Dining at Bucharest’s Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant

 

Caru’ Cu Bere, translated as “the beer wagon”, is a German style beer house restaurant on Stavropoleos Street in the Lipscani district of Bucharest.

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant street seating
The Restaurant

Originally opened in a different location, it moved to this venue in 1899. The Gothic Revival style building is famous for its Art Nouveau dark wood panels, vaulted ceilings and stained glass window interior, and it has been a staple landmark in the Romanian capital for over a century.

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant menu

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant woodworkDuring our last visit to Bucharest, we decided to stop there for an early dinner after touring the city’s  Old Town. The elaborate restaurant menu boasts over 100 dishes, and as it is very popular with tourists and locals, one usually needs reservations. Luckily for us, on that day they weren’t too busy and we scored a table within a few minutes.

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant glasswork

The evening we came in they had musicians and dancers performing folk music and it was quite loud in the main dining area. Also, Romania still allows smoking in restaurants, which is a challenge for our son who suffers from asthma. Luckily but the hostess was very understanding and accommodated our request to get a table in the non-smoking area and away from the noise.

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant musicians
We brought the i-Pad along for our son which was beneficial, as the restaurant had WiFi and it helped occupy him during the relatively long wait for our order.

One of the features my husband and son appreciated since they don’t read Romanian, was the fact that the servers all spoke English, and they even had an English menu describing all the different foods and ingredients, so they didn’t have to keep asking.

Reading through the extensive list was a somewhat lengthy process, and we took our time deciding what dishes to try while munching on the peasant bread and drinking the Romanian Ursus beer (us), and a freshly squeezed glass of apple juice ( our son.)

 

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant inside roomThe Food

We finally ordered three salads; the fish-egg Icre, the roasted eggplant Vinete, and roasted pepper Ardei grasi.
The eggplant salad was thick but smooth, and we liked the Icre (fish egg salad) since it wasn’t too oily.

 

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant decor

Next we sampled their Ciorba soup which is similar to Serbian bean soup, and we each had a mini kebab mititel with mustard.

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant appetizers

 

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant ciorba
We decided to share four main dishes so we can all get a taste of the different cooking styles of the region. We ordered Dovlegi Umpluti, which is stuffed squash, Tocanitza, which is a beef stew, Sarmale, the Romanian version of stuffed grape leaves, and slow roasted pork cutlet. They all were served with a side of Mamaliga, a stove-top boiled polenta. We unanimously found everything delicious but slightly salty.

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant sausage

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant dolmasThough the portions were on the large side and we were full, we felt that we couldn’t leave without trying their famous Papnasi.,The stuffed fried Romanian dessert. These cheese fried donuts were fresh, fluffy and topped with the best black cherry we’ve tasted in years.
Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant stew

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant apple drink

Autism Travel Tips

*Make sure to call ahead and make a reservation for evening dining, especially on weekends.
*Plan to dine early if your child is noise sensitive. The restaurant is famous and hosts large groups at times adding to the decibel level.
*The restaurant offers an extensive variety of Romanian dishes but doesn’t really cater to special needs diets.

Dining at Bucharest's Iconic Caru’ cu Bere Restaurant dessert

 

 

Why the J W Marriott Bucharest is Perfect for Families

Initially constructed as a luxury complex for the capitol’s military elite, the five star J W Bucharest Marriott  Grand Hotel features 379 stunning rooms and 22 suites.
The hotel, located at Calea 13 Septembrie 90 in its namesake city, is a short walk from the Romanian parliamentary building known as the People’s Palace, which was finally completed over a decade after the 1989 revolution.

 

Why the JW Marriott Bucharest is Perfect for Families

Neighborhood

The hotel is in an excellent location less than a 10-minute cab ride from the city’s main shopping thoroughfare, Calea Victoriei and the old town area of Bucharest with its famous Lipscani dining area.

Why the JW Marriott Bucharest is Perfect for Families

 Why We Choose It

As parents to a son with autism, opting for a quiet and less busy location tops our list of requirements when choosing a hotel. The JW Marriott hotels are also well-known for their beautiful and spacious rooms and comfortable bedding. Thus, they are an ideal accommodation choice for a family of four.Furthermore, we have come to know and appreciate the high-quality service provided by the JW Marriott chain on our journeys throughout the world so selecting the JW Marriott Bucharest looked like a perfect combination.

