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How to Save and Splurge in Bucharest

From feminist hip hop nights to Transylvanian truffles, here’s how to balance your budget in the Romanian capital.

Coffee

5 To Go

5 To Go (Photo: 5 To Go)

M60 ($$$)
A veteran of the city’s booming third wave coffee scene, this downtown haunt is popular with freelance workers by day and craft beer enthusiasts by night. Take a seat in a mid-century modern armchair as you sip a flat white or Ground Zero Easy Rider pale ale – brewed just a short drive away – paired with a slice of fresh cheesecake.

Strada Mendeleev, 2, facebook.com/m60cafeamzei

 

5 To Go ($)
Barely three years old, 5 To Go is now the largest coffee chain in Romania. Perhaps its success has to do with every menu item being 5 lei (around $1.60), from a cappuccino to a chorizo sandwich, but it’s probably because the coffee is strong, creamy and comes served in to-go cups featuring colourful pop-art illustrations.

Multiple locations, fivetogo.ro

Theatre

Apollo111

Apollo111 (Photo: Andrei Margulescu)

Apollo111 ($$$)
The city’s creatives crowd into this sprawling underground theatre for plays like this month’s production of award-winning Pulverizare, by Romanian writer Alexandra Badea. Come for a show, but stay for the bar – its colour-changing orb light will draw you in for at least one glass of Bauer merlot from Drăgășani.

Strada Actor Ion Brezoianu, 23–25, apollo111.ro

 

Macaz ($)
This artist- and activist-run co-operative stages political plays and hosts themed parties that run into the morning, like feminist hip hop and queer karaoke nights. The community vibe extends to the service, too: You order at the bar and clear your own table.

Calea Moilor, 106, facebook.com/macazcoop

Romanian Food

The Artist

The Artist

The Artist ($$$)
At his high-end restaurant, Dutch chef Paul Oppenkamp artfully plates elevated takes on Romanian fare, like Black Sea turbot served with truffles from the Transylvanian Alps, and a vișinată (sour cherry liqueur) parfait with milk chocolate and meringue. Order the one-bite spoon tastings to sample as many as possible.

Calea Victoriei, 147, theartist.ro

 

La Mama ($)
Get a taste of home-style comfort food, like meat-stuffed cabbage rolls and papanași (fried doughnut-like pastries overflowing with sour cream and cherry jam) at this Bucharest mainstay. Pop in before a show at the Romanian Athenaeum – there’s a location of the chain just around the corner from the neoclassical concert hall.

Multiple locations, lamama.ro

Tags

BUCHAREST     HIGH & LOW     ROMANIA