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Prague/Vienna/Budapest--3 (+) restaurants in 3 cities

Prague/Vienna/Budapest--3 (+) restaurants in 3 cities
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  • Prague/Vienna/Budapest--3 (+) restaurants in 3 cities

    Post #1 - April 4th, 2016, 10:39 pm
    Post #1 - April 4th, 2016, 10:39 pm Post #1 - April 4th, 2016, 10:39 pm
    I thought I’d start a new thread here based on a recent trip, since most of the discussions of Bohemian Europe are several years old. So, I’ll begin with:

    Prague
    We opened with two restaurants perilously close to the touristy Old Town Square. Nevertheless, the first, Mincovna, met all of our positive expectations with a simple but spacious interior and friendly service, and a variety of interesting offerings based on Czech classics. Some of the most memorable flavors here (and elsewhere in Prague) were found in the potatoes accompanying the meats, in this case a buttery puree surrounding my beef ribs and my wife’s chunky bacon-y mash to support her moist pork tenderloin. Unfortunately, the second of these restaurants, V Kolkovně, was one of the few disappointments on our trip. Although my rabbit was well-cooked and the dual paté opener more than sufficient, the wild boar in the ragout was as tough and tasteless as if it had been sitting in the freezer exposed for too long, a fact that the overly vinegary, tomatoey sauce could do little to disguise. The tastelessness of the bacon dumplings (and “tasteless” and “bacon” are two words that should never be paired) and the “Prague” ham (no better than the “Chicago” ham found in our local Jewel) persuaded me that, although the kitchen was probably competent, considerable cost-cutting had been taking place among the ingredients. For our final night in Prague, we went to the more upscale U Modré Kachničky II. This is the sister restaurant of “The Blue Duckling I,” and although slightly more casual than its dowager sibling (for a true taste of Imperial dowdiness, Modré Kachničky I is the place to go), the food was just as carefully cooked and presented, with duck—in a multitude of guises—being the specialty and the thing to order. We also had a sampling of some terrific sausages and beer at Lokal, and although this Czech version of a brewpub was uncrowded at lunch, it might be wise to reserve for dinner.

    Restaurace Mincovna,
    Staroměstské náměstí 930/7 ,
    +420 727 955 669

    V Kolkovně
    V Kolkovně 910/8
    Phone:+420 224 819 701

    U Modré Kachničky II
    Michalská 434/16,
    Phone:+420 224 213 418

    Lokál Dlouhá
    Dlouhá 33,
    Phone:+420 222 316 265

    Vienna
    We arrived in Vienna late on a Sunday evening, so our choices were limited, and we wound up at Artner auf der Wieden, which I recommend highly for its steaks (both for quality and value) and other grilled meats, which are its specialty (there also seems to be a lot of interest their hamburgers). But when in Vienna, I particularly enjoy the Austrian version of the neighborhood gastropub, the beisl, and we’ve now added Gmoakeller to our list of favorites. My first night there, I was not especially blown away by the food (the versions of pike and wild garlic soup we sampled later at Meierei, in fact, were superior), although my wife did appreciate her Easter ham in pastry, but the general atmosphere here was so pleasant and accommodating, we reserved for a second night (and reservations are recommended, since customers were still pouring in when we left at 10:00 on Monday); our faith was rewarded by an excellent steak in Madeira sauce (a pub rather than steakhouse preparation) and perhaps my best opener of the trip, a simple Matjes herring, accompanied by potato and beet salads, that will now be my standard for all future herring openers. Meierei, known primarily for its breakfasts and light lunches, and beautifully designed with an overlook of the City Park and the Vienna River, is an offshoot of the Michelin two star Steinereck. The good news here is that it probably uses the Steinereck kitchen for its limited dinner offerings. The bad news here is that it probably uses the Steinereck kitchen for its limited dinner offerings, and perhaps may not be given top priority when the dinner orders are placed. In short, we had to wait a considerable time for our excellent versions of pike and pork tenderloin, leaving us with insufficient time to sample their excellent selection of cheeses—which had drawn us there in the first place. But still a highly recommended venue if you’re looking for a light scenic meal and have plenty of time to wait for it.

