If you wonder what everyday dining was like during communist Hungary, Kádár Étkezde may be able to give you the answer. Or at least that used to be the case before tourists descended on the place in the last few years. Kádár, which opened in 1957, started out as a wallet-friendly neighborhood joint feeding the mainly Jewish local residents—it's inside Budapest's old Jewish Quarter—with unfussy traditional Hungarian foods like stuffed cabbage and beef stew (pörkölt), and also Jewish staples like matzo ball soup and cholent (note that Kádár isn't kosher). The dishes were passable, prices rock-bottom.
Today, tourists clasping Lonely Planet guides can often be observed forming a line outside. Despite, or perhaps because of, the buzz, Kádár stuck to its blueprint. The servers still wear outfits that could rival the wardrobe collection of Soviet movies in the '50s. Sticky red-and-white checkered tablecloths still adorn all tables. The food is still mediocre at best. Graying regulars still show up at lunchtime, although their numbers are dwindling. Prices are beginning to reflect Kádár's new-found popularity, but with €7-9 main dishes, they're relatively low.
Once you're finished with your lunch, follow the local protocol and tip your server, then walk up to the amiable gentleman at the entrance to pay for your meal (he's Sándor Orbán, the owner). Note that the Jewish-Hungarian foods are usually served on Saturdays. Kádár is closed on Sundays and Mondays. After your meal, it's worth popping in to the refurbished Klauzál Square market hall, built during the glory days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.