Culinary preferences tend to become more and more diverse, and restaurants in Iași succeed in keeping pace with customers’ expectations to offer outstanding experiences. From the aspect of dishes to how the space looks, from hospitality to being keen to go back, everything matters in building a relationship beyond transactional. This is how you can make a real difference.
I chose five places where vegetarians feel at home. Some accommodate all their needs, while others only offer some tasty veggie options.
For me, the highest standard of hospitality is to be able to connect to the owners of the restaurant, bistro, coffee place, you name it. In this way, I have the chance to nurture a relationship and find out more about their story, motivation, and ambitions. Andalu is located on Copou hill, in the second plan, not on Carol I Boulevard, which makes the entire atmosphere far more intimate and cozy. Vegetarians who land in this Spanish locale (Olé!) have the chance to indulge themselves in various ways. It would be amazing to try a collaborative exercise and share dozens of tapas since this is somehow a ritual. I can hardly get enough of the fried baby calamari with orange aioli sauce, the grilled octopus, and the fried potatoes with spicy sauce.
If I were to name one single thing that makes this space so special, besides the generous vegetarian menu, it would be the positioning. We don’t have many venues in Iași that allow visual communication with a park, but here you have the feeling that you are constantly watching a live picture. You can admire the landscape from the interior or the terrace, where you can sense the sound and the particular vibration that this area has. Besides the green sandwich with halloumi, pesto, vegetables, and freshly baked bread, I dare you to recommend trying the cocktails, too. You can choose whatever you feel like, the hosts know their game. If I were to make a bet, I would stick to anything that implies gin or amaretto.
It’s the first place that comes to mind when I think of vegetarian food in Iași. In addition to the menu designed to please vegetarians, CUIB comes with an entire experience. Whether you want to buy products made by local creators or you are curious to find out what the Mai Bine Association is up to, this space opens your perspectives and helps you stay up to date with what is happening in the community. I go there for the extremely tasty borshts, which are very close in taste to what my mother makes at home or what she used to send me as a package when I was a student.
For those who love the urban vibe and live with everything it implies — bustle, noise, scooters, bicycles, traffic of all kinds — Trufanda is the right place to experience all of it. The spectacular thing about this location is that, from the terrace full of plants, you have the opportunity to see the facade of the Braunstein Palace, freshly renovated and opened. While it’s not a restaurant tailored entirely to vegetarians, you can find some delicious options. My favorite dish is toast with ripe eggplant, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, and other ingredients that go well together. After all, who can resist the smell of baked eggplant with a bit of garlic?
This restaurant is a gem located in an iconic city center area. ZORI presents a bolder approach and a necessary culinary discomfort to discover and rediscover tastes and textures of all kinds. The profile of this place is not entirely vegetarian, but the creative options made especially for this audience show how much-untapped potential there still is to explore. If more dishes got the same level of care, attention, and obsession for taste as they get it here, more of us would drop the meat from time to time. Goat cheese backed in kataif with tomatoes, cucumbers, and olives, as well as baked kapia peppers with tofu, warm hummus, and salad, surprised me big time.
These are some of the options available to vegetarians in Iași, but you can also try places from the list below:
- Little Hanoi