Although their prime target audience is the sailors of Lake Balaton, the restaurant of the port of Alsóörs welcomes guests arriving from the mainland as well. Alsóörs Marina Restaurant is a subtly elegant, cozy place, where we can eat among the sailors and taste the nautical experience.
The lampshades that have a design reminding of the registration number on boats are hanging on ropes – this is the first thing we spot upon entering. The tables are separated by a similar structure. There’re leather armchairs and wooden tables everywhere, while the bar has a wooden surface. The place feels warm and safe. It’s only the beginning of the sailing- and the high seasons, so right now the restaurant is quiet and tranquil. This effect is further enhanced by the subdued lights, and we immediately feel like sitting down. The emptiness shouldn’t mislead anyone: it’s definitely necessary to make a reservation, because the place will be full once summer arrives.
We sit at a table with a view on the new pier and port that were finished last summer. There’s a cold wind outside so we only admire the port from inside – when the weather is nice, the terrace is also open. Looking at the menu, we instantly realize that the kitchen, led by executive chef Gergely Orosz, has a rather large selection. They don’t really serve local specialties – we can spot creamy gnocchi with crunchy sausage and gypsy pork steaks with pickled vegetables as well. Since it’s an elegant restaurant, don’t expect the traditional version of the steak: the meat literally melts in our mouths.
„On average, we change the entire menu every 2-3 weeks, depending on what ingredients we can get, and what fresh ideas pop into my mind” – said Orosz. “We don’t really try to use locally sourced ingredients, instead we want to use quality ones.” The prices dance on the top of the middle price category, just enough so that stay bearable (soups, appetizers are available for 1,000-1,700 HUF while the main curses for 2,500-7,000 HUF; 1dl of bottled wine costs 300 forints).
Péter Boldizsár, the hotel manager, said the following about the pricing: “Our clientele can typically be divided into three categories. By default, sailors come to us. On top of this, we would like to tempt people in from the streets – it’s a public port, anyone can come in. And since at the hotel, which also operates here, there’s a possibility to have corporate events, our third largest group is the companies.”
The sun is about to go down, so it’s time for dessert: after our gypsy steak we admire the dessert called white chocolate mousse with blackberry. We sit back feeling full, and we talk to the manager about the past. It’s been a madhouse since the opening last year. Alsóörs Marina and Fenyves Yacht Club Hotel, its brother hotel and restaurant, and Perlaki Pub of Balatonfenyves were all launched at the same time. “We didn’t have a lack of exercise” – says Boldizsár. He and the chef regularly commuted between the north and the south shore. Their efforts – and of course, the work of the rest of the staff members – seem to pay off.
Although they don’t have a complete season behind their backs yet, the number of guests indicates that people slowly but surely start to pick up on Marina Restaurant and the hotel as well. They tell us that they don’t have any special advertisements for the complex. Besides a low number of pamphlets, the sailors and the guests who arrive from the mainland are the ones who spread the news about the place.
There’re double rooms in the hotel above the restaurant, these are priced between 18,000-40,000 forints (for two people), depending on what season it is. The price includes the breakfast, too, but we can also request half board, in which case we’ll also receive a four-course main meal. The hotel manager tells us that some rooms can be connected, so they can basically form a suite that is ideal for larger families as well. There’re also extra beds, of course, if needed.
Boldizsár also emphasizes the port’s new features: “There’s space for 200 boats, and what makes it special is that the technical background enables the ships to remain stored on water even in winter. It's also important to mention the possibility of mooring electric boats.” Winter storage on the water is truly a rare thing; its price may seem a lot at first glance, but on the long run, its better for the owners as they can save the costs of two craning a year.
Sipping on the rest of the wine, we admire the building from the outside: it looks even more elegant with the evening lights on, yet it still isn’t too much, it doesn’t make us feel uncomfortable. The lights inside twinkle invitingly, urging everyone to sit down in the friendly, quiet environment. This is the place to meditate on the state of the world while gazing at the golden strip of the setting sun over the lake’s surface or counting the masts of sailboats.
Translated by Emma Póli