Kívánság Étkezde

For a deeply local lunch experience in Budapest, it’s hard to think of a better place than Kívánság Étkezde. The continued existence of this modest eatery, which opened in 1985, is evidence that there’s still lingering love for old-school family-run restaurants. After all, they’re quick, cheap, and some of them, like Kívánság, serve homestyle Hungarian classics that have largely disappeared from the city.

Kívánság is oblivious to the food trends sweeping through Budapest. The standout dish is the mátrai borzaska, a fried pork cutlet coated in a potato-based crust and topped with sour cream and grated cheese. Be sure to also scan the menu for the daily soup, main, and dessert specials.

The interior: red-and-white checkered tablecloths, a sticky, faux leather-bound menu, and fading photos on the walls of the favorite soccer team of the owner, Tibor Szabados. Sporting a jolly paunch, he might be one of your servers. The lively atmosphere is maintained by the constant banter between Józsi, the other waiter, and longtime regulars. Try to get there by 12:30 p.m., before they fill up.

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