Archive for the ‘Cluj’ Category

Uber in Cluj

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

Last year, in the midst of the biggest festival of Cluj, Uber thought it would be a good idea to start its services here, too. Naturally, the demand was a lot higher than the local drivers could support, so Uber supplemented its drivers from other cities of Romania. Despite the small scandals that arose between local taxi companies and Uber, the initiative cought on and soon I also decided to try it out.

My first rides were small disasters, but I decided to overlook the fact, that the first few drivers had no idea where I was and went to completely different quarters to pick me up, after all, they were newbie drivers. It is true, that I never had such an issue with a local taxi driver, it did happen though, that Uber had a car to pick me up, while NONE of the local taxi companies could get me a car in a reasonable time. So, related to the ease of finding a ride, the local taxi companies do not have a clear advantage: after the first few hard pickups, the Uber drivers got the hang of it and could eventually pick me up in time regularly 😉 .

So what about price? Well, normally it is a bit more expensive than a taxi. There are, however, many promo codes, which reduced the price quite significantly… There is also, a minimum price you have to pay, no matter what. I’d say depending on where you want to go Uber can become much more expensive than a taxi.

So, why would I pay more for Uber? Well, for starters, I do not pay the driver (i.e. no cash involved), Uber simply charges my registered credit card, depending on the ride, the promo code or sometimes, the weather :). HUGE advantage for Uber, welcome to the 21st century, local taxi companies 😉 . Another reason why I’d pay more for Uber: the ride quality. On average it is miles better than a local taxi. I also found out why: Uber drivers do it for fun, taxi drivers do it cause they have to… imagine the difference in attitude.

Unfortunately, a couple of months ago the local authorities decided to interpret the law in a way which brough Cluj back to the 20th century: Uber is banned in the city. I mean, if there is something old and not working, why would we even try to change it? Really disappointed… this is not the city attitude I got used to in my 13.5 years living here… at least it should have been a wake-up call to taxi companies: it is possible to do MUCH better!


The (M)eating Point

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

I have been meaning to write about this restaurant we went to in mid December, but I got lost a bit among all the stuff I had to do, so I did not really have the time to write about it. So, better late than never, I would lke to present to you Bricks, the hidden restaurant.
Bircks Restaurant

Image taken from restaurant’s website

Due to its location and maybe due to the previous bar that was in its place, Bricks is not a well known restaurant in Cluj. It is also relatively new, so people did not really have the chance to get to know it. II think it is something that needs to be remedied 🙂 . The place deserves a bit more popularity. I like it’s style, it’s furniture and the general atmosphere that immediately gets you, once you go down the stairs and enter the restaurant.

Menu at bricksTo move matters into a more objective light, I’d like to write firstly about the food. The food is… well, I would say special. You do not really find anything here, that you eat in other restaurants. There at lots of varieties to choose from, like Italian food, Chinese food, French food and special sea food (I guess that is the reason the place was given the sub-name:”(M)eating point”). From this huge variety it was quite difficult to choose from, but in the end I settled for pork meat with ratatouille and my girlfriend ate chicken with green pea pure. Both were strange, but great combinations and the way that they were presented were also quite stylish.

menu at bricksNext, I will move the focus to the table. There were no table-cloths at all on the tables, which is something that you would expect from a high-class restaurant. Instead, the actual table-cloth was a piece of stylish A3 paper, containing the menu, which is usually an indication of a low-cost restaurant (although I’d rather have a piece of paper that is constantly being replaced than an old sheet that sometimes gets washed). In this case, however, the stylish menu had a special designation: the great big question mark at the “Desert” section. Well, we could not leave with this big question open, so we decided to also have desert and asked the waitress how we could find out what the desert was. She told us she’d be right back with the menu. Why the menu? – we though – we have already seen that and there was no desert in it… Well, we were in for a big surprise, when instead of a menu, she brought a huge stamper and just stamped the missing piece of the menu there 🙂 .

