Norbi Étkezde Budapest

Norbi Étkezde is a tiny self-service eatery in Budapest's Újlipótváros neighborhood, not far from the city center. Every morning, they freshly prepare a host of traditional Hungarian dishes, mostly soups and fried and breaded meats, so that by lunchtime they can feed the crowds with incredible efficiency. The line at midday can stretch outside the building — a sure sign of impending deliciousness.

Start with the flavorful pork bone soup (orja leves), arriving with bites of tender meat still attached to the spine. For mains, let Norbert and Andris behind the counter nudge you to what they believe turned out best that day. As an unusually customer-friendly gesture, they offer patrons half-portions too, which are still sizeable and cheaper of course. Most guests oblige. This means you can have a satisfying, two-course meal for €4.

The only downside here is the lack of space. You will have to eat by the elevated tables lining the walls of the narrow space, while a cluster of customers stand right behind you, waiting to order. Things are less cluttered past 1:30 p.m. Note that Norbi Étkezde is cash only and they're closed on weekends.

We visit all places incognito, pay for our own meals and drinks, and write independent reviews.