We’ve been living in Sibiu for quite some years now and we have constantly been in search of true taste. Sometimes it’s hard to find it, especially when you visit the city for just a few days, so here’s the complete guide to how and where to get your food – restaurants, bars, pubs, juice bars, markets – all already carefully tested.
At a first glance, one would say that the gastronomy in Sibiu is nothing too spectacular. And yes, most of the places prefer to keep to that “selling” menu of salads, pizza and pasta with some steaks and french fries in between and 2 or 3 soups. But still, there are other places, with personality and with chefs and owners who are willing to experiment and to bring a bit of color and taste to your plate.
We’re true gourmands, to be honest and sometimes a bit picky when it comes to what we eat. We’re even more picky when it comes to Sibiu, as we live here and we know what fresh and tasty ingredients you can get from just a few kilometers away, directly from the local farmers and producers. The area is so rich and diverse in ingredients that gastronomy should be one of the main attractions of this city.
We’ve tried quite a lot of restaurants in Sibiu and there are too many that we visited once and never went again. But forget about those and let’s talk about the ones that make us go “Hmmm, sooo delicious” when we sit at their tables.
I will have to admit that we sort of worship this place. It’s in our opinion the coolest restaurant in Sibiu from all points of view. With two very talented chefs, SyndicatGourmet opened 4 years ago with a sort of Asian-influenced cuisine. Now they are working with mostly local ingredients and they are changing their menu in spring and autumn based on what’s in season, creating the New Transylvanian Cuisine.
They start their day with a trip to the local market to buy everything that’s fresh. Their menu is seasonal, it changes at least 3 times a year, which means that during spring time you will find wild garlic and nettles, in summer wild mushrooms and fresh vegetables from the market and in winter everything that has to do with root veggies (including Jerusalem artichoke), combined with freshly baked bread and with quality and local beef, pork and lamb. Suitable for vegans and vegetarians, as they have quite a lot of non-meat dishes.
What we like even more about this place is the way they build their menu. With starters, salads, main dish and desert to have a complete culinary experience. The portions are not too big as to let you have a taste of everything they have prepared. It’s place you would normally go to for enjoying a special dinner, with very carefully selected dishes and ingredients, rather than just easing your hunger.
Capsicum is definitely an “off the beaten track” restaurant in Sibiu, but very much worth checking out. With a rather old school look, don’t expect anything too fancy when getting there. But the food will for sure impress you.
There is no “a la carte” menu, it’s all about the chef’s inspiration for the day and what he finds available at the market. It’s a mixture of the world’s cuisines so you will find here everything from Asian, to Middle East, to South American, to Mediterranean or Romanian dishes. Every time we check this place out, the culinary experience is at its best for us. We have never tried something from their menu and didn’t like it to the maximum. The dishes they prepare are quite simple, noting very fancy, but the combination of fresh and quality ingredients and the perfect mix of spices and herbs makes every dish just perfect.
La Pasaj is a place I added recently on our list of places to go out and eat in Sibiu. And the reason behind this decision was mainly that they have improved so much in terms of diversity of dishes available, ingredients they use and seasonality of the menu. They now focus more on local, seasonal dishes, with a very nice plating and mixture of ingredient, which is exactly what we’re looking for when choosing a place to eat (in Sibiu, or anywhere else we go).
It is mostly aimed to those who eat meat and want to enjoy a very well cooked piece of beef, pork or lamb, but vegans and vegetarians will also have some very tasty options like all sorts of starters with squash, all sorts of local cheeses and eggs, or a delicious plate of gnocchi with goat cheese and butter squash. Plus the deserts which I must admit (being a person who’s not really into sweets) that are just perfect. Try the walnuts tart with vanilla ice cream, it’s one of the best deserts I’ve had in years.
The interior is nice and cozy, a small room with not too many tables, with simple and elegant decorations, enough to make you feel comfortable and to enjoy a nice dinner out. Their outdoor terrace is a good option for the hot summer days, as it has a lot of shade and has a beautiful view over the upper old town.
