBW

Old Town Irish Pubs


Arthur Irish Pub C-6, Str. Gabroveni 20, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 0736 85 84 30, www.arthuririshpub.ro. Another Irish pub in Old Town. Looks like a huge advert for Guinness, with black-stuff branding all over the place, complete with portraits of old Arthur Guinness himself. Needless to say they serve a faultless pint, the bar (and sufficient bar stools) are the business and we think it is a real winner. QOpen 12:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 12:00 - 04:00. PEW
0724 23 95 77, www.ohara.ro. Amazingly, this place has already been around for two years. (Feels like only yesterday that it opened). Expect a decent pint of Guinness, live Irish music and a grand welcome from some fine staff make this very much the thinking mans Irish pub in Bucharest. The Lipscani venue (on one of the areas pedestrian streets that has actually been finished) is a bonus. QOpen 12:00 - 02:00. PENBSW

OHaras C-6, Str. Franceza 13, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4)

Oscars C-6, Str. Covaci 19, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 021 310 32 61, www.oscarspub.ro. Wow, its like a new place. Forget what you read or thought of this place before and get there immediately. Its a big Irish pub showing all the right sports on television and serving an exemplary pint of Guinness and a top chicken pie. There is also karaoke, live music and hands-on management. There is a great courtyard and sublime raised seating area, and now that theyve finished repaving Strada Covaci you can get here without getting your shoes dirty. QOpen 11:00 - 02:00, Fri, Sat 11:00 - 05:00. PEBSW
tel. (+4) 021 313 03 36/(+4) 0755 11 00 08, office@ stpatrick.ro, www.stpatrick.ro. Big, well located and quite frankly cracking Irish pub in Lipscani: it really sets the standard for the many others in the area. Looking every inch just like a proper Irish boozer, its a real pub all right with decent pub grub, Guinness and Kilkenny on tap, and more than efficient staff who ensure you do not have to wait long for a drink. Its a brilliant addition to the Old Town area and has a load of regulars who have quickly it their home from home. QOpen 11:00 - 02:00, Fri, Sat 11:00 - 04:00. PESW

St. Patrick C-6, Str. Smardan 23-25, MPiata Unirii,

The Gin Factory C-6, Str. Lipscani 37, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 311 38 36, reservations@theginfactory.ro, www.theginfactory.ro. Enormous and gorgeous, this is an Irish pub well worth taking a drink in, not least for its very nice booths and break-out areas perfect for private chats and the like. The big bar is well-manned and it never takes long to get a drink regardless of how busy it is. Theres a DJ on-site spinning tunes of all sorts after about 8pm, and though the Guinness is only by the bottle, they do have Ursus Black, so we can live with that. QOpen 10:00 - 05:00. PBSW bucharest.inyourpocket.com

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Clubs & Discos


0723 20 34 63, www.bastards.ro. Yes: that is really what it is called. In a Lipscani basement, with the walls stripped back to the red brick, this is a cocktail bar and club where the mood is different every night. It could be karaoke, it could be rock night, it could be DJ Andrei Nicolescu spinning his old school electro tunes. Regardless of what is going on you probably enjoy it. QOpen 20:00 - 06:00. Closed Mon, Sun. PENB

Bastards C-6, Str. Lipscani 28, MUniversitate, tel. (+4)

unpretentious, up-for-a-laugh studenty crowd getting down to classic songs that you wont have heard for ages, this is the one place in town you can be guaranteed to find it, every night of the week. Live music on most weekend nights, as well as all sorts of events during the week, from theme nights to theatre. QOpen 12:00 - 05:00, Fri, Sat 12:00 - 06:00. PENBW

Chat Noir C-6, Str. Blanari 5, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0740 10 07 97, www.clubchatnoir.ro. Club where a young crowd of locals dresses well (especially the ladies) and dances to a very good if sometimes strange mix of sounds until the very early morning. There are various other events too, such as Romanian stand-up comedy and the like. You might want to check out the excellent if eclectic artwork on the walls before you start dancing. QOpen 19:00 - 05:00. Closed Mon, Sun. PEW Club A C-6, Str. Blnari 14, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 316 16 67, www.cluba.ro. Selling the cheapest Red Bull vodka in the world, this place is a legend. If you want a local,

Colors Afterhours Club C-6, Str. Lipscani 19, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0763 54 72 23, facebook.com/ Colors19. This cool, dare we say colourful place is where you come when everywhere else has closed for the night. Bucharests top afterhours club, the great sounds make it the perfect place to carry on partying for a few more hours. Always packed, we are amazed people still have the legs to keep going at this time in the morning. We imagine they sell plenty of energy drinks! QOpen 05:00 - 12:00. Closed Mon, Tue, Wed. PNW

WiFi W
Bucharest is now dotted with hundreds of Wifi hotspots, and the vast majority are free. It is rare in fact that you will come across a venue which does not have Wifi. Usually, all you will need is a password (divulged as you order something) though many venues in Old Town dont even bother: you can simply sit down and start surfing away. In our listings, we have used the Wifi symbol W to denote all venues which have Wifi.

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Finnish Cocktail & Club C-6, Str. Selari 28, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 0753 57 82 09, www.finnish.ro. A little more chic and upmarket than most other places in the Old Town, Finnish is a cocktail bar and club which brings a little contemporary Scandinavian design to the Romanian capital. The house drink is of course Finlandia vodka, available in more varieties than you ever thought possible, but there is more to this place than vodka: cocktails, wine, champagne and beer. They even have Guinness on draught. The music usually provided by a DJ - is as contemporary and as good as the design, the crowd is a trendy one and we defy you not to enjoy yourself here. QOpen 15:00 - 04:00. PW Fire Club C-6, Str. Gabroveni 12, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 0732 16 66 04, www.fire.ro. Smoky, mainly rock-playing venue for disaffected youth types. Well, kind of. A makeover last year has certainly made the place a bit brighter, though it remains popular most of all among those who like loud rock music, and who think that Club A around the corner just isnt sweaty and crowded enough. Cheap drinks help keep the crowd young and fitze free, and to be honest there are worst places to go local. QOpen 10:00 - 05:00, Fri, Sat 10:00 - 06:00. PSW Freddo C-6, Str. Smardan 24, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4)
0722 37 33 36, rezarvari@freddo.ro, www.freddo.ro. The biggest, boldest place on Strada Smardan. Smart too: when it started raining we were about to run for cover only for the roof to be extended, keeping us all dry. Impressive. Now get there and enjoy sound cocktails, pizza and decent salads: and note you can enjoy it all at proper, big wooden tables. You might want to reserve at the weekends: this place is damn popular. QOpen 12:00 - 05:00. PNSW

