Archives July 2014

Restaurant review: Osteria Gioia

Osteria Gioia has intrigued me for a while now and while driving past it regularly, it has seduced me into trying it. Knowing nothing about the history, just looking through the perfectly square window into this tunnel-like restaurant which always looks too busy. Too much to resist for a man like me, so I rang up and made a reservation.

High end Italian is the offering and it is very good. Fine Italian cooking, well presented, with good attention to detail. I started with the Buffallo Mozarella which was good, and big enough for 2, followed by the pasta with Porcini mushrooms and Truffle sauce. Quite delicious, I could have eaten more of the pasta and less of the starter. The service was sharp, attentive and well timed, with good attention to detail. The restaurant is on 2 floors with the non-smoking area upstairs, which is a great plus.

Although I wanted to sit near that window I had been looking through on my drive by’s, the non-smokers are upstairs. Modern furnishings with simple uncluttered lines, pleasing on the eye and comfortable.

The menu is comprehensive and all looks very mouthwatering, to this point I have only made the one visit, so I am planning a return soon to try more of the extensive menu. A good looking wine list heavily focused on Italian wines, looks well balanced and well put together, covering a broad cross section of wine styles. One though could seriously ramp up the cost of the bill if to take full advantage of this selection. The prices generally are at the upper end of the Bucharest restaurant market, although fair as the quality of the complete offering lives up to it.

The restaurant is easy to reach, being located on 16 Ion Mihalache Blvd.

For reservation call 021 31 37 50. More details here.


Transalpina – take a drive above the clouds

If you like adrenalin and unique places, then probably a trip on Transalpina is the kind of experience you are looking for. The road has been officially opened again although it has the “under construction” status, so the necessary restrictions should apply.

Transalpina is the road that is situated at the highest altitude in Romania, as well as in the whole Carpathian chain, both in Romania and abroad. The highest altitude it reaches is 2145m in the Urdele Pass. Transalpina crosses the Parang Mountains from N to S, linking Transylvania and Oltenia, going in parallel with the Olt Valley and Jiu Valley in between which there are the two villages Saliste in the Sibiu County and Novaci in the Gorj County.

The name of the road comes from the Latin “Transalpina” (the country beyond the mountains) as Tara Romaneasca (“The Romanian Country” – a former region of Romania) used to be called in the old Latin texts and on the old maps. It is also called “The Kings’ Road” because king Carol II inaugurated it himself together with the Royal Family in 1938 after its completion together with the Royal Family.

Although it’s situated at a higher altitude and it is said that it’s more beautiful than the Transfagarasan road, it is still less known because even if it’s considered a National Road, it has never been asphalted before 2009.

Transalpina has been built by the roman armies on their way to Sarmisegetusa, paved by King Carol II after 1930 and rehabilitated by the Germans during the Second World War after being forgotten for centuries. Nowadays it offers spectacular views and a challenging drive for the adrenalin enthusiasts.

The fact that it has been forgotten and it has become very hard to drive on helped Transalpina keep its wilderness and special charm untouched, unlike many other places in Romania. It is one of the only roads in Romania where you can actually drive up to the clouds and even above them.


Restaurant review: Terasa Monteoru

A new terrace has opened downtown Bucharest, near Calea Victoriei, and this one is for insiders.
It’s called Terasa Monteoru, and it’s hard to spot unless you’ve been told where it is. The place has history, and the old days charm, which makes it a place to try out.

The terrace is tucked away behind an old historic building at the corner of the Dacia boulevard and Calea Victoriei. Once you enter the old building’s yard, you will see a sign sending you behind the building to the nice terrace. From the street, however, all you’ll see is this old house – some people call it a Haunted House. It’s a 19th century house that is yet to be renovated.

Read the whole article here.