    Artner auf der Wieden
    Floragasse 6,
    Phone:+43 1 5035033

    Gmoakeller
    Am Heumarkt 25
    Phone:+43 1 7125310

    Meierei im Stadtpark
    Am Heumarkt 2A
    Phone:+43 1 713316810

    Budapest
    In Prague and Vienna, we accompanied our meals mostly with beer, and certainly did not regret the choice. In Budapest, we switched to the local Hungarian wines, many of the vintages with a connection to the establishments where we were dining. The Tokays, of course, were quite good, both the before and after dinner versions, and my wife discovered a worthy competitor to her favorite grappas in some of the local pálinkas. But the real revelation for us were the Cabernet francs, the best of which we found at Doblo, a wine bar in the Jewish quarter, which also supplies excellent cheese and charcuterie accompaniments. Of all the restaurants we visited, Aszú probably had the most varied wine list. I would also give it high marks for its friendly service, moderate prices, and elegant atmosphere (particularly if you’re fond of live music), and its foie gras, but, unfortunately, I was hoping here to be served a quintessential chicken paprikash (all the elements seemed to be in place), and received rather a substandard block of dry chicken breast with just a hint of paprika sauce (more like a congealed lining to the chicken). From my observations of the dishes other people were ordering, it seemed that the kitchen was enthusiastic about its more elaborate offerings and gave far less attention to the traditional Hungarian items that may have been placed on the menu for the benefit of us tourists. Aszú ‘s dreadful paprikash was balanced by the excellent pork version I had at Zeller Bistro, with hints of pork-fat and onion in the abundant sauce where succulent chunks of of pork floated among the braised cherry tomatoes and splotches of sour cream. Here the wild boar ragout was also fresh and satisfying, with sauce and spaetzle fortifying the flavor of the meat rather than hiding it; in addition, the duck breast smoked at the family farm and the local salamis and cheeses that opened our meal were fine starters. This is a small, extremely welcoming restaurant, and very popular, so reservations are essential. Our final meal was at the Bock Bistro, also a popular restaurant where reservations are advised. Here we decided on pheasant soup (with dumplings), a selection of foie gras “sushi,” a duck breast in vegetable cream, and a venison stroganoff with duck foie gras, all tasting as good as they sounded. I decided not to try the “bizarre ice cream selection (tobacco, goose foie gras, sausage),” but most of our desserts, pastries and the like, were confined to the wonderful cafes—too numerous to mention—we visited during the day in all three cities. (One further critical note for Budapest: The huge Cenrtral Market is often mentioned in guidebooks, but unless you’re fond of meat and vegetable/fruit stalls, along with flea/souvenir markets, it’s not worth a special trip in my estimation. But if there are any “fairs” scheduled with collections of Hungarian street food stalls, go.)



    Zeller Bistro
    Izabella utca 36-38
    30 651 0880

    Bock Bistro
    Erzsébet krt. 43-49
    Phone:+36 1 321 0340

    Aszú Étterem
    Sas u. 4
    Phone:+36 1 328 0360

    Doblo Wine Bar
    Dob u. 20,
    Phone:+36 20 398 8863

    As a final note, I would like to recommend the hotels we chose for all three of our destinations. Reasonably priced, in proximity to (but not in the middle of) the center, with easy access to public transportation, all three were in walking distance of most of the above-mentioned restaurants. They are:

    Hotel Clement Prague  
    Klimentská 30, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic
    Phone:+420 222 314 350

    Hotel Am Konzerthaus
    Am Heumarkt 35-37, 1030 Wien, Austria
    Phone:+43 1 716160

    MaMaison Residence Izabella Budapest
    Budapest, Izabella u. 61, 1064 Hungary
    Phone:+36 1 475 5900
    (This last is a suite hotel, particularly useful, if nearing the end of a trip you want to opt for some in-house meals. Breakfasts are available in the Residence, but a good café—Eco Café—is also nearby for cheaper, less substantial breakfasts.)
    "The fork with two prongs is in use in northern Europe. In England, they’re armed with a steel trident, a fork with three prongs. In France we have a fork with four prongs; it’s the height of civilization." Eugene Briffault (1846)
  • Post #2 - April 13th, 2016, 2:02 pm
    Post #2 - April 13th, 2016, 2:02 pm Post #2 - April 13th, 2016, 2:02 pm
    When I have more time I will be adding to this post because my wife and I did Budapest to Prague back in June/July. I do have time though, to post about my favorite meal in Budapest at Belvarosi Disznotoros (Downtown Pig Slaughter). We went to the one on Kiraly St, it was excellent. Blood sausage and some other form of sausage, with some purple cabbage and potatoes on the side.

    Belvárosi Disznótoros
    Király utca 1/d.
    1075 Budapest
    Hungary
    http://www.belvarosidisznotoros.hu/about/

    other location...

    Belvárosi Disznótoros
    Károlyi utca 17.
    1053 Budapest
    Hungary
  • Post #3 - June 9th, 2016, 9:57 am
    Post #3 - June 9th, 2016, 9:57 am Post #3 - June 9th, 2016, 9:57 am
    Headed to Prague and Budapest in a couple of weeks and none of the other threads seem very recent. Any additional recommendations would be most welcome. If you don't know me, I like to experience everything, from the most basic of street food to elevated fine dining. Thanks in advance.
  • Post #4 - June 9th, 2016, 1:29 pm
    Post #4 - June 9th, 2016, 1:29 pm Post #4 - June 9th, 2016, 1:29 pm
    Was in Prague not too long ago, but I'm embarrassed to see that I appear not to have reported (Salzburg and Munich, too).

    Definitely hit one of the Lokal pubs. The one in Mala Strana, near the bottom of the hill with the Prague Castle, has a medieval basement cantina that is very atmospheric. Terrific cold Urquell served like 10 different ways (from all foam (sweet) to no foam (bitter)) and ALL YOU CAN EAT DUMPLINGS to go with your goulash, schnitzel or sausages. A very cool, localvore hipsterish chain in an otherwise old fashioned town.

    Hit one of the over-the-top Belle Epoque cafes. The most baroque we tried was Cafe Imperial. Vast menu with uneven execution. Stick to desserts, coffee and booze. The breakfast buffet was wrapping up when we stopped in, and it looked pretty spectacular.

