Lest you think we have stopped eating or I have stopped obsessing about food, here are summary comments about some recent restaurant visits:
Trófea Grill Éttermek is a chain of fixed price buffets around Budapest. Our rental agents – Susi, Gabor, and their son David – took us to one near us last week. For 4,500 ft give or take, depending on whether lunch or dinner or weekend, they offer all you can eat and drink (wine and champagne) from a extensive array of traditional but upscale appetizers, soups, main courses, and desserts. A good place to sample many different Hungarian dishes.
Toscana Trattoria (Belgrad Rakpart 13) is usually rated among the best Italian restaurants in Budapest. We had eaten there a couple of times when we were here in 2006 and we liked it then and like in now. We took friends there last Thursday for an early dinner and even though it was early I was glad we had reservations since the place was packed by 7:00pm. The food is good and the wine list – both Hungarian and Italian – was extensive. They also have an enoteca next door. Service was good and the new Italian chef highly visible making the rounds of table. BUT this is among a number of restaurants that price against a euro standard so no bargain, and as a general rule, any restaurant that sets menu prices in both Forints and Euros is likely to be pricier than neighborhood restaurants. Most neighborhood restaurants, for example, price their wines at only slightly more than you’d pay in a market. Toscana doubles the retail price. Nonetheless we were introduced to St. Andrea winery from the Eger region with an especially nice pinot noir.
Mensa is among the restaurants that line either side of Franz Liszt ter a block from the Octagon metro stop. We’ve eaten at several of them at various times – with Café Vian being our former favorite — but Sunday (after the symphony) was our first time at Mensa and, except for its being noisy, we liked it. I could have made a meal of the cabbage noodles that accompanied Angela’s duck breast but my pork knuckle with onion potatoes was very good as well.
Púder Bárszínház és Galéria is a very funky restaurant, decorated “ruin bar” style, that has a small movie venue (currently running a Woody Allen festival Monday nights) and art gallery. It is on Raday utca, another of the restaurant streets in Budapest. It’s adjacent to Kalvin ter metro stop and a short walk from Corvinus University. We’ve eaten at a number of the restaurants along the five or so blocks of Raday and most are adequate – a mix of traditional Hungarian restaurants, pubs, and pizza places – and when the weather is nice, each restaurant opens up outdoor seating along the pedestrian street. We enjoyed our lunch at Puder – potato dumplings, braised rabbit – before meeting the students at the National History Museum. Puder’s décor makes it worth a visit.