Critique: Regional Eateries 2020

One of our favorite things to do – especially when we travel – is eat! We dined at a few favorite places and added a new restaurants to our list this year. Here are my very amateur assessments of each eatery based on ambiance, service, food quality and value!

Pápa and Surrounding Area

Groff 11

Groff 11 opened in 2020 just as the pandemic was heating up. They managed things beautifully and began serving as soon as the rules allowed. The dining room and outside seating area is quite large and can accommodate lots of guests, which is great for parties or events. The staff is friendly and the food did not disappoint. Price points were reasonable. We tried everything from pasta to pizza, chicken burger, a proper meal of pork, potatoes and vegetables. Great variety! Everything was cooked just right, and was delicious. My only complaint was that maybe we waited a little long for our food considering we were in a nearly empty restaurant. B+

SAYN

This is another new restaurant, located on the main square in Pápa. I had high expectations for this place, given the pitch – an all veggie menu. I was hoping for a great salad or maybe some creative quinoa bowls, but instead the menu is pretty much just meat replacement sandwiches. Frankly, the whole experience was disappointing. This might be my only “poor” rating of food we have eaten here, as it was actually bland and difficult to eat. Service was spotty, too. Prices were fine, but unless they add to their menu, I would take my business elsewhere. The only plus is for location, so it’s probably fine if you’re just going there for drinks. D+

Thai Food Gyor

When you have a hankering for Thai food, look no further than the food court at the ÁRKÁD Mall in Győr! We loved every time we were able to get take-out from here (although dine-in is also an option). Order your food at the counter and they make it right before your eyes. Fresh ingredients, hefty portions, and authentic taste. Prices are a bit more here as it is a mall eatery, but it is worth it if you ask me! Language may be a barrier, but we always placed our order at the electronic kiosk and picked it up at the take-out window. Easy peasy! B+

Spirit Hotel

This fancy restaurant located in Sárvár at the ThermalSpa is usually reserved for guests, but it is possible to reserve a spot for lunch or dinner as a transient. We had lunch (and a buffet breakfast and dinner) when we were guests and must say the food is delicious! I don’t recommend the steak, but most everything else we had was yum. Chef quality, incredible service, and of course, (high) prices to match. They have a great wine selection as well, and the buffet was among the best we have had in Hungary. A-

Budapest

DOBRUMBA

What can I say about this place except YUM!? We absolutely loved our meal at Dobrumba in Budapest. We ordered way too much food because we wanted to try all the things and we were not disappointed! The can still taste the olive tapenade and hummus platter, and Willow’s prawns were cooked to perfection. They’re super friendly, their prices are great, and we loved the little touches like made to order mint green tea and various bread selections. I highly recommend this place! Get reservations to be safe. A

Pizza Eataliano

This little sidewalk restaurant in Budapest between Parliament and Liberty Square is a sure thing if you’re looking for trusty Italian fare. Swift service, classic, yummy pastas, pizza, salad and calzones, and fairly reasonable prices for Budapest. Staff is friendly and speaks good English. Nothing special really, but its reliable and you can’t really go wrong. B

Kao Niaw Ping Kai THAI Restaurant

This very authentic Thai restaurant is not your average take-out joint. This family knows their stuff, and makes original dishes lovingly to order. It is a tiny dining room, so during pandemic times, take-out is probably the best bet. Dishes are traditional and delicious! This is a perfect lunch spot after you leave the train station in Budapest. Welcoming service and popular dining spot, but worth the wait. A-

Mlinar Cafe

This isn’t even a restaurant – its more of a mass production bakery – but it’s one of the only places in Hungary we have found our beloved burek, and they’re about $1 each! They come in every single flavor (sweet and savory) that we love. Our favorites are potato, meat, Mexican chicken, apple, and chocolate. So good! Right on Károly utca in Budapest, you can’t miss it. Walk up to the counter and take away a great lunch on the go. Cheap and delicious. B

Trattoria La Coppola

This yummy brick-oven pizzeria is a family-run restaurant specializing in hand-tossed, brick oven pizzas. It has an easy, relaxed atmosphere and a menu great for the whole family. We didn’t leave a crumb on our plate! Again, pizzas, pastas, salads and calzones were delicious. On par with Eataliano (above) but better atmosphere and a bit higher prices. Fun staff and great location, and they accommodated our huge group with lots of kids. Solid Italian experience. B

Hills Region

Taco Truck (SZIGLIGET)