La Muse C-6, Str Lipscani 53, MPiata Unirii/Universi-

tate, tel. (+4) 0734 00 02 36, www.lamuse.ro. Last time we popped in we met up with almost everyone we know in Bucharest. Thats the kind of place this is: on the surface it looks posh and flash and out-of-your-league (the lady at the entrance clutches a clipboard as though her life depends on it) but it is in fact a down-to-earth, come-as-you-are venue playing dance floor hits from across the decades to a crowd a bit older than elsewhere, which can afford the prices of the drinks. We love it. QOpen 09:00 - 03:00, Thu, Fri, Sat 09:00 - 06:00. PEBW

Mojo C-6, Str. Gabroveni 14, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 0760 26 34 96, www.mojomusic.ro. Three level extravaganza of a venue. On the ground floor is the pub, upstairs is the most popular karaoke venue in the land, while downstairs

Crazy Golf in Old Town


Golf Planet C-6, Str. Halelor 5, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 021 310 64 69/(+4) 0753 87 65 42, contact@ golfplanet.ro, www.golfplanet.ro. Something very different and original comes to Old Town. Its an 18-hole crazy-golf course, with added cafe, cocktail bar and comfy sofas. And it is all in the dark. Kind of: the lights are all fluorescent and futuristic. Brilliant for families during the day, at night grab a group of mates and get down here for a game of golf and a few beers. (We should add that you are under no compulsion to play golf: you are welcome to watch everybody else try). It really is the definitive answer to the perennial What shall we do tonight? question. Unique. Find it under the Europa Royale Hotel. QOpen 14:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 14:00 - 02:00, Sun 14:00 - 23:00. PW Bucharest In Your Pocket bucharest.inyourpocket.com

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in the cavernous cellar there is live music, and then some. In a nutshell, this place sets the standard for nights out in Old Town. The beer is a decent price, the crowd a mix of ages and nationalities and the manager is a top bloke who makes a point of being nice to his customers. When ace local bands are not playing, the resident Mojo band usually is. Also now puts on regular quiz nights and live British stand-up comedy too. Top notch. QOpen 13:00 - 05:00. PEW B-4, Calea Victoriei 16 - 20, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0720 68 12 02, www.opiumstage.ro. Interesting, very interesting. A cellar in one of Bucharests grand old passages has been transformed into a lounge/club, complete with kitsch decor and leather sofas. What makes it work is that theyve left the original brick work exposed, leaving you with the sense that all that kitsch is pure irony. Prices are decent for the location and the cocktail list tremendous. QOpen 15:00 - 05:00. PN

been for three or four years. Its the usual mix of luxury and chic, but the decor is in fact in very good taste: the mix of colours is well done, and not over-the-top as in so many other places in thic city. It attracts a cashed-up crowd of young party people listening to groovy club sounds provided by local and international DJs. There is live music now and again too, as well as a regular selection of theme nights. QOpen 23:00 06:00. Closed Mon, Tue, Wed, Sun. PEW (+4) 0723 19 99 77. Smooth. Smooth people, smooth vibes and smooth cocktails. We love the (long) nights we spend in this place, not least because you never know what to expect on the music front: it could be a night of pop, a night of disco classics, a night of indie beats or a night of up-to-the-minute clubby sounds. We suggest you take a chance and delve inside. Chances are you will enjoy yourself. Q Open 22:00 07:00. Closed Mon, Tue, Wed, Sun. PBW

Opium Stage

The Vault C-6, Str. Lipscani 29-33, MUniversitate, tel.

Rococo Cafe & Lounge C-6, Str. Selari 12, MPiata

Unirii, tel. (+4) 0754 01 88 88, www.clubrococo.ro. By day a lounge, by evening a trendy club. And a good one at that. Certainly attracts a wealthy crowd and the decor is what could be termed luxurious, but the fact that it is packed out almost every night speaks volumes. A more than decent cocktail list and plenty of draught beer. Music is a mixed bag of fairly mainstream club sounds with some local tunes also making an appearance, but it depends on who is DJ-ing. Good local live acts too, some nights. Now also has a restaurant. QOpen 11:00 - 05:00. PESW

True Social Club C-6, Splaiul Independentei (corner

The Gang C-6, Str. Covaci 16, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4)

0733 97 52 77, www.thegang.ro. Now in Old Town, The Gang is perhaps the best uber-club in Bucharest, and has

with Str. Selari), MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 0727 48 80 87, rezervari@trueclub.ro, www.trueclub.ro. In that wonderful location once known as Temple (on the corner of Strada Selari and Splaiul Independentei) is True Club, an exclusively live music venue well worthy of your time (its owned and run by two legends of the Bucharest nightlife scene, who have a track record of delivering the goods). When the resident covers band or top local act isnt performing you will find karaoke, and the sheer variety of themed nights and parties usually means that there is always something here for everyone. Drinks are a decent price and there are plenty of them to choose from. QOpen 20:30 - 05:00, Fri, Sat 22:00 - 05:00. Closed Mon, Tue, Wed, Sun. PEW

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Shopping
Bucharests main shopping areas are the shopping centres and malls listed below, as well as B-dul Magheru and - increasingly - Calea Victoriei. There are plenty of places to buy souvenirs, and if that special someone is demanding you bring back something uniquely Romanian, we suggest Romanian Monopoly, which features the streets and districts of Bucharest (placing Primaverii in place of Mayfair ). It can be bought for around 120.00 lei in good toy and book stores. Also look out for Romanian folk costumes, with the best places to find such items being the museum shop of the Peasant Museum.

Specialist Wine Stores


BvS Wine Bar & Shop C-6, Str. Covaci 19, tel.
(+4) 021 31 00 580, www.berosandvanschaik.ro. Super little place on the edge of the Old Town run by the same people as the Van Gogh Cafe. Its a wine bar and shop where you can find a fine selection of self-imported wines, tasting them all before you buy. You can also just pop in for a glass or two. QOpen 14:00 - 23:00, Thu, Fri, Sat 15:00 - 24:00.

