I expected paprika to be featured in every dish while we were in Hungary. It certainly was popular, but Hungarian cuisine, at least in Budapest, extends past paprika. Although I did read that while you can find almost every type of cuisine in Budapest, good Hungarian restaurants are few and far between. Budapest seemed to have lots of restaurants that have a Hungarian flair without only serving traditional dishes. One of our favorites was M Restaurant, a little bistro with a small but varied menu. The walls are covered with brown paper with drawings of the inside of a house. We both had a tasty spiced chicken. Very creamy and rich, but delicious.
Then there was Menza, located on a busy street lined with restaurants. Once you go inside, Menza stands out due to its stylish retro décor and its way of making ordinary dishes seem fancier.
We tried the ubiquitous goulash there (served in the form of a soup) and a spicy beef stew like dish – both very tasty and flavorful.
We ate at the Hummus Bar, which serves giant Israeli pitas (which, obviously, was not Hungarian). We also liked Klassz, a slightly more upscale but unpretentious restaurant with an extensive wine list on Andrassy Boulevard.
And, I would be remiss not to mention my favorite ice cream place. The people in Budapest must love ice cream, because you could find it on almost every street. I was partial to the place down the street from us. I’m not sure of its name, so a lot of good it does anyone who visits Budapest, but it deserves a mention considering I ate ice cream there 5 out of the 6 nights we were in Budapest. It was slightly embarrassing to go in there night after night, but when the ice cream is good, you do what you have to do.
As you probably guessed by now, all of these except the Hummus Bar and the ice cream place were spotted by Budapest locals. (Sidenote: serious foodies might also want to check out chew.hu for in-depth coverage of the Budapest food scene).
One treat we were not fond of are the Hungarian langos. I had heard rave reviews about langos, which are savory fried doughnut like things. The basic langos appears to be topped with garlic. We tried one with garlic and cheese on top.
The first couple of bites were tasty, but the grease quickly overpowers anything else and you wish you hadn’t eaten as much as you did.