This place is amazing, and is a huge favorite of people from Pápa. Located about an hour away in Szigliget (near lake Balaton), this seasonal pop-up joint has the freshest ingredients and a menu they have perfected. Every single offering is incredible. You can’t get tacos like this just anywhere! They’re a great operation, super friendly, English-speaking, and fair prices. The tacos and burritos are well worth the drive! Even though they’re technically a food truck, they still have facilities. In the summer it’s packed with people. Check for times (often just weekends) in the off-season. A-

Ko fagyi? & Szigligeti fagylaltozó

Two of the best gelaterias around are within 10 minutes of each other. Ko Fagyi? is a cute little ice cream shop in a tiny town about 5 minutes from Lilliomkert market, specializing in handmade gelatos and great flavors (cookie, pistachio, and caramel are to die for!). And at the base of Szigliget castle, the gelato hut near the rainbow umbrella path is famous for their salted pistachio, although I can’t get enough of their coffee and dark chocolate flavor, too! They usually have a lot of vegan and dairy free fruity options as well. We try to go here every chance we can! Both deserve solid A’s!

Terraza Bistro Bar

This delicious restaurant is located in one of the most beautiful locations around. It rivals Villa Kabala for the view (see my Villa Kabala review here) and is just one step behind them with cuisine. Their prices are also a bit higher and they are seasonal with their seating and hours, but it is well worth the trip to Sümeg to dine here on a beautiful spring, summer or fall day. Their menu is delicious and even ordinary meals like a classic paprikas is prepared creatively and presented with panache. Everything we had was especially delicious! A

Lucullus Inn

This classic diner type eatery has all the Hungarian food you could want. It isn’t especially memorable with the dishes, but it is reliable with authentic taste. The pörkölt and guylás soup were tasty, but you can get the same thing right in Pápa. Prices were great, but the experience was a bit stale service-wise. (Of note, the menus and staff were only Hungarian.) Overall we were glad to try a new place, but this one didn’t leave us eager to travel the 20 minutes out of town to return. C+

Kisfaludy Ház Étterem

This is another place you go for the view, but not necessarily the food. Expect a fairly basic menu with some classic options, but nothing fancy. The food was good, but not special, and most certainly over priced. The view was impressive, overlooking Lake Balaton in the Badacsony region, and the staff was very friendly. Overall I would skip this place for Villa Kabala (one hill over) in a heartbeat. This is overrated. B-

Pécs & Szeged

Streat Burger

We loved Pécs! There are so many great places to eat, and Streat Burger was a fun one to try. Fresh, made to order burgers (including chicken, veggie and pulled pork) and homemade fries were among the better burger options we’ve had in Hungary. We loved the sustainable feel of the place, the friendly staff, and the yummy food. Definitely check it out! B+

Reggeli

Oh I wish I could go here every day for breakfast – or even just hang out here with a latte. Reggeli is a must when you visit Pécs, especially for breakfast. Every single thing we got was outstanding, and you can tell they take extra care to be fresh, local and sustainable. We devoured their skillet meals, pancakes, croque madame and smoothie bowls. Fair prices and order at the counter service makes this restaurant a popular place. Ahhhh I can still taste it now… take me back! A

LYR vegan

This is another fun restaurant to try in the city of Pécs. Lyr makes vegan eating fun for everyone! The beet risoto was sooo delicious, and the “burger” with hummus was delicious, too. The best part, though, were the deserts. It is a small eatery, but they have outside dining when it’s nice, and they’re so cute and super friendly. Good prices, too! B+

Maláta kézműves sör- és grill kert

Maláta was a great restaurant in Szeged with a huge outdoor beer garden boasting craft brews on tap and burgers that passed the test. Although their food was satisfying, it’s not what I remember. The beers, on the other hand, were all very good! This would be a fun place to come hang out over a few delicious craft beers. Otherwise it was fairly unremarkable. B- (is for beer)

Keleszto

We loved this teeny tiny breakfast joint! We felt really lucky to be able to fit in here, because they had great reviews and we really wanted to try their breakfast dishes. The Eggs Benedict was more than satisfying, and Beau’s English Breakfast was authentic and delicious! This is a great little place that cares a lot about what they do and it is evident in their service and selection. I wish I had food photos to share but frankly, we ate everything too fast! If you can fit, definitely check out Keleszto! B+

Well that’s it for Hungary! We will just have to try our hand at cooking our own batches of gulyás, pörkölt, and paprikás. I’d love to try new recipes!

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