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Our top 10 Balaton burgers

The story began a few years ago when good hamburger joints started cropping up in Budapest at the pace Csopak produces gold medal-winning Rieslings. Let’s not jump to the conclusion that this is the height of the kind of beach food we talk about so often, but it would be a shame not to point out: Balaton has also washed up some excellent burgers recently. We included two categories on our list: there are some beach food eateries that broke away from the frozen meat-mayonnaise direction, and there are restaurants that don’t mind the beach food label, and take hamburgers very seriously.


Bistro Classico – Keszthely

We don’t know why, but Keszthely has become the town that no self-respecting hamburger fan is allowed to skip. Two completely different people whip up calorie bombs from top-notch meat in two completely different parts of the town. Bistro Classico has everything you’d expect to find at a marina restaurant: a gorgeous view, the beach within arm’s reach, a cosy terrace and food that is a good couple of stars better than the usual Balaton grub.  

Owner Vilmos Kreil thinks there’s nothing wrong with importing ingredients from abroad: that’s where he gets vegetables from, but the buns must strictly be baked on site. We’ve never heard of such a thing as a wild boar patty and rucola instead of lettuce in a burger, but we thought it worked well with the slightly hot seasoning.

Bistro Classico (closed)
Address: 8360 Keszthely, Phoenix Marina

  • What kind of meat? Wild boar and beef
  • How much? 1,600 HUF
  • Ingredients? Both foreign and Hungarian
  • And the bun? Baked on site
  • Vegan option? Nope

BL Yachtclub – Balatonlelle

Balatonlelle’s Bavaria is a marina, an elegant apartment complex and a restaurant at the same time. Manager Balázs Tóth always comes up with an extreme idea: last year he brought some elephants to Balaton for a swim, and he’s also organized a veteran car procession is Balatonlelle.  

He’s a pioneer when it comes to burgers too: the buns were already produced on the premises last summer, and that’s a practice they intend to keep up this year as well. What is more, they even mix a bit of cheese into their patties. The end result is quite a filling dish – after finishing off a burger, you’ll definitely need a rest before you can go back to the beach. Vegans won’t have to flee: their burgers will have grilled halloumi instead of beef (1,990 HUF).

What kind of meat? Beef
How much? 2,490 HUF
Ingredients? Hungarian
And the bun? Baked on site
Vegan option? Yes

Fröccsterasz – Keszthely, Kishableány – Badacsony, Paletta – Balatonboglár

Paletta opened about a year ago in Balatonboglár, and since then Dani Bezerics has come, seen and supplied the western part of Balaton with burgers. Now the hamburgers are made at Keszthely’s Fröccsterasz and Badacsony’s Kishableány terrace too – the latter was launched with the specific aim of becoming the Hungarian ambassador of beach food with buns made on the spot, local ingredients and Balaton wines to go with them.  

What the three restaurants have in common is a burger tailored specifically for the venue, sold at a price similar to the ones set by burger revolution veterans downtown. The premium version made from Angus beef is available everywhere – the meat comes from a farm outside Balatonfenyves.

What kind of meat? Beef, Angus beef
How much? 1,300 HUF – 2,000 HUF
Ingredients? Local
And the bun? Baked on site
Vegan option? Nope

Malackrumpli – Balatonfüred (Closed)

Tamás Járosi has run a pretty awesome organic farm in Balatonhenye for years, and he’s also created the perfect place of sale for his produce: a bio market and bistro called Malackrumpli, both in Balatonfüred. Last week Malackrumpli got the ball rolling with its tasty dishes made strictly from organic ingredients, and luckily last year’s hit burger is not missing from the menu either.  

Járosi often says the preparation time for his mangalica burger is two and a half years – that’s how long it takes to raise the cattle and grow the vegetables. We think it’s worth it, as it is very hard not to fall in love with the bun produced on the premises, the signature sauce and the fried onion-zucchini topping. They’ve even made a promise to not only make the mangalica version we tried, but also a beef variety.

What kind of meat? Mangalica for now, Angus later
How much? 1,800 HUF
Ingredients? From the Fekete Bárány organic farm
And the bun? Baked on site
Vegan option? Yes

Matróz – Balatonfüred

One of Balatonfüred’s new wave restaurants opposite Silver Yard is tucked away so much that at first we only noticed the nearby villa – full of paintings. Matróz is a laid back venue for casual drinks with stripy sun loungers and sleek design, where top-notch cuisine is as much part of the package as the astonishing range of Balaton wines. The burger of Matróz was one of the most expensive ones we tried, but the quality is very much in harmony with the price: the juicy meat, the cheddar, the bacon and the world champion sweet potato chips are all excellent.  

Chef Dávid Molnár has not run a kitchen before, but he’s trained at Budapest Bistro and Prime, which is a quite impressive letter of recommendation. If you’d like your patty done medium here, you won’t be met with puzzled looks. The thing that totally rocked our boat in a good way was their vegetarian burger (1,990 HUF) served in a beetroot bun with goat cheese and celery chips. It definitely deserves a special prize.

