I again want to again thank vanderb and others for the many posts about Eastern Europe in the past. We just returned from Prague (6 days - see our separate post) and Budapest (3 days), and we wanted to report on some recommendations from Chowhounders, and add our own. For reference, our own preference is that we desire great value in fresh, well-prepared, and tasty meals. We prefer to find solid values at pubs, local hangouts, and more casual spots where the experience and the value are self-evident. We have found over the years that our sweet spot for a great dining experience is in a middle-upper range, and that some of the places that feature "celebrity" chefs fail to deliver on value, usually because of price. One of us will try anything, and the other eats no pork, red meat or shellfish.
In Budapest, we had a lovely breakfast at Central Kavehas. This old world cafe probably should have been our choice for a dinner as well, but we first went there on our departure morning. The tasty eggs were among the best either of us had anywhere else, and the coffee was flavorful. Service was attentive and friendly, although there was some issues with the translation of what we asked for. I believe it was my failure to understand how the menu was presented to us.
Most of our other breakfasts were taken at Jegbufe, a bakery shop on the road leading to the Elizabeth Bridge, right next to the Ferenciak ter Metro station. The cinnamon pastry were wonderful, and although this little bakery shop could use some extra seating area, we spent just a few florint for wonderful pastries and coffee each morning as opposed to a $32 belly buster breakfast available at our hotel.
For dinner, we were very impressed with the Borkonya Winekitchen. Featured in the 36 hours feature of the NY Times, we had fresh, tasty food, the duck was very impressive, and I had pork loin. The selection of wines by the glass was augmented by a knowledgeable waiter, who also made available to us a wine that was not listed on the menu. The restaurant was busy as soon as the hour hit 7:00 pm, and it was a fun experience.
We also went to Cafe Gerloczy and Cafe Alibi for dinners. The former was a very formal place, with very stiff service, although having a harp playing in the restaurant was a nice addition to the meal. The meals, duck breast and veal liver, were good. Cafe Alibi was deserted the evening we went there, so there was no buzz of activity. The crispy duck legs I had were terrific. All in all, however, I would say that there are probably other places that would be more attractive for visitors. We don't want to be negative, as the meals were okay, but there are probably places that are more special than the ones we chose.