Following stints at well-known Budapest restaurants, two young, local chefs, Andor Giczi and Szabolcs Nagy, struck out on their own, opening Fricska restaurant in 2014. Since then, Fricska has earned a reputation for outstanding modern Hungarian dishes, and it also won a Bib Gourmand award from Michelin in 2017. The restaurant is located on the far end of the party district, inside a below-ground space that manages to be cozy despite the absence of natural lighting.

Although operating without a fixed menu, Fricska's greatest strength is its reliability—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 mangalica pork shoulder with roasted vegetables (€12), and the goulash soup (€6). In fact, the goulash is the undisputed knockout here: the deeply flavorful, dark-red-hued broth arrives with tender morsels of beef and potatoes, while chopped scallions add some 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.

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