Here I am again with yet another gem from my hometown, from Iasi. Probably you might think Iasi is not worthy to be checked out but I beg to differ! There are many museums and coffee shops and parks to be discovered. It is true that you could probably do a tour of the city in one day but I think it's wiser to select a full weekend to take your time and enjoy things. Spring is a perfect time to wrap yourself softly and enjoy the first rays of the warm sun in the park. You could enjoy visiting the Palace of Culture (Palatul Culturii) - the full ticket for the 4 main exhibitions is 40 RON. You could also check out the Clock Tower and then have a stroll in the Palas Mall. Now... inside Palas there are a lot of coffee shops (including the well known Starbucks) but I think you should give chance to a local coffee shop really close by.
Where: Right next to Palas Mall, on the Sf. Lazar Street. If you are inside Palas Mall get to the floor where there is Librarium (great bookstore by the way!) and KFC. Take the KFC exit out and walk straight. To the left, as you cross the small street, you will spot a couple of cute wooden benches with moustaches on their board and with a traditional cover. You are at the right spot! Welcome to "Cafeneaua Noastra" (Our Coffee Shop). You can have the coffee to go, quick, by ordering at the window or you could come inside and enjoy a lovely, friendly atmosphere while you sip on your addiction ;)
Why: "Cafeneaua Noastra" is a very friendly place and you fall in love with it as soon as you cross it's step. It's a small little place that strives to be homely to everyone that comes. There is free and stable WiFi (ask for the password), there is a shelf with games and books, there is good coffee and tasty sweets and a general artistic vibe about the place. The coffee shop owners take good care of the marketing part of the business and they host games and they do contests where you can win fidelity cards for free coffee. The people who work there have a positive can do attitude and make you feel very warmly welcomed.
What to have: I had a mint lemonade and a sour cherry muffin that totally blew my mind! The muffin was the best I have ate for years!!! It was fresh, soft, held itself together wonderfully and had plenty of really good sour cherries inside. The sour cherries were not sweetened and they were whole not halves. Each bite had a sour cherry to offer. I think each muffin had about 8 or more inside! The lemonade is done without sugar or honey - the best option, if you ask me! And it was very sour, just as I like it. But if you can't handle it, you can have some sugar or honey ;) for the coffee lovers I have to say that they are very artful in the decorations, as I could see on my friends order, and the combination of cappucino + muffin (chocolate or sour cherry) costs only 10 RON (less than 3 euros!). It's a bargain! An offer you can't refuse! The mint lemonade is only 7 RON - 330 ml. The tough ones can try the ginger option ;)
The downside: The toilet - to my defense I have not yet personally checked it, but from my friends saying it is quite small and awkward. The Romanian laws concerning coffee shops and small business places like this one, obliges the owner to have at least 2 places in the bathroom - a loo for the ladies and one for the lads. The alcohol - now I don't see this as a issue, considering we are talking about a coffee shop here! But some may complain there is absolutely no alcohol on the menu. But! There is mulled wine during winter ;) The space - one would wish this place would be bigger, yet on the bright side it's so cozy and homely and nice! :) plus, they promote handmade products and they sell Ukrainian candies! On nom nom! I say you should pay them a visit as soon as possible! ;)
Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves To Discover New Places When Traveling In Her Hometown