Gyergyó Árpi kisvendéglője

Gyergyó restaurant, which opened in 1991, masks itself as a typical greasy spoon, but it’s closer to a semi-upscale restaurant when it comes to food, plating, and, unfortunately, prices too. The place’s moniker is a hat-tip to the Transylvanian city where the owner-chef, Árpád Gyurka, hails from. The restaurant is located in an elite, residential Buda neighborhood, which explains why main dishes run €10-15, and why big-time lawyers, businessmen, and retired, upper-middle class regulars fill this tiny, lunch-only restaurant.

Gyergyó doesn’t have a fixed menu, instead, they chalk the daily specials on a board. The culinary focus is unabashedly Hungarian—I’ve had excellent lecsó, a Hungarian ratatouille of sorts, with chicken (€10), pork cutlet “butcher-style” (€11), and the noodles- and cottage cheese-based vargabéles dessert (€3) here. Heads-up to adventurous eaters: on Thursdays there are offals, usually a tripe stew paired with potatoes (€9).

Evidently, Gyergyó's lunch crowd is fond of premium cuts of meats you wouldn’t see in comparable food joints on the other side of the Danube. The urge strikes for a steak made from imported Uruguayan beef? Not a problem. For the liveliest atmosphere, come after 1 p.m. Note that Gyergyó is open from Tuesdays through Saturdays.