Timişoara has an up-and-coming restaurant scene. Talented local chefs are looking for the next best dish while vying for the attention of the increasingly demanding local crowd. Plus, since being minted 2021 European Capital of Culture, the city is buzzing with energy and looking to raise the bar and welcome its international guests in style. Here are the best restaurants to check out when visiting Timişoara.
Restaurant, Romanian, $$$
One of the most recent additions to Timişoara‘s restaurant repertoire, the quirky In Thyme occupies a much coveted spot in Piața Unirii, one of the city’s major squares. Serving dishes designed around the seasons, it mixes locally sourced ingredients in original ways. Welcoming guests early with hearty breakfast options, it keeps its doors open till late, and at weekends hosts live music concerts. Make sure to arrive early, or, better yet, make a reservation to get a chance to savour your meal while admiring the view over the picturesque Piața Unirii.
Restaurant with Rooms, European, Contemporary, $$$
Step into this restaurant and you’ll immediately feel like you’re inside someone’s living room. Someone with both a playful sense of style – see the touches of green and turquoise set against a neutral palette – and, perhaps more importantly, exquisite cooking skills. Try the stuffed chicken breast with crème fraîche, bacon, dried tomatoes and basil, for something light; the breaded Camembert with wild berry chutney, seeds and walnuts for something original; and a homemade burger for the ultimate comfort food.
Locanda del Corso
Restaurant, Italian, $$$
With a minimal design yet cozy and relaxed vibe, Locanda del Corso serves refined Italian dishes. Given the bilingual menus as well as the variety of dishes served – the exact number of which is impossible to guess – Italians and Italian food aficionados will feel right at home. The most popular dishes are the fish soup as well as the seafood pasta, while the Martigiana veal dish is a definite highlight on their extensive menu. Their extra creamy chocolate soufflé is the restaurant’s best-selling dessert.
Restaurant with Rooms, Mediterranean, Fusion, $$$
Housed in a majestic 18th-century villa on the banks of the River Bega, Merlot offers an elegant setting with many unique touches, such as gilded chandeliers, decorated mirrors and a pianoforte. Its menu includes plenty of gourmet dishes, such as foie gras terrine in a sesame crust served with a delicious pear and avocado sauce and lobster bisque, and is full of surprises that come in the form of a plate of creamy risotto with red beets and monkfish or some tender and caramelised lamb chops.
Vinto Gastro Wine Bar
Restaurant, Wine Bar, Contemporary, $$$
A cozy wine bar serving delicious food, or a restaurant that makes very well thought out food-wine pairings? Regardless of the answer, Vinto Gastro Wine Bar is a place you will remember. On their à la carte menu, the tuna tartare with black truffles and the avocado burger with quinoa are some of the highlights, while the lunch menu will propose a trip to a different wine region every week. As expected, Vinto’s wine list includes an impressive 200 labels, 36 of which can be ordered by the glass.
Restaurant, Mediterranean, French, Italian, $$$
Inspired by the famous tenor Enrico Caruso, whose portraits hangs on the wall, this artsy and modern-looking restaurant serves a cool mix of classic dishes and culinary surprises. The beef dishes, served with either root vegetables or as beef sauté, are at the core of a menu that combines French and Italian cuisine with ease. As for surprises, they include but are not limited to local touches, such as their Hungarian sauce, in a nod to the rich and diverse local culinary heritage.
Restaurant, Italian, $$$
With offerings that range from gourmet pizza with a topping of red caviar to a chiefly seasoned beef tartare served with mustard ice cream, Casa Antinori makes food for the senses. As for the lovers of classic Italian dishes, the menu, which has been described as ‘encyclopaedic’, offers plenty of options. Expect plenty of dishes built around meat and seafood, as well as plenty of risottos and, of course, pastas. If visiting in the warm months, the restaurant’s terrace is nothing short of a welcoming green oasis.
Restaurant, Romanian, $$$
Pepper Steak&Shake offers an original combination of dishes, offering something for everyone. Their hot and cold tapas are a great way to sample local specialties – such as zacuscă and Romanian cheese or more exotic combos such as duck and pineapple. But ultimately, the restaurant is a meat lover’s paradise. Serving delicious burgers – do try the Pepper Special Double Decker – it is also a great place to discover mangalița, an exquisite gourmet pork specialty. For those looking for something less meat-heavy, this restaurant also serves fresh line-caught wild fish.
Bistro, Contemporary, $$$
At Jolie Bistro, they place a great value on local produce and do their best to craft their dishes around locally grown ingredients. Welcoming at all times, the bistro’s chefs will do their utmost to serve their patrons a unique dish for lunch, making this the highlight meal of the day. Whatever you choose, their deliciously light, rainbow-coloured salads are not to be missed. Blessed with a lovely terrace overlooking one of the liveliest streets in Timișoara, it is also the perfect spot for people-watching .
Grill to Chill
Restaurant, Steakhouse, $$$
If a good steak is your answer to any crisis, head to the aptly named Grill to Chill, in the city’s historic centre. Boasting the best selection of Black Angus meat varieties in western Romania, its dishes use meat from animals reared in the US, Australia, New Zealand, South America and Europe. The Wagyu beef, brought from Japan, is one of the definite highlights on the menu. Special points for creativity go to their tartare, which comes in an exotic mix of flavours and includes raspberries and blueberries.