A rather new place on the market in Sibiu (opened end of 2018) and a big up for the attention they pay to the ingredients they work with for their menu. It’s mostly local products they buy from small producers around the Sibiu county and this makes all the difference. The menu is colorful and flavorful, with local and Romanian dishes, with a bit of modern twist. Plates look and taste good, the menu is small, but changes seasonally which means that you can try new stuff every few months, based on what fresh ingredients are at that time on the market.
Two main reasons why we don’t visit this place much often are the fact that it’s a gastro-brewery, meaning that it’s quite big and noisy (and we prefer smaller, more intimate and quiet places, where you get that homey feeling while enjoying your meal) and that, although they do promote eating locally, buying from small farms and producers in the county, they don’t have any local or Romanian craft beer on the menu (I know this might sound a big exaggerated, but yes, we’re big fans of small craft breweries in Romania). They only have international big brands, which somehow, in our perspective, doesn’t really fit with the menu. Still they do have some local very tasty spirits worth a try and a nice cocktail bar with a wide variety of long drinks and cocktails if you consider staying longer for dinner.
Jules is a beautiful bistro opened just a few years ago that initially focused on the French cuisine, but not only. Now, with the help of a talented chef from Romania, they managed to rebuild their menu as to make it more appealing for the public.
A shorter menu, with some starters, meat based main dishes, some fish dishes and deserts. Everything looks and tastes good, the combination of ingredients is very well chosen. For those of you who are not really into trying some fancy and modern recipes, there’s also a selection of pasta dishes to chose from.
What we totally love about this place is their summer terrace, in an interior yard, perfect for hot summer days when you’re in search of a bit of shade, a good wine and a relaxed atmosphere.
Hochmeister recently (it’s April 2019 I am writing this) added a very talented young chef from Sibiu to their team and I think that the place got back on track. He’s really into making you remember childhood tastes when trying his dishes. And he does that with fresh and local ingredients, with reinventing old recipes and giving them a bit of a modern touch, with keeping it as simple and natural as possible.
The menu is fully created by him and it’s very much worth paying the restaurant several visits to try everything there. It does change seasonally, so keep that mind.
Hochmeister also has a cool playground for kids, which is a plus for families going for dinner and a thing that you don’t normally find in restaurants in Sibiu.
Local opened just a few months ago (it’s April 2019, I am writing this) and I find it to be one of the best options for a fresh and tasty breakfast in town (there aren’t too many options for breakfast anyway). They use manly local and seasonal ingredients for their menu and you can feel that right from the start – it’s full of flavor, color and freshness. Plus they have good specialty coffee, a nice interior design and the perfect outdoor terrace with one of my favorite views from Sibiu’s old town.
La Cuptor (The Oven) is one of the most chic places in town, considering its interior design. Not to mention they have a really nice interior summer terrace, perfect for those who prefer a quiet place for dinner. They also have a big oven just as you enter the restaurant, which is where they cook most of the dishes.
The menu has changed recently and it gets better and better. They have mostly meat dishes, but nicely combined with all sorts of vegetables and purees. The plates look colorful and taste delicious. I think they have evolved a lot since they opened, they pay more attention to their ingredients and the way they mix them. A must try here – the beef bone marrow, the pork ears and the beef tongue goulash with home made pasta.
Located in an old baroque building, Hermania is a classical when coming to Sibiu. They have a mixture of dishes from Sibiu, pointing out the diversity of this area with its influences, especially the Saxon and German ones.
Hermania is also the place where you can have fresh trout as they own a trout farm somewhere close to the mountains, about 70km away from Sibiu (there’s also a big restaurant there, called Albota).
Most of the ingredients come from their own farms – including meat, vegetables and cheese. What we like from their menu: potato and tarragon soup or the caraway soup; pork grease with bread; all the trout dishes. They also have a big variety of meat dishes and steaks (pork, lamb, beef) for all you meat lovers out there. They also have some of their products on sale, so on your way out you can get cheese, pastrami or sausages to go.