Why the JW Marriott Bucharest is Perfect for Families

What Makes It Family Worthy

Many stores and local restaurants can be found near the hotel, and there is a lovely public park across the street from the building.
Families traveling with children will be pleased to learn that there are laser tag and ice skating rinks available at the local Cotroceni Mall, which is only a  five-minute cab ride away.

Why the JW Marriott Bucharest is Perfect for Families

Booking

We booked our room online with Marriott points and contacted the hotel a week or so before arrival to ask for a quiet room with feather-free bedding and pillows.

Why the JW Marriott Bucharest is Perfect for Families

 Décor

The opulent grand stairway in the lobby serves a reminder of a bygone era, and the hotel is elegantly decorated with light colored marble. However, darker wooden furniture pieces are scattered throughout the property to give it an overall modern appearance.

Why the JW Marriott Bucharest is Perfect for Families

Fellow Travelers

The hotel’s patrons are mostly business people and large groups from cruise ships, but solo guests and families are welcomed too.

Why the JW Marriott Bucharest is Perfect for Families

 Our Welcome

Upon entering the building, we were greeted by a helpful bellman. The check-in procedure was very efficient, but it seems that our request for a feather-free room was “lost in the shuffle”.
This minor problem was speedily remedied by the front desk attendants who immediately sent the housekeeping staff to change the bedding.

Why the JW Marriott Bucharest is Perfect for Families

 Room

We were assigned a spacious 8th floor carpeted room that was decorated in shades of brown, green, and burgundy.
The spectacular city’s skyline and the nearby People’s Palace were visible from the windows. Our suite had ample seating and more than adequate storage space.
The room also contained multiple power sockets that we immediately put to use by recharging all of our electronic devices.

Why the JW Marriott Bucharest is Perfect for Families

The suite’s mini-bar area featured a fridge filled with specialty drinks as well as snacks and souvenirs for purchase. The customary bottled waters and coffee supplies were also provided, but we ended up not using them because we were upgraded to the Marriott’s wonderful executive lounge that was only a few doors away from our room.
The two queen beds were comfortable, and the room had an additional opening sofa that we liked to lounge about in front of the TV after a long day of sightseeing in the city.

Why the JW Marriott Bucharest is Perfect for Families

Bathroom

The well-lit marble bathroom boasted ample counter space and two mirrors to make getting ready in the morning a breeze.
Guests are also provided with an excellent array of luxury toiletry products as well as beautiful, fluffy towels. We also liked the fact that both the shower and tub areas came with handheld shower heads. This makes it easier to wash small children and persons with disabilities.
The robes and bathroom slippers that were included among the many room amenities were likewise a lovely touch.

Why the JW Marriott Bucharest is Perfect for Families

 Safety Features

We liked the fact that the JW Marriott even provides an anti-slip mat for the enclosed shower. While this detail is often overlooked by some hotels, we applaud them for having included it.

 

Why the JW Marriott Bucharest is Perfect for Families

Facilities

The hotel boasts several high-end stores, a beautifully appointed gym, a swimming pool, and a luxurious spa.

Why the JW Marriott Bucharest is Perfect for Families

 Dining

There are two restaurants, a coffee shop with noteworthy pastries, and a bar located on site.
Why the JW Marriott Bucharest is Perfect for Families

The breakfast buffet offered at the hotel restaurant is outstanding, and if you happen to stay over the weekend the Sunday Brunch, at 70$ per person, is one of the best in the city though a bit pricey.

Why the JW Marriott Bucharest is Perfect for Families

The Executive Lounge

As Marriott Gold members we were upgraded to the executive lounge and were pleased to discover that the service and food quality were outstanding.

Why the JW Marriott Bucharest is Perfect for Families
This is an upgrade worth paying extra for especially for families as it is replenished continuously and has food out throughout the day.

 

Why the JW Marriott Bucharest is Perfect for Families

 Service

The service at this property was excellent.
From the waiters to the desk attendants, everyone on staff was eager to help us enjoy our stay. Our requests for housekeeping service took less than 10 minutes on average. For a hotel of this size and caliber, that is quite impressive.

 

Why the JW Marriott Bucharest is Perfect for Families breakfast

The ladies that work in the executive lounge deserve a special mention for helping with some different reservations. They even remembered to return the hand wipes box we had left behind when we returned to the property a few days later from our Transylvanian trip! Another outstanding employee, Ovidiu, personally brought tasty breakfast buffet items to our table when he noticed that we weren’t helping ourselves.

