(Note: As of March 16, 2016 a new law went into effect in Romania banning smoking in public places. We visited the country later in the year and found almost 100% compliance with the ban. Dining (indoors) in Romania is now a smokefree experience.)
We really enjoyed our time in Bucharest and the beautiful Romanian countryside. One of the things we did not enjoy is the lack of non smoking restaurants in Bucharest and all over Romania. It is one of the few remaining European countries that still allows smoking in restaurants and public places. One travel expert about Romania even refers to it as Europe’s smoking section and suggests, in a perverse sort of way, that they use that distinction to attract more tourists who smoke.
According to the official Romanian tourism web site:
“It sometimes looks like almost every adult in Romania smokes. Unfortunately, some of those who do smoke have little regard of non-smokers’ comfort. The Romanian Government recently approved legislation that bans smoking in every public place but as in many countries in Eastern Europe some smokers might ignore smoking ban.”
While I appreciate their honesty, I wish they would just enforce the rules to reflect that a majority of their citizens do not smoke.
With all the smoke in the air, we were reminded of when we first visited Europe in the 1980s. However, we found a few leading edge non smoking restaurants in Bucharest which we share below.
Non Smoking Guide to Bucharest
Non smoking restaurants in Bucharest
La Placinte – A Romanian mini-chain that specializes in the foods of the Moldovan region. The setting is attractive and the meals are affordable and delicious. Since they also have locations in other cities, we were actually working our way through their menu during our Romanian road trip. Our favorite location was at Bd. Gheorghe Magheru Nr. 26 near the Old Town. The dessert pictured above is Caciula lui Guguta. Various locations.
Carturesti Carusel (Carousel Bookstore) – This multi-storied bookshop is located in an elegant 19th-century building. The first several floors are devoted to books but the sunlight streaming top floor houses the wonderful Bistro Carusel. The menu focuses on light meals as well as hot beverages and fresh-squeezed juices. It’s conveniently located right in the popular Old Town. Strada Lipscani 55
Tucano Coffee – Located at the edge of the Old Town, this coffee bar offers excellent South American coffees and North American desserts like Oreo cheesecake and brownies. There are also smoothies, milk shakes, alcoholic drinks and teas. For a light snack try a salad or panini. Notice the table above? No ashtrays, a rarity in Bucharest. Strada Lipscani 79 A second location is near Pizza Romana at Calea Dorobanților Nr. 18
Beca’s Kitchen – Per Trip Advisor this is the #2 restaurant in all of Bucharest and came highly recommended by everyone we know who’s been to the city. The menu is limited at this small place to ensure the freshest ingredients and preparation. Mihai Eminescu 80, Sector 2
Origo Coffee Shop Bucharest – Coffee, tea, ice cream drinks, alcohol drinks, fresh fruit juices and a few cakes make up the limited menu at this place with a slick atmosphere a few blocks west of the Old Town. Strada Lipscani, 9
And if you’re really desperate to find a smokefree establishment in Bucharest you can always count on chains like Starbucks and McDonalds.
Non-smoking hotel in Bucharest
Flower’s B and B Bucharest – Tucked away in a neighborhood a five minute walk east of Old Town, this comfortable small hotel offers clean rooms in a quiet setting. Cold and hot breakfast included. The rooms also boast a rarity in Europe, window screens so you can let in fresh air without also inviting in the bugs. We stayed there our last night in Bucharest and would return. Strada Plantelor Nr. 2
Airbnb in Romania – Airbnb is also a good option when looking for smoke free lodging in Romania. We stayed for a week in a smoke free Airbnb apartment in Bucharest near the Old Town. It was actually hard to find one because Romania is one of the few countries we’ve visited where many of the Airbnb properties allow smoking.
Please add below in the comments section any smoke free places in Bucharest we should add to this list.
In our smoke free dining in Romania we did enjoy a variety of sweet treats like the dessert pictured above. Here’s our guide to Romanian pastries.
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