Eating together, like being buried up to your necks in the same cube of cement, keeps families together. Build a solid foundation with today's Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of Romanian and modern European fare at Little Bucharest Bistro.
At Little Bucharest Bistro, Taste of Romania founder Branko Podrumedic and executive chef Veronica join forces to captivate palates with a cosmopolitan menu of classic European eats and contemporary cuisine. Feastings commence with starters of mamaliga, a hodgepodge of feta, crème fraîche, and soft polenta ($6), and plates of flaming kasseri saganaki ($8) ignite appetites or snuffed-out Olympic torches. The sausage-stuffed chicken thigh ($17) boasts recognition as one of 2009's best small plates according to Time Out Chicago, and the kitchen's signature braised-short-rib goulash ($20) blends tender morsels of meat with tomato stew and potato gnocchi. Vegetarian goulash ($15) forges a mouthwatering alliance between grilled eggplant, tomato, bell pepper, and garlic couscous, and stuffed cabbage ($16) hides a treasure trove of ground beef, pork, and sautéed rice behind pickled leafy greens and a complicated sphinx riddle.
As guests pass through the restaurant's handsome ocher-hued façade, a warmly lit dining room decorated with polished wood accents and brick walls greets eyes with an atmosphere of approachable elegance. Tabletops sport formal outfits of white tablecloths, red embroidery, and candles, and light flickers through crimson stained-glass windows that depict sainted goulash makers. Live entertainment serenades these surroundings on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.
Little Bucharest Bistro
A fixture in Irving Park since the 1970s, the original Little Bucharest Bistro closed in 2004—but that wasn't the end of the story. Like a pop star making a comeback, the neighborhood eatery reappeared in the mid-2000s with a new look. "I wanted to bring the signature high-energy vibe of old Little Bucharest into a new setting," owner Branko Podrumedic says on the website. To this end, his staff sets out white-clothed tables beneath the dining room's stained-glass windows, as well as hosting diners on a spacious patio during the warmer months.
But the decor wasn't the only part of the restaurant getting a makeover, Podrumedic's revamped menu also earned praise from Metromix for "blending traditional Eastern European ingredients with more modern presentations and a contemporary sensibility." To create these artistically plated entrees, chefs turn to a variety of hearty vegetables and seasoned meats, including veal and seafood. On top of the eats, year-round live entertainment fills the spacious dining room with the sounds of Persian music, guitar solos, and violinists playing the Jaws theme as diners go to take a bite.
3661 N Elston Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60618