Lake Balaton was rediscovered in the past few years, which means that new spots emerge in a row. This increase in numbers doesn’t necessarily means better quality, so we’re always happy to see places that enrich Balaton and the region with the things they do, with the way they do it. Whether it’s a modest guesthouse where they serve fine dining courses for dinner, or a village pub where even the director of a bank wears slippers, the point is that these places make us feel like Balaton is the best place to be at in the whole world. First we present the promising newcomers of the north shore.
It was only a matter of time before a quality ice-cream parlor popped up among the great restaurants of Káli Basin. Seeing the huge success of Kő fagyi?, we might think that people were having an ice cream withdrawal – but now they will get addicted. Feri Biszku and his family make a gelato that captivates even the Italian guests. They use local fruits and milk, and they don’t hold back when it comes to ice cream. Those with a sweet tooth can have their scoop with freshly baked desserts, and the Káli Basin-vibes (and the ice cream) are transported by Furika, the Balaton-blue Piaggio Ape to the nearby market of Káptalantóti, and sometimes even to Pegazus.
What to try?
The pistachio one that actually tastes like pistachio; the refreshing rosé, and the chili chocolate. It’s also worth to chat a little with Kriszta and Feri because a conversation with them will help you understand what makes Kő Fagyi so special.
The long abandoned pub of this village was brought back to life but it gained more than just a new coat of painting and a stylish decor. Attila Tálos owns vineyards on the edge of the village, and he filled their supplies with the best of the local wines. He also employed a chef, called Katika, whose stuffed paprika is something adored by CEOs of the capital and locals alike. The villagers endorsed the place so much that they volunteered to plant tomatoes in front of the pub.
Why we come back all the time?
This is a place where you can have great encounters with locals over a glass of rosehip cordial and marrow on toast, and you never have to feel ill at ease.
German-Hungarian Fábián Willmann opened his great little deli at Wekerle-telep a few years ago which moved to Örvényes for the summer. Wines, cordials, jams, mueslis, fruits – anything you might want. Fábián personally selects it all, and 70% of the products is from around Lake Balaton, while 30% is from other producers. He can tell us something about all of his goods, as he personally visits the producers to get the products. He invites a renowned chef every Friday, but we only learn the identity of them once we are there.
Why stop for a while?
Because Fábián can tell what we need from just one look.
It’s not a sin to drink beer right at the heart of the Balatonfüred-Csopak wine region especially if it’s quality craft beer. Zsolt Márkovics, one of the most devoted lovers of beer brought more than 80 Belgian and 20 Hungarian beers to Blaha Lujza Street, including the stars of Balaton: Hedon and Stari – we can even have the latter straight from the tap. We can also take away draught beer with us, but that only stays good for four days.
Why is it good that they exist?
They strengthen the community of Blaha Lujza Street: we can bring the beer over to the neighboring Morzsa, or we can take the food over from there to find a beer that goes well with it. Cheers to friendship!
These two guesthouses with a view are the newest adventure of Káli Gourmet Bistro & Delicatesse on the hill next to Köveskál. One of them can house eight people – it has a rustic style and is suitable for families and groups of friends. The other house is a love nest for two. Once you step into a latter, you will want to stay forever. The tiny cottage has everything one might need for a romantic weekend: a soft mattress, lavender-filled pillows, and a jacuzzi with a view of the entire Káli Basin, a silvery piece of Lake Balaton, and the starry sky.
Who should stay here?
Those who can’t get enough of Káli Basin’s tranquility and nice views. The large house can even fit two families, while the smaller wins points for its romantic vibe.
Balatonhenye is a quiet, fairytale-like village with narrow roads, pretty houses and churches. Laura Takács and her family fell in love with the place years ago; they built a house for themselves, and remodeled an old one so that those who don’t want to venture onto such a project can also have a holiday home. The result is so spectacular and heartwarming that Laura has been approached with many interior design assignments since then.
What makes it different?
Laura knows the area like the back of her hand, knows where to buy the tastiest sausages, jams, fruits, and vegetables, and can tell all about the things you should try while you’re there.
The house doesn’t give away any clues about the creativity and taste with which Dóra Vimola furnished the house of Mariska néni. The simple house in the heart of Mindszentkálla mixes modern minimalism with old-time elegance, and the paper lampshades designed by Dóra go really well with the rustic armchairs and cabinets. Dóra managed to refurbish the house without changing it entirely – instead, she repurposed the old objects so that the house kept its character despite the freshly painted walls and the nice textiles.
Why would we spend our holiday here?
There’s enough room for a family or a larger group, and the children can run around the huge garden while we’re sitting at the table – and since there’s such tranquility here, they can even go out to the street.
This guesthouse in Révfülöp was one of the biggest discoveries this summer as in its small kitchen they make courses in the evenings that could compete with the best restaurants of the capital. This is thanks to Klára Tüdős and Moreno Contin, her partner, an Italian chef who worked in Michelin-starred restaurants, who, after all the hustle, wanted to open a micro-restaurant, where he can cook what he feels like cooking with the ingredients he has. We have to book a room to enjoy this, because only staying guests can visit the restaurant. But that’s not a problem, as we like the rooms as well.
Why we recommend it to everyone?
We would give a restaurant to Moreno right now if we could, because he’s so brilliant; however, the minitrattoria is special because there’s no rush or crowds.
Lilla Lukács and her husband Barna Barabás opened a wine terrace next to their winery back in May when there were barely any tourists in the area. It’s typical of them not to think the way others do, and the success of their wines – that we can taste on this tiny terrace – seems to prove their way right. The traffic of Road 71 bypasses them, but it’s still easy to find and access their terrace from the town’s center through Lapostelki Road.
What makes them different?
They designed the little cottage that bears the style elements of the traditional folk architecture of Balaton while remaining modern and elegant – and a little different than all the others.
If we do something, we have to be serious about it: that’s what Tamás Laszip did when he started growing lavender – he didn’t stop until he reached France where he learned which one is the strongest plant, and what needs to be done in order to get the best quality oil out from it. Then he saved a little piece of his land from all the weeds and created one of the most beautiful lavender fields of Balaton. Although the lavender season is over, we can still rest at one of the nearby wine cellars of the hill.
Why pick lavender here?
Because we can see Lake Balaton from an unusual angle and the landscape also shows a different face when observed from Nivegy-völgy.
Some people only dream about doing something in the region while they rest on the Balaton-shore with a glass of wine in hand – and some actually do it. Like two couples, Nóra Petrányi, Norbi Benedek, Judra Ortutay, and Gergő Kiss did: they bought a house in Mindszentkálla, and they turned the once gloomy building into a joyful, colorful, and modern guesthouse where we can feel like we’re visiting friends.
Why we recommend it?
Because here they are happy to see small children and there’s everything they might need.
Fügekert in Zánka used to be a place to visit for a good pálinka, but nowadays people come here for great meals, good talks, and to rest. A musician, Miklós Havas, turned the old pub into a guesthouse, one that is famous for its abundant and personalized breakfasts. Besides the accommodation and the meals, they’re also planning on providing cultural activities like acoustic concerts and literary evenings.
Why we hope they’ll prosper?
Because they give the guests their best and they aren’t lazy to make their wishes come true, even if it means that they have to get a special ingredient for the breakfast.
Translated by Emma Póli