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Sep 2, 2009 03:36 PM

Budapest recommendation authentic hungarian food

We'll be in Budapest for 3 nights.
I'm looking for recommendations for authentic hungarian food --I don't mind if it's a hole in the wall or quite the opposite - I want to stay away from 1) places that are full of tourists and tourist fare food 2)overpriced and catering just for the western tourists.

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  1. The places where I had really great dinners in Budapest were Aranyszarvas (specializing in game, somewhat somber atmosphere), Cafe Pierrot (cozy and elegant atmosphere, delicious food) and Gundel (expensive but much less than you would spend in a major western Europan city, therefore a good value).

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    1. re: rrems

      Thank you for your recommendations and descriptions. We'll check them out.

    2. You are looking for Cafe Bouchon, Castro Bistro, Borbirosag, Rosenstein, Muzeum Kavehaz (last is touristy and pricey for Budapest but excellent traditional menu in a restored setting and gracious service). Locals think that Csalogany 26 (at that address) is among the 2 or 3 best and not touristy at all, but not traditional either. In fact, to some extent your request cuts in opposite directions, three of them:

      First, Hungarians tend not to go out to eat at Hungarian-cuisine restaurants when they go out.

      Second, modern Hungarian cooking does not have an unbroken tie to its traditional roots - a 60 year chasm of socialist and kitchens and wartime deprivation amounts to the fact that three generations of professional cook stand between the current kitchens and the food my grandparents ate. There is no serious living culinary tradition to tap into.

      Third, there are some places that are seriously trying to recapture that tradition, but they tend to draw a disproportionate number of tourists. (largely because of reason #1)

      Gundel is good food, pricey by comparison, and potentially worth visiting but not for culinary reasons. It has a glorious tradition, is part of the city's cultural history, and has been lovingly restored. But these may not fit your requirements. Next door, Bagolyvar is among the places trying to restore the traditions, but it's almost all tourists. Very good food.

      Consider Trofeagrill ... not the highest end of the food chain, but where hungarians go to celebrate ... an all-you-can-eat buffet of better than tolerable hungarian dishes (100 of them) some really excellent.

      The stand-up counters on the mezzanine on the Central Market are also worth a visit.

      check: <>

      1 Reply
      1. re: farago

        Thanks for your detailed explanations. I understand I might have asked for the impossible. I've heard about Csalagany 26 and will definitely check it out. All of your information will help us decide where to dine. No doubt we'll be well informed and well fed.

      2. I just posted a long report of our central Europe trip - we spent a few days in Budapest and definitely have some recommendations:

        So much great food in Budapest! Enjoy!!

        1. VERY GOOD AND CHEAP: One of my favourite little pubs is Szlovák Söröző (Slovakian and Hungarian cuisine although they don't have that many Slovakian dishes) Excellent food, cheap prices and NO tourists.. They've got a lovely Goulash, beansoup and their speciality is Sztrapacska (must try) and beautifully grilled meats. I was never disappointed here! -> Szlovák Söröző 1055 Budapest, Bihari János utca 17 Slovak Phone: 269-3108 Open: Mon.-Thurs., 11-01; Fri.-Sat., 11-02; Sun., 11-24 Transport: M3, Nyugati Pályaudvar