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middle classes. Apart from its large portions of food, it puts a real emphasis on attentive service. The last time I was there I had forgotten my glasses. The server noticed my problem right away and there turned out to be a whole collection of extra glasses. There is a nice garden open during the summer. Its website is almost an animated film which reveals the character of the place through amusing drawings and sounds. The birds on the trees drop what they sometimes do, and you can select music or simple garden noises or silence.

Restaurants Everyone can Afford, where we can spot ordinary Hungarians Some of the following restaurants can be very modest to the discerning eye of the independent traveller, which you certainly are if you have bought this book. Kerék III. Bécsi út 103., www.kerekvendeglo.hu, open daily noon to midnight. The name of this restaurant means “wheel” (i.e. the wheel of a cart, as a sign of simplicity). Kerék is a symbol of the traditional, convivial, neighbourhood restaurant, where hungry craftspeople are supposed to have dinners on weekdays, and where families go to have Sunday lunches between the river and the hills of Northern Buda. It is a nostalgic destination for connoisseurs who remember it from when it was a rare reliable oasis in the culinary desert of 1970s and early-1980s Budapest. The city has improved so much in terms of its restaurant offerings that it is sometimes dangerous to come here, to this place where time seems to have come to a standstill. It’s especially charming in the garden during the summer. Kisbojtár XIII. Dagály utca 17., www.kisbojtar.hu, open Monday to Saturday noon to 11 p.m. “Small Shepherd Boy” is a museum piece of a restaurant that preserves the genuine cosiness of the late 1950s and early 1060s. A small shepherd boy can be seen on an incredibly kitschy oil painting and on the iron railings and windows. There are several rooms, each with unforgettable design subtleties. It’s a camp experience proper (to use the term as it was elaborated by Susan Sontag). Food here is delicious and represents Hungarian home cooking traditions. The restaurant has been in the same hands since 1972.

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Tüköry söröző (Tüköry Beer Hall) V. Hold utca 15., www.tukory.hu, open Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to midnight (closed on all public holidays except August 20). In the centre of Lipótváros (Walk Two), this place can get almost unbearably hot during the summer, even on the enclosed terrace. Inside there are booths and a long central table. The place serves Hungarian Dreher draught beer. At noon it is full of clerks from the nearby banks, and later in the afternoon it is often still full. One has the feeling that customers here always talk business. The décor is unbelievably shabby and includes paper reproductions of modern Hungarian paintings glued to the wall. The food is plain Hungarian village cooking at its best.

SALAD BARS, with promising beginnings Falafel Faloda VI. Paulay Ede utca 53., corner of Nagymező utca A vegetarian salad bar, with falafel and crowded seating upstairs. Students of the nearby Conservatory like this place, sometimes professors as well, including one of the greatest cellists of our times. Napos oldal VI. Jókai utca 8., www.naposoldal.com The name means “sunny side” – and, indeed, it is situated on the sunnier side. It is possibly the most original health food shop and cafeteria in town, with nice music and delicious-smelling food. There are sandwiches and sweets, and no hurry! Sit down and eat, and pay after you have finished. Roosevelt Self-Service V. Roosevelt tér 7 – 8. This reasonably-priced self-service place is friendly and international in style. It is located near the riverfront with Lánchíd views. They will ask if you are paying with cash. Cash is 10 percent cheaper. But the other option is not credit, but food voucher. It serves healthy food for the very well-dressed crowd. Csirke Csibész VI. Nagymező utca 35., between Andrássy and Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Probably the best fried chicken in town, plus a limited choice of salads, can be had here. There is no seating, but the place seems to be a favourite eatery of motorcycle policeman. It is slowly developing into a chain, but the other branches are not so great.

2011.04.20. 15:50:07

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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...

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