We Love Balaton and MOL Nagyon Balaton have rounded up the 50 top bars, restaurants, museums and attractions around Balaton. Here are the promising newbies and the old favourites from the the north and south shores.
A Konyhám Balatonfenyves – This place was the big discovery of the summer of 2017. The five-star view is paired with burgers at the beach at Balatonfenyves.
Bakos Attila Family Restaurant Szigliget – The photographs of famous regulars turn this restaurant with its special dishes into its own museum.
Balaton Wine House / Castle Cellar Restaurant / Festetics Palace Keszthely – You can taste the wines of the region below the castle before/after/instead of the exhibition.
Bergmann Confectioneries Balatonfüred – True coffeehouse traditions, with good mille-feuille at two different locations.
Bistro Sparhelt Balatonfüred – The crowds visit upper Balatonfüred for a reason: this restaurant is one of the best Balaton has to offer.
Bock Bistro Balaton Vonyarcvashegy – Famous master chef Lajos Bíró brings his culinary art to Balaton.
Bujdosó Winery Balatonszemes – Watch out when a member of the winemaking/sailing Bujdosó family throws you a bottle of their wine, Horgony, 'anchor' in Hungarian.
Csigaház Restaurant Balatonföldvár – Csigaház represents a long tradition of check-clothed restaurants offering goulash and other classics, amid the rows of stylish street-food buffets.
Fenyves Yacht Club Hotel and Restaurant Balatonfenyves – A modern port and restaurant with a location that's worth a visit. It has a brother in Alsóörs on the north shore.
Florida Ice Cream Parlour Balatonmáriafürdő – This champion of frosty treats on the south shore is twice winners of the annual award for best Balaton Ice Cream.
Fügekert Zánka – This restaurant has a peaceful atmosphere and a breakfast worthy of kings.
Garamvári Vineyard Balatonlelle – Even those who snub bubbles will learn here that champagne is not only for French aristocrats.
Gyümölcs Wellness Center Zamárdi – This award-winning pálinka brandy is made from the juiciest fruit – so says the wunderkind of pálinka-making, Gábor Pach.
Hedon Brewery and Apartment Balatonvilágos – The brewery that brought the mullet back into fashion on its labels.
Hegyi Csárda Balatonlelle-Kishegy – Freshly cooked produce straight from the oven. Lamb with a view.
Homola Wine Terrace Paloznak – What will a winemaker from Tokaj do with the renowned Olasz Riesling? And what does a DJ do in the vineyard? The coolest view in the area.
Hubertus–Hof Hotel and Restaurant Balatonfenyves – If game and Angus beef are your thing, your place is Hubertus.
Istvándy Winery Káptalantóti – The Istvándys' picture-postcard estate is even more popular than their wines – you can have a picnic while gazing at grey cattle.
Jásdi Wine Cellar Csopak – If we’re talking about the north shore and Olasz Riesling, then we must mention Jásdi. And if you're drinking Jásdi, you have to do it here, on a wine terrace with a view of Balaton.
Káli Art Inn Köveskál – Some people make others' rustic-romantic dreams come true. That’s how Káli Art Inn restaurant/inn was born.
Káli Kapocs Mindszentkálla – This mix of a rural pub and hip urban bar has crowds arriving for secret gigs.
Káli Kövek Winery Köveskál – Living proof that it paid off for winemaker Gyula Szabó to leave Budapest behind and set up here. Lovely terrace, too.
Kalóz Balatonudvari – They set the buffet revolution to motion, and have kept improving and renewing themselves ever since. They serve fish and chips, Kalóz burgers and brilliant daily soups at two locations.
Karolina Café Balatonfüred – A popular confectionery/café, and perfect meeting place by a waterfront garden in Balatonfüred. The desserts of this family business are made according to the grandmother’s recipe.
Kistücsök Restaurant Balatonszemes – The king of Balaton restaurants, fully deserving of the title.
Kő Fagyi Mindszentkálla – The father makes the ice cream that the children and their mother sell at the counter in the garden of an old farmhouse.
