“Can you recommend a good spot at Lake Balaton?” If we had a public beach for every time someone asked this from us, we would bathe for free on both the north and the south shore. Following the tradition of the past four years, together with MOL Nagyon Balaton we collected a hundred of our favorite bars, restaurants, museums, and sports clubs where it’s nice to sit down, to ask for another round, and from where, for some reason, it’s always hard to leave. Once again, our list is subjective, and contains veteran establishments as well as noteworthy newbies.

From Balatonvilágos to Balatonföldvár

  • Hedon Brewery and Apartments – The brewery that brought the mullet back in fashion on its labels.
    Address: Balatonvilágos, Petőfi utca 40 
  • Déli Part BBQ – The meat, the smoke, and the beard are holy here. They started out in Szántód, now they continue in Siófok.
    Address: Siófok, Vámház utca 2
  • Villa Gréta – Zsuzsanna Szilágyi used to bake in a kitchen is Nagykőrös, now she’s at Petőfi Promenade. The Cremeschnitte is worth standing in line for.
    Address: Siófok, Petőfi sétány 38
  • Mala Garden – A fusion of Far Eastern-Mexican-Hungarian cuisine. And what a fusion it is!
    Address: Siófok, Petőfi sétány 15
  • Sió Halsütő – A master chef fries the bream in this traditional fish place.
    Address: Siófok, Vitorlás út 1–3
  • Széplaki Lángos Buffet – Recommended by the manager of a renowned Balaton-restaurant, this is a must-have place.
    Address: Siófok-Balatonszéplak-felső, Hungária utca 27/B
  • Chef Beach – Chefs are not only in the name, but also behind the counter. The menu consists of lángos, craft burgers, and spaghetti Bolognese with beef confit and red wine.
    Address: Zamárdi, Gáspár András utca 46
  • Halas Karcsi's Fish Grill – The namesake of the place, "Fishy Karcsi" simply fries fish in his buffet and people love it.
    Address: Zamárdi, Mókus utca 1/A

  • Gyümölcs Wellness Center – An award winning pálinka is made from juicy fruit - says the wunderkind of pálinka-making.
    Address: Zamárdi, Csap utca 31
  • Völgyhíd Café – A café under the bridge: great cakes, homemade syrups, and a view on the viaduct.
    Address: Kőröshegy, M7 Exit 121
  • Pub–lik – Balatonföldvár plus party equals Pub–lik: sailors from Budapest and local cool–kids party together until dawn. They have lunch during the day and beer in the afternoon on the comfortable terrace.
    Address: Balatonföldvár, Széchenyi utca 10
  • Viharsarok Sailing Center – Surfing isn’t a sport, it’s a lifestyle. You’ll learn this here.
    Address: Balatonföldvár, Somogyi Béla utca, Keleti Beach
  • Kultkikötő – When open-air theater means something that won’t bore you to death.
    Address: Balatonföldvár, Bajor Gizi sétány 1
  • Marina Gyros & Hamburger – The cult dock buffet is the secret center of Balatonföldvár. Sailors, surfers, rosé fröccs, and an amazing crew.
    Address: Balatonföldvár, the dock on Somogyi Béla utca
  • Csigaház Restaurant – Csigaház keeps representing the traditional checkered tablecloth and goulash soup line amid the high waves of stylish street-food buffets.
    Address: Balatonföldvár, the dock on Somogyi Béla utca

