Csóka Fészek in Balatongyörök was renewed a year or so ago. The new owners have managed to overcome the gap between regulars’ habits and high-end cuisine based on Hungarian ingredients. Now, along with one of the most beautiful views in Hungary, you can enjoy a top-quality lunch.
Whether it’s a special occasion or a normal weekday, the kitchen atop Szépkilátó lookout point delivers an outstanding performance. The terrace seats have a gorgeous view of Badacsony, Fonyód, and the entire western basin of Lake Balaton, so find yourself a table there – or in the tasteful interior.
Csóka Fészek opened almost three decades ago and it has had a few owners since. Balázs Zsida, his partner, and his family, have been managing the restaurant since 2017. The kitchen is currently led by experienced chef Sándor Kerekes, also responsible for the selection of Őshonos Delikát in Budapest, and previously worked at Almárium Bistro in Budapest and Sáfránkert in Paloznak.
Csókafészek was open in winter, too, with plenty of guests. The reputation of their great mangalica dishes (such as the mangalica shoulder with grilled polenta and vegetable ragout) and the heavenly homemade desserts has reached as far as Szombathely, Veszprém and Győr.
It’s always risky to switch from a more traditional approach to a premium one, but the Zsida family successfully managed to provide a few classics on the menu. According to Balázs, though prices might be higher, you won’t see frozen fries either. On the other hand, the fried farm chicken basket has 380 grams of meat in it which is literally half a chicken.
Although they don’t insist on using only local ingredients – mainly because there aren't enough of constant quality – they do have sturgeon and goats' cheese from around Balaton. The other ingredients, like the mangalica or grey cattle meat, also come from renowned Hungarian producers. Almost 80% of their wines are from the Balaton area or Zala – but they also have the classics from other Hungarian wine regions.
The restaurant's pet goats, penned-in, provide the entertainment as diners gaze down from grill terrace that has just opened: its selection is different from the one in the main restaurant, with smoked trout, duck, grilled pork and grilled goats' cheese. Live music is also being lined up..
The owners have plans for the long term and will try to bring the best out of the location – but, as Balázs said enthusiastically, they are only just starting out.