Bookshops
toriei 45, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 311 51 38, www.anthonyfrost.ro. Stocks a good range of fiction, an exceptional range of non-fiction, plenty of childrens books, and a decent selection of books about Romania and Bucharest. QOpen 10:00 - 20:00, Sat 10:00 - 19:00, Sun 10:00 - 14:00. (+4) 021 317 34 59, www.carturesti.ro. Marvellous bookshop, gallery and small cafe, with good selection of English books. QOpen 10:00 - 22:00.

Anthony Frost English Bookshop B-4, Calea Vic-

0722 63 37 89, www.ethicwine.ro. Wonderful wine shop, run by a friendly Englishman and his lovely wife, both of whom really know their stuff. There is a wide range of local grape, as well as a good selection of wines from Cricova in the Republic of Moldova. QOpen 13:00 - 21:00, Mon 15:00 - 21:00, Sat 10:00 - 16:00. Closed Sun.

Ethic Wine C-3, Str. Banu Antonache 55, tel. (+4)

Crturesti C-5, Str. Pictor Arthur Verona 13-15, tel.

Humanitas Kretzulescu B-4, Calea Victoriei 45, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 313 50 35, kretzulescu@ humanitas.ro, www.libhumanitas.ro. Large bookshop selling a wide range of both Romanian and foreign language books. Q Open 10:00 - 20:00, Sat 10:00 - 19:00, Sun 10:00 - 16:00. Libraria Bastilia B-4, Piata Romana 5, MPiata Romana, tel. (+4) 021 315 43 14, bastilia@librariumgrup. ro, www.librariabastilia.ro. On Piata Romana, in a huge villa dating from 1913 this is a fine bookshop with a cafe in the attic. Regularly hosts book launches, readings and childrens activities. QOpen 10:00 - 22:00, Sun 12:00 - 20:00.

Piata Obor E-4, Piata Obor, MObor. Bucharests biggest and perhaps most famous market. Colourful, huge, and always lively, it is not what it once was: where once you could buy almost anything here, it is now a strictly meat, dairy produce, fruit and vegetable market. A good one though. Watch your wallet. QOpen 06:00 - 20:00. Targul Vitan-Barzesti Sos. Vitan-Barzesti/Splaiul
Unirii. An astonishing place. Every Sunday morning this place becomes Bucharests biggest and busiest flea market. Its mayhem. More or less everything you can imagine can be found here, all prices negotiable. Next door is an enormous second-hand car market. Bus 123 will get you here. Be brave. Q Open 08:00-16:00. Closed Mon-Sat.

Shopping centres
AFI Palace Cotroceni B-dul Vasile Milea/B-dul Timisoara, MPolitehnica, tel. (+4) 031 425 75 10, www. aficotroceni.ro. One of Bucharests biggest malls, with loads of top brand names and the added attraction of an IMAX cinema, a large ice skating rink (open year round) and even an indoor roller coaster and childrens funfair. Q Open 10:00 - 22:00, Fri, Sat, Sun 10:00 - 23:30. Baneasa Shopping City os. Bucureti-Ploieti 42D,
tel. (+4) 021 305 71 95, www.baneasashoppingcity.ro. The largest mall in Bucharest. With more than 220 shops it makes everywhere else look quite small. Just past the old Baneasa airport you can get here on buses 131 or 301 from Piata Romana. Q Open 10:00 - 22:00, Restaurants Open 10:00 -23:00. 327 67 00, www.bucurestimall.com.ro. Recently extended in a major redevelopment, this place - when opened in 1999 - was the first mall in the city. Hundreds of shops, including Debenhams and Marks & Spencer. Q Open 10:00 - 22:00. Unirii, tel. (+4) 021 303 02 08, office@unireashop.ro, www.unireashop.ro. What was once Romanian socialisms showpiece department store is now a good shopping centre in the heart of the city. There are fashion stores on the first and second floors while the electronics and household appliance shops on floors three and four are also worth a visit. An excellent Mega Image supermarket can be found in the basement. QOpen 10:00 - 22:00.

Sala Dalles C-5, B-dul Nicolae Balcescu 18, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 315 52 60, www.carti-anticariat.ro. A good bookshop with a large exhibition space out back that often hosts book and gift fairs. Always has a decent selection of books in English. QOpen 10:00 - 21:00.

Markets
Bucharest is home to a number of markets, most of which stock a wide range of produce, at prices often (but not always) cheaper than the supermarkets. Also look out for occasional arts, crafts, peasant and antiques markets at the Peasant Museum: these are usually held once a month.

Bucuresti Mall E-7, Calea Vitan 55-59, tel. (+4) 021

Complex Comercial Rahova Calea Rahovei. A mad, mad place not for the faint hearted out in the undeservingly notorious Rahova district of the capital. Find half of Chinas annual exports on sale at any time. Take the No. 32 tram from Piata Unirii: it stops right outside.
C-7, Str. C-tin Radulescu Motru 9, MTineretului. Great covered produce market where you will find a wide range of both local and imported fruit and vegetables. Prices here are usually a bit cheaper than other markets closer to the city centre. Find it two minutes walk behind the blocks from Tineretului metro station. QOpen 07:00 - 21:00, Sat 07:00 - 19:00, Sun 07:00 - 16:30.

Piata Norilor

Unirea Shopping Centre C-6, Piata Unirii 1, MPiata

Bucharest In Your Pocket

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Swimming Pools
021 319 81 77, www.clubfloreasca.ro. Big indoor swimming pool in Bucharests leafiest, most exclusive neighbourhood. Terrace, restaurant, sauna and fitness room too. QOpen 10:00 - 22:00. Closed Mon. Day tickets valid 10:00-22:00 cost 80 lei (adults), 40 lei children. Offpeak tickets valid 10:00-17:00 cost 50 lei (adults), 30 lei (children). Monthly memberships from 350 lei.

89

Club Floreasca B-2, B-dul Mircea Eliade 1, tel. (+4)

Clinics & Hospitals


23 00, fax (+4) 021 599 22 57, spital@urgentafloreasca. ro, www.urgentafloreasca.ro. If youre squashed by a tram or fall victim to a dodgy sausage, youll be in good hands here in what is the best state-run hospital in Romania. Efficient, clean, and well-run.Q Open 24hrs. Medsana A-6, Str. Dr. Nanu Muscel 12, tel. (+4) 021 408 78 00, fax (+4) 021 402 80 76, www.medsana.ro. Another welcome addition to the privately-run medical sector. QOpen 07:00 - 21:00, Sat 08:00 - 14:00. Closed Sun. Also at (B-2) B-dul Primaverii 9, tel. (+4) 021 408 78 00. Unirea Medical Center C-6, B-dul Unirii 57, bl. E4, tel. (+4) 021 327 11 88/(+4) 021 9268, www.cmu.ro. QOpen 08:00 - 20:00. Closed Sat, Sun. Also at (B-5) Str. George Enescu 12 tel. (+4) 021 316 58 76, (A-3) Str. Clucerului 55 tel. (+4) 021 222 92 26 and many other locations.

