Öcsi étkezde

Opened in 1981, Öcsi étkezde is a teeny-tiny, lunch-only eatery in Budapest's outer District 8, a bit away from the city center. The engine of this modest mom-and-pop restaurant is Erzsi, who runs the kitchen all by herself and occasionally pops into the dining area with flour-dusted hands to ask a regular patron whether he wants a schnitzel with his lecsó. Feri, her husband, sporting a white lab coat, multitasks by taking orders, serving food, and chatting with customers, most of whom he knows by name. Despite pushing 70, he retains a youthful presence and handsome features.

The daily-changing, handwritten menu consists of low-priced, reliably prepared Hungarian classics. The made-to-order meat dishes ("frissensültek") and the vegetable stews ("főzelék") are usually the highlights. There's nothing trendy or inventive about the place, but if you feel like taking a break from downtown and immersing yourself in a working class, salt-of-the-earth neighborhood while also enjoying tasty Hungarian food, it's hard to think of a better place than Öcsi Étkezde.

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