Franz Joseph Restaurant

Hungarians have a complicated relationship with "the Kaiser," that is, Emperor Franz Joseph, the regimented Habsburg king who ruled the country from Vienna for more than half a century: He brutally crushed the Hungarian revolution of 1848, but later facilitated the creation of Austria Hungary, thereby laying the ground for a period of unprecedented development. Budapest's Franz Joseph restaurant, naturally, tips its hat to the latter years of the Kaiser as evidenced by an oversized oil portrait anchoring the art-laden interior and depicting a somber and wild-moustached sovereign.

This old-school, unassuming establishment, which opened in 1999, serves up unfussy regional favorites. While the beef stew (pörkölt) has nothing to be ashamed of, go instead for its royal version — "Franz Joseph's favorite" (he seems to have had many) — spiked with red wine and mushrooms (€10). The goulash soup (€4) and the pork schnitzel (€9) are also decent. Have room for dessert? The Gundel palacsinta (€5), filled with walnuts and smothered in chocolate sauce, and the kaiserschmarrn shredded pancakes with apricot jam are the way to go.

To remain unbiased, I visit all places incognito and pay for my own meals and drinks. But this also means I must rely on readers to support my work. If you've enjoyed this article, please consider making a donation.