M is a tiny, dinner-only restaurant on the far (and quieter) side of Budapest's Jewish Quarter, but within walking distance of the neighborhood's famed ruin bars. The cozy space is crammed with tables so expect to sit elbow-to-elbow with fellow diners. While waiting for your food, let your creative side run wild using the pencil and doodling paper provided on each table.
M serves a mishmash of French, Italian, and Hungarian fare that includes foie gras pate (€5), duck breast (€13), and chicken paprikash (€11). They don't try to reinterpret these classics, instead sticking to decades-old recipes. The highlights are the soft and flavorful duck rose and the veal osso bucco paired with a creamy risotto (€14). I also enjoyed the light blue cheese salad drizzled with slices of pear.
Although M Restaurant looks like a neighborhood joint—small, homey space with a kind waitstaff—most patrons are actually tourists. Note that the upstairs tables can get a little stuffy in the summer, so try to sit on the ground floor or the tiny outdoor terrace. Reservations are an absolute must. Cash only!
For curious minds, M's moniker pays homage to a collection of poems by György Petri, an iconic Hungarian poet, and friend of the restaurant's owner, Miklós Sulyok, who opened the place in 2000, soon after Petri passed away.