Posts Tagged ‘Central Market’

Palinka at Cafe Panoramia, Buda, Budapest, Hungary

There are lots of foods I love to eat, but even my favorites get boring if I eat it multiple days in a row. So having just come back from Russia (the land of smoked fish, hot soups and hearty stews), I was a little reluctant to dive right into the Budapest food scene, thinking it’d be more of the same. In fact, I was gearing myself up to eat just a lot of non-eastern-European food while we were in Budapest, but after talking to a friend of a friend from Budapest and reading both this NYT “36 Hours in Budapest” article and this excellent Budapest food blog (check especially its “Top 33” list), I saw it’d be wrong to go to Budapest and not eat Hungarian food.

While in Budapest, we ate at Cafe Kor, Bagolyvar, Noir et L’Or, Ristorante Krizia, and Restaurant Hanna. Most of our food was pretty good, and all our meals were reasonably priced, even if you thought in dollar terms.

Decor came in all shapes and sizes: from old-fashioned wood paneling like that of Bagolyvar to the airy modern bistro style of Cafe Kor to the sleek and chic of Noir et L’Or. Our best meals (Cafe Kor, Bagolyvar) were simple and traditional with few culinary fireworks, and our worst meal (Noir et L’Or) was when things got too ambitious and “international.”

One thing I’d urge you to do before you arrive in Budapest is to make dinner reservations! On Saturday afternoon, we called five or six places culled from the “Top 33” and the New York Times article, hoping to get a Saturday evening reservation, but hearing repeatedly that everything was full.

Cafe Kor Budapest

Cafe Kor was my favorite meal in Budapest. On a mild, sunny day, all the cafe doors open out onto sidewalk seating, and despite how often Cafe Kor is described in guidebooks and travel articles, there’s still a good mix of diners there (at least, that was the case at lunchtime). Two tables near ours seated men in suits speaking in Hungarian, and there were a few old ladies there dining with other old ladies. I liked that the restaurant was busy but not overly loud.

Food included simple, international dishes like asparagus with hollandaise (delish, by the way) as well as classic Hungarian dishes (e.g., goose crackling, goulash, veal paprika stew). The low point was the goose crackling, which tasted like stale fat. It wasn’t very crispy or goose-tasting. But the goose crackling was outweighed by the generally well-executed dishes, including my veal paprika stew, served with a chewy-but-light potato dumpling that was pretty much a cross between gnocchi and spaetzel. (more…)

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