Emergency Clinic Hospital (Spitalul de Urgenta Floreasca) C-3, Calea Floreasca 8, tel. (+4) 021 599

Crowne Plaza B-dul Poligrafiei 1 (Crowne Plaza Hotel), tel. (+4) 021 224 00 34, www.crowneplaza. ro. Indoor pool in a leafy setting at the Crowne Plaza hotel. Sauna, jacuzzi and massage too, QOpen 06:30 23:00. Day tickets valid 08:00-16:00 cost 65 lei, tickets valid 16:00-23:00 cost 90 lei. Children under 16 cost 60 lei at any time of day if accompanied by an adult. Monthly membership packages from 600 lei. Daimon Sport Club D-8, Parcul Tineretului (Opposite Sala Polivalenta), MTineretului, tel. (+4) 021 330 50 71, www.daimonclub.ro. Superb tennis and fitness club in Tineretului Park, with two swimming pools (indoor and outdoor). Note that the club house and its terrace double as one of Bucharests best pizzerias, and is a great place for Sunday lunch. QOpen 06:00 - 24:00, Sat, Sun 08:00 - 22:00. Day tickets for the swimming pool cost 12 (adults), 9 (children between five and 12). Children under five swim for free.
(Athenee Palace Hilton), tel. (+4) 021 303 37 77, healthclub.bucharest@hilton.com. Indoor pool, sauna, steam room, massage, weight and fitness room, and a host of other wellness facilities. QOpen 06:00 - 22:00. Day tickets cost 120 lei. Membership packages from 750 lei per month.

Hilton Health Club C-5, Str. Episcopiei 1-3

Dentists
4, tel./fax (+4) 021 320 01 51, www.germandentist. ro. Probably the best dentist in the city. Whats more, you can bring the kids too, as they now have special rooms equipped just for them. Q Open 10:00 - 19:00. Closed Sat, Sun. For emergencies (24hrs) tel. (+4) 0744 49 91 99. Also at (B-2) Calea Dorobantilor 208, tel. (+4) 021 231 88 56. Dent-A-America B-3, Str. Varsovia 4, tel. (+4) 021 230 26 08/(+4) 021 230 28 26, fax (+4) 021 230 28 27, receptie@dent-a-americainc.ro, www.dent-a-americainc. ro. QOpen 08:00 - 19:00, Sat 08:00 - 12:00. Closed Sun. Denta G D-5, B-dul Carol I 37, tel. (+4) 021 313 87 14/ (+4) 031 805 99 97, fax (+4) 021 313 33 06, office@ dentag.ro, www.dentag.ro.

B.B. Clinic - German Dentist D-6, Str. Ionescu Gion

InterContinental Hotel C-5, B-dul Nicolae Balcescu 4, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 310 20 20. Probably the highest swimming pool in Romania (its on one of the top floors of the InterContinental hotel). The views are great (especially when swimming at night!), there is a gym and steam room too, and when it gets really hot in summer you can go and sunbathe on the balcony. You dont even need to be a member or guest of the hotel either: day tickets are available. QOpen 06:00 - 22:00. Open 06:00 - 22:00. Day tickets valid 06:00-16:00 cost 80 lei (adults), 40 lei (children). Tickets valid until 06:00-22:00 cost 120 lei (adults) and 80 lei (children). Membership packages cost from 480 lei per month.
(+4) 021 242 16 15, www.pescariusports.ro. Good indoor and outdoor pools. QOpen 06:00 - 24:00, Sat, Sun 08:00 - 22:00. Day tickets cost 90 lei Mon-Fri, 120 lei Sat, Sun (adults). Admission for children aged two-13 costs 50 lei.

Old Town Conference Suites


Van Gogh Spaces C-6, Str. Smardan 9, tel. (+4)
021 313 93 15, www.vangogh.ro. More than a mere conference suite, the spaces on the upper floors of the buildings above the Van Gogh Cafe are multi-purpose suites available for standard conferences, but also featuring a number of instant offices.Q PJW

Pescariu Sports & Spa D-2, Str. Glodeni 3, tel.

40, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 021 310 27 72, reservations@majestic.ro, www.majestic.ro. Small but rather nice little pool underneath the Ramada Majestic hotel. Sauna and jacuzzi too. Q Open 07:00-21:30. Closed Sun. Admission 50 lei for one visit, 225 lei for 5 visits per month, 450 lei 10 visits per month.

Ramada Majestic Hotel B-4, Calea Victoriei 38-

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directory

Dry cleaners
00 98/(+4) 0762 28 53 47, www.5asec.ro. Best dry cleaners in town.QOpen 08:00 - 20:00, Sat 09:00 - 19:00. Closed Sun. Also at (E-7) Calea Vitan 13, tel. (+4) 021 320 99 95; Jolie Ville, Str. Erou Iancu Nicolae 103, tel. (+4) 021 206 80 80; Colosseum Mall, Sos. Chitila, tel. (+4) 021 796 13 11; B-dul Alex. Serbanescu 60-64, tel. (+4) 021 891 98 44; Cora Alexandrei, Sos. Alexandrei 152, tel. (+4) 021 776 91 21.

5asec B-3, Calea Dorobantilor 111, tel. (+4) 021 236

72 39. 04 57.

Chile B-4, Calea Griviei 24, et. 4, tel. (+4) 021 312 China B-1, Sos. Nordului 2, tel. (+4) 021 232 17 32. Croatia D-5, Str. Dr. Burghelea 1, tel. (+4) 021 313 Czech Republic C-5, Str. Ion Ghica 11, tel. (+4) 021 Denmark D-5, Str. Dr. Burghelea 3, tel. (+4) 021 300 Finland B-3, Str. Atena 2bis, tel. (+4) 021 230 75 04. France B-4, Str. Biserica Amzei 13-15, tel. (+4) 021
08 00. 303 92 30.