From Balatonszárszó to Kéthely

  • Attila József Memorial House – No dusty furniture, only an interactive and emotional journey into the world of noted Hungarian poet Attila József, who died in Balatonszárszó in 1937 –and the circumstances of his death are still unclear.
    Address: Balatonszárszó, József Attila utca 7
  • Kistücsök Restaurant – The king of Balaton restaurants, and it deserves the title.
    Address: Balatonszemes, Bajcsy–Zsilinszky utca 25
  • Bujdosó Winery – No need to duck when a member of the winemaking-sailing Bujdosó family throws you a bottle of their wine Horgony (meaning anchor in Hungarian).
    Address: Balatonszemes, Gárdonyi Géza utca 2
  • Chateau Visz – you can visit your non-existent count uncle here. Balaton fine dining halfway between Felsőmocsolád and Balatonlelle.
    Address: Visz, Berencsepuszta.
  • BL Yachtclub & Apartments – Concerts, bathing elephants, classic cars, burgers – something's​ always happening here.
    Address: Köztársaság utca 36–38
  • Márton Confectionery – Márton, the old gentleman, who's still in good shape.
    Address: Balatonlelle, Rákóczi út 239
  • Geleta Confectionery – A young rival aspiring to snatch the crown from Márton. You’ll probably have difficulty finding a free parking spot nearby.
    Address: Balatonlelle, Rákóczi út 269
  • Rock Burger – Retro 2.0, or why couldn't they make Deep Purple burgers next to the beer benches of a retro spot?
    Address: Balatonlelle, Rákóczi út 194
  • Nádfedeles Halsütő – A classic fried bream joint, always featured on the top lists of best places for fish.
    Address: Balatonlelle, Fogas utca, behind the train station

  • Garamvári Vineyard – Even the enemies of bubbles will learn here that champagne is not only for French aristocrats.
    Address: Balatonlelle, Kishegyi út 42
  • Hegyi Csárda – Freshly baked goods straight from the garden oven. Lamb and a view.
    Address: Balatonlelle-Kishegy 0107/31
  • Paletta Bistrobar and Vinoteca – Local ingredients on the menu, experienced sailors on the terrace.
    Address: Balatonboglár, Kikötő utca 6
  • Árkád Ice Cream Parlor – It's not retro, it's time traveling; and an exceptionally good kind of time travel.
    Address: Balatonboglár, Dózsa György út 37
  • Hubertus–Hof Hotel and Restaurant – If game meat and Angus beef is your jam, your place is in Hubertus.
    Address: Balatonfenyves, Nimród utca 1
  • Fenyves Yacht Club Hotel and Restaurant – A modern port and restaurant with a location that's​ worth a visit. It has a brother in Alsóörs in the north shore.
    Address: Balatonfenyves, Mária utca 1
  • Florida Ice Cream Parlor – The champions of ice cream on the south shore. They've already won the award for the Ice Cream of Balaton twice.
    Address: Balatonmáriafürdő, Rákóczi utca 85
  • Kristinus Wine Estate – The high tech winery of the south shore with a wine cinema, a top–notch​ gastro workshop, and a slightly Austrian vibe. Oh, and their wines are also pretty good.
    Address: Kéthely, Hunyadi utca 99

From Keszthely to the Káli Basin

  • Balaton Museum – Have you ever seen a hake or lángos as a museum object?
    Address: Keszthely, Múzeum utca 2
  • Amazon House Visitor Center – Walking through this place you realize that it’s possible to turn moderately interesting travels of nobility into a brilliant exhibition.
    Address: Keszthely, Kastély utca
  • Helikon Palace Museum and Balatoni Borok Háza and Kastélypince Restaurant / Festetics Palace – The boring excursion spot turned into an exciting sight. And that’s not only because we can taste the wines of the region below the castle before/after/instead of the exhibition.
    Address: Keszthely, Kastély utca 1
  • Paletta Bistro – Made from local ingredients, the famous burgers of Dani Bezerics are now available in a hidden port. This restaurant has party vibes on the shore of Lake Balaton.
    Address: Keszthelyi Yacht Kikötő
  • Öreg Harang Tavern – Hévíz is a very touristy place, but Öreg Harang is the proof, that you can still get great meals here. According to Gault&Millau, they were Hungary's best small restaurant in 2014.
    Address: Hévíz–Egregy
  • Karám Food Stand – They make really great lángos here.
    Address: Gyenesi Lidóstrand - Gyenesdiás, Oppel Imre sétány
  • Vonyarcvashegy Water Ski and Wakeboard Course – Waterskiing behind a motorboat is generally forbidden on the lake, but everything is allowed on one of the most popular wake courses of Balaton.
    Address: Vonyarcvashegy Beach
  • The Spot Bar & Grill – Should I eat a burger or lángos? Or maybe the two at the same time?
    Address: Vonyarcvashegy Beach.
  • Bock Bistro Balaton – famous master chef Lajos Bíró brought his culinary art to Balaton.
    Address: Vonyarcvashegy, Helikon utca 22
  • Oszi bácsi's Bream Fry Joint – Uncle Oszi is probably the most famous fish fryer of Balaton. And that’s not even his name.
    Address: Szigliget, Soponya utca/Beach
  • Attila Bakos’ Family Restaurant – The photographs of famous regulars turn this restaurant of special dishes into its own museum.
    Address: Szigliget, Iharos utca 4
  • Várkávézó Ice Cream Parlor – Climbing up to the castle, you will be distracted by the fruitiest ice creams you’ll ever taste. The pistachio is from Sicily, the hazelnut is from Piedmont, while the peach is from the area.
    Address: Szigliget, Kisfaludy utca 26
  • Laposa Winery – All the sailing competitions look like the battle of paper boats from their terrace.
    Address: Badacsony, Bogyai Lajos utca 1 

