Most of the places below should be open year-round, but be sure to double-check before you go if you're visiting outside the April-October period.
Szőlősi kocsma (location; [email protected]; +36 30 940 5232): In 2016, the village dive bar of the tiny Badacsonyszőlős transformed into a hip restaurant while retaining some of the original vibes and furnishings. The driving force behind the metamorphosis is Attila Tálos, the owner of Hungary’s biggest wine retailer and a nearby winery. The unfussy dishes — meatballs, stuffed peppers, pork belly — are wonderful and reasonably priced. The wines come from Gellavilla, Tálos’s own winery.
Papok Borozója (location; +36 70 250 8481): The panorama is a major draw for many Balaton restaurants but perhaps none can rival that of Papok Borozója situated within the dense vineyards of Balatonszőlős, away from it all. The food evokes traditional Hungarian staples — many stews and pork dishes — but without the gut-busting fare of the early aughts. The highlight of my meal was the aranygaluska dessert, caramelized yeast dough blanketed in vanilla custard — 'nuff said! Mains are in the €10-15 range.
Szent Donát Borkúria (location; +36 20 928 1181): This longtime restaurant on the Csopak hillside is the see-and-be-seen spot for moneyed vacationers in the summer so try going in the off-season if that isn't your crowd (they're open all year). The Hungarian dishes are elaborate, the views breathtaking, the service impeccable. Wines come from Szent Donát's own 15-hectare winery.
Víg Molnár Csárda (location; +36 70 297 4200): Located right along the main road, Víg Molnár is a Csopak classic, serving uncomplicated Hungarian staples: goulash, fisherman's soup (halászlé), túrós csusza, Mangalitsa pork belly, you name it. While the vibes are unpretentious, Víg Molnár isn't cheap, with mains in the €10-15 range.
Péklány (location; [email protected]; +36 30 940 5232): This new-wave bakery in Balatonfüred is the spot for fresh-off-the-oven wheat and rye sourdough breads and morning pastries. The spiral pastry variations are especially impressive, with fillings ranging from ground walnuts with vanilla custard to poppy seeds with plum jam.
Felső kocsma (location): If you’re in for a time travel, head to the village bar of Alsóörs. It’s to here that local residents come to banter, to exchange gossip, to talk politics, or simply to linger over a glass of fröccs. Try not to look too bemused by the price points, which are absurdly low, and do take a glance at the interior decorations consisting of old farming equiment.
Bergmann Cukrászda (location; +36 87 341 087): A bit overpriced and overhyped, but no trip to Csopak is complete without a visit to the iconic Bergmann pastry shop (cukrászda) in Balatonfüred. Most celebrated is their custardy krémes, but the savory pogácsa filled with bits of pork cracklings (tepertős) also won’t disappoint.
Váli Pince (location; [email protected]; +36 30 940 5232): Part winery, part guest house and farm-to-table restaurant, Péter Váli’s small estate is tucked away in rolling vineyards, away from all signs of civilization in the tiny village of Badacsonyörs. For dinner, Péter may serve local cheese selections followed by Mangalitsa pork knuckles cooked tender in a wood-burning oven and paired with seasonal vegetables from the garden. The rooms are inside old peasant houses that were nicely renovated.
Tarányi 1780 (location; +36 20 413 9582): The 18th-century Baroque-style winery building of the Lengyel and later the Tarányi families, once the local feudal landlords, stood neglected for half a century until a 2020 gut renovation transformed it into a modern restaurant. You’re here for the sweeping views, the trout with creamy risotto, and the túró-filled sweet-tart dumplings (túrógombóc).
Hableány (location; [email protected]; +36 20 495 0654): Since Laposa winery took over this storied restaurant in the center of Badacsony — the building also serves as their headquarters and wine processing facility — youthful energy has filled the immense space. The pricey menu features updated Hungarian and international classics like schnitzel, pike-perch, and pastas. There are also cocktails and plenty of Laposa wines.
Bakos Attila Kisvendéglője (location; +36 87 461 210): If you prefer the vibes and the dishes of an old-school Hungarian restaurant, head to Bakos in Szigliget. It’s at this cozy family-owned spot decorated with memorabilia that you can enjoy classics like a főzelék (vegetable stew) with pörkölt and a catfish paprikash. Note that Bakos is open year-round.
La Téne Badacsony (location; +36 30 681 1688): This chic café in the center of Badacsony serves the type of specialty coffee and updated morning pastries and tarts that could hold their own in any big city. When in doubt, go for the kakaós csiga, a chocolate bun shaped in a spiral, or the crumbly cherry pie. The icing on the cake (sorry) is the kind and attentive service staff.
Pláne Badacsony (location; +36 30 381 5436): This tiny wine bar specializes in the lesser-known winemakers of Badacsony, like up-and-coming talents Bálint Földi and Vivien Ujvári. The knowledgeable staff will help you choose what’s best for you. With a basalt gable, painted white walls, and a thatched roof, the 1957 building playfully evokes the local peasant houses.