Gettó Gulyás – Homespun Comfort Food in Budapest, Hungary

Gettó Gulyás is relatively unique in terms of restaurants in Budapest. It is neither a high-end establishment or a food truck selling cheap eats on the street. It is, in a few words, casual comfort. The kitchen serves Hungarian dishes like goulash, stuffed cabbage, and stews in the heart of the Jewish Quarter.

It can be hard to find, but if you travel to district VII in the center of the ruin bar scene, you’ll see it. Once inside the tiny dining room, you will discover a modern, almost industrial like decor. Corrugated roofing sheets line the walls, and contemporary wooden tables and chairs fill the space. The ambiance is in sharp contrast to the traditional dishes served from the kitchen, where 14 types of hearty stews are available for the tasting.

Location: Gettó Gulyás – Wesselenyi Utca 18 District VII Budapest, Hungary.

Menu: The chef grew up in Szekszard and watched his grandmother make delicious combinations from the vegetables and animals that grew in her yard. His menu combines simple ingredients like potatoes, carrots, chicken, lamb, beef, venison, herbs, and spices crafted into stews and soups that feel like home.
The entree choices consist of 14 types of stews ranging from farm chicken breast paprikash with egg noodles to venison with Juniper mushrooms and bread dumplings. Starters include roasted bone marrow with toast, Hungarian pancakes with mushrooms or stick to your ribs soups, like Hungarian Goulash. After an entire page of main dishes, there is a half-page dedicated to several types of pickles to accompany the hearty fare.
Finally, homemade desserts like Hungarian sponge cake or curd cheese dumplings with cinnamon and sour cream help round out the old-world experience.
Thoughts: You cannot expect to get seated for dinner without a reservation. This spot is so popular; you couldn’t get a table without one. 
The service is friendly and efficient. I don’t speak Hungarian, but our waiter was fluent in English and suggested a deliciously dry Tokaji, a Hungarian wine that paired beautifully with our meal. I was surprised because Tokaji is traditionally a sweet Hungarian wine. Dry Tokaji is a relatively new development in the region.
First, we ordered soup. We both wanted the Hungarian Goulash which came in a deep bowl filled to the brim with a reddish, paprika liquid. The flavors of the rich beef and peppery broth studded with chunks of potato was incredible. I had tried goulash elsewhere in Budapest, and this surpassed my previous attempts. 
Next, we decided on two different stews. I love chicken paprikash, so I ordered the chicken breast with egg noodles. My guest opted for a vegetarian selection. She ordered the mushroom stew with homemade sour cream and egg noodles. I could not stop tasting the tender, juicy chicken topped in a pinkish paprika cream.
The egg noodles (or nokedli) were different than I had enjoyed before. Traditionally, I have eaten the dumplings prepared with flour, salt, and water dropped into boiling water. The addition of the egg made them so fluffy and light that the flavor was unique. Adding eggs to ingredients elevated the simple side dish. It was tasty when mixed with a bite of the chicken swirled in paprika gravy.
My companion equally enjoyed the mushroom stew. Vegetarian cuisine is not typical when one imagines Hungarian comfort food, but the meaty mushrooms were tender and simmered in a rich gravy that tasted earthy and satisfying. The homemade sour cream added a luxurious silkiness to the dish that paired with the pillowy nokedli. 
Finally, we decided we had to try the homemade curd cheese dumplings with cinnamon and sour cream. The rumor that this dessert was a must when visiting Gettó Gulyás, was accurate. If you are not a fan of sweet desserts, this is a perfect choice. The cheese balls are coated with toasted bread crumbs and served with sour cream and cinnamon. The flavor reminded us of a decadent cheesecake and left us completely satiated.
We were delighted that we were able to enjoy this traditional meal together in Budapest. This restaurant is a gem and I am glad we were able to discover it.
Price Range: The Hungarian currency is the Forint. When converting from the Forint to US currency, you will find that this restaurant is reasonable, especially for the service and the quality of the food. Soups are about $5. Starters are anywhere from $3 -8.00 and the most expensive entree is $15.00. Desserts are all around $4.

Jeanine Consoli
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