  • Pláne Badacsony – Every great modern Balaton-building would deserve such a cool wine bar. Wines from the Badacsony-region and great coffee.
    Address: Badacsonytomaj, Park utca 18
  • Kishableány – A must-have local favorite located in a terraced modern-retro building. Beach food!
    Address: Badacsony, Park utca 1
  • Patent Hostel – You had too much wine in Badacsony and want a great place to stay at? Your place is on the pallet couch under the fairy lights.
    Address: Badacsonytomaj, Füge köz 12
  • Csendes Dűlő Estate – Scarily good Kéknyelű with an awe inspiring view. All of this in full tranquility.
    Address: Badacsonyörs, Hegyalja út 43
  • Búzalelke Pékesség – She came to Szent György-hegy, she stayed, and became a baker. The only thing better than the story of Bea Kovács is her bread.
    Address: Kisapáti, Bem Apó utca 11
  • Szászi Cellar – This terrace will turn you into an impressionist even if you don't care about art.
    Address: Szent György-hegy

  • Gyulakeszi Car Rest Stop – They don’t have a proper name and address, but their marrow on toast is worshipped.
    Address: Gyulakeszi, the end of Kossuth utca
  • Pura Vida Dine – There’s place on the menu for black shells and tiger shrimp as well as for sturgeon from Keszthely.
    Address: Tapolca, Fő tér 6-8
  • Istvándy Winery – The poster-like estate of the Istvándy’s is even more popular than their wines; you can have a picnic next to the grey cattles here. If that’s not enough, they even have an experience center is the heart of Badacsonytomaj, where you can blend wines.
    Address: Káptalantóti, Hegymög dűlő
  • Liliomkert Market – The most cultic market of Balaton. Although there’s a constant threat of getting closed, the entire Balaton Uplands is here on Sunday mornings.
    Address: On the edge of the village of Káptalantóti, towards Zánka
  • Átjáró Grill – The tablecloth is checkered, the beer is cold, and the taco is spicy, just like in Mexico.
    Address: Ábrahámhegy, Badacsonyi utca 21
  • Hullám Hostel – The Balaton version of the well-tried hostel recipe with all its props from tired world travelers to friendly bartenders.
    Address: Révfülöp, Füredi út 6

