Sub-Mediterranean café vibes, fine dining, French fries with mayo, mall cinema with mosquitoes, newcomers and cult places. In 2014, all this belonged to Balaton. While we also bumped into lousy lángoses and hamburgers with questionable patty, we could also show you quality spots. Take, for example, these ten below.Strictly subjective content!
One of the newcomers and instant hits of 2014 was Káli-kapocs in Mindzsentkálla. The "Kapocs" is a quite straightforward business, a classic village pub pimped with a few ruin pub elements,, without the lavender-y Provance-ish trends that rage in the neighbourhood. It's simple and effective at the same time: the pub on the 7th District-Káli Basin axis won the hearts of locals and visitors over in the blink of an eye. At the secret Punnany Massif concert in August you could not drop a pin.
What do we fancy about Tihany's Piac? The artisan cheese-antique trinkets themed markets were no novelty in 2014. Formerly residing on the edge of Tihany, the PIAC Placc moved to the park by the Tihany-Szántód ferry during the year. The place received a touch up for the ARTplacc contemporary arts festival,.creating one of the most pleasant spots of the Balaton shores. Walks, a bistro, a movie screen and market every Saturday. We hope the improvements will continue in 2015 as well.
The street food-mania reached the Lake at a point we would not have predicted. The south-western side of Balaton is rarely bathed in the spotlights, but 2014 brought it some. The Paletta in Balatonboglár stole the show from the coolest venues of Balatonfüred. The recipe is simple here as well: pallet furniture, shades made of used sails, plus hamburgers and desserts hardly found anywhere else by Lake Balaton.
The romantic side of Balaton's open-air cinemas is thickly covered in the dust of passing: a good percentage of classic open-air cinemas closed, disappeared or was turned into a flea market or a parking lot. InFövenyes, it all happened the other way round: the one-time cinema used by "working girls" has regained its original function. Thanks to the newly acquired digital gadgets, the programme keeps up with the trends. Thus, Fövenyes blends the two extremes of cinemas: the mall-experience of the freshest movies and the plastic chairs-and-mosquitoes open-air cinema feeling.
Many had been eager to see chef Lajos Bíró's cuisine arrive to Lake Balaton after its conquest of Pest and Buda and the creation of a "Kistücsök" on the north shore. The previous moment arrived at the beginning of 2014, when the Helikon Taverna Restaurant housed by the Zenit Hotel Balaton – Festetics Cellar complex was transformed into the Bock Bistro Balaton. It took the original Kistücsök in Balatonszemes years to turn into THE Kistücsök,, so we must wait for that here. The Bock Bistro Balaton, however, started off well.
The classical Balaton buffets are not gone and forgotten. Just head over to Marina in Balatonföldvár and ask for a hamburger with double patty, fries and mayonnaise, just like we did multiple times during summer 2014. The Marina Gyros & Hamburger in - where else - the marina is one of the cult buffets that ignore current trends. The regulars, the important persons, sailors, beach-goers, surfers, the old and young, the adored staff, the swift kitchen, the queueing, and the Nutella-filled pancakes are all essential parts of this cult. In 2014, Marina was open until the beginning of December 2014 and it re-opens as early as March 2015!
A village from Káli-kapocs, in Szentbékkálla we witness yet another spectacular resurrection at the end of summer 2014. From the ruins of the one-time Pegazus Hotel a new Pegazus emerged. This Pegazus, however, is entirely different: it's local and multicultural, it has some ruin pub flare, food and a spacious garden. The most peculiar thing about it is that its creators want it to become a cultural centre, with people coming not only to have fun, but also to work: to pop in, sit down in the garden, connect to the wifi and immerse themselves into whatever they have to do - as if they were at a downtown bar of a metropolis instead of the edge of Káli Basin, right by a village church.
Although there are plenty of great places around Lake Balaton to have quality food and drinks, the situation is somewhat worse in the accommodation scene. It is difficult to find a good place below 4-stars, there are too few quality budget accommodations. After the pioneer Hullám Hostel in Révfülöp, another cool hostel opened a few villages away. Patent Hostel in Badacsonytomaj doesn't have any of the beds grown creaky from all the East German-Hungarian rendezvous, instead, it has colourful lanterns, pleasant furnishings and comfortable rooms. Give it a try!
What can we say? The best thing about Kistücsök is that despite the star cult, all the awards and recognitions, it is still a pleasure to visit and eat (a lot) at. It lacks the stiff air of gastronomical sanctums above the clouds, where you are expected to maintain complete silence. It is especially pleasant on less busy autumn or spring evenings.
The phrase 'sub-Mediterranean café house DJ set' was coined by Kredenc and it summarizes everything we love about this spot in Füred. The feeling when classical Hungarian café ambience meets the bossa nova tunes from the records of Mr Dj Ernő Piaf, the best wines of the region meet the special snacks, and slam poetry meets sound system - all in the renovated historical streets of Balatonfüred's centre. You can meet parts of this experience in various corners of the Balaton, but only find all-in-one in Blaha Lujza utca.