The Best Restaurants in Cluj-Napoca, as Recommended by Locals

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Ioana Neamt

Located right in the heart of Transylvania, Cluj-Napoca is a vibrant, youthful city that houses some of the best restaurants in Romania. 

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If you’re going to Cluj-Napoca…You must be familiar with that hippie-era song by Scott McKenzie about San Francisco, right? Well, we’re putting a spin on it to talk about Cluj-Napoca, the cultural heart of Transylvania and one of the most vibrant cities in Romania and Eastern Europe. The second-largest city in the country, Cluj-Napoca prides itself on housing one of the strongest IT job markets in the area, as well as internationally-renowned events like the Transilvania Film Festival (TIFF), Jazz in the Park, Electric Castle, and of course, Untold, one of the largest electronic music festivals in the world. 

But Cluj-Napoca has a lot more to offer, and it’s safe to say that there’s something here for everyone. Whether you’re a young college student, a festival lover, a foodie, an active outdoors fan, or a cultural and architecture aficionado, you’ll find something to your liking here. And since food is our bread and butter here at Bookingham, we want to zoom in to check out the food scene and recommend what we think are the best restaurants in Cluj-Napoca. Whether you’re visiting for the first time or want to explore some new venues and dishes, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s start with some fun facts about Cluj-Napoca that you might not be familiar with, to get you started. 

Fun (culinary) facts about Cluj-Napoca

  • Two local and delicious staples around Cluj-Napoca, especially for students, are vinete (roasted eggplant) and zacuscă (a vegetable spread). Basically everyone in Romania enjoys these tasty treats year-round, and you’ll also find that they’re sometimes served in restaurants as appetizers. They’re particularly popular among students, because they’re quick and easy to enjoy on the go or in between classes. Spread a bit of vinete on bread and top it with some fresh garden tomatoes, and you’ll be hooked instantly. 
  • You might have heard of Varză a la Cluj, an iconic cabbage-based dish that has been a staple in Transylvania for centuries. It can still be enjoyed in Cluj-Napoca today, and you should not leave town before you try some; we recommend booking a table at Varzarie, where they prepare various dishes that all revolve around the main ingredient, cabbage. The restaurant has been around since 1967, located right in the heart of the city’s old town. It’s your best bet if you want a taste of the real, historic Cluj. 
  • Cluj-Napoca cuisine, you will notice, boasts heavy Hungarian influences, and you’ll be able to enjoy staples like gulas or langos. In fact, one of the best things to do while in the city is to take a stroll through Central Park and pick up a delicious langoș with garlic, cheese, and sour cream from one of the food stalls. Depending on the season, you’ll also be able to treat yourself with roasted chestnuts, another local staple available for purchase in the park. 
  • Romania’s second-largest city is definitely a foodie haven, with new, innovative, and highly instagrammable restaurants popping up every month. But if you’re more of a street food type of person, then you’re in luck, because Cluj-Napoca hosts street food festivals several times per year, either in Central Park or Iulius Park, right by Iulius Mall. You’ll be able to enjoy burgers, pizza, Mediterranean food, asian food, or desserts while you stroll through the park or take a walk around the lake. 
  • Last but not least, people living in Cluj-Napoca are also big coffee lovers, and you’ll find that there are numerous specialty coffee shops, cafes, and roasteries all over town. Some of the most popular hangout spots include Meron, Sisters, Roots, Tucano, Olivo, Narcoffee, Brewtiful – and the list of Cluj-Napoca cafes could go on and on. There are also three Starbucks locations that overflow with customers every fall when pumpkin spice lattes appear on the menu. 

Rounding up the best places to eat in Cluj-Napoca

When you arrive in Cluj-Napoca, you’ll immediately notice that this is a city that keeps you active. Nestled in the Someșul Mic valley, the city is surrounded by hills, and you’ll have to do some uphill cardio to reach some of its neighborhoods like Zorilor or Bună Ziua, or to visit some popular local landmarks like the Botanical Garden or the Ethnographic Museum.

