Following stints at well-known Budapest restaurants, two young chefs, Andor Giczi and Szabolcs Nagy, struck out on their own, opening Fricska in 2014. Fricska has since earned a reputation for tasty dishes, and it also picked up a Bib Gourmand award in 2017. The restaurant is located on the far end of Budapest's party district, inside a buzzing below-ground space.
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. My favorites are the pan-seared duck liver, the mangalitsa pork shoulder with roasted vegetables (€13), and the goulash soup (€6). Fricska doesn't emphasize Hungarian fare — there's plenty of seafood, steaks, and other dishes not native to Hungary — but the goulash is a knockout here: a deeply flavorful, maroon broth arrives with tender morsels of beef and potatoes with chopped scallions adding 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 their three-course weekday lunch prix fixe for €12. Reservations are a must.