Making sarmale is the test of every Romanian chef. The ultimate Romanian comfort food, the pickled cabbage rolls must be stuffed with meat and rice and cooked slowly until the rice is creamy, the meat is juicy, and the cabbage stays tender. Overboil them, underseason them, or mess with their regular shape and you can ruin a day’s work and disappoint everyone. To save you a letdown, we’ve scouted the best places in Bucharest that serve the perfect sarmale.
Step inside the courtyard of Hanul lui Manuc, a historic inn dating back to 1808 hosting a restaurant, and you’ll literally walk in the steps of many of Bucharest’s historical figures, such as dignitaries, merchants, adventurers, and even some outlaws. After becoming the city’s most important trading ground in the 19th century, today, after massive restoration Hanul lui Manuc still remains one of the most famous buildings in Bucharest. Their kitchen is famous for not one but two versions of sarmale. Pick from goose meat sarmale wrapped in pickled vine leaves and baked in the oven with tomatoes and wine or the classic, winter version, served with chilli and crispy bacon.