The good news is that you’ll find plenty of great places to eat and refuel after a long day of sightseeing and exploring. Below we’ve rounded up our picks of the best restaurants in Cluj-Napoca, where you’re guaranteed to enjoy some exquisite dishes. Of course, the list is not exhaustive, and you can find even more restaurants in Cluj-Napoca and make a reservation on Bookingham. 

  1. Roata
  2. Via Restaurant
  3. Jaxx
  4. Samsara Foodhouse
  5. Tokyo Japanese Restaurant
  6. Baracca
  7. Da Pino
  8. Kupaj
  9. Restaurant Nativ
  10. CARROUSEL by CHIOS
  11. Cimbru Restaurant
  12. Tortelli Pasta Bar
  13. Manger
  14. Klausen Burger
  15. POMET
  16. Casa Boema
  17. Cucina Turea
  18. Rochelle
  19. Rod
  20. Visuin

Where can you enjoy traditional Romanian cuisine in Cluj-Napoca?

If you’re traveling to Cluj-Napoca or Romania for the first time, then you’ll definitely want to try out the local cuisine and enjoy some staple, traditional Romanian dishes to get a feel for the culture. If that’s the case, then don’t fret: there are various options to choose from, and they all offer delicious dishes. Book a table at any of these traditional restaurants in Cluj and enjoy staples like sarmale, mămăliguță cu smântână, ciorbă de fasole cu ciolan, gulaș, papanași, and more amazing traditional Romanian foods.

  1. Zama
  2. Roata
  3. Casa Dacilor – Hanul Dacilor
  4. Maimuța Plângătoare
  5. Casa Piraților
  6. La Mesteceni
  7. Naz Restaurant
  8. GARLIC – bites & tales
  9. Restaurant Hora
  10. Restaurant Valachia

Which are the best fine dining restaurants in Cluj-Napoca?

If you really want to experience the best that Cluj-Napoca has to offer, at least in terms of food, then you’ll definitely want to check out some of the top fine dining restaurants in the city. These are some of the most exquisite restaurants in the city, offering an unrivaled culinary experience right in the heart of Transylvania. If you want to explore some of the best and most unique dishes in town, then these are some of the best options, in our opinion. 

  1. Baracca
  2. Adi Steak House
  3. Marhaba Arabic Restaurant
  4. Marco Polo
  5. Restaurant Meridian
  6. Manger
  7. Cimbru Author
  8. Epoca Bella
  9. Fragment
  10. C’Est La Vie

Where can you eat vegan food in Cluj-Napoca?

Browsing the menus of the best places to eat in Cluj-Napoca, it’s obvious that people around here are big meat lovers. However, if you’re vegan, you shouldn’t worry, because the city offers plenty of options for you, as well. In fact, Cluj-Napoca is the best city in Romania for vegetarians and vegans, so you’re definitely in the right place. Below are some of the best places to eat vegan food in Cluj-Napoca, so make sure to put them on your list and book a reservation. 

  1. Samsara
  2. Shanghai
  3. Marty – Piața Muzeului
  4. Indigo
  5. Nobori
  6. BUNT
  7. Bistro Capriccio
  8. Bruto
  9. Bujole

Where can you find cheap eats in Cluj-Napoca?

If fine dining is not your thing, and you prefer to save your money for sightseeing, adventures, and cultural events, then no worries – there are plenty of places to find cheap eats in Cluj-Napoca. The quality of the food in these places is excellent, and you’ll get to enjoy fantastic dishes without breaking the bank. These are the best places to eat on a budget if you’re in Cluj-Napoca, as recommended by locals and visitors. 

  1. Makeba
  2. Che Guevara
  3. Colin’s 
  4. Klausen Pub
  5. Thessaly Greek Taverna

Despre Bookingham

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