Foreign representations
Austria C-4, Str. Dumbrava Rosie 7, tel. (+4) 021 201 Belgium D-4, B-dul Dacia 58, tel. (+4) 021 210 29 69. Bulgaria B-3, Str. Rabat 5, tel. (+4) 021 230 21 50. Canada A-3, Str. Tuberozelor 1-3, tel. (+4) 021 307
56 12.

50 00.

Casa Frumoasa
A network of stores around the city selling only the biggest names in high fashion: T om Ford, Scabal, Brioni, Salvatore Ferragamo, Loro Piana, Jacob Cohen etc.

Casa Frumoasa JW Marriott B-6, Calea 13


Septembrie 90 (JW Marriott Bucharest Grand), tel. (+4) 0731 03 65 63, www.casafrumoasa.ro. QOpen 10:00 - 22:00, Sun 10:00 - 20:00. Casa Frumoasa Radisson B-4, Calea Victoriei 63-81 (Radisson Blu), tel. (+4) 0723 33 17 31, www.casafrumoasa.ro. QOpen 10.00 - 21.00, Sat 10.00 - 19.00, Sun 10.00 - 17.00. Casa Frumoasa Store B-4, B-dul Lascar Catargiu 40, tel. (+4) 0723 33 17 30, www.casafrumoasa. ro. Q Open 10:00 - 21:00, Sat 10:00 - 20:00, Sun 11:00 - 18:00. Elegance Boutique B-4, Calea Victoriei 63-81 (Radisson Blu), tel. (+4) 0722 45 48 82, www. elegance-paris.ro. QOpen 10:00 - 21:00, Sat 10:00 - 19:00, Sun 10:00 - 17:00. J. Kristensen Store Bucuresti B-4, Calea Victoriei 63-81 (Radisson Blu), tel. (+4) 0724 35 30 06, j.k.bucharest@casafrumoasa.ro. QOpen 10:00 - 21:00, Sat 10:00 - 19:00, Sun 10:00 - 17:00.

303 10 00. Germany B-3, Cpt. Av. Gh. Demetriade 6-8, tel. (+4) 021 202 98 30. Greece E-5, Str. Pache Protopopescu 1-3, tel. (+4) 021 209 41 73. Hungary C-4, Str. Prof. Dr. Dimitrie Gerota 63-65, tel. (+4) 031 620 43 00. Ireland B-4, Str. Buzesti 50-52, et. 3, tel. (+4) 021 310 21 61. Israel C-7, B-dul Dimitrie Cantemir 1, tronson 2+3, bl. B2, et. 5, tel. (+4) 021 318 94 17. Italy B-4, Str. Henri Coanda 9, tel. (+4) 021 305 21 00. Lebanon B-3, Str. Andrei Muresanu 16, tel. (+4) 021 230 81 75. Macedonia D-4, Str. Mihai Eminescu 144, tel. (+4) 021 210 08 80. Moldova B-3, Aleea Alexandru 40, tel. (+4) 021 230 04 74. Netherlands B-3, Str. Aleea Alexandru 20, tel. (+4) 021 208 60 30. Norway B-3, Str. Atena 18, tel. (+4) 021 306 98 00. Philippines A-6, Str. Carol Davilla 105-107, et. 5, ap. 10-11, tel. (+4) 021 319 82 52. Poland B-3, Aleea Alexandru 23, tel. (+4) 021 308 22 00. Portugal B-3, Str. Paris 55, tel. (+4) 021 230 41 36. Russia B-3, Sos. Pavel Kiseleff 6, tel. (+4) 021 222 31 70. Serbia B-3, Calea Dorobantilor 34, tel. (+4) 021 211 98 71. Slovakia C-5, Str. Otetari 1, tel. (+4) 021 300 61 00. Spain B-3, Aleea Alexandru 43, tel. (+4) 021 318 10 80. Sweden B-3, Sos. Kiseleff 43, tel. (+4) 021 406 71 00. Switzerland B-4, Str. Grigore Alexandrescu 16-20, tel. (+4) 021 206 16 00. Turkey B-3, Calea Dorobantilor 72, tel. (+4) 021 206 37 00. UK & Northern Ireland C-4, Str. Jules Michelet 24, tel. (+4) 021 201 72 00. USA B-dul Liviu Librescu 4-5, tel. (+4) 021 200 33 00. For a full list of foreign embassies and representations in Bucharest, visit inyourpocket.com.

Bucharest In Your Pocket

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Earthquakes
death. The following advice is provided by the UK Embassy in Bucharest: If you are inside a building during an earthquake, stay calm and do not rush outside. Duck, cover and hold under a table or strong desk or stand in a corner. Do not stand in doorways. If you are in bed, stay there until the shaking stops. Turn off the gas. Stay away from windows and outside walls in high rise buildings. Never use a lift to exit the building. If you are outside during an earthquake go to an open area and stay away from trees, buildings, walls and power lines. If in a public area, do not rush for the doors. Crouch down and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms. If you are in a car, stop and pull over to the side of the road. Avoid overpasses and power lines. Stay inside the car until the shaking stops. If you are on a train, hold onto a secure item and follow the instructions of the crew. The Romanian Government is responsible for assisting foreign nationals immediately after a major earthquake or serious natural disaster. It is important to co-operate with the authorities. In the event of a major earthquake foreign embassies will usually try to find their own nationals affected by the disaster and check on their condition. Please note, however, that the embassies themselves may also be severely affected by an earthquake, and may not be in a position to offer immediate assistance.

Bucharest has in the past been close to the epicentre of a number of major earthquakes, some of which have caused much damage to buildings and great loss of life. The last major earthquake to hit the capital was the great Bucharest Earthquake of 1977 (see photo, above), when more than 1500 people were killed (including the countrys best loved actor, Toma Caragiu). The current trend, however, has been towards smaller tremors (two or three can be felt in Bucharest each year), which in theory at least reduces the risk of a major quake. However, despite much research and speculation, nobody can predict when or where a large earthquake might occur, but there are things you can do to be ready. These can make the difference between life and