    The Strahov Monestary is off the beaten path, maybe 15 minutes away from the old town by rental car or taxi. It houses a groundbreaking brew-pub that generally doesn't make any Czech-style beers and focuses on New World and UK styles. Very cool place with decent pub food.

    A new beer place, Beergeek, opened after our visit. It gets rave reviews.

    The Hemingway Bar, which is kind of below the main street level on the old town end of the Charles bridge, is a great place to waste some time having a classic cocktail and cigar for an absurdly small price given the quality of the place. What they lack in variety of booze they more than make up for in ambiance and skill. It's also steps away from a hotel that I can wholeheartedly recommend, the Leonardo. Airy apartments with small kitchens and French doors open onto a courtyard, for dirt cheap.

    Lots and lots of decent if not mind-blowing cheap eats all over, especially doner and pizza, always with good cold beer that is, literally, much cheaper than water.

    If you insist on eating in the tourist epicenter of Charles Square, Mincovna stands out as the best.

    You'll see lists for the top gourmet restaurants, which are in hotels and are French and Italian, with a smattering of Asian fusion. My family went all-in on pork, gravy and 4 kinds of dumplings, so we couldn't tell you about any of that. Didn't really see anyone trying to elevate or modernize Bohemian food. Lokal comes close by using top ingredients but the prep was strictly traditional. In our brief observation, the classics remain the province of big old-fashioned places with formally-dressed staff, which was fine by us.
  • Post #5 - June 10th, 2016, 12:17 pm
    Post #5 - June 10th, 2016, 12:17 pm Post #5 - June 10th, 2016, 12:17 pm
    Excellent assistance (including from the OP) - thanks!
  • Post #6 - June 10th, 2016, 12:20 pm
    Post #6 - June 10th, 2016, 12:20 pm Post #6 - June 10th, 2016, 12:20 pm
    JeffB wrote:
    The Strahov Monestary is off the beaten path, maybe 15 minutes away from the old town by rental car or taxi. It houses a groundbreaking brew-pub that generally doesn't make any Czech-style beers and focuses on New World and UK styles. Very cool place with decent pub food.



    This, a billion times this. Loved that place.

    BR, you can get there on the tram very easily. Take Line 22 which stops at Castle Hill (Prazsky Hrad) two stations past that one to Pohorelec. When you walk into the monastery grounds look for Klasterni Pivovar Strahov. It is on your left. I am assuming that is the place JeffB is talking about (I think there are a few restaurants within the grounds). It was one of the few places I had some hoppy beer on our trip, the other being Hops Beer Bar in Budapest.

    If you do go and you take the tram (it goes everywhere, we walked or trammed it everywhere) and you need a ticket you have to go one more stop away from the Castle (Malovanka) to find a shop to buy a ticket in, if you do not have one.
  • Post #7 - June 10th, 2016, 12:23 pm
    Post #7 - June 10th, 2016, 12:23 pm Post #7 - June 10th, 2016, 12:23 pm
    Cool - thanks much!
  • Post #8 - June 10th, 2016, 12:54 pm
    Post #8 - June 10th, 2016, 12:54 pm Post #8 - June 10th, 2016, 12:54 pm
    It is a quiet day at work and I found some emails I sent to friends heading to Prague and Budapest with all the restaurants/beer places, so no need to consult my journal. I will start with Prague.

    Klub Arkitecu
    Betlémské nám. 169/5A, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic
    http://www.klubarchitektu.com/en/index.php#

    Had our first dinner here, it was good. Modernish take on Czech classics, you are in the basement of a really old building which was cool.

    Švejk restaurant "U zeleného stromu"
    Betlémské nám. 6, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic
    http://www.uzelenehostromu.eu/en/

    A complete tourist trap but right near our hotel. Plus I had read The Good Soldier Svejk prior to the trip. It is the national novel of the Czech Republic. The pub that Jaroslav Hacek hung out in (and that appears in the novel) is still around. U Kalicha (The Chalice). We did not go there, heard it was even more of a tourist trap and they are really pushy. The waiter at this place was very surly, he did not want to serve me beer cheese, or pivni syr, which you should research and order any chance you get!

    Oliva Nera
    Betlémské nám. 10, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic
    http://www.olivanera.cz/en

    After lots of meat and potatoes, we needed something else, decent Italian food if you want to mix it up

    Kmota
    V Jirchářích 1285/12, 110 00 Praha-Nové Město, Czech Republic
    http://www.kmotra.cz/en/

    Good pizza, one was enough for 2 people. We went here our last night for something cheapish and quick since we had to pack and sleep for our 3 AM wake up and 6 AM flight to Berlin.

    U medvidku
    Na Perštýně 7, Staré Město, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic
    http://www.umedvidku.cz/

    Fantastic beer hall with traditional Czech food, stick to your ribs stuff, meat and potatoes.

