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If you just want to wander around looking for a restaurant, head for Str. Episcopiei, where the streets are lined with cafes and restaurants, including the charming Bistro Atheneu. A short stroll from here is Byblos, Nicolae Golescu 14-16 (tel. 021/313-2091; www.byblos.uv.ro), a smart place to grab a drink and light lunch, like pizza, panini, bruschetta, and salad (including the delectable Byblos Salad -- spinach leaves, pine-nut kernels, and Parmesan in a garlicky olive-oil dressing); at night Byblos is one of the city's more reliably classy dining venues, with reliably priced Italian fare.

A Primer for Wine Lovers -- Romania's best winegrowing regions are Dogrogea and Oltenia, a part of Wallachia. A good everyday red is Feteasca Neagra, from the Banat's Val Duna region; similar to shiraz, it has the taste of dry, spicy plums. The La Cetate merlot is a reliable variety from Oltenia region; there's a hint of honey on the palate, accompanied by a lively, ripe tartness. But, if you really want to impress your sommelier, ask for a bottle of Romania's very best red, a cabernet sauvignon called La Catate Tezaur (or "treasure"); it's remarkably light despite being a big, robust, full-bodied wine. The 2002 is an exceptional vintage.

Expensive -- For upmarket Romanian fare, many locals with fat wallets (not to mention the grinning concierge at the ultrapricey Hilton) swear by Locanta Jaristea, Calea George Georgescu 52 (tel. 021/335-3338), a fine option if you're looking to splurge in the vicinity of the Parliamentary Palace. You'll dine in wonderfully decorous, traditional surroundings, with the knowledge that a meal here is accompanied by the sharpest service.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.