Gyergyó Árpi kisvendéglője

Tucked away in an exclusive Buda neighborhood, Gyergyó Árpi is a longtime lunch-only family restaurant serving homestyle Hungarian fare. Given the prime location and the elite customers who fill this tiny space at lunchtime — big-time lawyers, businessmen, and upper-middle class regulars — main dishes range €10-15. The restaurant's moniker is a hat-tip to the Transylvanian city where the owner-chef, Árpád Gyurka, hails from.

Instead of a fixed menu, they chalk the daily specials on a blackboard; the dishes are tasty and unabashedly Hungarian — I’ve had excellent lecsó (a Hungarian ratatouille), paprika-laced stews, and vargabéles, which is a cottage cheese-based strudel cake. Offal is served on Thursdays, usually a tripe stew with potatoes (pacal pörkölt). A couple of expensive steaks are also available to satisfy the upscale lunch crowd. For the liveliest atmosphere, come on a weekday after 1 p.m. Note that Gyergyó is open Tuesdays through Saturdays.

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