If you’re hungry, you might want to turn back. Seriously, the food pics below might just make your mouth water.
Craiova is a little city west of Bucharest. They have botanical gardens, a water park, and a huge green park designed by French architect Edouard Redont. There’s a jogging trail, a lake, a suspended bridge, a hippodrome, and a lot of great scenery for picture-taking. If you’re into shopping, Craiova has a modern mall, an open-air market, and plazas with shopping and restaurants. We even found an eclair shop!
We went to Craiova to visit friends and to serve with a ministry (I delivered toys and food to families in need, and we ended up visiting some Roma churches). It was a great experience, but there are some things you’ll need to know before you plan a trip there.
First, you’ll need to plan accordingly. We traveled to Craiova from Brasov (Transylvania) and realized there was no direct route by train. We had to pass through Bucharest, which was fine by us. They have Left Luggage at Gara de Nord, and the rail station is nearby to my Unchiul’s house. We were able to stop in and have an early dinner with him at Beijing Garden (BEST Chinese food I’ve ever had in my life) before our late afternoon train departed.
Overall, it was a very long day of traveling: 3 hours from Brasov to Bucharest, our 2-hour layover in Bucharest, then 4 more hours to Craiova.
TIP: Be sure to book a First Class ticket on the train, especially during the summer. The price doesn’t go up a whole lot, and the extra lei is worth it. The train to Craoiva is slow, can get very packed with commuters, and it can be very hot and stuffy. You’ll want that extra space to breathe, as well as for your belongings. And if you’re lucky, the air conditioning will work in the First Class cabin, but no guarantees. We’ve ridden First Class when the A/C works well, and other times where it works poorly – but it’s always worth a shot.
A lot happened in Craiova, and there will be some reviews coming shortly that — well, aren’t my usual, glowing reviews (sneak preview of those below). Even so, our experience was awesome and we love our friends there, so we will definitely go back.
One of the highlights of this trip was a restaurant called Craft. The food was phenomenal, the drinks were very unique, and the atmosphere was magnifique.
I ordered the pork steak with mashed potatoes and a side of butter pickles. This dish was fantastic! The cream sauce was buttery and offset the pork perfectly.
Chris ordered the seafood pasta, which I was a little bit leery of because Craiova is nowhere near the sea. But I have to say, it tasted very fresh. His portion size was also substantial (not uncommon in Romania!), and his Romanian wine complemented the dish very well.
I was impressed by their presentation, the trendy feel of the menu, and the modern atmosphere. The waitstaff was excellent, too. We are accustomed to waiting a long time for our food when we’re in Romania (it’s not uncommon for staff to forget about us or mix up our order). HOWEVER, the waitstaff at Craft was incredible and the service was fast. We were in and out in about one hour.
number of Backpacks is based on a scale of 1 to 5
Food: 5 Backpacks – absolutely incredible; couldn’t have asked for better quality or flavor
Atmosphere: 4 Backpacks – would’ve been a 5, but I love bustling spaces for meals out (reader, keep in mind: we were there at an odd hour in the middle of the week)
Service: 5 Backpacks – fantastic service; very attentive waitstaff
Price: 4 Backpacks – the drinks were about average, but the food was lower than I was expecting (especially for what we got)
Overall Experience: 5 Backpacks – this was my overall experience, and I cannot wait to go back!
Here’s a sneak preview of some upcoming reviews I’ll be posting….
Stay tuned for what should be some interesting reviews…