This is by far my favourite restaurant in Cluj, if not Romania, or so I thought until another one, that you’ll read about soon, came quite close to dethroning this one. Good thing these guys at Baracca have a really well trained personnel as that is what really made the difference in the end and kept this one as my personal favourite. What can I say, I’ve loved this place since we first ate here last year and I vowed to never pass through Cluj without enjoying at least one meal here. The problem with this area of the country is that there are so many great places to eat that I only manage to eat here one time every year and that really bugs me. I think that no matter how short or long our stay here is, we always find new and exciting places we want to try.
The main difference between the restaurants here as opposed to the ones in Bucharest is not the mastery of the chef, on the contrary, I think that chefs in Bucharest are a bit more competitive and therefore more creative, the main difference, and trust me it is big, are the ingredients and more specifically their quality. You can always taste the difference mainly in salads and vegetable based dishes as those are the ones you can’t spice to cover a fad taste, nor can you cook them long enough to loose their natural taste. Thankfully, most of the time I choose vegetable based dishes and trust me, you can tell the difference.
Back to the subject at hand, Baracca, this place never seizes to amaze us. They did change the menu a bit from last year, but it’s all for the best and now you can easily find more options in the appetisers area as well as the veggie area. This obviously made me very, very happy, but they still kept the lovely carrot cake and a few other dishes unchanged. We ate there on the first day of the festival, at lunch, right after we gout our bracelets and took a few photos (that you’ll see later on), therefore we were starving which is always a good thing as we ordered an appetiser to share, a main dish each and a dessert each and we left there having enough food photos to write a review.
As an appetiser we chose to share the goat cheese mousse which was more than enough for both of us, especially since we had plans for another two courses. This appetiser was one of the best goat cheese appetiser I had ever tasted, the combo of cheese and lemon jelly was amazing. As main courses I chose the pumpkin seed soup while D chose the duck breast. I had the duck breast last year and I have to say that I envied D with every bite he took, but fear not, next year I will have the duck breast (I can’t eat meat medium cooked and in my opinion, some meats, duck included, taste like shit if it is well done). The meat came with a sweet potato puree that was absolutely amazing. My soup was a big surprise as I was expecting the classic pumpkin soup but in fact it was actually made out of pumpkin seeds and tasted great, to say the least. For dessert I chose the carrot cake that I had my mind set on since last year and I have to say that I am amazed by it every time, while D chose the Mascarpone cream which he gave a maximum score!
Like I said in the beginning, the one thing that set this place apart and kept in in my personal favourite top list is the well trained and friendly staff, the fact that the food came quite quickly despite the fact that it was almost full and last but not least, the great quality of the food – but that is something normal in Cluj-Napoca. The check came at around 40 E which is more that decent considering the fact that we left satisfied and full. As you’ve noticed, I did not say anything about the interior design, simply because yes, it is great, but there are so many other reasons worth mentioning to give this place a try! I know for sure that we will always eat at Baracca every time we will be in town!