    U zlatého tygra
    Husova 228/17, 110 00 Praha - Staré Město, Czech Republic
    http://www.uzlatehotygra.cz/cs/

    We did not go here but my friends raved about it, not sure if they ate, or just had beers. Said it was a lot of fun, filled with mostly locals even though it is really close to the Old Town Square

    Budapest:

    The following are all places within the Gozsdu Court. We stayed at the Gozsdu Court Aparthotel so it was really convenient

    http://visitbudapest.travel/local-secre ... courtyard/

    Blue Bird Cafe

    Had a breakfast here which was excellent, and a dessert. Cool place to hang and people watch.

    Yiddishe Mamma Mia
    http://ymmrestaurant.com/

    Needed an early respite from meat and potatoes

    Kolor
    http://visitbudapest.travel/arts-entert ... ife/kolor/

    Good beer list and food, traditional Hungarian dishes. Had our first meal here and just watched the endless parade of people walking down the pedestrian Gozsdu Courtyard


    Spiler
    http://spilerbp.hu/original/en

    Good beer list for Central Europe

    Szimpla Kert
    Budapest, Kazinczy u. 14, 1075, Hungary
    http://www.szimpla.hu/en/about-us

    Back in the '90s Budapesters (?) decided to put pubs in ruined buildings. This is the original and best. Building still looks ruined, pub is awesome. They have food, but we did not eat. No one else was eating when we were there and we were not 100% there was even food. Instead we had a beer, then ate at the Street Food Karavan (http://www.streetfoodkaravan.hu/), and then went back for more beer.

    Hops Beer Bar
    Budapest, 1077, Wesselényi u. 13, 1077 Hungary
    http://welovebudapest.com/clubs.and.nig ... rite.place

    Around the corner from the Karavan and Szimpla Kert, for when you want someone besides lager.

    Menza
    Budapest, Liszt Ferenc tér 2, 1061 Hungary
    http://www.menzaetterem.hu/

    Might've been my favorite meal in Budapest. Traditional dishes (goulash, paprikash, etc.) in a funky modern space. It is on the nice tree lined Liszt Ferenec Ter.

    Cafe New York
    Budapest Erzsebet krt. 9-11, 1073 Hungary
    http://www.newyorkcafe.hu/

    Great place to get coffee and a dessert

    And as I mentioned above, Belvárosi Disznótoros
  • Post #9 - June 11th, 2016, 7:26 am
    Post #9 - June 11th, 2016, 7:26 am Post #9 - June 11th, 2016, 7:26 am
    I appreciate all of the recs guys . . . these will come in handy.
  • Post #10 - June 16th, 2016, 8:23 am
    Post #10 - June 16th, 2016, 8:23 am Post #10 - June 16th, 2016, 8:23 am
    Adding Vienna in case you are going there too, or for anyone else who is.

    First up are the cafes. You are going to go to at least one of them when you are in Vienna, it is just what you do. Get a Wiener Melange, something sweet, and just enjoy the down time.

    Cafe Sprel
    Gumpendorfer Str. 11, 1060 Wien, Austria
    http://www.cafesperl.at/

    Conveniently located near the Naschmarkt. Very neat looking interior

    Cafe Central
    Herrengasse 14, 1010 Wien, Austria
    http://www.palaisevents.at/en/cafecentral.html

    Our favorite. Very old school. Had a light lunch here with some coffee afterwards. Just a cool place to hang out in.

    Cafe Hawelka
    Dorotheergasse 6, 1010 Wien, Austria
    http://www.hawelka.at/cafe/de/

    Check out the inside, but a great spot to sit outside and people watch. Definitely get some Buchteln, maybe even a few orders. They are amazing. Great back story behind this place as well.

    Food and Drinks

    Salm Brau
    Rennweg 8, 1030 Wien, Austria
    http://www.salmbraeu.com/home/

    We actually ate here twice. It is located near the Lower Belvedere Palace (The Klimt paintings are at the Upper Belvedere. Traditional Austria cuisine, try to sit outside. They also make their own beer, which was excellent. The pork knuckle was the best of the bunch, and the pork knuckle for 2 is really enough for 4 people. It looked like we had not put a dent in it.

    Zum Schwarzen Kameel
    Bognergasse 5, 1010 Wien, Austria
    http://www.kameel.at/en_index.php

    Located just off the main square/poshest street in Vienna, this place has a full sit down restaurant that you will probably need reservations for. However, if you go in their is a wine bar you can sit/stand at, as well as a counter near the front with finger sandwiches and desserts made from the same kitchen pumping out 35 euro main dishes. We did that, enjoyed two glasses of wine and some small plates for about 40 euro total for two.

    1516 Brewing Company
    Schwarzenbergstraße 2, 1010 Wien, Austria
    http://www.1516brewingcompany.com/

    Probably as close to American Bar food that you can get in Vienna, was a nice change of pace from what we had been eating and the beer was fantastic

    Gigerl
    Rauhensteingasse 3, 1010 Wien, Austria
    http://www.gigerl.at/

    This place is a heuriger located right in the center of town. A heuriger is a wine tavern and usually located out of town in the countryside. I thought the wine was ok, my wife thought it was horrid. The apple strudel was great though!

    7brau
    Siebensterngasse 19, 1070 Wien, Austria
    http://www.7stern.at/en-gb/

    They make their own beer, it is all really good. Great courtyard that you get to by walking through the restaurant. I think I had the sausages, which hit the spot and my wife had the ribs, which fell off the bone. Not smoked, probably boiled/steamed, but still good.