If you want to try the traditional Romanian cuisine, this is the place to do it. The place looks, smells and tastes traditional. Located somewhere in the city center, expect to find a small restaurant always full of people and a big line waiting for a table. They don’t do reservations, so the only way to eat here is to wait in line.
The menu is very much Romanian traditional and very tasty. I would recommend the soups, all of them are great, and the polenta dishes. Plus the traditional desert “papanași” at the end. Everything in the menu is tasty, but expect big portions and heavy stuff that will make your stomach digest for a few hours.
Keeping it traditional, but outside the city center, Prima is a place that is very much worth checking out. Nothing fancy about this place, it looks rather kitsch and old, but for a tourist it will be for sure a true experience.
Most of the people living in Sibiu come here for one main reason: to have the famous tripe soup that this place is known for. It is indeed a local delicacy served with lots of garlic and sour cream, but it’s definitely not for the faint hearted. We enjoy it every time we go there and if there’s room for more we try the dish called “muschi sibian” (a mixture of cheese, mushrooms and beef steak) with a nice portion of french fries and a garlic dip. If there’s even more room, we also go for the “papanași” with blueberry jam.
Prima is a small restaurant and full during lunch and dinner time so you will have to wait in line sometimes. Being outside the city center, Prima is mostly a place for locals and the prices are a bit lower, but more and more tourist are discovering this hidden gem.
Cabana Valea Aurie is that neighborhood place where locals normally go for lunch and dinner. It’s not a place you would normally see on a tourist brochure for restaurants, but it is one of the best places in town to have some classical Romanian dishes. Soups are very good and the main dishes are mainly meat based with potatoes, but properly cooked and in quite big quantities, at very reasonable prices.
Don’t expect anything fancy regarding its looks, but do expect to eat well and a lot and not be able to move when trying to leave the place. What we love about this place is that it’s right next to Sub Arini Park, the main park of Sibiu and they have a big and sunny summer garden where you can enjoy your meal. They also have enough room for kids to play around and normally during the summer months they also have a small playground outside.
Initially I decided to leave the international restaurants aside, but I will still mention OSushi. It’s a Japanese place, very classy and with proper Japanese dishes. We like them as we do some events in their location and everything turns out perfect every time. The sushi passionate around the city say that it’s a proper sushi place. They also have a delivery service, so if you’re lazy one Sunday evening and pizza is not an option, you can definitely try these guys.
Huma is a rather new place in town (opened in November 2018) that focuses on the Libanese cuisine. They have quite a large menu with middle eastern stuff and for us, as we’re big fans of middle eastern gastronomy, it’s a joy to order from Huma from time to time.
For us, Urban Food is a perfect option for a very lazy (read that hangover) weekends, when we want to eat something heavy, with meat and sauces and fries, that would make us even lazier working on the digestion. They have pork based stuff, like burgers, hot dogs, but also chicken wings or chilli con carne. I appreciate that they try to work with fresh and local ingredients as much as possible and that brings a lot of flavor. We normally order via the Food Panda app and in about 30 minutes we have it in front of us, on the couch. They also have craft beer on the menu, so that’s also sometimes a good companion for treating a heavy hangover.
They also have an eat-in place at the Habermann Markt, if you’re around the city center and you want to try them out.
Vegan Restaurants and Juice Bars
Not too many vegan and vegetarian places in Sibiu, but it’s better than about 3 years ago when we had nothing. The good thing is that what we have is healthy, good quality and tasty.
She’s Green is by far my favorite vegan restaurant. They normally have a daily menu with a soup and a main dish which is very tasty and diverse, but also an “a la carte menu” with all sorts of spreads, salads, smoothies and freshly squeezed juices. Not too mention the raw vegan deserts which are must try is there’s still room after full lunch.
They also have a take-away option and a delivery option for those who don’t have the time to sit in and eat.
Rawdia is the second vegan and raw-vegan restaurant we have in Sibiu. It’s a franchise from Bucharest and they are more oriented towards the raw vegan dishes. The place itself is quite small, but they have the take-away and the delivery options available. They have a weekly and a daily menu, plus a breakfast and snacks one, so plenty of dishes to chose from.
