M Restaurant

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, unleash your creative side using the pencil and doodling paper provided on each table.

M serves a mishmash of French, Italian, and Hungarian fare, and also many expertly prepared offal dishes you're unlikely to find elsewhere in Budapest. For example, I've had delicious paprika-strewn veal bone marrow here, and also pork brains poached in red wine (€5). If you don't find these appealing, try the duck breast with cabbage and quince, or the beef stew, a Hungarian classic (€12). The kitchen doesn't try to reinterpret these classics, instead sticking to decades-old reliable recipes. In the summer, go for the light blue cheese salad drizzled with slices of pear.

Although M Restaurant looks like a neighborhood joint—small, snug space with a kind waitstaff—many tourists have discovered it already. 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 the title of a collection of poems written 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.

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