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directory

Bucharest With Children


Bucharest is not the greatest city in the world to visit with children. The major problem is that the vast majority of the citys museums with a few honourable and notable exceptions - are dull, offer no interactivity and little to captivate little minds. The exceptions are the outstanding Village Museum (see page 22), which children love, as they can scurry around the houses, explore and generally be kids without worrying too much about grump security guards telling them off. The confectionery stand at the entrance selling tasty Romanian sweets helps too. The Peasant Museum (see page 21) will please older children, especially those who know a little Romanian history (and note that the Clubul Taranului, around the back of the museum, has puppet shows most weekend mornings at 10:30am and 12pm), while the Geology Museum (see page 69) across the road is a must for families: it is one of only two museums in Bucharest that puts on exhibitions specifically for kids. The other is the excellent Grigore Antipa Natural History Museum, see page 21. We recently took the In Your Pocket kids to the curious little place that is the National Technical Museum at the entrance to Parcul Carol. While very old fashioned and a bit dusty, the kids loved it, as it is packed with models and exhibits of things which are right up their street: trains, cars, engines, jet packs, planes and such like. The Circus Globus (C-3, Parcul Circului) has performances most weekends (morning, afternoon and evening) and is always a hit with kids. You will find details of its performances at the website www.circulglobus.ro. Bucharests Zoo on Aleea Priveghetorilor (turn left at the Police Academy) is better than it has been for years. They have a fine collection of exotic birds, and it is a good half-day out for kids. Entrance costs 13 lei for adults, 6.50 lei for kids. The zoo is open daily from 09:00-17:00. And then of course there are the parks. Cismigiu (B-5) and Herastrau (A/B-2) are the best and most central, but Tineretului (take the metro to Tineretului), with its fabulous playgrounds, is also worth exploring. An excellent indoor playground can be found at Funland Romania: a cracking place to take the kids on days when it rains. Featuring the biggest indoor playground we have seen (15 lei), bowling, billiards, arcade games and plenty of space for Mums and Dads to relax and have coffee in, it is a weekend-must. Find it on the fourth floor of the Unirea Shopping Centre in (C-6) Piata Unirii. For kids who want to swim there is Daimon, a good sports club in Parcul Tineretului, where under fives swim for free. There are also pools open to the public at the InterContinental and Ramada Majestic hotels, as well as at the World Class Health Clubs. For more on Swimming in Bucharest see the box on page 89. ice skating is also an option: there is a good, indoor rink at the AFI Palace shopping centre. See page 16. Most restaurants in Bucharest are child-friendly, even if the amount of smoke in some of them means that you will probably not want to enter with kids. Those deserving a special mention include the big hotels - all of which have kids entertainers during their fabulous brunches - the Hard Rock Cafe: always happy to see kids, Red Angus, Osho, Texas West and Vacamuu, all of which have a great kids menu.

Bucharest In Your Pocket

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Schools in Bucharest
For Mums and Dads who live in Bucharest, the good news is that the city has some outstanding schools: both state and private. Indeed, there are a handful of state schools in Bucharest (both primary and secondary) which regularly meet an outstanding academic level, even if their facilities are somewhat lacking (few state schools have sports fields). There are huge differences between state schools however, and competition for places at the best is tough. There is also of course the fact that unless your kids can speak Romanian, the state system will be practically closed to them. Fortunately, the private sector has jumped in to fill this breach, and there are now a number of excellent private sector schools in Bucharest offering a high level of education to children of all nationalities (and not just expats: many wealthy Romanians choose to send their children to these private schools). We provide a list of the best private schools below. All boast outstanding academic records and modern facilities, native English speaking teachers, and a vast range of extra-curricular activities.

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International Schools
196, Comuna Voluntari, tel. (+4) 021 204 43 00/ (+4) 021 204 43 01, fax (+4) 021 204 43 03, office@ aisb.ro, www.aisb.ro. Athena Greek School of Bucharest D-6, Str. Parfumului 9, office-gpa@greekschool.ro, www. greekschool.ro. British School of Bucharest Erou Iancu Nicolae 42, tel. (+4) 021 267 89 19/(+4) 0728 13 34 33, fax (+4) 021 267 89 69, office@britishschool.ro, www.britishschool.ro. Bucharest Christian Academy D-7, Str. Vasile Voiculescu 26, tel. (+4) 021 323 58 87/(+4) 021 323 54 08, director@bcaromania.org, www.bcaromania.org. Cambridge School of Bucharest B-3, Calea Dorobantilor 39, tel. (+4) 021 210 21 31/(+4) 021 210 21 38, fax (+4) 021 210 20 06, office@cambridgeschool.ro, www.cambridgeschool.ro. International British School E-5, Str. Agricultori 21-23, tel. (+4) 021 253 16 98, fax (+4) 021 253 16 97, office@ibsb.ro, www.ibsb.ro.

American International School Sos. Pipera-Tunari

Key cuts
El Chei C-5, Str. Coltei 6, tel. (+4) 021 311 14 18/(+4)
0722 20 51 10, www.elchei.ro. Call the (+4) 0722 20 51 10 number of you get locked out of your apartment late at night. QOpen 08:00 - 20:00, Sat 08:00 - 14:00. Closed Sun.

Opticians
Optiblu C-5, B-dul Nicolae Blcescu 7, tel. (+4) 021 305 73 15, www.optiblu.ro. Sensiblu - the chemists - now also offers an optician in some of its outlets. QOpen 09:00 - 21:00. Closed Sun. Optiplaza B-dul Timisoara 26 (Plaza Romania), tel. (+4) 0372 71 10 00, plaza@optiplaza.ro, www.optiplaza.ro. QOpen 10:00 - 22:00. Also at (E-7) Bucuresti Mall, Baneasa Shopping City and many other locations.

(InSPE) Str. Petre Aurelian 72, Green Lake Residence, tel. (+4) 021 380 35 35/(+4) 021 380 36 36, fax (+4) 021 380 38 38, office@inspe.ro, www. inspe.ro. International School of Bucharest Sos. Gara Catelu 1R, tel. (+4) 021 306 95 30, fax (+4) 021 306 95 34, info@isb.ro, www.isb.ro. Japanese School in Bucharest A-2, Str. Alexandru Constantinescu 61, tel. (+4) 021 222 19 85, fax (+4) 021 222 19 86, jpsbucharest@gmail.com, www.jpschool.ro. Lauder-Reut C-6, Str. Iuliu Barasch 15, tel. (+4) 021 320 15 38, fax (+4) 021 320 15 75, lauder_reut@ yahoo.com, www.lauder-reut.ro. Lycee Francais B-4, Str. Christian Tell 22, tel. (+4) 021 212 58 93/(+4) 021 212 58 94, fax (+4) 021 312 09 74, lfb.adn@lyfrabuc.ro, www.lyfrabuc.ro. Mark Twain International School Str. Erou Iancu Nicolae 25B, tel. (+4) 021 267 89 12/(+4) 0724 00 09 00, fax (+4) 021 267 89 85, contact@marktwainschool.ro, www.marktwainschool.ro. bucharest.inyourpocket.com

International School for Primary Education

Pharmacies
24hrs. Also at (B-3) Str. Av. Radu Beller 8, and many other locations around the city. Sensiblu C-5, B-dul Nicolae Balcescu 7, www.sensiblu. com. QOpen 24hrs. Also at (B-3) Str. Radu Beller 6, tel. (+4) 021 233 89 61, and many other locations.

