Restaurant Review: Caru cu Bere

By Peter Fay, guest writer

I first visited Romania to meet up with a friend I’d made. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I quickly fell in love with the place and the people. Since then, I have revisited Bucharest and Romania as often as possible.

I have often told my friends in England that if I spent the rest of my life touring Romania every summer, I would probably still miss some of the many beautiful sights.

On my second visit to Bucharest, I stayed at a hotel, which provided bed and breakfast, but no dinner. The excellent receptionist suggested when I asked, that the “Caru cu Bere” was a good restaurant. That was when I first discovered this fantastic restaurant.

Translated into English, “Caru cu Bere” means “Beer Cart”. However, the English phrases “Never judge a book by its cover….” and “A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet…” are most relevant. Yes, we British are quirky.

From my third visit onwards, I have always rented an apartment. It is much cheaper than a hotel and I can cook my own breakfast at whatever time I wish. The cleaners come once a week. I have the use of a washing machine. If I have a problem, the owner is but a phone call away. It is like a home, away from home. The freedom is wonderful.

Since that first visit to “Caru cu Bere”, I have always regarded the restaurant as an experience… rather than just a superb restaurant. The architecture of the building alone is something special.

Take for example, the experience last Saturday night. I arrived there early evening, just before 20:00 and they were busy, busy, busy.

One of the good looking, hard working young waitresses took me to a table. In fact, all the waitresses are young and pretty. Definitely a distinct advantage. I remember the song, “Back in the USSR” by The Beatles, “Ukraine girls really knock me out…” Clearly they never visited Bucharest.

I never book up in advance, I just arrive. Not recommended at busy times for large groups, because you may be unlucky.

Having visited so many times, I am becoming well known. Sometimes I have shared a table with either native Romanians or tourists. Whosoever it is, there is usually some form of communication and conversation. My ‘limba Romana’ (Romanian) is still a little basic, but fortunately, most Romanians and tourists have some knowledge of English and I have a basic knowledge of many languages. So, on the whole we get by with a “pigeon EU limba mixture” and a few hand signals and smiles. The result is usually a pleasant and friendly agreement.

Fortunately, nearly all of the staff there are fluent in English. The only problem I have is that their name tags are always family name followed by Christian name… the opposite to what I am used to.

As usual on almost any night, my waiter swiftly asks what I would like to drink and eat. Often the food is delivered just as swiftly. It is also extremely inexpensive compared with a restaurant in England.

Read the whole article here.