The biggest Oreo as a cake? Ice cream and water colours? The prettiest yard with cuddly cats? Cool cafes in Bucharest can be found in abundance, but there is one small problem. You have to find them first. You see, the capital of Romania likes to play treasure hunt.
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At first glance, the Romanian capital seems a bit odd. Oppressive rows of Communist buildings are lined up around blue fountains next to delicate French architecture.
If you take a literal peek behind the first facades, you may discover hidden churches, abandoned buildings and cute alleyways. But if you are a foodie, you would probably want to challenge your taste buds first and foremost. Lucky you! Bucharest will do that with ease. And while there are many amazing restaurants in Bucharest, let’s focus on the cute cafes for now, shall we?
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Coffee and Quiet Mornings
While Romanian cuisine can be quite heavy and meat based, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t coffee shops and cafes to be found in abundance. You just need to know where to look. It’s incredible that it has been only a few years ago that this scene has sprung up. It all started with Origo, a classy yet quirky coffee haven, where the cups are hanging from the ceiling. They even hold barista and coffee classes for those who want to dive right into the world of foodie nerdom.
More coffee shops to check out in Bucharest: STEAM Coffee Shop | Coffeeshop Company Bucharest | The Coffee Factory
Enjoying Cake and Cuteness
If you are not a caffeine person (like myself) and have more of a sweet tooth (hey, soulmate!), you really need to check out Acuarela. This place not only offers cakes (including the aforementioned oreo cake) and prettily prepared drinks but has a very special treat for you. While you wait for your food to be served, you can pass the time with drawing. They will provide a sheet of paper and watercolors so you can let your creative juices flow. This seriously even distracted me from my food and that says a lot!
More quirky cafes in Bucharest to love: Arcade Cafe
Book and Tea Time
Maybe you are harder to please and enjoy coffee, cake, art AND architecture? Ha! Bucharest still beats you to that. I absolutely adored both outlets of the book store Carturesti. One was pristinely white and stacked to the ceiling with colourful books. Walk the endless rows and delightful souvenirs up and down winding staircases and all the way to a terrace overlooking the Old Town. Still, the more vintage and eclectic store a 25 minute walk away was even better! There were so many rooms to be discovered and I just wanted to move right in. It was so wonderfully comfortable and cosy.
More classy cafes: Grand Cafe Van Gogh | Vienna Lounge
Hipster Meets Urban Jungle
If you are too lazy to leave the Old Town but want something fresh and modern I can recommend The Urbanist (just don’t try the milkshakes, they are a tad tiny). It’s both a clothing store and café but, really, you just want to sit down among the fairy lights and indoor plants. There is a hanging chair, glass tables that reflect the sparkling lights and cool metal shelves on the walls. The interior design is seriously stellar.
Plus, it’s right at the edge of the Old Town and if you decide to sit outside among the herbs and potted plants, you have a view over both a park and the oldest church of Bucharest.
More hipster cafes in Bucharest: Coftale | Bandit Specialty Coffee
If you didn’t know that there was a restaurant/café hidden behind these walls, you would walk right by. I nearly did even though I specifically planned my visit. Simbio is such a pretty place in an old building that gives you the option to cosy up by the bar, breathe in the fresh air in the leafy backyard or chill out on the terrace and upper floor. We picked the seat next to a cuddly kitty, of course. Try the fresh smoothies, which are not like smoothies at all, but very delicious and refreshing nonetheless.
More lovely cafes in Bucharest: M60 | Camera din Față
Bucharest is for Foodies
As a foodie myself, Bucharest absolutely won my heart over. I had no idea this city was so focused on the yummy way of life, all things pretty and playful. You have to uncover the hidden gems one by one but that just means you will never get bored. I promise you, this place is up and coming. So foodies, why not be the first one to occupy all these cool cafes in Bucharest?
Have you ever been to Bucharest? Do you love coffee and cakes and NEED to have them when you travel as well? Which cafes in Bucharest would you visit first?
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this is a good list Anne! Though I wouldn’t put Van Gogh anywhere, it’s overwhelmed with tourists and services are no longer how they used to be a couple of years ago. Next time you visit I’ll tell you about some other cool urban places (and where to go hiking in the country!) – just let me know :)
Your Romanian Friend
Annemarie Strehl says
Thanks for the tip! Someone recommended Van Gogh to me so I put it there. Really need to come back and explore some more unusual places. And definitely go hiking. I’ll let you know. :)
Skye Class says
What a great list! I’m in and out of Bucharest until the end of the year, and was looking for more places to visit. Origo is fantastic, but their laptop ban inside makes it hard for me to work there. Arcade looks fantastic. I’ll probably head there tomorrow morning, unless I go on Saturday for their brunch special. Yeah, I definitely have a sweet tooth too!
Annemarie Strehl says
Hi Skye! Wow, Bucharest really has a hold on you, hasn’t it? Totally get it. And yeah, the laptop ban inside Origo was a bit annoying; I thought so, too. Haha, eat a cake for me, too. I miss Bucharest already. ;)
Love your bright colors and I’m so happy that Bucharest has these (sometimes hidden) cool places. Even so, I always end up going to the same places again and again. But Carturesti is surely one place not to miss!
Hi Ingrid, I know what you mean. I always return to Carturesti too. It’s just sooo pretty!