There’s no doubt that the average Balaton diet will make any self-respecting personal trainer freak out, so this article is for fitness gurus, among others, of course. For a healthy breakfast, you don’t have to go further than the centre of Tihany, and you can even find a raw vegan restaurant in Siófok. The options are aplenty, ranging from wallet friendly versions and organic gourmet restaurants to a bio pension where guest can sleep on spelt pillows. Here are six places to visit.
Palánta Zöld Ételbár, Siófok
The first vegan restaurant of Siófok, originally called Az élet étterme (The Restaurant of Life), opened last summer under the raw veganism banner. The name has changed since then, but the concept is the same: offering great food to vegans, sugar, lactose and gluten intolerant guests under the Water Tower of Siófok. Neither of their raw main dishes, vegan cake specialities and smoothies, which are especially refreshing in the summertime, have ingredients of animal origin, sugar, lactose or gluten in them.
When we visited the restaurant, we tried their macaroni, which had thin slices of zucchini instead of pasta, and the curry rice, in which the substitute for rice was cauliflower. It is true that perhaps not everyone will be full after finishing a 1,200 HUF main dish, so you’ll definitely have room left for desert. The menu has something for all meals of the day from breakfast smoothies to vegan hamburgers for dinner.
Tündérsziget, which was also launched last year, is the first truly good breakfast spot in Tihany, and it’s open all year. Apart from the classic mustard-frankfurter direction dominating Hungarian breakfast tables all over the country, guests can order gluten-free cakes, home-made muesli, avocado cream and zacuscă, cheeses made by local producers and more. And since the restaurant is in Tihany, it also has a signature jam with lavender and peach – this and other jams prepared at Tündérsziget are sold at the market in Káptalantóti. A dish costs around 600-1,000 HUF.
Végh-Pataki Rétesház és Szendvics Mekka, Keszthely
We know from sauna master Zoli Szabó, our informant in Keszthely, that this is the place to go for top-notch strudels and fantastic burgers. What’s more, the eatery is located in a central spot, right next to the palace. We have good news for those trying to hunt down healthy food: some dishes are made in the bacon-onion spirit, but there are paleo treats as well. We haven’t tried it yet, but their strudel cake is apparently already quite popular in Keszthely, especially as a birthday centrepiece. We did test their paleo muffins, and we couldn’t recommend them more. The paleo and gluten-free cakes are in the 500-800 HUF price range. The shop is open every day of the year.
More and more restaurants around Balaton care about quality ingredients, but if any place deserves a special spot on a list like this, it’s Malackrumpli. Tamás Járosi and his wife Lívia also run the organic farm Fekete Bárány in Balatonhenye, which supplies most of the ingredients used at the Balatonfüred bistro where every component must bear the bio prefix – that’s why they buy fish from the Hortobágy region. They run a Saturday market called Biobalaton, which is an exciting mix of vegetables, strictly from local farmers, chutneys, beer mustards, craft beers and excellent Balaton wines. It’s true, finding a market by Lake Balaton is not hard at all, but if you want fresh ingredients from backyard gardens, talk to the vendors to find out where the produce comes from.
Zöldház Bio Panzió, Gyenesdiás
Gyenesdiás has been known for its award-winning beaches until now, but the town has adapted to healthy living so perfectly that it is in fact home to the first organic pension in Hungary. You may well ask what makes a pension organic, and here’s the answer: you can lay your head on spelt pillows at night, and you’ll only see food made from organic ingredients on your plate. The pension, which is a health centre as well, offers services like massages, organic beauty treatments and pilates classes. The prices at the restaurant are not unreasonable at all, a vegetarian stuffed pepper dish costs 750 HUF. The organic shop of the pension sells a varied selection of pâtés and creams: for the price of around 600-1,000 HUF you can take home such treasures as sunflower cream or lentil pâté.
A couple moved from Budapest to Lovas, and the Balaton Uplands soon had its own apartment restaurant – an excellent one as well. When we tested Manduláskert last summer, we sampled creations like chilled melon and peach soup, a main dish with home-made pasta, garlic, pine nuts and sage and lavender Gugelhupf. We probably don’t even need to add this, but most of the ingredients and herbs come from their own garden, while the cheeses and meats are procured from local farmers and farmers’ markets.
You cannot pick dishes, as guests are served a complete menu. Currently, they offer three different menus: a so-called heat menu, a filling menu and a green menu. Each party of foodies will get the same menu, but meat lovers eager to please their vegetarian friends or family members won’t be hungry after finishing off a green-themed selection of dishes, as all menus contain welcome bites, a soup or appetizer, a main dish and desert. A menu costs 7,000 HUF per person. One thing to remember is that you should make a reservation because the terrace can only accommodate six people for the time being.