Following stints at well-known Budapest restaurants, two young chefs, Andor Giczi and Szabolcs Nagy, struck out on their own, opening Fricska in 2014. The place has since earned a reputation for reliable and tasty dishes, drawing a well-off office crowd from near and far to its buzzing below-ground premises in Budapest's party district.

Although operating without a fixed menu, Fricska's greatest strength is its consistency: the kitchen churns out above-average, tried-and-tested dishes. Don't expect mind-boggling creativity, but many of the daily-changing plates will make you want to return, like the pan-seared duck liver and the mangalitsa pork shoulder with roasted vegetables. Fricska doesn't emphasize Hungarian fare — there's plenty of seafood and steaks — but the goulash is a knockout here: a deeply flavorful, maroon broth packing tender morsels of beef and potatoes, with chopped scallions lending crunch and lightness.

The Hungarian wines, served by co-owner and sommelier Csaba Csongrádi, come from small wineries that even most locals haven't heard of. Fricska's main dishes run €12-18. For a more wallet-friendly option, try the three-course weekday lunch prix fixe for €12. Reservations are a must.

To remain unbiased, I visit all places incognito and pay for my own meals and drinks. I also never accept money in exchange for coverage. But this means I must rely on readers to support my work. If you've enjoyed this article, please consider making a donation.