    Loos American Bar
    Kärntner Durchgang 10, 1010 Wien, Austria
    http://www.loosbar.at/

    Enjoyed a 4th of July cocktail here while sitting outside. Definitely check out the inside though. Designed by its namesake Adolf Loos a pioneer of Modernist architecture and the Vienna Secession
  • Post #11 - June 17th, 2016, 1:23 am
    Post #11 - June 17th, 2016, 1:23 am Post #11 - June 17th, 2016, 1:23 am
    Bluto11 wrote:
    Back in the '90s Budapesters (?) decided to put pubs in ruined buildings. This is the original and best.


    Just a slight nitpick: it was in the early 2000s, although some will say 1999 with the opening of Pótkulcs. Szimpla Kert opened in '01. (I lived in Bp. from '98 to '03 and remember Szimpla's original location on Király utca. It started out as a cafe, and then opened up an outdoor location as a romkocsma, or "ruin pub.")
  • Post #12 - June 17th, 2016, 8:04 am
    Post #12 - June 17th, 2016, 8:04 am Post #12 - June 17th, 2016, 8:04 am
    Binko wrote:
    Bluto11 wrote:
    Back in the '90s Budapesters (?) decided to put pubs in ruined buildings. This is the original and best.


    Just a slight nitpick: it was in the early 2000s, although some will say 1999 with the opening of Pótkulcs. Szimpla Kert opened in '01. (I lived in Bp. from '98 to '03 and remember Szimpla's original location on Király utca. It started out as a cafe, and then opened up an outdoor location as a romkocsma, or "ruin pub.")


    I stand corrected, thanks for the info. Loved everything about Budapest when we were there.
  • Post #13 - July 24th, 2022, 3:29 pm
    Post #13 - July 24th, 2022, 3:29 pm Post #13 - July 24th, 2022, 3:29 pm
    We just returned from two weeks in mitteleurope, including several days in Budapest, a week on a boat (something I don't wish to do again, notes on that below), then several more days in Prague. We're a little deficient in green vegetables (although salads were always available), but had a lot of great food in both countries, and good but really uninspired food on the boat.

    The cities at both ends (and the ones we visited between) have one major issue for me: anything outside at a restaurant is fair game for smokers, and the tobacco there is truly nasty.

    I've been taking photos and posting to Facebook, I'll be taking a few days to sum up here over a few posts.

    Both cities have a big influence from the Jewish community if for no other reason that it's where restaurants and bars have moved in -- moreso in Budapest where it's called the "ruins district" and there are bars in condemned, ceiling-less buildings. OTOH, Prague's Jewish Quarter is full of high-class Art Nouveau buildings.

    Our first dinner in Budapest (after a quick sandwich and pastry near the Parliament) was probably our best there, at Rosenstein Vendéglő, which definitely shows the Jewish roots. A starter of goose foie gras in goose fat was just luscious. My dad used to wax poetic about ganzerschmalz on rye, and now I can understand why.

    Image

    My entree was a veal paprikash, just fantastic, and I realize the recipes I've used over the years really don't use enough, or good enough paprika. Spaetzle were perfectly al dente.
    Image

    SueF has braised veal cheek with porcini cream and potato croquettes. Also rich and very tasty, really good fungus in there.
    Image

    Dessert was flodni, a traditional Jewish desert with layers of walnuts, apples, and poppy seeds. An interesting combination and delightful.
    Image

    Rosenstein Vendéglő
    Budapest, Mosonyi u. 3, 1087 Hungary
    +36 1 333 3492
    https://rosenstein.hu/#elerhetosegunk

    The following day for lunch, we stopped at the Karavan food truck court in that ruins district, which hosts several restaurants' and bars' fare. Langos is a fried savory bread, more chewy than a doughnut and not as puffy as, say Indian frybread. It's a great base for just about anything (sour cream and shredded cheese at a minimum), and one of the trucks serves all kinds of things atop them including duck and venison burgers. I just had a "red" one topped with paprikas (missing that there was a hot paprika version until later). One of my sisters in law had a regular burger which was served on on smaller langos.
    Image

    Street Food Karavan Budapest
    Budapest, Kazinczy u. 18, 1075 Hungary
    https://www.facebook.com/streetfoodkaravan/

    More soon
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #14 - July 24th, 2022, 6:36 pm
    Post #14 - July 24th, 2022, 6:36 pm Post #14 - July 24th, 2022, 6:36 pm
    So this trip started out as a four sisters trip, with a couple husbands and a friend tagging along -- we made reservations for 3 of the sisters and I of us at Menza (the last couple and their friend were arriving late), a middle-eastern influenced place, but still a lot of Hungarian. It's just off the main high street (Andrássy út), near the Octagon metro stop. This was a nice meal after an afternoon at the Széchenyi Thermal Bath.

    Remember not all of this is Sue and my dinner.

