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Even for one of the self-nominated capitals of Lake Balaton, Balatonfüred has a significant number of recently opened restaurants, cafés and bars. Only the other day, we were waxing lyrical about the arrival here of a big hitter from Budapest, Felix. Here are seven other top-quality establishments to catch our eye – hinting at exciting things to come for 2021.
Balázs and Vida Lilla Bocskai, after a long-term detour around Italy, first turned in the direction of food trucks and now they have found their place on the ’Füred’s lively main street, Blaha Lujza utca. Their bistro replaced Morzsa, a restaurant of food-truck origin since moved to Balatonudvari. Balázs and Vida had in mind small-volume, bistro hospitality: “We painted everything, we made every design element,” he said of this intimate maze of small rooms. "Its character is a bit Italian." Looking at the menu, you wouldn’t call it an Italian restaurant per se, as demonstrated by burgers, but you’ll also find saffron-gorgonzola gnocchi. As for drinks, you can count on local wines, Hedon and Stari beers, lemonades and juices. Every day except Wednesday, guests are welcome from lunch to dinner, and the currently appear to be open year-round, except during Advent and Christmas.
Marcell Hámori, ’Füred through and through, opened his cocktail bar in July 2019, perfectly filling the space of the Black Swan here before. He previously worked for four seasons as a bar manager at a five-star hotel in Graubünden, Switzerland. Having learned his chops, he brought his experience and wherewithal home. “I was looking for a place away from the throng but still lively,” said Marcell, who found a suitable rental property on Kisfaludy utca. You can expect to be open all year round, as ÉgSzínKék was operating at weekends last winter. It has also developed a stable, increasingly experimental group of regular guests, which helps with custom in the off-season. Here you can drink really authentic cocktails, some syrup mixes like Prosecco or popcorn are concocted on-site in their small kitchen. The selection of short drinks is outstanding, mainly gins, which changes every week but includes the new local variety from Somló. Many cocktail recipes are their own signature ones but standards such as Mojito can also be requested. Marcell also pays attention to presentation: one cocktail, which he puts together with Havana rum, fig syrup, homemade grapefruit bitter and a few drops of Laphroaig whiskey, is placed in a bell filled with lavender-flavoured smoke. Then there’s the Mese Habbal, the Foamy Fairy Story with ’Füred rosé mousse and tequila. There is a separate list for G&Ts, and each drink poem is accompanied by a fancy name and an explanation of its flavour. They also offer specialty coffee, herb teas, Hedon beer, Fenegyerek brandy, Gyukli brandy, Gyukli, Arias and Sabar wines. For eats, choose from salmon, ham, vegetarian and vegan bagels, cheese platters, dips and cakes. Entertainment includes live music three times a week in summer (jazz guitarists, DJs with chill-out music), board games in the autumn, musical literary evenings, with rum and gin tastings also planned.
The location for this big hitter just arrived from Budapest is the spacious Silver Courtyard on Zákonyi utca. The site, in fact, is even more specific, as the Felix team has picked out a stylishly curved row of shopfronts away from the crowds. Plans call for Felix to operate until the autumn, weather permitting. This is primarily a wine bar, the selection overlapping with that the one on offer at its stablemate in the capital, but with more global varieties, popular in sailing circles, for good measure. “The main consideration was to allow guests to sample wines they couldn’t find anywhere else,” says sommelier Ágnes Fóti. French reds and rosés rub shoulders with top-quality whites from Balaton. Mixed drinks have not been forgotten, with expertly mixed cocktails, while superior snacks include selections of cheeses, hams and dips. It’s not every day you’re nibbling on cold cuts selected by a two-Michelin star chef.
This joint project of the Figula Winery and Oliva Restaurant in Veszprém started in mid-July. The restaurant, which serves cold dishes, is housed at the Tölgyfa Csárda, renovated by this winemaker family and adjacent to the estate. The tavern was an emblematic place for hospitality in Balatonfüred but, according to János Figula, head of the winery, the restaurant had had no owner for a while and its condition was constantly deteriorating. It’s not easy for a family of winemakers to see this whole project through, so they decided to tidy things up the inn and the two old cellars behind it, one dating back to 1773. The Oliva team from Veszprém was asked to run the Nyárikonyha, the Summer Kitchen - the Figulas have an old friendship with Zoltán Mészáros there, organising many wine dinners together. Three types of cold dishes have been created to complement the wines, mainly using local ingredients. It is not yet known whether the menu will be expanded next year, but it is certain that they will expand this year's offer. Of course, you can even pop into Borkert for a glass of wine, and no one will bother you if sit there awhile, musing. Winery and Summer Kitchen will also run in the autumn, but probably at weekends. Check the opening hours before you set off.
