Roping twisted by the wind, rocking waves, and inviting armchairs and sofas welcome you to the marina restaurants of Lake Balaton that are mostly open the public as well as to sailors. The offers range wide: there are set lunch menus, hamburgers or you can opt for the sous vide duck breast that is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. In the summer, we tested seven restaurants (both from the north and the south shoe) where prices are reasonable but you still feel as if you were in Monte Carlo.
A few notes before we start:
- We didn't always arrive by sailboat, still we were granted entry to most of the spots
- Panorama is guaranteed
- The majority of the dishes are prepared from fresh, local produce
- Breakfast is also recommended
- You can run into live music or movie screenings in the evenings
BL Bavaria Yacht Club, Balatonlelle - the versatile
The revision of the basic menu every 3 or 4 weeks and and the weekly Chef's offer guarantee the variety and the seasonality of the dishes at the BL Bavaria Yacht Club in Balatonlelle. We started with a wine cream soup, a worthy favourite of the crowd of regulars (not exclusively comprised of sailors), which is quite similar to the BL Hamburger in the sense that it always lives up to the high expectations of believers. The locally prepared and baked buns hold a patty that was also made on spot, other delicacies procured from local farmers, and home-made pickled cucumbers. The main courses cost around 2500 HUF, but the 1350-HUF set lunch menu could easily become your choice as well, especially as it doesn't make room for compromises in terms of quality. In addition to Balaton wines, you can also browse a number of bottles from major Hungarian wine regions, and the lemonade is also a must. The latter also comes in a version that is prepared with cucumber syrup and fresh cucumbers, which might be the perfect addition to a siesta spent lounging on the rattan furniture, leisurely watching the water and the boats. True to being a marina-based spot, the restaurant also serves a filling breakfast, there are music and children's' programmes Friday and Saturday evening, and you can also watch a movie here after sunset.
Paletta Bistrobar and Vinoteca, Balatonboglár - the Hamburger Tycoon
Balatonboglár's marina and its rocking sailboats are worth a visit on their own, but since you're there you shouldn't miss out on the hamburger (1500-2000) enclosed in buns sprinkled with Roman coriander, comprised of fresh patties of ground pastrami, tallow and smoked mangalitza, plus various vegetables - at the Paletta of Dani Bezerics. You can also find delicious freshly made sandwiches and a daily changing range of pastries here. Once you've managed to choose any of the dishes starting at the price of 7-800 HUF, you might want to try Hugo (a fröccs with elderberry syrup) or a lemonade with fresh strawberry and basil - it knocked us dead. The vibes are just right for sinking into the comfy pallet furniture under the sail shades and once you do the thought of a fröccs will suddenly become irresistible. As the majority of marina-based spots, Paletta also follows the sailing season and is only open from spring to autumn.
Bistro Classico, Keszthely - the Newest
Bistro Classico is a brand new story: they opened but a month ago. The image of the place is still evolving, but it already shows that the place next to the Libás Beach of Keszthely is going to be a youthful, family-friendly one. The management wishes to stick to the positive sense of bistro regarding food as well: they promise homely but modern dishes. They don't plan to have a permanent menu, but a daily offer of 5-6 dishes. We tasted their home-made pasta with rocket and blue cheese cream, crowned with a spicy vanilla-tomato sauce. The plum-apple pie took after our own grandma's. They plan on staying open all-year-round, have autumn movie screenings and future culture programmes.
Bistro Classico (closed)
Address: 8360 Keszthely, Phoenix Marina
Kikötő Restaurant, Szigliget - the Homelike
The third cult spot in Szigliget, apart from Oszi Bácsi's Bream Fry Joint and Attila Bakos 's Family Restaurant, is theKikötő Restaurant. The heart and soul of the decades-old family restaurant is Marcsi, who helps wherever she's needed - in the kitchen or at the mooring berth. The restaurant on the covered patio is surrounded by a huge park, where you can move the table around to your liking, the Lake is the limit. The menu is domineered by homelike flavours. Marcsi believes that they stole the heart of sailors by offering traditional flavours instead of glamour. We tried one of the specialities of the house, „Szigligeti borzadály ahogy Szívós István szereti” (meaning: Szigliget gruesomeness a la István Szívós). The filling portions come at the price of 1500-2500 HUF.
THE Bar, Tihany - the Exclusive
You'll find one of the truly exclusive spots of the Balaton on the eastern side of the green and hilly Tihany Peninsula. The bad news is: the bar at the end of the pier is only accessible from the direction of the land for the members of the Tihany Boating Association; the good news is: entry is unlimited from the water - you can even paddle in to THE Bar on a board from the nearby SUP Center. The menu is dominated by light summer dishes, including salmon steak and bream. The majority of the meat dishes are prepared sous vide, so they preserve their freshness and remain soft, which was duly confirmed by the duck breast we consumed here. The fruits and vegetables are bought at the Balatonfüred marketplace, just like the goat cheese that comes from Szentantalfa. THE Bar is open every day from mid-June , and on the weekends in the low seasons. Otherwise, the races held in the marina are also a good time to pay a visit. For those who like to party with torches, floating candles and live music, the full moon parties will be perfect. Note that the main courses cost 2500-3500 HUF here, and dogs kept on leash in harmony with the marina regulations are very much welcome.
Menta Bistro, Balatonfüred - the New Wave
Menta Bistro fits perfectly into the row of new wave spots of Balatonfüred. The huge terrace overlooking the marina and the wide range of Balaton wines make this place ideal for an evening outing. The abundance of dishes is unusual for a bistro: the menu lists pastas, salads, fish and steaks among other items for 2-3000 HUF per course. Their irresistible hit is the hamburger with crunchy French fries, they have special soft buns made for the purpose. Leave the Tagore Promenade behind and pop in for a home-made lavender lemonade in the summer heat. Within their possibilities, the Menta will cook you any meal on demand. After the summer, they are still open - though in a limited mode, on weekends - until mid-autumn.
Menta Bistro (closed)
Address: 8230, Balatonfüred, 4 Zákonyi Ferenc Promenade
Code Zero, Csopak - the Street Kitchen of Lake Balaton
We recently discussed the gap-filling street kitchen of trendy design, accessible from land and water both. This grill bar that opened a month ago probably owes its swift popularity to the quality Balaton wines and the combinable grill dishes it offers. You can select your version of meat, side dish and salad for a standard price of 2500 HUF. As for meat, the menu includes beef, chicken, shrimp and zander, marinated in various sauces. Vegetarians could only go for the goat cheese this year, but the manager made promises to expand their options next summer. The beef ribs marinated in port wine and vegetable sauce, served with soft jacket potatoes or polenta would be a sin to miss. This haven of gastronomy in Csopak with its tables under the willow is still open on the weekends until the end of September, and re-opens full force in next May.
Balatonfői Yacht Club, Balatonkenese - the Gourmet
Despite popular belief, the restaurant of the Balatonfői Yacht Club is not exclusive to sailors. The marina full of yachts and sailboats is not at all a terrible sight, but the flavours here are also definitely inviting. The expertise of chef Bálint Kocsis has been a guarantee for homelike dishes and modern cuisine based on reliable ingredients for 10 years now. The mind behind the Csikos-jams considers keeping the tökfőzelék and the lecsó (squash stew and a Hungarian version of ratatouille) as important as having the peanutbutter bulgur served with avocado and green tea creme as a daily special. Vegetarian food for him means more than breaded cheese, and he does neither disappoint vegans. The prices are down-to-Earth, with the exception of beef dishes, main courses cost 2000 HUF.