    Starting with a baba ganouj-like eggplant salad, nice and creamy
    Image

    Garlic soup topped with more langos was powerfully garlicky, and due to its bread hat, pretty darn filling
    Image

    Duck breast with mushroom risotto - I remember liking it but after two weeks, I don't remember much except that it wasn't as rare as I'd like
    Image

    Garlic is a theme, apparently: two roasted heads with pork medallions, on another langos
    Image

    Cucumber salad (very much in the style of the sisters' Swiss/German mother)
    Image

    Gulyas (a soup in Hungary)
    Image

    Salad with Chicken Schnitzel
    Image

    Eggplant Parmesan
    Image

    Menza Étterem és Kávéház
    Address: Budapest, Liszt Ferenc tér 2, 1061 Hungary
    https://menzaetterem.hu
    Phone: +36 30 145 4242
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #15 - July 25th, 2022, 1:53 pm
    Post #15 - July 25th, 2022, 1:53 pm Post #15 - July 25th, 2022, 1:53 pm
    The last of the group arrived very late, less one bag that never showed up the whole trip. We met for lunch at The New York Café in the Anantara New York Palace hotel for high tea. Nothing traditional Hungarian about this at all, High Tea has been a bucket list item for several of the sisters. Not where I'd be putting my vacation money normally, but about half the cost of what I'd seen in London.

    The tiered platters included:
    * Sandwiches of smoked salmon and egg salad with ham
    * Pastries (four cream puffs, two tarts with berries)
    * Sweets (lemon and raspberry macarons, caramel cream bonbons)

    Coffee and Juice
    Image

    High Tea for Two
    Image

    New York Café
    Budapest, Erzsébet krt. 9-11, 1073 Hungary
    +3618866167
    http://www.newyorkcafebudapest.com/

    Dinner that night was at Mazel Tov in the Jewish/Ruins district, which came highly recommended and was well loved by all. They had live music on a saturday night, and a beautiful partly-covered courtyard (the tiny metal chair which sank into the gravel on the other hand were less than optimal).

    SueF ordered their pastrami, house-smoked beef with mustard and pickles.
    Image

    I had slow-roasted lamb in a spicy shakshuka sauce with cream. This rocked.
    Image

    One of my sisters-in-law ordered a salad topped with a toasted cheese, there had to be at least a half-pound of cheese in there.
    Image

    Nobody else was close enough for me to grab pictures.

    Mazel Tov
    Budapest, Akácfa u. 47, 1072 Hungary
    +36706264280
    http://www.mazeltov.hu/
    Next: onto the boat!
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #16 - July 25th, 2022, 2:03 pm
    Post #16 - July 25th, 2022, 2:03 pm Post #16 - July 25th, 2022, 2:03 pm
    As much as I enjoy the area for pre-War nostalgia (nearly all my family came from there) the food has rarely wowed me. My mother's renditions of her (mostly Hungarian) family recipes were always better than anything I found in restaurants. Our last visit was in the middle of a different heatwave and the omnipresent goulash/gulyas (appeared on nearly 100% of the menus that were posted in restaurant windows, Chinese, Italian, etc.) was the last thing I hoped to encounter in 100-degree heat. The final insult was that after I hunted down a Kosher butcher that made their own salamis, I discovered that Romanian made a far better product. Still a great trip but not one of my better dining experiences.
  • Post #17 - July 25th, 2022, 7:01 pm
    Post #17 - July 25th, 2022, 7:01 pm Post #17 - July 25th, 2022, 7:01 pm
    Wrapping up Budapest:
    As big as the Central Market Hall is, I wasn't that impressed: there was an awful lot of the same, tourist-packaged paprika, with no information on region of origin -- I was given the impression that there's about a dozen different varieties, I don't think I saw more than five. There wasn't the variety, the ready-to-eat delis, and the piles of spices I expected from seeing Vienna's Naschmarket or Barcelona's Boqueria.
    I did buy hot and sweet paprika labeled "homemade" from a vendor near the rear of the market, and a great mangalica pork sausage full of garlic and paprika. It had a lot of succulent fat giving it a much softer texture than a lot of other cured sausages (not as soft as nduja).
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    On the hill that Buda Castle is perched on, Rick Steves guided us to a great little strudel shop. No pic of the strudel -- it was devoured instantly -- but maybe these pics will help you find the place
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    One of our last meals was a quick Chicken Gyros at MiR -- they've got an open window onto the street, but also have space to dine in. There are a couple blocks of street food on Király utca running northeast from Károly krt -- we also grabbed ice cream in a chimney cake (lots of stands using live coals to make these).

    We really enjoyed Budapest (when we weren't around smokers). The food is hearty and tasty -- we weren't disappointed by anything -- and cheap given the exchange rate of around 400HUF to the dollar (since dropped to 390). Street food is going to be pretty simple but tasty: Burgers, sausages, langos, and generic middle-eastern/Turkish. The city has rich history (they took their Communist-era statuary and put them into a remote park), and is eminently walkable. I don't know that I'm going to rush back there, but we had a good time.