From Káli-medence to Tihany

  • Káli Kapocs – The mix of a rural pub and a hip bar of a city with crowds arriving for secret gigs.
    Address: Mindszentkálla, Petőfi utca 11
  • Kikötő – If this is a hostel, then we want to grow old in a hostel.
    Address: Mindszentkálla, Jókai Mór utca 7
  • Pegazus (Closed) – A young couple from Budapest turned an old hotel into a cultural center. They even have contemporary exhibitions.
    Address: Szentbékkálla, Kossuth utca 39
  • Mi a kő - The House of Káli-medence's Wines – The creation of sculptor-winemaker Tamás Trombitás isn’t a statue, but a restaurant-lounge-guesthouse with a spectacular success.
    Address: Köveskál, Fő utca 25
  • Kővirág Pension and Restaurant – An incredibly popular place among urban dwellers on vacation.
    Address: Köveskál, Fő utca 9/A
  • Káli Art Inn – Some people make others' rustic-romantic dreams come true. That’s how Káli Art Inn restaurant/inn was born.
    Address: Köveskál, Fő utca 8
  • Káli Kövek Winery – It paid off to leave the parties of Budapest and the sporting-goods company behind. That’s the message of winemaker Gyula Szabó’s Welschriesling and wine terrace.
    Address: Köveskál, Fő utca 11 
  • Pálffy Wine Terrace – It’s easy to get the “Hungarian Tuscany” vibe here: walk up the small hill next to the winery with a glass of wine and sit down.
    Address: Köveskál, Fő út 40

  • KerékBár – A bicycle stop with elderflower cordial and bread with dripping. One of the most popular of its kind. Köveskál,
    Address: Kővágóörsi út 10
  • Pajta Gallery and Restaurant – Essential Káli Basin, accommodation and gallery with a World Press Photo award winning owner and grilled goods.
    Address: Salföld, Petőfi utca 9
  • Neked Főztem – A beach buffet where, instead of the traditional lángos, you’ll find a kitchen that puts many restaurants into shame. Now they have a gastro pub up the hill, next to the church, if you want to sit down.
    Address: Zánka Beach, Zánka, Fő utca 7; soon you’ll be able to visit them in Balatonfüred as well.
  • Fészek – This is what a rural restaurant is like. If you want to have a nice lunch, visit this Zánka unit for crafted meals. You can almost hear the waves of Lake Balaton in their nice rooms.
    Address: Zánka, Vérkuti utca 2
  • Fövenyes Outdoor Cinema – The Los Angeles-Fövenyes axis: when a new movie comes out in Hollywood, they immediately screen it at the small outdoor cinema of Balaton. Not kidding!
    Address: Balatonudvari-Fövenyes, Gesztenye sor 5
  • Kalóz – They set the buffet-revolution to motion, and they keep renewing themselves ever since. On two locations.
    Address: Fövenyes Beach and Badacsonytomaj Beach
  • Zománc Bisztrócska Restaurant – A local lady to the right, a Mercedes-owner to the left, both of them hunched over a red pot, not really getting what’s so special about this. Well, the fact that they’re both here.
    Address: Vászoly, Vazul utca 8
  • Nagyi Kertje Tea Shop – The Tea Shop moved from the depths of the Sajkod forest to the beach of Aszófő, and they brought the idyll, the grandmother, and the cookies with them.
    Address: Aszófő, Remete utca 2

From Tihany to Csopak

  • Tihany PIAC placc – Artisan cheese, sausages, antiques, a bistro, and some contemporary art in the park next to the port.
    Address: Tihany, dock.
  • SUP Center – Step on the board, grab the paddle, and explore the romantic side of the Tihany Peninsula.
    Address: Tihany, Club Tihany, Rév utca 3
  • Ferenc Pince Csárda – The best Hungarian cuisine of Tihany, a bit further away from the buzzing if the town and the port.
    Address: Tihany, Cser-hegy 9
  • KOGART Tihany – High culture amid vibrant bazaars.
    Address: Tihany, Kossuth Lajos utca 10
  • Tündérsziget – If you’d only have breakfast at one place in Tihany, this should be the one.
    Address: Tihany, Kossuth utca 29
  • Malackrumpli – An artisan-organic restaurant in the best sense. The realm of organic farmer Tamás “Black Sheep” Járosi moved to Tihany this year.
    Address: Tihany, Kossuth utca 14
  • Baricska Csárda – How to turn a closed-down inn into a star-restaurant? The way Chianti’s owners do. The big brother of the inn, Chianti, brings fine dining to Veszprém all year round.
    Address: Balatonfüred, Baricska dűlő

