Kőleves is a wildly popular restaurant in the heart of Budapest’s old Jewish Quarter, inside an 1851 building that used to be home to a kosher meat processing facility and butcher shop. Leftover objects from the meat plant are used as design pieces, including a well-worn, leather-bound ledger book and a weathered Talmud. Kőleves pays homage to the building’s past by serving a couple of Jewish-Hungarian dishes like matzo ball soup, and cholent, the typical sabbath dish.
As other high-turnover, tourist-heavy restaurants, Kőleves aims to please all tastes with a hybrid menu. Hungarian bean goulash (€4), avocado salad (€6), ribeye steak (€17), and a New York cheesecake appear side-by-side on the menu. Almost all dishes are reliably good, but far from memorable and made without culinary flourish. I most enjoyed the duck leg confit and the tender and unusually juicy chicken breast. Kőleves also serves breakfast (until 11 a.m.), where one of the unexpected Ashkenazi items is the matzo brei: matzo fried with eggs.
Although mainly a tourist destination, locals also appear during lunchtime for the €5 two-course prix fixe. In the summer, the backyard of Kőleves, Kőleves Kert, transforms into an all-welcoming outdoor bar with low-priced drinks and snacks.