    Nagy Vásárcsarnok (Central Market Hall)
    Budapest, Vámház krt. 1-3, 1093 Hungary
    +3613663300
    http://www.piaconline.hu/

    Buda Rétesvár-strudel
    Budapest, Balta köz 4, 1014 Hungary
    +36703142559
    http://www.budavariretesvar.hu/

    MiR Restaurant
    Budapest, Király u. 1, 1071 Hungary
    +36706024089
    https://www.facebook.com/miretterem/
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #18 - July 26th, 2022, 7:32 am
    Post #18 - July 26th, 2022, 7:32 am Post #18 - July 26th, 2022, 7:32 am
    Joel - thanks for such an informative thread. Appreciate the time you took to post.
    -Mary
  • Post #19 - July 26th, 2022, 9:21 am
    Post #19 - July 26th, 2022, 9:21 am Post #19 - July 26th, 2022, 9:21 am
    The next nights were on the boat (Viking), and most evenings we had to be aboard by dinnertime as that's when they were underway. That left few opportunities for dining ashore, and we didn't take them as we were often pretty exhausted when we finished our tourism.

    The food aboard was of very high quality but pretty low daring. They always featured 'local' items on the menu related to our latest port, but not much menu depth is really possible with only 160-190 passengers. For instance, the first night aboard they had chicken paprikash. It was an airline breast, probably baked separately. The sauce was thin and not all that flavorful compared to the veal version above. And the vegetables were nouvelle-crisp tiny cubes -- pretty but not right.

    There were two areas where the boat's food excelled:
    Soups were excellent (although the 90+F days often made soup less than appealing). The first night had a Hungarian Fisherman's stew with crawfish and carp that reminded me a lot of the flavors of gumbo. The next night had a beautiful pumpkin soup garnished with pumpkin seeds and pumpkinseed oil.
    Image

    Breakfast was generally very good with a lot of buffet choices -- the star being smoked salmon - great texture, very smoky. There were decent bagels available (in just about every country we were in -- why did I think they were just Dutch?), cream cheese or other spreadable cheeses... the only thing I'd add would be thin slices of onion, tomato and cucumber: big chunks were all I could get. It was also available at the omelet station, and as eggs benedict.
    Image

    During the cruise we spent time in Bratislava, Slovakia; Vienna, Krems (with a side trip to Czesky Krumlov in Czechia) and Linz, Austria; and Passau, Germany. From there we extended the trip through Viking into Prague, which was the tourism -- if not the dining -- highlight of the trip. Don't get me wrong, we ate some great stuff, but Budapest slightly edged out Prague's food. More posts to come.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #20 - July 27th, 2022, 9:52 am
    Post #20 - July 27th, 2022, 9:52 am Post #20 - July 27th, 2022, 9:52 am
    A few food points of interest during the cruise portion:

    Czechia (formerly Czech Republic) and Slovakia love their ice cream: Zmrzlina signs are everywhere in Bratislava and Prague's touristy regions, and more often you'll find a soft-serve machine than tubs of gelato. But it was very good, always vanilla with a second flavor to swirl that could include mango or pistachio. Many places will serve it in a chimney code for a few cents more. The soft-serve was often really cheap: in Prague we bought small cones for 30CZK, which were running 24 to the dollar.

    In Vienna, we stopped at Conditorei Sluka, a cafe recommended by our tour guide for melange and Sacher Torte. Mmm, good coffee, and chocolate and apricots.
    Image

    That evening, we hopped a bus to Wolff winery, where they were having Heuringer -- the celebration of the new wine. Three whites and a red, and tradition is to make a 2-parts sparkling water to 1 part white wine spritzer. They also served bread, pretzels, cheese spread, rillettes, fruit and pastries (I don't know what the package normally costs, this was a cruise outing).
    Image
    In Krems, our trip coincided with their Marillen festival, the Marille being a protected origin variety of apricot. We bought an apricot cream liqueur, some apricot mustard, and ate apricot-filled dumplings (they're in both the sauce, as well as halved ones in the dumplings)
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    Conditorei Sluka Kärntner Straße
    694C+PM Vienna, Austria
    http://www.sluka.at/
    +4315124963500

    Wolff Winery
    Rathstrasse 46-50 Neustift Am Walde, Vienna 1190 Austria
    Neustift am Walde
    +43 1 4402335

    Next: Prague
    Last edited by JoelF on July 28th, 2022, 3:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #21 - August 1st, 2022, 8:51 am
    Post #21 - August 1st, 2022, 8:51 am Post #21 - August 1st, 2022, 8:51 am
    We extended the cruise trip to Prague through Viking, which got us a very nice (and air conditioned) room at the Marriott. As part of the stupidity of the cruise, they bussed us from Passau at a very early hour, knowing that we'd arrive about four hours before the rooms would be ready.
    So we went and had pizza at La Scala which is actually in a church (the Czechs have secularized a lot of churches, many for concerts). A little bland, perhaps (pizza always needs chile flakes), but nice chewy crust. It's a great spot just off the main square, shady and breezy. We saw other folks with huge servings of pasta -- Prague provides pretty good value even in touristy zones.
    Image
    La Scala
    Celetná 601, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
    Located in: Church of Our Lady before Týn
    http://www.lascala.cz/
    +420224810024

