It's a fact of life in Budapest that few restaurants offer Danube River views, and even those that do are rarely known for gastronomic delights. Szegedi Halászcsárda, flanked by docked Viking river cruises, is a notch above its kind. The specialty here is the Hungarian fisherman’s soup, halászlé, especially the famed version from the south-Hungarian city of Szeged.
The soup's distinguishing feature is a thick, almost creamy broth, accomplished by a laborious process of pressing the fish-laden liquid through a sieve to amplify its flavor. Piquant paprika lends a bit of heat to the crimson-hued fish broth, which comes with soft fillets of carp (the “small” portion for €5 is still generous). For apps, try the catfish fritters with onion rings and crusty bread (€6). If you have some stomach space left, follow Hungarian tradition and order a plate of cottage cheese noodles with pork cracklings (túrós csusza; €6).
While the fisherman’s soup is keeping you busy, remember to also look up and enjoy the picture-postcard views of Budapest. Due to its location near the river cruises, most patrons at Szegedi Halászcsárda are tourists, which explains why a live gipsy band performs Hungarian folk songs every Wednesday through Saturday, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday during lunchtime.