Help Net A-3, B-dul Unirii 27, www.helpnet.ro. Q Open

Removals & Storage


AGS Worldwide Movers B-dul Basarabia 256 (Faur Industrial Park, entrance from B-dul 1 Decembrie 1918), tel. (+4) 021 345 06 66. Euro Mini Storage B-dul Theodor Pallady 42 J, tel. (+4) 031 100 18 88, www.euroministorage.com. February - March 2013

Northern Bucharest

Central & Southern Bucharest

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Street register & HOTEL MAP INDEX


13 Septembrie, Calea B6 21 Decembrie 1989, Piata C5 Academiei, Str. C5 Alecsandri Vasile, Str. B4 Alexandrescu Grigore, Intr. C4 Alexandrescu Grigore, Str. B4 Aman Theodor, Str. B5 Amman, Str. C3 Amzei, Intr. B4 Apolodor, Str. B6 Argentina, Str. B3 Arghezi Tudor, Str. C5 Atelierului, Str. A4 Atena, Str. B3 Balaban Emil, Str. C4 Balcescu Nicolae, Bd. C5 Baniei, Str. C6 Banului, Str. B5 Baratiei, Str. C6 Batistei, Str. C5 Berna, Str. B3 Berthelot H. M., G-ral., Str. B5 Berzei, Str. A4 Biserica Amzei, Str. B4 Biserica Enei, Str. C5 Bitolia, Intr. B3 Blanari, Str. C6 Blanc Louis, Arh., Str. B3 Blanduziei, Str. C5 Bogdan Ion, Prof., Str. C4 Botez Eugen, Cmdr., Str. C3 Bratianu I.c., Bd. C6 Brazilia, Str. B3 Brebu, Str. E3 Brezoianu Ion, Str. B5 Brutus M.i., Str. B6 Bruxelles, Str. B3 Budisteanu Constantin, G-ral, Str. B5 Buiestrului, Str. C3 Buzesti, Intr. B4 Buzesti, Piata A4 Buzesti, Str. B4 Buzoiani Iani, Str. C2 Buzoianu Ion, Lt.col., Intr. C6 Caderea Bastiliei, Intr. B4 Caderea Bastiliei, Str. B4 Caderon Jean Louis, Str. C5 Calin Ion, Erou, Str. C4 Cameliei, Str. A4 Carada Eugeniu, Str. C6 Caragea Ioan Voda, Str. C4 Caragiale I.l., Str. C5 Caragiale I.l.,intr. C5 Carol I, Bd. D5 Catargiu Lascar, Bd. B4 Cavafii Vechi, Str. C6 Cazzavillan Luigi, Str. B5 Cernat Alexandru, G-ral, Str. A4 Cioranu Mihai, Str. A6 Clucerului, Str. A3 Clunet, Dr., Str. A6 Coanda Constantin, G-ral., Str. B4 Coanda Henri, Str. B4 Cobalcescu Grigore, Prof., Str. B5 Coltei, Str. C5 Constantin Daniel, Str. B4 Constitutiei, Piata B6 Conta Vasile, Str. C5 Coposu Corneliu, Bd. C6 Coposu Corneliu, Piata D6 Cornescu, Str. C3 Cotiturii, Str. A5 Covaci, Str. C6 Crisana, Str. A5 Crisului, Str. C6 Cronicarilor, Str. C3 Cuza Alexandru Ioan, Bd. A4 Dacia, Bd. D4 Dascalu Nicolae, Serg., Intr. B4 David Emmanuel, Str. C4 Davila Carol, Dr., Str A6 Dealul Mitropoliei, Alee C6 Demetriade Gheorghe, Cpt. av., Str B3 Dianei, Str. C5 Doamna Oltea, Str. C3 Dona Nicolae, G-ral, Str. B5 Dorobanti, Calea B3 Dorobanti, Piata B3 Dragalina Ion, G-ral., Str. B6 Drobeta, Str. C4 Duca Gheorghe, Bd. A4 Dumbrava Rosie, Str. C4 Eforie, Str. C5 Eftimiu Victor, Intr. B5 Elie Radu, Str. B5 Eminescu Mihai, Intr. C4 Eminescu Mihai, Str. D4 Enescu George, Piata B5 Enescu George, Str. B5 Episcopiei, Str. C5 Eroii Sanitari, Bd. A5 Eroilor, Bd. A5 Eroilor, Piata A6 Felix Iacob, Dr., Str. A4 Filipescu Nicolae, Str. C5 Finlanda, Str. B3 Floreasca, Cale C3 Florescu Ion, G-ral, Str. C5 Franceza, Str. C6 Frumoasa, Intr. B4 Frumoasa, Str. B4 Furtuna Stefan, Intr. A5 Gabroveni, Str. C6 Gara De Nord, Piata A4 Gara De Nord, Str. A4 Georgescu George, Str. B6 Ghica Ion, Str. C5 Golescu Dinicu, Bd. A4 Golescu Nicolae, Str. C5 Greceanu Paul, Str. C4 Grigorescu Eremia, G-ral, Str. C4 Grivitei, Cale B4 Gusti Dimitrie, Str. A5 Gutenberg, Str. B5 Haga, Str. B3 Hagi Moscu Maria, Str. A3 Halelor, Str. C6 Haret Spiru, Str. B5 Hasdeu Iulia, Intr. B4 Hasdeu Iulia, Str. B4 Horatiu, Str. B4 Hristo Botev, Bd. C5 Iancu De Hunedoara, Bd. B4 Icoanei, Str. C4 Ilfov, Str. B6 Iorga Nicolae, Intr. B4 Iorga Nicolae, Str. B4 Iosif O. Eugen, Dr., Str. A6 Iulian Stefan, Str. A3 Izvor, Str. A6 Justitiei, Str. B6 Kiseleff P .d., Bd. B3 Kogalniceanu Mihail, Bd B5 Kogalniceanu Mihail, Piata B5 Lacatusului, Str. C2 Lacul Tei, Bd. D3 Lahovari Alexandru, Piata C4 Lantului, Str. A6 Lascar Vasile, Str. C5 Lazar Gheorghe, Str. B5 Lebedei, Str. A3 Libertatii, Bd. B6 Libertatii, Piata B7 