    For dinner, we'd hoped to walk into Lokal relatively early, but they said to try again after 8pm. Their website had no dinner hour reservations open for the rest of the time we were there, so we wandered down the street to another recommendation from here, Restaurace Mincovna. Again, even though it's right off the main square, prices were reasonable, service friendly, food fantastic.
    We started with a salad with fried "strong cheese" -- something like a sharper camenbert, and cranberries. One of our last salads of the trip. Very tasty, the cheese was on the perfect cusp of not-quite melted. Not pictured, my first of several Kingswood cider on this trip, a crisp, relatively low ABV (4.5%) drink, served over ice.
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    SueF was not particularly hungry, just ordered a bowl of what turned out to be a very hearty potato soup. I thought this was going to be the Czech national soup, which I've seen thinner, with boiled egg, but it beefier and very tasty
    Image

    After having gulyas in Bulgaria, I felt in necessary to have goulash in Czechia. This was a platonic ideal: full of umami, rich sauce, delicate pieces of meat and veg... and a whole baguette's worth of bread dumpling -- what's pictured below is about a 2-inch-wide tube, two six-inch pieces. This was definitely a gut-buster, and absolutely delicious. The sliced raw shallots (and greens?) added nice crunch and a good foil for the heavy sauce.
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    Restaurace Mincovna
    Staroměstské náměstí 930/7
    Praha 1 - Staré Město
    https://www.restauracemincovna.cz/en/menu/
    +420 727 955 669
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #22 - August 2nd, 2022, 12:26 pm
    Post #22 - August 2nd, 2022, 12:26 pm Post #22 - August 2nd, 2022, 12:26 pm
    We were walking through the main square around lunchtime, I shared a bit of my klobasa with SueF. Served with rye bread and mustard, it's not as garlicky as a Polish kiolbasa, but nice snappy casing. The main square has several kiosks serving street food, including the sausages, Prague ham, Hungarian langos, etc. This was about $3 (75CZK) if I remember right.
    Image

    I no longer remember why we chose Restaurace U Provaznice. Not from this thread, apparently, could have been Rick Steves, could have been looking at Google review ratings. In any case, this was a good-not-great meal. It's a block off a main shopping drag near the Můstek metro stop, and had nice outdoor tables with thankfully few smokers.
    Started with my new favorite cider again
    Image
    ...and pickled camembert. Not as much vinegar as I'd expected, but the pickled vegetables with it make it pretty awesome, and like everywhere in Europe, darn good bread.
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    I had the pork tenderloin with in a cream sauce with bread dumplings and lingonberry sauce
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    SueF had the roast pork with dumplings and kraut
    Image
    Nothing wrong with either, but the previous night's dishes were definitely better.

    Restaurace U Provaznice
    Provaznická 385, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
    http://www.uprovaznice.cz/
    +420224232528
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #23 - August 2nd, 2022, 12:34 pm
    Post #23 - August 2nd, 2022, 12:34 pm Post #23 - August 2nd, 2022, 12:34 pm
    Great report so far, Joel! Your posts are bringing back some fond memories for me, which I really appreciate.

    But damn it, where are the effing klebicke already?! :lol:

    =R=
    Same planet, different world
  • Post #24 - August 2nd, 2022, 6:26 pm
    Post #24 - August 2nd, 2022, 6:26 pm Post #24 - August 2nd, 2022, 6:26 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Great report so far, Joel! Your posts are bringing back some fond memories for me, which I really appreciate.

    But damn it, where are the effing klebicke already?! :lol:

    =R=

    Never saw it. Sorry. I've got two more days to report on, but never had a sandwich in Czechia.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #25 - August 2nd, 2022, 6:34 pm
    Post #25 - August 2nd, 2022, 6:34 pm Post #25 - August 2nd, 2022, 6:34 pm
    JoelF wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Great report so far, Joel! Your posts are bringing back some fond memories for me, which I really appreciate.

    But damn it, where are the effing klebicke already?! :lol:

    =R=

    Never saw it. Sorry. I've got two more days to report on, but never had a sandwich in Czechia.

    :shock: :shock: :shock: :cry: :cry: :cry:

    The few times that I was in Prague, they were the coin of the realm and were offered in many store fronts. I really hope covid hasn't changed that.

    =R=
    Same planet, different world
  • Post #26 - August 3rd, 2022, 12:13 pm
    Post #26 - August 3rd, 2022, 12:13 pm Post #26 - August 3rd, 2022, 12:13 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    JoelF wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Great report so far, Joel! Your posts are bringing back some fond memories for me, which I really appreciate.

    But damn it, where are the effing klebicke already?! :lol:

    =R=

    Never saw it. Sorry. I've got two more days to report on, but never had a sandwich in Czechia.

    :shock: :shock: :shock: :cry: :cry: :cry:

    The few times that I was in Prague, they were the coin of the realm and were offered in many store fronts. I really hope covid hasn't changed that.

    =R=

    Part of it is that we're not big lunch eaters, we're more likely to just grab something from a kiosk or window, or carry some cheese, sausage, bread, etc. to snack on. So they may have been there, and I just didn't notice.

    For instance, on our second-to-last day, after visiting the Jewish Quarter historical synagogues and cemetery, we stopped in a cafe for a slice of walnut tart and a ginger lemonade. Then later in the afternoon, a shared zmrzlina soft serve cone.
    Image

    Bakeshop
    Kozí 1, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
    3CQC+VW Prague 1, Czechia
    +420222316823
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang

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