 

Why the JW Marriott Bucharest is Perfect for Families meat

Areas That Could Be Improved

At the time we stayed, there were some difficulties with the Wi-Fi, but the staff did all they could to assist us in fixing the problem.
We were told that the hotel is working on changing their internet service provider so the problem will hopefully be resolved in the very near future.

Why the JW Marriott Bucharest is Perfect for Families wines

 Autism Travel Tips

As I previously mentioned, the hotel staff did everything they possibly could to make sure our son was comfortable, and we had an enjoyable stay.

Why the JW Marriott Bucharest is Perfect for Families crepes
Our room faced away from the street and was located on the highest possible floor, which helped eliminate any outdoor noises. Moreover, it was also far away from any noisy interior areas of the hotel such as elevators, restaurants, and the executive lounge, which helped assure it provided a quiet and stress-free environment for our son.

 

Top Autism Travel Spots in Bucharest

Neatly tucked away in the eastern part of Europe is a worthy, slow-paced but fun, family vacation destination. In Bucharest, one can enjoy and admire the unique architecture, outdoor interactive museums, as well as embark on delightful culinary adventures of traditional Romanian cuisine.

 

Visiting Bucharest –Our Top Autism Travel Spots violin

Herăstrău Park

On the northern side of the city is an iconic park surrounding a lake.
Estimated to be the largest urban park in Europe, it is a Mecca for outdoor lovers; offering diverse family activities like skating, free biking, boating including paddle boats, and rollerblading.

Tip: Go on a weekday since it tends to be crowded with locals on weekends and don’t forget your bug spray!

Visiting Bucharest –Our Top Autism Travel Spots park
The Village Museum

Muzeul Satului is a unique open-air museum housed in Herăstrău Park.
It showcases farming houses from the different parts of the country.
Its 272 peasant farms and houses created in 1936 by Dimitrie Gusti allow visitors to observe local craftsmen at their work, as well as sample traditional foods like sherbet and homemade jams that are hard to find elsewhere.

Tip – since most of the display areas are not paved, it is best to avoid visiting on rainy days. Make sure to wear non-slip shoes.

Visiting Bucharest –Our Top Autism Travel Spots palace
The Parliament Palace

The World Record Academy lists this architectural masterpiece as the largest civilian administration building in the world, making it the number one tourist attraction in the Romanian capital.
The mammoth complex stands tall on a hill; a reminder of the country’s deceased dictator and communist past. Visitors will be surprised at the enormity of the rooms, the extravagant lighting fixtures along with the sparse, almost nonexistent décor.

Tip: Be advised that you can only visit the building if you partake in an official tour.that is about 2 hours long.
It involves extensive walking and strict safety regulations disallowing separation from the group.
Don’t book if you think your child won’t be able to cope.

Visiting Bucharest –Our Top Autism Travel Spots grand hall
Admire the architecture

Since 1878, following the Romanian War of Independence, Calea Victoriei has been a most exclusive shopping boulevard.
It started off as part of the trade route between Bucharest and the city of Brașov, but in today’s capital, it projects a mélange of old grandeur with palaces like Cantacuzino and Stirbei, elegant hotels like the Athenee Hilton and the former Hotel Bucharest now called Radisson Blu, and exclusive  foreign designer shops like Gucci and Cartier.
There are iconic buildings and memorials too; the column commenting those fallen in the 1989 revolution, the National Museum of Art, the Telephone Palace, Pasajul Macca, and the CEC building as you stroll down towards Piata Unirii.

Tip: On your walk, stop and introduce your child to Covirigi – a Romanian pretzel snack filled with different jams or cheese.

Visiting Bucharest –Our Top Autism Travel Spots street
Arcul de Triumf

Built in 1936 to commemorate the creation of the Greater Romanian state and bravery of the Romanian soldiers in WWI, the Romanian Arch is modeled after the Arc de Triomphe, its more famous French counterpart. Located along Kiseleff Road, the 85-foot tall arch designed by architect Peter Antonescu stands in the place of two preceding arches that celebrated Romania’s independence and the establishment of the monarchy.

Tip: For adventurous tourists and energetic children, I highly recommend the interior staircase leading to the top.

