Incredible Soup & Ribs at La Ceaun in Brasov
Autumn had just begun in Brasov, Romania, and the leaves were starting to turn. The hillside which brandished the Brasov sign was beginning to transform to speckles of golden yellow, orange and crimson. It was also windy and quite cold. I needed something to warm me up. Lucky for me, I was about to enjoy some incredible soup & ribs at La Ceaun in Brasov, Romania.
“Sweet and healthy soups and stews, cooked every morning, in large cauldrons, far from the bustle of the city” – La Ceaun menu
I wandered down a side street that could only be described as quaint. The beautiful architecture, mild pastels and flowers made it easy to see why so many remark that Transylvania is one of their favorite regions in Europe. I found the small door to La Ceaun and entered. First, I was hit with an intoxicating wave of rich sausages and herbs. A moment later I was also greeted with smiling faces from two ladies behind the counter.
Speaking little English, they gestured for me to sit at a large family style table in the center of the restaurant. It was about 2 p.m. and I was the only person there. Seeing the large cauldron near the window, I could see that their daily soups were nearly empty already. A good sign but my options might be limited, I thought.
Each day La Ceaun offers different soups with two meat and one vegetarian option. Soups range from 9 lei ($2.25) to 12 lei ($3). Their weekly menu is as follows:
- Vegetable soup with tomatoes
- Cabbage soup with smoked ribs
- Pork stew
- Tarragon potato soup
- Beef soup
- Steamed cabbage and sausages
- Bean soup
- Chicken soup with vegetables
- Vegetable soup with beef
- Creamy lentil soup
- Transylvanian potato soup
- Cabbage rolls, minced meat
- Pea stew
- Meatball soup
- Potato stew with smoked meat
- Creamy vegetable soup
- Tripe soup (A popular local favorite!)
- Chicken with paprika peppers and dumplings
- Pleurotus mushroom soup
- Sour soup with pork meat
- Bean stew with pork hocks
They also offer cheeses, meat pies, vegetarian pies, fresh bread and other small snacks. Everything is available to eat in the restaurant or you can order it to go.
One lady motioned around on the Romanian menu and showed me the exact match on the English menu. She pointed to let me know that it was Tuesday. Then she recommended the steamed cabbage and sausages. Though I’m not sure she pointed at this one because it was the best, or because it was the only one she had left. Regardless, it’s what I ordered.
The cabbage was made into a sort of stew with rich earth flavors of a meat stock, onions, vegetables and seasoning. I’m a huge fan of cabbage and this dish was memorable. The sausages were homemade and tasted of rich pork and herbs. They really know how to do sausages right in this part of the world.
Salt, paprika, oil, vinegar, bread and chili peppers for some heat were served on the side.
I couldn’t believe that this much homemade goodness was available for a mere $3. But that was the price when they handed over my bill. This was to be my first of several visits.
Later in my stay I returned for the vegetable soup with tomatoes. Slow cooked vegetables with a delectable balance of herbs and seasoning, this would make it easy to be a vegetarian for a while.
I also wanted to give the meat pies a try and went with the chicken option. The bread was flaky on the outside and soft in the middle. The chicken was flavorful and delicious. Pickles vegetables were served on the side. It was a challenge to finish everything but I managed. Another great and filling meal for only $4.50.
When mentioning La Ceaun to a friend at our hostel, he asked if I had eaten there for dinner. I hadn’t realized it during my first visit but they had two front doors. The one on the right was for the soup restaurant, which is only open for lunch until they run out of soup each day. The door on the left is open for their other restaurant, which has additional selections and is open for dinner as well.
My friend had just eaten there recently but was ready to return. That sounded good. He said the pork ribs were fantastic so when we went there later that evening, that’s what I ordered. They’re served with house potatoes and a creamy sauce made with some paprika for spice.
In my own personal experience, the phrase “fall off the bone” is overused and generally inaccurate when describing ribs on a menu. In this case, fall off the bone proved to be very true. Eating these pork ribs with your hands, they barely need to be chewed they’re so soft and tender. Perfectly seasoned and slow cooked for what I would guess is several hours, these ribs were better than most rib joints I’ve visited back in the U.S.
The potatoes and dipping sauce were also well prepared and packed with flavor.
At 23 lei ($5.85), this was the most expensive dish on the menu. An unbelievable meal for this price. Easily one of the best meals I enjoyed across Europe.
Str. M. Weiss nr. 27, Brasov
+40 733 727 990
Thinking back on my time in Brasov and the rest of Transylvania I remember the hospitality of its people, the beautiful castles and cities, and the warm and hearty food. La Ceaun is one of the places that introduced to me the local cuisine and hospitality. For that reason, I highly recommend giving it a try when you’re in Brasov. Regardless of the day or meal, I know you’ll enjoy whatever you try. Enjoy!
If you’re visiting Bucharest, check out some of the best street food I found.
Noroc! (Cheers in Romanian)
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