Hands down, Rosenstein Restaurant serves the best traditional Hungarian, and Hungarian-Jewish food in Budapest. Tibor Rosenstein, a legendary figure in Budapest's gastronomy, opened the restaurant in 1996. Today, it's still run by the family, with the kitchen currently helmed by his son, Róbert Rosenstein.
Most of Rosenstein's long menu is a hat-tip to classic Hungarian fare. Patrons can sample expertly prepared goulash soup (€5), beef stew (pörkölt), paprikash (€12), and stuffed cabbage (€9) – traditional Hungarian foods that have changed little over the generations. The hearty catfish paprikash (€12) is another standout, which comes sprinkled with crispy specks (Rosenstein isn’t kosher). A recurring item on the menu is goose liver, whose best expression is the pan-fried foie gras paired with potato croquette and showered in a Tokaji sauce (€19).
Of the Jewish-influenced dishes the matzo ball soup (€5) is a must. On Fridays and Saturdays, Rosenstein serves cholent, the signature Sabbath dish exhibiting rich flavors thanks to hours of slow-cooking. The baked beans and pearl barley are topped with different cuts of beef or goose here (€12). Don't plan on doing much else the rest of the day after this hearty meal.
All in all, though pricey by Budapest standards, Rosenstein is a must for those looking to try authentic traditional Hungarian flavors alongside Jewish-Hungarian dishes. Note that Rosenstein is located a bit outside the city center and reservations are an absolute must.