Lipova, Str. A5 Lipscani, Str. C6 Lisabona, Str. B3 Lister, Dr., Str. A6 Londra, Str. B3 Lupu Dionisie, Str. C5 Luterana, Str. B5 Macedoniei, Str. A5 Magheru Gheorghe, Bd C5 Magiresti, Str. A4 Maltopol, Str. A4 Mamulari, Str. C6 Manolescu Grigore, Str. A3 Manu Gheorghe, G-ral, Str. B4 Maracineanu Walter, Piata B5 Masaryk Thomas, Str. C5 Mendeleev D.i., Str. C4 Mexic, Str. B3 Michelet Julles, Str. C4 Micle Veronica, Str. A4 Mihai Voda, Str. B6 Mihalache Ion, Bd. A3 Mihnea Voda, Str. C6 Mille Constantin, Str. B5 Millo Matei, Str. B5 Mincu Ion, Arh., Str. B3 Mirinescu Mihail, Dr., Str. A6 Miron Costin, Str. A4 Mitropolit Antim Ivireanul, Str. B6 Monetariei, Str. B3 Mosilor, Cale D4 Moxa Mihail, Str. B4 Muresanu Andrei, Poet, Str. B3 Musatescu Tudor, Piata B5 Natiunile Unite, Bd. B6 Natiunile Unite, Piata B6 Neculce Ion, Str. A3 Negri Costache, Str. A6 Negruzzi Iacob, Str. A4 Negulescu Stefan, Str. C3 Occidentului, Str. B4 Oslo, Str. B3 Ostasilor, Str. B5 Otetari,str. C5 Paris, Str. B3 Parvan Vasile, Str. B5 Pasteur Louis, Dr., Str. A6 Patriarhiei, Str. C6 Petrescu Camil, Intr. C4 Philippide Alexandru, Str. C4 Piata Amzei, Str. B4 Pitar Mos, Str. C5 Poenaru Bordea, Str. B6 Poiana Narciselor, Str. B5 Politie, Str. B6 Polizu Gheorghe, Str. A4 Polona, Str. C4 Poni Petru, Str. A4 Popa Tatu, Str. B5 Popescu-gopo Ion, Str. A6 Povernei, Str. B4 Praga, Str. B3 Praporgescu David, G-ral., Str. C5 Pretorienilor, Str. A6 Putul Cu Plopi, Str. B5 Putul Lui Zamfir, Str. B3 Quinet Edgar, Str. C5 Quito, Piata B3 Rabat, Str. B3 Radu Voda, Str. C6 Ramniceanu Naum, Str. C3 Regina Elisabeta, Bd. C5 Regina Maria, Bd. C6 Revolutiei, Piata B5 Rigas, Intr. B5 Roma, Intr. B3 Roma, Str. B3 Romana, Piata B4 Rosetti C.a., Piata C5 Rosetti C.a., Str. C5 Rosetti Maria, Str. C5 Rossini Gioachino, Str. C3 Saligny Anghel, Ing., Str. B5 Sapientei, Str. B6 Sarandy Frosa, Str. A3 Scarlatescu, Str. A3 Schitul Magureanu, Bd. B5 Scoala Floreasca, Str. C3 Scoalei, Str. C5 Selari, Intr. C6 Selari, Str. C6 Sepcari, Str. C6 Sevastopol, Intr. B4 Sevastopol, Str. B4 Sfanta Vineri, Str. C6 Sfantul Constantin, Str. B5 Sfantul Elefterie, Str. A6 Sfintii Apostoli, Str. B6 Sfintii Voievozi, Piata B4 Sfintii Voievozi, Str. B4 Slanic, Str. C5 Slatineanu Ion, Str. C4 Slavesti, Str. C4 Smardan, Str. C6 Sofia, Str. B3 Stahi Constantin, Str. B5 Staicovici Nicolae, Dr., Str. A6 Stavropoleos, Str. C6 Stefan Cel Mare, Sosea D4 Stirbei Voda, Intr. B5 Stirbei Voda, Str. B5 Tirana, Str. B3 Titulescu Nicolae, Sosea A4 Tokio, Str. B3 Tomescu Toma, Dr., Intr. B4 Transilvaniei, Str. B5 Tudor Stefan, Intr. C3 Tunari, Str. C4 Unirii, Bd. C6 Unirii, Piata C6 Universitatii, Piata C5 Vacarescu Barbu, Str. C3 Venezuela, Str. B3 Verona Arthur, Pictor, Str. C5 Victoriei, Calea B4 Victoriei, Piata B4 Visarion I.c., Str. B4 Vladoianu Barbu, G-ral, Str. A3 Vlaicu Aurel, Str. C4 Vulcanescu Mircea, Str. B4 Washington, Str. B3 Witting, Str. A4 Xenopol Alexandru, Str. C4 Zalomit Z. Ion. Str. B5 Zola Emile, Str. B3 INDEX TO HOTEL NUMBERS ON MAp H1 Helvetia H2 Casa Victor H3 Picollo Mondo H4 Hello Hotels H5 Andys H6 Moxa H7 Starlight H8 Duke H9 Golden Tulip H10 Residence Arcul de Trimf H11 Hotel Dan H12 JW Marriott H13 Parliament H14 Ibis Parlament H15 Volo H16 Berthelot H17 Centre Ville H18 Opera H19 Palace H20 Central H21 Carol Parc H22 Hilton H23 Novotel H24 Capitol H25 Grand Continental H26 Lido (closed) H27 Ambasador H28 Radisson Blu H29 Rembrandt H30 Tania H31 Relax Comfort Suites H32 Intercontinental H33 K+K Elisabeta H34 Horoscop H35 Tempo Hotel H36 Royal H37 International Bucharest H38 Hotel Confort Traian H39 Double Tree by Hilton H40 Ramada Majestic H41 Ibis Gara De Nord H42 Suter Inn H43 NH Bucharest H44 Howard Johnson H45 Scala H46 Trianon H47 Epoque H48 Z Boutique H49 Bruxelles H50 Boutique Hotel Monaco H51 Minerva H52 Cismigiu H53 Europa Royale

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