Kőleves is a highly 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 such a matzo ball soup and cholent, the classic Sabbath bean stew.
As other high-turnover, tourist-heavy restaurants, Kőleves aims to please all tastes with a hybrid menu. Hungarian bean goulash (€5), avocado salad (€7), ribeye steak (€19), 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.
Although mainly a tourist destination, locals also appear during lunchtime for the wallet-friendly 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.
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