Stores in Romania

Because all Romanian cities (including Bucharest) are heavily pedestrian, you’re going to do a lot of walking around and see a wide variety of stores and shops. Some are self-explanatory (computer stores always say “computer”, for instance) but others are not.

In alphabetical order:

Amanet – A pawnshop. Trades a lot more in gold and silver than electronic items and the like. If you don’t speak Romanian and aren’t desperate, don’t go in these!

Anticariat – Meaning the sale of used books, many of which look far older than that really are due to Communist-era (poor) printing techniques.

Anvelope – Automobile tires (tyres).

Apicultura – Honey and other bee products.

Autogara – The inter-city bus station for a given city. Not all inter-city buses stop here though.

Bar de Zi – A really crappy, seedy establishment that sells beer and alcohol (and coffee) and has nothing in the way of entertainment (besides maybe a TV overhead). While not dangerous, these places are dingy and only recommended for the alcoholic on a very, very tight budget.

Benzinerie – A gas/petrol station, often with an attached mini-mart.

Biblioteca – A library.

Bistro – I’ve been seeing the use of this word cropping up a lot as of late but it doesn’t mean anything. It just sounds fancy.

Brutarie – Bakery, often selling literally nothing but bread. Most bakeries sell both sliced (feliata) and unsliced (nefeliata) bread.

Cabinet – This means a medical office of some kind, usually small.

Cabinet Stomotologic – Hilariously this has nothing to do with stomachs but instead refers to dentistry. The person is a dentist but the business is called a cabinet stomotologic.

Cafe – See Cafenea below. Occasionally though “Cafe” doesn’t mean anything at all, it’s just a name people use for their place to sound cool.

Cafenea – Sometimes “stylishly” shortened to Cafe, this is a place whose main focus is on coffee. Sometimes there are a few food items. Tea is usually of the green/fruit variety.

Cafeteria – Usually (but not always) a place that sells a lot of pastries, fancy cakes, other desserts and coffee. Almost always has places to sit down and a large, illuminated display case so you can point at the sweeties you want.

Carne si Produse de Carne – Meat and meat products.

Ceanarie – A tea shop.

Coafoara – Women’s hair styling/cutting salon.

Cofetaria – This is essentially the same as a Cafeteria in most cases.

Covrigerie – A small place selling pretzels for not much money.

Farmacie – Pharmacy/chemist. Note, in every large town the law mandates a Non-Stop aka 24 hour pharmacy. If you’re coming from the United States, medicines are insanely cheap. This is where you also can get anything related to babies.

Fast Food – In Romanian it’s a noun, “a fast food” and almost always refers to walk-up service to a window where a variety of, you guessed it, fast food is sold. Occasionally there are chairs and tables in the interior for customers.

Fornetti – A Hungarian company with an Italian name. This is the nation’s largest Patiserie chain selling a wide variety of pastries with different fillings, from salty cheese to sweet cherries or chocolate. I’ve never met a foreigner in my entire life who didn’t find these incredibly tasty (and affordable).

Frizerie – This is the equivalent of a men’s barbershop although occasionally they are unisex.

Fructe si Legume – A stall/store selling fruits and vegetables.

Gara – Train station.

Hypermarket – If you’re American, think “Wal-Mart.” If you’re British, think “Asda” or “Tesco”. If you’re Mexican think of “Gigante”. If you’re French, think “Carrefour”. A large retail store that also has a complete grocery store inside as well.

Incaltaminte – A shoe store. The actual shoes are called pantofi though, confusingly enough.

Lactate – Milk and other dairy products from ice cream to yoghurt, cheese and sour cream.

Langoserie – A place selling fried, semi-crunchy slices of dough with various toppings, primarily sour cream and cheese. Virtually identical with a Placinterie.

Librarie – A store selling new books, quite often with some in English and other foreign languages.

