You will need to trek out to the outer part of District 7, a working class Budapest neighborhood, to experience the elaborate meals prepared by chef Ádám Csaba at Olimpia Restaurant. Instead of a fixed menu, they use a blackboard to present the daily-changing dishes, which vary based on seasonal ingredients. The result? Absolutely superb.
Dishes might include a wonderfully soft and crispy fried chicken liver with a light wasabi mayonnaise, fresh rhubarb, and zucchini. Or thinly sliced, soy-sauce-marinated mangalica pork set in a corn puree bedding with a side of grilled cabbage. The list goes on. Olimpia's menu is best described as inventive Hungarian fare with Asian touches.
The setting—a spartan below-ground space with less than a dozen crammed tables—is modest compared with the exquisite food experience. No linen tablecloth or gentle background music: here the food takes the center stage. Chef Csaba occasionally pops in the dining room to present a dish himself.
For the dinner tasting menu, the dishes are unknown until they arrive; the only giveaway is the ingredients listed on the blackboard. At €30, the seven-course meal is less than half of what you'd need to caugh up at comparable restaurants in downtown. Prepare yourself for a long meal. For a shorter feast, go for the three-course lunch prix fixe for €11, which is among the deals to be had in Budapest. Cash only!