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The Top Balaton Spots This Winter

Wine & Gastronomy - Articles

Friday, November 7, 2014 — Ádám Kiss

Is there life by Lake Balaton after summer? Yes, there is.The Nyitott Balaton event series' autumn edition justified it by having drawn masses, just like in the spring. We participated in the series with movie screenings and you voted for the top wineries, hotels and restaurants that stay open also in the winter. Here is the list of winners, voted by welovebalaton.hu readers.

Restaurants, winner: Kistücsök

Photo: Blanka Sebestyén /welovebalaton.hu

Kistücsök Restaurant

8636 Balatonszemes, Bajcsy Zsilinszky út 25.
Kistücsök Restaurant on facebook

It is pretty difficult to say things about the Balatonszemes-based Kistücsök that have not been said before, so we won't try. What we love about the top restaurant of the Balaton is that it has managed to establish a balance between the elevated air of fine dining and the unpretentious vibes of small restaurants in terms of food and drinks, price and design as well. We highly recommend the "Restaurant's Choice' and the region's flavours sections of the ever-changing menu. It is always a good reason to return to Balatonszemes.

Restaurants, runner-up: Bock Bistro Balaton

Photo: Bock Bistro Balaton

Bock Bistro Balaton

8314 Vonyarcvashegy, Helikon utca 22.
Bock Bistro Balaton on facebook

It had been eagerly anticipated, and the most popular creation by celebrity chef Lajos Bíró, the Bock Bistro finally arrived to Lake Balaton in February 2014, The freshest member of the restaurant chain, after the successful Buda and Pest-side joints, the Helikon Taverna Restaurant in Vonyarcvashegy has since been rechristened to Bock Bistro Balaton. On the hill above Vonyarc, the culinary pleasures of Bock are accompanied by the pleasures of a terrace with a view, the 4-star Zenit Hotel and a captivating wine museum. The menu comprises of Bock specialities and typical local dishes.

Restaurants, 3rd place: Kerekes Winery

Kerekes Winery

8220 Balatonalmádi, Vödörvölgyi út 20.
Kerekes Winery on facebook

Hidden on 'the other side of Almádi', the Kerekes Winery advertises itself as a fröccs terrace. It would, however, be a grave mistake to identify it simply as fröccs place, even though its quality wine selection and its pleasant patio overlooking a wooded hillside gave it the necessary qualifications. But there are others like that around Lake Balaton. What you won't find elsewhere is the wasabi-salmon caviar toast; the food selection is quite varied from Asian dishes, through pizza baked in harmony with the strictest Italian traditions, to the charcoal-grilled American steak. The emphasis is on variety and experimenting, and the unique opportunities based one each dish, which are sometimes accompanied by music.Í

Hotels, winner: Hotel Azúr

Photo: Hotel Azúr

The chances that you won't find a room here are minimal: Hotel Azúr in Siófok is the largest 4-star hotel by Lake Balaton: it has 3 buildings, 222 rooms, a bowling alley and a wellness department the size of a small town spa. the hotel by the Siófok boat stop has its private beach with a sizeable park. It also has three restaurants and bars, plus a grill terrace in the summer.

Hotel Azúr**** Premium
Adress: 8600 Siófok, 2/c Erkel Ferenc Street

Hotels, runner-up: Zenit Hotel Balaton

Photo: Zenit Hotel

Zenit Hotel Balaton****

8314 Vonyarcvashegy, Helikon utca 22.
Zenit Hotel Balaton**** on facebook

The restaurant is usually a weak link in the services hotels offer. This is definitely a misconception in the case of Hotel Zenit, which operates hand-in-hand with Bock Balaton Bistro, on top of Vonyarcvashegy's hill. The interactive wine museum in the Festetics Cellar is yet another plus in terms of services, not that Hotel Zenit had anything to be ashamed of, anyway. The wellness pool is suitable for swimming, there is salt room, and pleasant, quality rooms. The place is ideal for weddings, but we also met people who chose it for their divorce.

Hotels, 3rd place: Hotel Bonvino

Photo: Krisztina Bordács /welovebalaton.hu

Hotel Bonvino Wine & Spa****

8261 Badacsonytomaj, Park utca 22.
Hotel Bonvino Wine & Spa**** on facebook

As opposed to your average Badacsony hotel, the attraction of Bonvino lies (partly) in its relatively small size. The 4-stars are accompanied by a home-like milieu that is definitely more informal than anything large hotels can offer: here, you won't feel lost among elevators, corridors and numbered buildings. The minimalist-modern design spiced with wine-themed elements is not at all cold. Bonvino refers to itself as a wine hotel, and not only on account of the innumerable wine bottles used in decoration. It has its own wine bar and their programme guide includes wine tastings and wine tours as well, while the majority of the top wineries of Badacsony lie within a few minutes walking distance of the hotel.

Wineries, winner: Gutman Wine Cellar

Photo: Blanka Sebestyén / welovebalaton.hu

Gutman Wine Cellar

8627 Kötcse, Mező utca 7.
Gutman Wine Cellar on facebook

László Gutman had originally been studying to become a jurist, but (luckily for us) his path took an entirely different direction. Gutman Wine Cellar stands at a few kilometres from the south shore, in Kötcse, a settlement boasting of several wineries. The wines of the cellar are recommended primarily to the fans of the artisan-organic trend. Wine tasting is recommended to everyone: you can opt to have pálinka, and various dishes from the cheese platter to bogrács-cooked meals along with your wine.

Wineries, runner-up: SKIZO Winehouse

Photo: Blanka Sebestyén /welovebalaton.hu

Skizo Winehouse

8263 Badacsonytördemic, Szent István utca 24.
Skizo Winehouse on facebook

At the SKIZO Winehouse in Badacsontördemic, there is no hillside to admire the lake from. There is, however, a pleasant street with a recently opened winehouse and two vintners, Balázs Sike and Sándor Mező who opted for a youthful and spectacular brand image. Their strikingly vivid labels can be spotted in numerous places. The winehouse also follows the 'schizophrenic' train of thought, looking classical on the outside and modern on the inside. The SKIZO is not constantly open fro October to April, but you can always visit to buy or taste wine if you make advance arrangements with them.

Wineries, 3rd place: Laposa Winery

Photo: Laposa Winery

Laposa Winery

8261 Badacsonytomaj, Római út 197.
Laposa Winery on facebook

Badacsony is brimming with excellent wineries, but still it is the name Laposa you bump into most frequently. Bence and Zsófia Laposa are always there, wherever you can taste great wine, while the Laposa wines are available at a great number of wine shops and supermarkets. Once you're n Badacsony, though, it is worth your time to climb up to their terrace in the hillside, where you can taste a glass of Laposa Friss or 4 Hegy, munch on the snacks and enjoy the company of either Laposa sibling, all-year-round.

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