What kind of meat? Beef
How much? 2,290 HUF
Ingredients? From Budapest
And the bun? Baked on site
Vegan option? Hell yes

Pura Vida Dine – Tapolca

Yes, the town already has a world-famous cave, but it was high time a restaurant with international cuisine appeared on the Mill Pond shore in Tapolca. Our prayers have been answered: the owners of Pura Vida moved home from Spain and shook Tapolca up with such explosive Mediterranean flavours that nothing less than a bull fight will do for next year.  

The food is mostly inspired by the Mediterranean experience, but they by no means disregard where the restaurant is actually located: farm style chicken breast and black mussels are equally important on the menu. The same goes for the burgers: even their basic burger is made from Angus beef, but they have a fish burger too, which comes in a bun painted black with squid ink. For the vegan burger they fry the goat cheese from Káptalantóti in Panko breadcrumbs.

What kind of meat? Angus beef
How much? 1,990 HUF – 2,190 HUF
Ingredients? Hungarian and foreign
And the bun? Baked on site
Vegan option? Yes

Söptei Winery and Restaurant – Csopak

Csopak is a dangerous zone in terms of gastronomy: picking a favourite from the trio of Jásdi Wine CellarSzent Donát Manor – Márga Bistro and Söptei Winery – the restaurant families have awarded their own Michelin stars to for years – is just as hard as finding your way at the Káptalantóti market for the first time. The deer burger made from meat supplied by local hunters is obligatory for burger fans: it also has home-made tomato jam, Irish cheddar, aioli and the usual vegetables, also from local producers.  

You’ll not regret taking a detour off Road 71 and ending up in the Csopak hillside for this eatery – especially since the Söptei team hardly ever finishes a wine contest without medals. One thing is important: in the summer season booking 1-2 days in advance is highly recommended because the restaurant is usually jam-packed in good weather.

What kind of meat? Deer
How much? 2,490 HUF
Ingredients? From local suppliers
And the bun? Baked on site
Vegan option? Nope

Beach food eateries

Kalóz – Fövenyes

We bumped into the prototype of beach food stand 2.0 on the isolated Fövenyes Beach: mass production is not a reality yet, but we hope it will be soon. Attila and his team have run Kalóz for 12 years now, and every year they try to steer as far away from the hake-frozen burger trend as possible. This year could bring a breakthrough for them, as they have put together a burger that will make gastro buffs forget all about their favourite Budapest haunts.  

The Kalóz burger is no gourmet creation, but it’s a more than fair deal for 1,500 HUF. The meat is provided by Jenő Kocsis of Pörc, which in itself is a guarantee of excellence, and the vegetables are procured from local farmers. The only element that isn’t produced locally is the bun, but they will be happy to change that when they find a supplier that is good enough. It’s a prime spot for dinner, not least because of the proximity of the Fövenyes Outdoor Cinema. Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay a beach entrance fee if you drop by during the day.

What kind of meat? Mangalica
How much? 1,500 HUF
Ingredients? From local suppliers
And the bun? From Budapest for now, but that’s intended to change
Vegan option? Nope

Neked Főztem – Zánka

Laypeople may say “it’s easy for her, she’s married to the chef of Kővirág”. Not quite so. Orsi and her team had to fight really hard to be able to rent a stand right next to the entrance of the Zánka Beach – there they started cooking something that is the exact opposite of the beach food we all know. A prime element of that new direction is the burger, which incorporates a bun from Nagyvázsony and a mangalica patty from Zánka. The cheddar melting onto the patty makes for a truly memorable experience, which could become even better in time once they come up with their own sauce or get home-made ketchup from a local producer.  

Similar to what Kalóz is doing a few kilometres away, the team here also strives to get their hands on ingredients produced nearby. The reinterpreted coleslaw with dill, coriander and celery and the potato wedges that come with the hamburger deserve honourable mention. The entire package costs 1,290 HUF, so hat’s off to this restaurant. All we wish for is that the burger be a permanent item on the always changing menu.

What kind of meat? Mangalica
How much? 1390 Ft
Ingredients? From local suppliers
And the bun? From a bakery in Nagyvázsony
Vegan option? Nope

Marina Gyros & Hamburger - Balatonföldvár

Half a minute (if that) from the Balatonföldvár harbour, Marina doesn’t try to be anything more than what it is, that is an everyday beach food stand. They know how to do beach catering the right way: they put tasty meat into the gyros, and you won’t get a stomach ache if you try any of their pancakes. The burgers are very much in line with the overall high standard – we loved the salmon version the most. The bun is not chucked into the microwave, it is toasted, then come the lettuce and the sauce, and finally the salmon, which is as salty as it should be.

What kind of meat? Salmon
How much? 1,590 HUF
Ingredients? Hungarian
And the bun? Not baked on site
Vegan option? Nope

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