  • Bistro Sparhelt – They opened it, people loved it, it closed down. It reopened in “upper” Balatonfüred, and now is among the best of Balaton.
    Address: Balatonfüred, Szent István tér 7
  • Bergmann Confectioneries – True coffee house traditions, with good mille-feuille; and they have two units.
    Address: Balatonfüred, Zsigmond utca 1 and Petőfi Sándor utca 64
  • Matróz – Sea fish, tapas, wine, beach food: one of the trusted new-wave spots.
    Address: Balatonfüred, Écsi László utca 5
  • Nem Kacsa Restaurant – The owners of this place already had another unit when they opened this one at the port. It’s good that they did.
    Address: Balatonfüred, Zákonyi Ferenc utca
  • Kredenc Wine Bistro and Hello Tourist garden – one should only make a place of wine, music, and food the way András Dobai does here.
    Address: Balatonfüred, Blaha Lujza utca 7
  • Morzsa Bistro – They left their legendary food truck for the legendary Blaha Lujza Street.
    Address: Balatonfüred, Blaha Lujza utca 9
  • Vaszary Villa – Contemporary painters and a cozy garden café only a few-minute of walk from everywhere.
    Address: Balatonfüred, Honvéd utca 2-4

From Csopak to Balatonakarattya

  • Vígmolnár Csárda – Representing traditional inns persistently. The wheel of the watermill turns with the time, all year round.
    Address: Csopak, Kőkorsó utca 1
  • Code Zero – Code zero is a type of sail. Code Zero is a great grill container-bar at the pier of the dock in Csopak.
    Address: Csopak, Örkény István sétány 8-16
  • Guruljon az élet – You'll find a bike stop between Füred and Csopak with hammocks. Very hippie and cool. Fresh meals, tools, and you can stay for the night.
    Address: Between Balatonfüred and Csopak along Road 71
  • Jásdi Wine Cellar – If we’re talking about the north shore and Welschriesling, then we must mention Jásdi. And if we mention Jásdi, we have to have it here, on the wine terrace that has a view of Lake Balaton.
    Address: Csopak, Arany János utca 2
  • Márga Bistro - Szent Donát Manor (Closed) – A successful winery and a restaurant that aims for the best. Wonderful Furmint and Welschriesling.
    Address: Csopak, Szitahegyi utca 28
  • Homola Wine Terrace – What will a winemaker from Tokaj do with the famous Welschriesling? And what does a DJ do in the vineyard? The coolest view of the area.
    Address: Paloznak, Vincellér utca
  • Sáfránkert Restaurant – Honest, rural hospitality, lunches that stretch far into the afternoon, traditional flavors, 21st century technology, and the tranquility of Paloznak. They have a terrace with wonderful view.
    Address: Paloznak, Fő utca 1

  • Lovas Kikötő – If we add a lot of old knickknacks that is a good design, right? It works here for sure.
    Address: Lovas, Fő utca 19
  • Carpaccio Restaurant – The chef neither is Italian, nor a chef, yet this is one of the best Italian restaurants at Lake Balaton, far from the pizza-spaghetti axis.
    Address: Alsóörs, Szent István utca 40
  • Kerekes Winery – Two globetrotting caterers came back home to manage the best global cuisine of the area hidden in a hillside.
    Address: Balatonalmádi, Vödörvölgyi út 20
  • Villa Millennium – A century old Balaton villa was transformed into a picture-perfect guesthouse.
    Address: Balatonalmádi, Mikszáth utca 5
  • Szabó Bakery – The star bakery of Balatonalmádi. They are artisan without knowing it.
    Address: Balatonalmádi, Baross Gábor út 43
  • Pörc - Hungarian Delicatessen – Meats, cheeses, and sausages from a chef whose family has been in the business for five generations.
    Address: Balatonkenese, Fő utca 23

You can find the TOP 100 list in MOL Nagyon Balaton’s official magazine. Get your free copy at the festivals participating in the event series.

Translated by Emma Póli