Page 156

306

Eating well and not too much

Eating well and not too much

307

MEET THE RULING ELITE, in their natural habitat

THREE RESTAURANTS WITH HUNGARIAN FOOD at its best

Kárpátia V. Ferenciek tere 7 – 8., www.karpatia.hu, open daily 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Kárpátia is a high-quality traditional Hungarian establishment, (with a fitting clientele) which has been open continuously since 1877. It regained its former prestige when the restaurateur Ákos Niklai managed to buy it and re-introduce high standards to the place, ones that he learned from acting as a luxury hotel director. The interior looks as if it could have been one of the fancy halls of a medieval castle in the times of the legendary king Matthias. It is an especially appropriate place to impress relatives from the provinces. There is a separate pub, a main dining room, four private rooms and a terrace.

Bagolyvár (Owl Castle) XIV. Állatkerti körút 3., www.gundel.hu, open daily noon to midnight. After Gundel opened, the adjacent building was left empty for a year and was then turned into a restaurant devoted to the theme of “grandma’s home cooking”. It is an all-female operation, with a limited menu that changes daily and specials written on a blackboard. The place is decorated with tables and chairs of various styles. It has some of the most beautiful waitresses in town (with some of the nicest, non-sexy smiles) who flaunt the proverbial dignity of the Hungarian peasant girl. It’s an equally nice place for a business dinner or a Sunday lunch with the kids. Lions roaring can often be heard in the restaurant, and during the summer, families with children tend to gravitate towards the zoo after their meal. Guests of Bagolyvár are invited for free tours of the zoo (perhaps the restaurant gives its leftovers to the lions in return). Reservation are advisable.

Remíz II. Budakeszi út 5., www.remiz.hu, open daily 9 a.m. to midnight. This place’s old-fashioned name refers to the big tram depot that sits 200 metres from the door. Another visible landmark is the front of a yellow interwar tram made of brick. You’ll find pretty much everybody here from the inner-Buda new middle-class to artists, and business people to junior diplomats from nearby embassies. It’s not a very touristy place, and it has a nice garden with a playful fountain featuring the “self-portrait of the artist as an acrobat” (designed by Vladimir Péter, blacksmith and professor at the nearby Academy of Applied Arts). Parking is difficult, and booking is essential. Biarritz Restaurant and Café V. Kossuth Lajos tér 18., www.biarritz.hu, open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. This small, cosy neighbourhood establishment is located on the only residential block on this part of the riverfront. Members of Parliament are often seen here. The original restaurant with the same name was opened here in 1938, though it was much bigger and probably less friendly.

Kéhli vendéglő (Mrs. Kéhli’s Place) III. Mókus utca 22., www.kehli.hu, open daily noon to midnight. Kéhli is perhaps the only more or less genuine place left of the many that were once patronized by the gourmet writer, Gyula Krúdy. There is a plaque here commemorating his table, and his spirit is everywhere from the menu and the décor to the witty inscriptions on the walls. Kéhli used to be much smaller, dirtier and cheaper. To incorporate the cobble-stoned gate area was a good idea, to flaunt the Gösser beer signs was not. The menu is a delight in itself. To re-live the famous scene in the film Szindbád order “forró fazék velőscsonttal” (hot pot with marrow bone), which is served in the type of cosy red pot used by impoverished old ladies. Other favourites (which the menu fully explains) are: “Szindbád margitszigeti Étke” (What Szindbád liked to eat on Margaret Island) and “Fidó Apó magyar­kúti medvetalpa” (The Bear Sole of Uncle Fidó). There is live accordion music as well as miscellaneous music from a cheap stereo, which is a less than perfect sight here. Náncsi néni II. Ördögárok út 80., www.nancsineni.hu, open daily noon to 11 p.m. This restaurant was one of the early birds in the culinary revolution of the 1980s. It was established in 1980, quite far out in the Buda hills, and the name refers to an idiom that expresses incredulity (something like “tell it to the marines”). It is one of the most popular summer dinner retreats for Budapest’s traditional

PARK_Budapest_belivek_v065.indd 306-307

2011.04.20. 15:50:07

Profile for Andras Török

András Török's Budapest: A Critical Guide  

The Celebrated Insider's Guide, upgraded many times, probably the deepest and funnieast and truest portrait of any major European city. With...

András Török's Budapest: A Critical Guide  

The Celebrated Insider's Guide, upgraded many times, probably the deepest and funnieast and truest portrait of any major European city. With...

Profile for andraas
Advertisement