Flip Flops—the shoes that you wear on the beach, in the shower, or everywhere in South East Asia. In Bucharest, it’s the name of a chic restaurant. This modern, colourful establishment is run by a brother and sister duo, the Papuc family. Rosie Fay met the founder Ruxandra and her brother, the head chef, where they whipped up a hearty lunch on a cool afternoon.
Flip Flops’ space is inspired by the many beachside locations the family has visited over the years, with colourful artwork dotted inside and outside the restaurant. The inside space is a converted house, with two floors and niche collectibles on the shelves. On our visit, Ruxandra had organised a DJ friend to play some disco tunes, whilst I explored the vinyl record players, mismatched seating and funky decorative pieces.
The name ‘Bistroteca’ is a hybrid of Bistro and Discotheque. The name ‘Flip Flop’ – a direct translation of the family surname Papuc. The brother and sister duo are known around Bucharest for the wild parties they have held at the restaurant over the two years they have been opened. In Summer, Ruxandra recalls, they could have up to 300 people sprawled across the venue, with the music playing until the early morning.
Despite its party vibe, we felt extremely relaxed sitting in the courtyard. The sun streamed into the outdoor dining area. The place felt like summer. Kicking back in our chairs, and enjoying ice-cold local beers, we felt like we were on vacation. The Theme Park menu came out at once, with three mini sliders, a large hot-dog, two sets of fries, and a pizza to share.
Our burgers were served hot and fresh, wolfed down in a few bites. The pizza, made with handmade dough, sliced garden-fresh mushrooms and honey-roasted ham scattered across. The hot-dog, very similar to carnival-style, with American cheese and jalapenos for a spicy kick. Ultimately, the menu is not overly special or unique, but that was the beauty of it. Flip Flop doesn’t mess around with fancy ingredients or a long wait time. Its sole aim is to please a crowd. The menu is diverse in both vegetarian and meat options and even includes an all-day brunch.
As the sun set on a perfect Friday, the venue began to fill up with the afternoon crowd. Ruxandra, despite the covid restrictions, consistently holds events for her local community. This night was ‘Coney Island Happy Hour’, where every large pizza on the menu was less than €4. We passed on ordering more food, instead requesting the most popular cocktail the ‘FlipFlop’, essentially, a Long Island Iced Tea.
As we bundled out of the bustling courtyard, we said goodbye to the staff that had made us feel so welcome in our afternoon. The family duo, plus the bartender & waiter were knocking back ciders and laughing with their regulars. On the way home, I received an invitation to come back for one of their monthly events, which I graciously accepted. I waited in anticipation and RSVP’d to Flip Flops’ market Sunday, their Women’s Day dinner and their ‘Strong Mimosa’ brunch.
Flip Flop is the place to be in Bucharest with a group. Head here any weekend and be greeted with friendly staff, bopping tunes and no excuse to leave. It's a great crowd-pleaser and a must-visit, to experience Eastern European hospitality at its finest.