In retrospect, it's weird that it took so long for someone to finally open a traditional Hungarian restaurant inside Budapest's party district, also known as the old Jewish Quarter. After all, most tourists want local dishes before they hit the neighborhood bars. Gettó Gulyás's moniker makes its culinary priorities clear—the short menu features the heart of Magyar cuisine with staples like goulash (€5), chicken paprikash (€7), and pörkölt, which is a beef stew. ("Gettó" refers to the Jewish ghetto, into which this neighborhood was turned during the winter of 1944, the darkest time of WWII in Budapest).

Gettó Gulyás updates the Hungarian classics with small twists; for example, the veal paprikash (€12) arrives with a side of baked cottage cheese noodles that are rolled into strips of bacon. A range of local Hungarian wines are available for pairing. The snug, dimly lit interior stands out from the neighborhood’s ubiquitous ruin bar decor. Service is friendly, but not intrusive.

My only issue with Gettó Gulyás is also a compliment: these reliable Hungarian dishes have become so popular among visitors that the absence of Hungarian patrons can detract from the experience. Advance reservation is an absolute must (forget about scoring a same-day booking). If you need to wait for your table, grab a drink at Szimpla Kert, the world-famous ruin bar, just steps from away in Kazinczy Street.

We visit all places incognito, pay for our own meals and drinks, and write independent reviews.