Magazin Alimentar – Refers to a corner store (occasionally bigger) where food items are sold, usually including both some fresh and the rest pre-packaged goods, including beer, liquor and cigarettes. The smaller the store, the higher the likelihood that a worker is going to be behind the counter and you have to name every item you want to buy and then she goes and fetches it for you. Be prepared to point if you don’t speak Romanian!

Magazin Mixt – Technically different than a Magazin Alimentar, they’re virtually identical.

Mezeluri – This means “sausages” and is often sold alongside other cuts and preparations of meat. If you see the word Branzeluri as well, this means cheeses are sold.

Mobila – Furniture.

Muraturi – Pickles and other pickled vegetables.

Nature/Natura – Sells a wide variety of herbs, “alternative” medicines and natural teas to cure or alleviate a wide selection of ailments. Also a place to get bio products (USA English: “organic”).

Nightclub – This always, always, always refers to a strip club, titty bar, gentleman’s club or whatever other term you know it as.

Non-Stop – Hilariously this does not always mean 24 hours a day. Just sometimes :P Almost all stores named “non-stop” are like an all/late night Magazin Mixt.

Paperie – Stationary store.

Patiserie – Selling a wide variety of baked goods, mostly pastries either with a sweet filling or else something else (cheese, cabbage, etc).

Placinterie – Usually identical (or nearly so) with a Langoserie.

Popas – Literally a “rest stop” and only found alongside the inter-city roads, it’s a place to pull over, use the bathroom and get some snacks. It usually also has a restaurant with hot food.

Schimb Valutar – A place to exchange money, mostly just Shengen zone currencies, US Dollar and Japanese Yen.

Second Hand – Practically always refers to second-hand clothes unless otherwise specified. When someone donates clothes to a charity (Oxfam, Goodwill, etc) in another country, the charity sells off the clothes (by weight) to dealers who then turn around and sell them in Romania. You can get some incredible deals if you don’t mind pawing through mountains of clothes (and shoes, belts, etc).

Solar – A tanning salon.

Spital – Just hospital. It sometimes goes along with the international “H” sign, making it H – spital :P

A few ones that are easy to understand:

Aeroport (Airport)
Banca (Bank)
Posta (Post Office)


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Am cautat si eu frizerie bucuresti sector 1 si am dat de site-ul asta.
    Imi place ce ai scris si as vrea sa adaug si eu cateva cuvinte.

    Personal am fost la Jovial din Strada Sfânta Vineri, 25,
    București. care au telefon: 0748 149 599 si i-am gasit, cautand evident cosmetica
    bucuresti sector 6
    Vreau sa spun ca am fost multumita si ca merita sa bati drumul pana in centru.
    Am vazut ca au activitate si pe facebook
    si au si un site misto.
    Pare sau nu a reclama, eu personal am fost super incantata si vreau sa ofer si altora posibilitatea de a alege.
    Incercati si postati si voi parerea voastra despre ei.


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  4. Mircea Laslo says:

    Humble salutations, Your Majesty,

    Placing myself in the risky position of being beheaded, I wish to signal a few mistakes, hopefully in order to help the foreign readers of your exquisite blog.

    The word for ladies’ hair salons is Coafura.
    Also, the word for office supplies, stationery and the like is Papetarie, with the added “ta”.
    They usually also sell cheese in Mezeluri shops, which they sometimes signal by writing Branzeturi next to it.
    Depending on the region, Farmacie might also be called Drogherie (I’ve noticed this in some southern areas of Romania, although in most large cities the word you used is the norm, drogherie being an older word).

    As a Romanian, I find your blog fascinating, honestly. It’s very accurate, very funny, full of astute observations and quite useful tips, oddly enough, not only for foreigners.

    Much respect from
    Mircea Laslo


  5. Elizabeth says:

    Hey there mr. more-romanian-than me :)
    I’ve just poped into your blog, and since then i just can’t stop laughing! haha!
    Did you really move to Romania? and why so? :)


    1. Elizabeth says:

      oh! my mistake! Mr. or miss! sorry.


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