Fishy food in Budapest
Finding good seafood can turn out to be a fishy experience. We tried out various restaurants in Budapest guided by two healthy intentions: place must have fish and veggie options. A guarantee to find both is obviously at Japanese restaurants, so this is were we started our journey in Budapest.
Are you a Flexitarian soulmate? Then you might like these restaurants:
Fuji is a traditional Japanese restaurant with a Japanese owner/chef who we talked to about Japan and of course, food.
Location: 1025 Budapest, Csatárka street 54. That is a remote area in Budapest, on the Buda side – to get there by public transport is tiring but worth it.
The owner is a sweet young female from Ehime in Japan and prepares the meals herself. It is the only restaurant in Budapest that has traditional Tatami rooms. It was also at this place that I found my favourite Japanese dish: raw tofu. That was such a neat surprise because Japanese tofu is sooo difficult to find in Europe!
Tomek got Saishoku Bento, I had sushi and the raw tofu. Add the green tea, the 10% service charge and we are talking over 10 000 Ft. That’s a lot for a restaurant in Budapest but I don’t regret a single forint.
What? You think I can’t pour green tea holding the pot way above the cup, like a Japanese without spilling it? Watch me! Eh, let’s focus on the sushi.
At Fuji I felt a bit like in Japan, too. We got this complimentary desert from the chef, it was delicious but apart from the fruit I have no clue what it was. Japan does that to you.
So this is a place that looks fancy and has great picture-book menus, where you can actually see what you order on big photos, like in Japan (except that in Japan you would look at plastic models of all food and drinks, on top of that).
Location: Budapest, Oktogon Square 3.
Planet Sushi lures passers by due to its prime location but it is more about looks than quality. This is sushi for the one time tourist and fast food fare lovers. It does not even come close to real Japanese food, the type you can get at Fuji.
If you like ketchup and mayo, you will like this sushi which almost drowned.
When you provide an illustrated menu for customers, you are aiming high. In Japan, the point of pictures and models is to assure the customer that you will get exactly as promised. A misunderstood rarity in Europe, a menu picture usually means that the restaurant owner just happen to have found some pictures he liked on google images.
This is the reason why most restaurants do not provide pictures of their dishes on menus.
Kanki desert is crêpe with fried banana and ice-cream.
Edamame. Boy, do I miss the handy edamame packages from the convenience stores in Tokyo.
Up-side: you get what you pay for. The menu sets are 2 950 Ft for soup, main course and desert. I probably would have frequented that place as a student a lot.
Menza is popular with the locals as it is with tourists. The restaurant has a retro 70s decor and is located on a square with plenty of other restaurants and bars, close to the Opera. It mainly serves traditional Hungarian meat fare but does have some veggie options and satisfies with a few fish choices.
Location: 1061 Budapest, Liszt Ferenc tér 2.
The word “Menza” in Hungarian means canteen, which is not what they aim for, I think. But the food fare is a bit like you would get in a canteen, similar to what you get at IKEA. Which, for my understanding, means usually good, basic dishes and that’s what we got.
I think we all know that the most traditional Hungarian drink is not wine but lemonade. In Hungary ‘lemonade’ is a fresh drink, which does not mean fizzy drink. It tastes yummy and is nothing like Fanta, Sprite or whatever Coca Cola has invented to poison society.
Menza is great for some relaxed people watching.
Tomek went for salmon dumped on potatoes with a rather bland Waldorf salad and I had trout dumped on vegetables and spinach.
The other day it was goat cheese on salad.
And tuna carpaccio.
Bill check. Prices are not studenty but very decent.
I sort of lied. Tomek never checks the bill. He was checking on work. Life of a freelancer.
During Design Week Festival, one could explore the world of food design and gastro culture in Budapest’s trendiest places, such as Fruccola – a healthy choice juice bar with salads, hot dishes and some good vegetarian choices.
Location: 1052 Budapest, Kristóf tér 3.
We read about Fruccola’s promising menu of Hungarian fishes and seasonal vegetables created for the Design Week and tested.
Grilled fish skewer with polenta cubes on couscous and fresh autumn salad, pear poached in white wine and covered with nut crumbs and a small glass of white wine for 1 690 Ft a set (good deal). The fish was very fleshy and heavy, to be fair, I have to try another dish another time to make up my mind about Fruccola.
Overall, my impression is that Fruccola is better than average, but more ‘good’ than ‘very good’.
If you like good Indian food, you will want to try out this restaurant. It serves delicious and authentic meals, has plenty of vegetarian options and reminded us of the great meatless food in Rajasthan and Kerala. Indigo serves seafood but Indian food is awesome in such a way, that you don’t crave meat!
Location: 1066 Budapest, Jókai utca 13.
We went to India for five weeks, which was our gate to vegetarian cuisine – without making restrictions on food we liked nor complicated changes in our diet. The rich variety of vegetarian dishes made us realize that we can live without meat comfortably. And truthfully, most of the dishes were a lot tastier than the meat based fare served in Poland and Germany.
Indigo’s tikka masala and their naan variety is to die for. Prices are surprisingly reasonable.
All Indian dishes go with a great lassi, like these superb mango lassis.
Hungarian cuisine is a lot about goulash and stew. But there are plenty of (tastier) veggie choices, which we easily searched and found using the Happy Cow.
Budapest is a capital that serves and pleases all. Cultural, historically, culinary – I cannot imagine anyone not liking it here!