Rawissima is the raw vegan sweets heaven. They have only raw-vegan and healthy sweets, so if you’re in search for a nice desert this is the place. The have mainly cakes, but they also have all sorts of energy bars and chocolate or fruit mouse.
Sibio is a very cool place right in the middle of the city, in Piața Mică (the Small Square of Sibiu) with all sorts of fresh smoothies and juices, coffee and tea. It’s perfect for a quick break after walking around the streets of the city. It’s also a good place if you want to have a meeting or work for a few hours with a beautiful view of the old houses of Sibiu.
Sucaria Lecca has mainly freshly squeezed juices with a cold presser. They have a big variety of juices for all tastes and now they also have a very tasty raw vegan chocolate. It’s only a to-go place and it has two locations, both of them, unfortunately not in the city center, but they have also a delivery service.
The one at Piata Cibin (Cibin Market) is really cool as I always stop by after buying fresh veggies.
This is a new place on the block opened on Sibiu’s main pedestrian street (Nicolae Balcescu) so very easy reachable if you’re downtown. They have all sorts of freshly squeezed vegetables and fruit juices, smoothies, healthy snacks and raw vegan deserts. You can have them to go, or on the spot – they also have a small kids corner with coloring books and pencils to keep them busy.
New in town, but with a super cool design and a perfect menu for a quick breakfast, lunch, dinner or any snack in between. Hug the Plate is a sort of bistro, with quiches, toasts, omelettes, fresh sandwiches, cakes and a big variety of freshly squeezed juices and smoothies, plus coffee, tea and a nice atmosphere.
Definitely worth a try if you’re looking for having a light and relaxed meal somewhere outside the crowded old town of Sibiu.
Bars & Pubs
Sibiu does have a few bars and cafes in the city, most of them in the city center and some of them have worked on their branding and image in the last years, they pay more attention to what drinks they have on the menu and on how the service is.
We love this place for 2 main reasons – it has a very rich drinks menu (from Romanian craft beers, to a wide selection of wines, to tea and coffee, including some tasty snacks for those who want more than a drink) and they are situated in Piața Mică (Small Square) and their terrace has sun all day long. Perfect place to go for a warm spring afternoon.
For all you beer lovers out there, this is the place! Expect nothing too fancy as a design, but do expect to find a wide selection of International beers (British especially) and a wide selection of Romanian craft beers on tap and bottled.
Lili’s got on our radar again after being completely renovated at the end of last year. They also have a restaurant, but the food there doesn’t align to our standards. Still, the place looks very good, the drinks menu is very appealing and for a night out it’s the perfect place considering the very cool interior design.
Puro is outside the city center so if you’re looking for a more quiet place, than you should try this wine bar. They have a wide selection of wines from all over the world and a fancy interior design, plus a nice summer terrace. They also offer snacks on the menu, for those who want to complement their glass of wine with some nachos or a sweet cake.
Crama Național is a place that only locals know about and you won’t see too many tourists in this place. It’s one of the oldest pubs in Sibiu and lots of nostalgic people living in Sibiu still visit this place. The owner, Don Titi, is a funny and optimistic guy, always making jokes and making us laugh. Plus they have a menu of snacks consisting of 3 sorts of traditional Romanian bread spreads that we sometimes call Romanian tapas. Nights in this place don’t end too soon and they tend to be unforgettable with every occasion.
Hug the Mug is the small local coffee shop with tasty and fresh coffee and with all sorts of other small treats beside. They have two locations, one of them on the main pedestrian street in the city center. Perfect to get a morning coffee (to go or to stay) and excellent for a lunch cappucino.
Arhiva de Cafea și Ceai, situated just outside Sibiu’s main square (Piața Mare) is a nice place to go out for a good coffee and a chat. They also have a wide variety of tea from all around the world, plus for those who get their energy from a different type of drink – they have some good selection of Romanian craft beers.
Smoothies, juices, tea and coffee and a relaxed and cosy atmosphere, right in the heart of the city, in the Big Square (Piața Mare). Perfect place for a lunch break or for a long afternoon of catching up with friends.