Kővirág Pension and Restaurant Köveskál – An popular place for those coming from Budapest on holiday.
Kredenc Wine Bistro and Hello Tourist garden Balatonfüred – This is all about wine, music and food – just the way András Dobai conceived it.
Kristinus Wine Estate Kéthely – This high-tech winery on the south shore with a cinema, a top-notch gastro workshop and a slightly Austrian vibe. The wines are also pretty good.
Liliomkert Market Káptalantóti – Balaton's cult market. Although under regular threat of closure, Liliomkert attracts half the population of the Balaton Uplands on Sunday mornings.
Malackrumpli Tihany – An artisanal/organic restaurant in the best sense. It's the realm of organic farmer Tamás “Black Sheep” Járosi, who moved to Tihany recently.
Mi a kő - The House of Káli-medence's Wines Köveskál – Sculptor and winemaker Tamás Trombitás has created a spectacularly successful restaurant-cum-winery-cum-guesthouse.
Márga Bistro - Szent Donát Manor Csopak – A popular winery and a restaurant that always aims for the best. Wonderful Furmint and Olasz Riesling.
Neked Főztem Zánka – It started out as a beach buffet but soon became a renowned bistro next to the church at Zánka.
Nem Kacsa Restaurant Balatonfüred – The owners of this place were already running another venue when they opened this one at the port. Definitely the right decision.
Öreg Harang Tavern Hévíz-Egregy – Öreg Harang is proof that you can still get great meals in Hévíz. Gault&Millau once gave it top prize as Best Small Restaurant in Hungary .
Pajta Gallery and Restaurant Salföld – Essential Káli Basin destination: comfortable accommodation, a gallery whose owner holds a World Press Photo award, and a restaurant offering grilled delights.
Paletta Bistrobar and Vinoteca Balatonboglár – Local ingredients on the menu, experienced sailors on the terrace.
Pálffy Wine Terrace Köveskál – It’s easy to sense the local Tuscan atmosphere here: walk up the small hill next to the winery with a glass of wine and take a seat.
Papa Áron Pince Hegymagas – A British-Hungarian DJ and his Latvian partner opened their cellar to share what they eat with others. The vegetables come from the garden while the wines come from the hill. No wonder Szent György-hegy is so popular.
Pazar Coffee Company Balatonfüred – Pazar left the unnecessary new-wave stuff in Budapest and brought great coffee to Füred.
Pub–lik Balatonföldvár – Balatonföldvár plus party equals Pub–lik: sailors from Budapest and local kids party together until dawn. The place offers lunch during the day and beer in the afternoon on the comfortable terrace.
Sáfránkert Restaurant Paloznak – Honest, rural hospitality, lunches that stretch far into the afternoon, traditional flavours, 21st-century technology and the tranquility of Paloznak. They also have a terrace with wonderful view.
Tihany PIAC placc Tihany – Artisanal cheeses and sausages, antiques, a bistro and contemporary art in the park next to the port.
Várkávézó Ice Cream Parlour Szigliget – Climbing up to the castle, you will be distracted by the fruitiest ice creams you will ever taste. The pistachio is from Sicily, the hazelnut from Piedmont, while the peach is from Balaton.
Vaszary Villa Balatonfüred – Contemporary painters and a cosy garden café only a few-minutes' walk from anywhere.
Vígmolnár Csárda Csopak – There’s a thatched roof and a traditional oven, but this is no tourist trap. The wheel of the watermill turns with the time, all year round.
Villa Gréta Siófok – Zsuzsanna Szilágyi used to bake in a kitchen in Nagykőrös – now she’s on prominent Petőfi Promenade. The cream slice is worth queuing up for.
Villa Millennium Balatonalmádi – A century-old Balaton villa has been transformed into a picture-perfect guesthouse.
Vonyarcvashegy Water Ski and Wakeboard Course Vonyarcvashegy – Waterskiing behind a motorboat is generally forbidden on the lake, but everything is allowed at one of the most popular wake courses on Balaton.
This top list was published in the 2018 edition of MOL Nagyon Balaton Magazine.