Be sure to make a reservation at this intimate bistro near St. Stephen’s Basilica. The local favorite, which features a small dining room with a vaulted ceiling, faded peach-pink walls and wrought iron tables, fills up fast, especially during lunch (many diners come from the nearby Parliament). The Hungarian-international menu runs the gamut from salads and omelets to heartier fare like beef tenderloin goulash and roast goose liver served with roasted apples. There’s also a long list of daily specials and calorie-rich desserts, like the traditional gulácsi, a messy, delicious crêpe-like treat that’s stuffed with plum jam and served whipped cream and poppy seeds. It’s an amiable atmosphere, with a nice mix of locals and visitors, and the food is consistently good. Café Kör does not accept credit cards. Closed Sunday.
Omorovicza owner Margaret de Heinrich says: “My husband and I go to Café Kör at least once a week; they have the best Hungarian food in the city and a wonderful staff. But you must book ahead—it is nearly impossible to get a table, as there are so many locals.”
Margaret de Heinrich, a co-owner of Omorovicza spa, recommends this traditional restaurant on the Buda side of the Danube, near the Kiraly Baths: “Kacsa means ‘duck’ in Hungarian, and as the name would suggest, they have the best in town. There’s also great music.” Open daily.
Kisbuda Gyöngye, which means “pearl of little Buda,” is located on the Buda side of the Danube, near the Imre Varga Collection. It’s recommended by Margaret de Heinrich, who says, “This place is small and intimate. Try to sit in the room with the piano, and order the truffle-caviar potato croquettes when they are on the seasonal menu.” Closed Sunday.
Múzeum Café & Restaurant
For authentic Hungarian food, Eleni Korani, of the city’s acclaimed Ernst Galéria, recommends this local favorite, which is near the Hungarian National Museum. Meals are served in a dining room with a gorgeous frescoed ceiling. “It’s consistently good food in a nice, old-world ambiance,” says Korani. Closed Sunday.
Several locals, like Indagare Insider Gioia Zwack, recommend this venerable restaurant, on an unassuming street near Keleti Palyaudvar train station, for its hearty, traditional Jewish-Hungarian fare. Closed Sunday.