Visiting Bucharest –Our Top Autism Travel Spots restaurant
Strada Lipscani

Lipscani is both a street and a district that has been a Bucharest feature for the past six hundred years
Once a flourishing commercial center it was named for the Lipscan (traders) who brought goods from Western Europe. During the communist era, the suburb became a giant slum and narrowly escaped demolition plans. After the revolution of 1989, Lipscani made a surprising comeback and is now a renovated pedestrian zone with food, retail and entertainment venues.

Tip: Stop by Stavropoleos Church to see a representation of the Romanian Brancovenesc style which blends Ottoman and Western elements.
Built in 1724 with impressive woodcarvings and frescoes, it is an excellent opportunity to introduce your child with autism to typical Romanian religious art.

Visiting Bucharest –Our Top Autism Travel Spots church 
Cismigiu Gardens

Located in the center of Bucharest and considered the city’s oasis by the locals, you will find a park called Cismigiu; the name derived from the Turkish word for fountains.
The garden offers multiple outdoor activities like rowboat rentals, a winter skating rink, a children’s playground and cafes and restaurants.
During the summer months, you can feed swans, geese, ducks and peacocks in large cages, as well as listen to live music in the gazebo area.

Tip: The gardens are a beautiful spot to de-stress in an otherwise noisy, bustling city.
During the holidays, one can attend fairs with craftsmen displaying their traditional products and souvenirs.

Visiting Bucharest –Our Top Autism Travel Spots city center

Have you visited Bucharest with your family?

What are your favorite spots?

5 Reasons to Visit Romania with Family

 

In the month since returning from our summer vacation abroad, I’ve been approached by several friends requesting information about our Romanian vacation.

In fact, it seems that people are finally starting to take notice of a beautiful Baltic country that has been off the holiday destination radar for years.
I’m convinced that in the not too distant future, there will be a mad rush to the freshly discovered Romania, so here are my five recommendations as to why you should take your family, and soon!

Visiting Romania – 5 reasons to take your family foodThe food

Romanian cuisine is an excellent blend of borrowed techniques and flavors from its neighbors: Turkey, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Russian.
From the tempting street grub, the savory fish salad (Icre) and unique Zacusca (eggplant mixed with peppers), sour Ciorba soups, meat stews and kebabs to the scrumptious desserts like the Gioffre and Savarina, your family will have plenty to sample and discover.
Our kids still dream of the Papanasi (fried dumplings) topped with berry jam and crème Fraiche they enjoyed.

The myth

We all know Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula may have been pure fiction, but that didn’t stop us fantasizing about meeting the bloodsucking vampire in secret passages or at the top of the wooden staircases of Bran Castle.
In fact, most visitors to Romania enjoy tracing the footsteps of the fictional character through the medieval town of Sighisoara to the castle where he allegedly lived, to his secret tomb in Snagov.
In the process, they learn about the person who supposedly inspired the stories – the ruthless Romanian ruler, Vlad III the Impaler.

The scenery

Many travelers don’t realize just how large and geographically diverse Romania is.
As you drive outside the capital, in places like Maramures and Suceava, there are vast areas of unspoiled wilderness waiting to be experienced. With beaches, mountains, valleys, forests, hot springs and even a river delta, there is a beauty as far as the eye can see.
Even more fascinating is that the country has kept its authentic, centuries-old farming traditions and slow-paced village living.
Our fondest memory is listening to the cow bells crossing the meadows in Zarnesti on our way to the Libear-ty Brown Bear Sanctuary.

Visiting Romania – 5 reasons to take your family scenery
The people

The people are open, warm and very friendly especially with tourists; as they feel a sense of obligation to portray their country in the best light possible.
Surprisingly, many people we met, especially the younger generation, spoke English quite well, so communication was no problem. Furthermore, throughout our trip, our son with autism was treated kindly and made to feel welcome and comfortable by everyone we met even in the most remote locations.

 

The prices

Compared to other countries in Europe, and globally for that matter, Romania continues to be an excellent choice for budget-oriented travelers.
A family of four can stay in a large, three-star hotel room in the capital for less than 100 dollars a night and enjoy a three-course meal at a sit-down restaurant for under fifty dollars.
Prices for public transportation, including cabs, are small, and entrance fees to museums, churches or other attractions are much more reasonably than in any of its counterpart European destinations.
The bonus for souvenir lovers is that one can haggle with different street vendors and come away with a bagful of trinkets for less than ten bucks, just like our son did!

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