Menu at bricksHaving the desert options in front of us, my girlfriend decided to buy a cheesecake, while I went for the Bricks Special, and boy I made the right decision :). It was delicious. It had all sorts of flavours in it, ranging from orange to cinnamon which I think are best tasted than described.

In conclusion, I can say the restaurant is great. The way you get treated for the money you give is well balanced. It is perfect to get out for a little bit of “fine-dining” for not too much money.


Saved by the Cheesecake

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

In the past year we have developed a habit of somehow winding up at Marty, a local restaurant-chain just to enjoy a cheesecake. While the overall satisfaction of the services is not the best, the meal at Marty is quite acceptable and I like the overall theme and atmosphere of the restaurant.

Images taken from Marty’s website

Lately a new restaurant has been opened at Polus Center further enlarging the chain. It so happened, that yesterday we forgot to buy something from the supermarket and we decided to fill this gap by some quick-shopping and a visit to the new Marty restaurant called “Marty West” (referring to the fact that it is in the western part of the city).

The atmosphere is again, very Marty-like, the menus are colorful and appealing. I can just congratulate their designer and general “stylist”: the place looks great. I would like to comment, however, on the impression left by the waiters. There are lots of them buzzing around trying to serve everyone and they genuinely look busy and ready to serve. The problem is when they actually serve you. It is not the fact, that they have bad service or the food was brought late or anything usual one might not like. I think there’s just a general lack of organization and devotion from the individual waiters. This would be OK, if it happens only once, but the truth is that this is the general feeling I get, whenever I get to Marty and that is not OK… They should at least try to sell that they are devoted. A smile, a bit more attention would help a lot 😉 .

There is, however, a real business-saver at Marty: their cheesecake. And not just any cheesecake, the original cheesecake. It’s delicious. It is not just me, it is everyone I talk to 😉 . It is a bit pricy 13 RON (€3.00) compared to other local prices, but it’s taste and the stylish way it is served is worth it. Once in a month or two it is a must 😀 . So, if I got your mouth watering already, and you haven’t been to Marty lately, my advice is: get to the nearest Marty restaurant, order a cheesecake, try to ignore the incompetence of the staff and just enjoy the cheesecake 🙂 .


RC Drifting

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Last weekend we found out what the big fuss was in the food court of Polus Center in Cluj:


Swing a la Cluj

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

After following with great interest the evolution of the repairing process of the tram-tracks in the city, culminating at the point when the two brand new PESA Swing trams have arrived to Cluj, I did not find the time for about two months (or more… ) to actually get on the tram. On one occasion we were there, we were ready, but on the exact day the two new trams (of the total of twelve in the future) were not in traffic. It was actually a good day to make a short movie about the reference (old) trams:

Because since yesterday we were on holiday, we finally managed to dedicate some time for the “tram-hunt” (again). This time, we were lucky, the first tram which came to the station after we got there, was one of the new ones:

I have to say I was quite impressed: the vehicle is nice and shiny (let’s see for how long), everything was moving smoothly (including the actual tram on the tracks) and in contrast with the very hot day outside, a nice AC temperature was waiting for us inside.

Two things were a bit (just a bit) annoying. The first one is the ticket-validation device, which is one of the new “buzzers” into which one just needs to stick in the ticket and it will “buzz it” (imprint the date and hour). Well, as we are used to from the buses, it does not work that easily: you have to stick it in just right ( 😛 ) to make sure it recognizes it. After a few trials we managed to actually validate the ticket ;).
The second thing which was annoying was the fact that, at the time when we were traveling, the on-board WiFi (“tram_primaria_cluj”) was alive, I could connect, but there was no internet access… a bit of a shame after so much promotion of the feature 🙁 .

Apart from the above two issues, I have to say I did not see any problems. We had a nice ride enjoying all features (except the WiFi) of the tram. We even met a control who came to check if everyone had a valid ticket: