In 2004, Bock Bistro was among the first Budapest restaurants to push the boundaries of traditional Hungarian food. Executive chef Lajos Bíró proved that contemporary cooking techniques, top ingredients, and a little boldness can jolt into the 21st century some centuries-old national dishes. For example, that crumbs of celery roots add a welcome freshness to the goulash soup (€5). That the paprikash is just as good when made with beef tenderloins. That a beautifully-plated lecsó (€8) tastes better than one served carelessly.

While most of Bock's dishes are still reliable, some can fall flat, like the unremarkable paprika sorbet and the occasionally overcooked Budapest-style steak (€21). Currently in its second decade of existence, I can't help thinking that the operation feels a little tired. Today, Bock is far from being the only Budapest restaurant that serves modern Hungarian fare, and it's certainly not the cheapest. If they want to keep up with the times, they should consider updating their years-old menu and replacing a few of the visibly unenthusiastic members of the service staff.

Bock Bistro has a deep, all-Hungarian wine list. Many bottles come from the renowned Bock winery in the Villány region (the "Hungarian Bordeaux"), as József Bock is a co-owner of the restaurant. Note that on weekdays, Bock serves a reasonably-priced, three-course lunch prix fixe (€12).