Saturday, February 21, 2015

Budapest Gastronomy 1. The Cafe Kor and The Meridien

Jazz at the Meridien

Last night we went to what has to be our favorite restaurant in Budapest, the Cafe Kor.  It is not the most elegant (and maybe not even always the absolute best food), but it is nonetheless our number one restaurant in Budapest.

We have been going there since our first visit to Budapest in 2002.  We have come back so often (everytime we visited Budapest in 2005, 2009, 2011, and 2014) that we are actually recognized by some of the staff.  The Cafe Kor (I am sorry I don't have a picture) is small and always crowded.  The menu is mainly Hungarian with a few other Continental dishes included.  It has lots of tourists but also lots of Hungarians, often in large parties.

Our dinner last night was wonderful.  I started with a glass of Hungarian champagne (and it's really good) and Tony had a beer.  We shared an appetizer plate that was as big as Texas of salmon carpaccio with red caviar and horseradish.  We then had a bottle of Sauska (a strong Hungarian red).  I had veal medallions with a kind of onion paprikash and roasted potatoes.  (And even with the "small portion" I couldn't finish it.)  Tony had something called "potato stew," which he described as the best potato soup he had ever eaten with some kind of fried meatballs to accompany.  We finished sharing a plate of fresh strawberries and ice cream with a bit of caramel sauce and powdered sugar.  We left completely happy.

After dinner we walked over to the Meridien to check out the bar.  On our first visit to Budapest in 2002, the dollar was incredlbly strong (.90 to the euro), and we were rich.  We stayed in Five Star hotels and ate out a lot.  (We are still relatively rich in Hungary this trip as the euro is weaker--though not as much as in 2002--and the forint weaker still.)  In the bar at the Meridien was a jazz trio with a girl singer.  We loved it and went everynight we were in Budapest.

On every visit to Budapest we returned to the Meridien.  For the price of a drink (a glass of Hungarian champagne and a beer), one could listen to great jazz, and when it was only us in the bar--as it often was--they played jazz for the real.  However, in 2011, we didn't go as much (the music had changed).  But we thought we would try it again.  So we went over after dinner and listened to a set.  It was terrific.  We recognized the drummer and bass player from before.  The pianist was new to us, and he was marvelous, as was the girl singer.

Dinner at the Kor and jazz at the Meridien has been an abiding pleasure in Budapest, and we are really happy this tradition can continue.  So next week we will be back to enjoy it again.  After all (at least for over two months more) we live in the city..


  1. And I feel as though I'm living there with you now too !

  2. It's so wonderful to have such a sympathetic reader!