In terms of street food, Sibiu doesn’t have too many options, excluding of course, all the fast food places that you can find basically all over the place.
La Marietto is our favorite place when it comes to street food and in the same time one of our guilty pleasures. They have 5 types of sandwiches they prepare on the spot (one of them being vegetarian) with fresh ingredients. They have a big hob that they use to cook the meat and vegetables and everything is very tasty. They have a few tables indoor and a small terrace if you don’t want to take away. Unfortunately they are open only from 11 AM to 5 PM and they are closed during the weekend.
Right in the city center, Lucas is a good option to have a quick bite if you’re on the run. They have fresh sandwiches, with home made bread and a wide variety of combinations, including vegan and vegetarian options.
Deo Gratias is a hidden gem, I will tell you from the start. Not too many people know about this place, but if you checked it out once, you will do it for sure again. There is an old lady who owns the place and who wakes up every morning at 5 AM to prepare the dough. She bakes and sells traditional pies from the North-East part of Romania. The best one is the one with potatoes, cheese, sour cream and garlic, but the cabbage one, the onion one and the sweet ones are also very much worth trying.
Unfortunately it’s open only until 5 PM and it’s closed during the weekend.
We’re not really into sweets that much, but this place has the most delicious ice cream in town. They make the ice cream themselves every night, so you will get a fresh one every morning. They only have a few assortments, including some bizarre ones like coconut ash gelato, but each of them is very much worth a try.
They also have a nice small summer terrace perfect to enjoy your gelato.
What I love about Sibiu and what I loved from the moment I moved here is that the area around it is full of local producers of anything you can imagine – from meat, to cheese, to vegetables to honey, to fruits, to all sorts of drinks. And what is even better is that you don’t have to necessarily drive through the county to get all these, you just have to go to the market and get everything fresh.
The biggest market of Sibiu you will find here everything you need – meat, cheese, fish, vegetables and fruits, bread, drinks anything. Local producers are all over the place so you can’t miss them. The market is open all year round, but it flourishes starting May until late October. It’s such a delight to do your weekly shopping here.
Piața Transilvania happens every Saturday from 8 AM to 2 PM in the parking place of the main sports events hall in Sibiu (Sala Transilvania). It’s the freshest market of the city and most of the people living in Sibiu visit in on Saturday. You will find meat, cheese, fresh fruit and vegetables, honey, home made bread and sweets from local producers.
Piața Vinerea Verde happens every Friday. Although it’s smaller than the Saturday Piața Transilvania, this one is right in the center of the city in the yard of the Evangelic Church of Sibiu. It’s a bio market and small producers from around the county come here to sell their ecologically grown products. Perfect place to stop for doing your groceries after a nice walk on the streets of Sibiu.
If you are in a mood for some special drinks this is the place of your dreams. I have to say that this shop is one of our guilty pleasures and that a big part of our income ends up here.
They have wide selection of craft beer (almost all Romanian craft beers can be found here), wines from small vineyards that you cannot find elsewhere and a good sector of spirit drinks, all from Romanian small producers.
BioCoop is an ecological peasant cooperative, a group of over 15 small organic farmers in the counties of Sibiu and Mureș organized to provide consumers in Sibiu and visitors from all over the world, healthy, local, organic products.
You can find all king of goodies at their shop in the center of the city: honey, wine, juices, cheese, eggs, sausages and other traditional products from smoked pork, oil, jams and syrups, zacusca, salt with herbs, bread and home made pasta.
Gusturi Locale is a brochure made by the Tourism Office of Sibiu and includes all the local producers of the Sibiu county with their area of expertise, name and contact info. It’s very useful for those wanting to explore the area of Sibiu more and to see from where they can get local and tasty products. Some of these producers some to the local markets in the city as well.
So this is how Sibiu looks in terms of gastronomy, from the point of view of two locals who are always searching for the authentic, local and fresh stuff. It might not be the holistic view and as new places open up they might be added to the list after a close and thorough verification.
Photo credits go to Gabriela Cuzepan and to the official Facebook pages of the places we’ve mentioned in the article.