It’s an annual tradition on this blog to round up the year with a look at the best things to do in Csikszereda. Well, to be honest, it’s an annual tradition which I started last year, and even then I didn’t know I’d do it again. But as this town is so happening and changes as fast as a chameleon trapped in a lava lamp, I have decided it is worth making this an annual event. (I may have exaggerated a tad). So with no more ado, save to remind you of last year’s winners, here is the official 2006 “Best Of” Miercurea Ciuc awards listing:
Best restaurant (in town): Last year’s winners The Korona and The Park Hotel, are sadly still in with a shout, such is the paucity of fine dining experiences in Csikszereda. The great white hope of the year, Bandido’s, while being a nice enough place, is nothing special foodwise (and their explanation of the difference between a taco and a burrito has to be heard to be believed). I’ve heard the Fenyő’s restaurant is pretty good, but I haven’t been for ages. I’ll instead award this year’s prize (which, in truth, consists of no more than a mention here, which is not much of a “prize” in the traditional sense) to San Gennaro. An Italian restaurant that is actually authentic – owned by an actual real-live Italian, and serving pretty good quality food. No ketchup is served with the pizzas! It’s a tad pricy by local standards, but still a worthy winner.
Best restaurant (within a reasonable drive): Still Lobogo Panzio. Honourable mention to Kalibáskő , which looks much more authentic, and the kind of place in which you should get palinka-d up, but has a worse menu. Both of them are on the road to Udvarhely (Odorheiu Secuiesc).
Best pizza: Unchanged from last year: Renegade Pub and Pizza.
Best bar: I’ve gone off Morpheus, because it’s way too smoky and they only serve crap beer on tap (Carlsberg). This year’s award goes to the place which doesn’t seem to have a name near the market (on Nicolae Balcescu street opposite the BancPost – you know which one I mean). It’s also dead smoky (being in a cellar), but they have a nice garden for those brief Csikszereda summers. The newly opened Insomnia which looks dead out of place in Csikszereda, being all kind of fashionable and trendy and that, was too late to qualify for this year’s awards ceremony. Plus I only went there for the first time on Wednesday to meet up with a couple of my readers (I’ve always wanted to say that – thanks for giving me the opportunity Irina and Dan). Honourable mention to Gambrinus Csarda, for the whole beer garden experience, drinking cheap beer while watching the cauldron of goulash being cooked. You can also see celebrities there.
Best place to hang out and buy food: Still The Market (see last year’s awards for details)
Best place to hang out, see and be seen: Any of the outside tables along Petőfi Utca (in the summer obviously) - Palermo, Bandido's, San Gennaro, etc. It doesn't really matter which one you choose.
Best supermarket: No idea. None of them are really that good – while down the road in Udvarhely they have just opened this ultra-modern large Spar, we’ve had to make do with the much more downmarket Penny Market. No great shakes I’m told. The Profi is the cheapest supermarket in town but it bothers me that they have a bouncer (it’s a supermarket for god’s sake, why do they need a bouncer? To stop customers fighting over the bog roll?). It’s also extremely un-pushchair-friendly. In fact it’s pretty much always chaotically overcrowded. The Madezit is probably the best of a bad lot.
Best Ice Cream: Nagymama has come in and swept aside the old favourite Marien Presso. Mind you, not everyone agrees and Bogi (an ice-cream obsessive) still prefers the latter. She’s wrong though. Some real Italian gelato would be nice mind you. I’m hoping the bloke from San Gennaro reads this, and gets the right idea.
Nicest Building: The Hungarian Consulate. The old run down building at the top end of Petőfi street always looked like it could be nice, and so it proved when it was bought and done up by the Hungarian government for their brand spanking new consulate.
Best nightclub (in the English sense of place to go dancing): I've no idea. There are only three - Flash Dance, Club Ami, and Club 76, and rumour has it that they're firmly aimed at the under 19 crowd. So I have never ventured into any of them, for fear of feeling like a dirty old man. Maybe someone who has been to any of these places could comment.
Next: The eagerly awaited "Best of Romania" awards.