We talked to Róbert Rommer in a hidden corner of Balatonarács: you find their café in a small alleyway, walking from the intersection of Arácsi út and Lóczy Lajos utca. A sign on the corner indicates the location, but after dark, a line of lofty light bulbs also directs you. In the back yard of a listed, thatched-roof farmhouse, a counter and a tall structure appear. Róbert made their little café here. Their philosophy is that this is not a superelegant, high-priced establishment, but it provides good quality with artisanal cordials, excellent beer and decent coffee. Kálvária Manufaktúra in Barnag makes the cordials, and their lavender products are also available from a small display cabinet. The café is open all year round, but in the cooler seasons the outdoor space closes and the operation moves into the thick-walled, nearly 200-year-old farmhouse. Smaller events are held in the communal area, wine tastings and smaller live music shows. From this year onwards, breakfast is also served, egg dishes, hot toasted sandwiches, pastries and French toast on the menu. A bonus is their own vegetables: tomatoes and peppers are grown in window boxes. All in all, according to Róbert, a loveable place with plenty of repeat custom.
In the summer of 2019, after a major renovation, this lakeside Italian restaurant opened, with a terrace just overlooking ’Füred marina. Sous-chef Attila Huéber has been in the kitchen since the opening. What is important to know about Il Lago is that it is frequented by the same circle of guests as the renowned Neked Főztem and Szálka from Aszófő. Many are involved in the restaurant trade. They opened a new place because they wanted a slightly more Hungarian approach to the classic Italian menu to broaden the customer base. They work with fresh Italian ingredients, alternating the garnishes. Hausbrandt’s lightly roasted coffee, Swedish Thoreau water and domestic DÉR Juice also feature, not to mention Italian and Balaton wines. Lasagne, aglio olio and risottos are popular, along with hand-baked, stone-baked, thin-dough pizzas, with a children’s menu, too. There is no daily offer, they go with the current menu redrawn every three or four weeks. Their seasonal fruit soup, for example, changes frequently, strawberry cream was being served on the day of this visit. They plan to be open all year, though you might see a ‘Come back tomorrow!’ sign on the door in the depths of winter.
Edit Almás and Tamás Albrecht turned their lives into a real global gastronomic romance, and this was condensed into a tapas and wine bar on the main north-south axis of ’Füred. They lived for decades in the British Isles, toured the Middle and Far East, worked under Michelin-starred chefs, and when they almost considered England their home, they moved home. But not to Budapest, but home home, and the northern shores of Lake Balaton. Here they opened a place where guests don’t need to raise their little pinky when sipping tea but can relax and peruse the unusual menu. At MÓR24, in fact, small dishes form the menu, which features both balls-out Hungarian as well as Far Eastern exoticism. Depending on appetite, we should be pleasantly replete with three dishes and enjoy a swift taste sensation. The menu changes frequently, but there are solid choice such as hummus with vegetables. You can choose from an international wine list that they have selected, or go for craft beer from Somogy on tap. The point is to experiment and not get too tense if the garnishes fly around the dining table.
Already acclaimed earlier in the summer, the Villa Delikát at a central intersection of town is full of top-quality produce from Lake Balaton and abroad, particularly Italy. Zsolt Martonosi soon hit his level, renting an adjoining shop and creating a café one on top of the other, coffees available in the café, snacks sold in the shop. Even though it’s a busy hub, people sit on the terrace, usually over a breakfast – traffic gets more frantic in the afternoon – of egg dishes, ham & eggs, muesli, sandwiches, including a daily suggestion, figs often the key ingredient. But they also make Italian or Hungarian dishes from cheeses, meats and vegetables. His coffee is also Italian, Vergnano, but sometimes other brands also appear. Late autumn opening isn’t guaranteed because the café isn’t winterised.