I’ll start with a picture of the place Ingmar, Em and I ate that first day when we were touring on a vilamos (streetcar) around the Grand Boulevard. It’s a Turkish Bufé, which perhaps you had figured out from the words. In 2005 Paul and I saw them in the city for the first time and were slightly amused at their popularity given the 150 years that the Turks occupied Hungary. But the food is good……This is just a rather cheap bufé, but with good tasting food and a place to sit under an awning out on the sidewalk and watch the Budapest world go by. There were really no foreign restaurants in the 70s or even the early 80s, but by ’92 things had already changed a lot and there were many Asian places to eat and also places to buy food to cook yourself such as tofu and soy sauce. I remember in ’84 that I wanted sometimes to cook Chinese dishes which I enjoyed but only in the last month of our stay did I buy and taste something called “Cuban Flavoring” and realize it was the soy sauce I’d been searching for. Now there are lots of Turkish bufés, Chinese bufés and more upscale East Indian and Chinese restaurants. But most of the time I wanted to sample Hungarian food during this vacation.
A favorite place to eat, one with real Hungarian ambiance and delicious food and a very down to earth hospitable feeling is Nanci Néni’s. It has an enormous garden area wrapping around the building where you can eat under the spreading chestnut trees, and there is a nice little playground there too, which we sat quite close to. It’s all enclosed by a fence so one doesn’t have to worry too much about the children rushing out. We were joined there by my nephew Miki who had biked over from the American school where he works. Nancsi (pronounced Nun’chi) Néni (prounced Nay’nee) means something like Aunt Nancy. It’s been a family restaurant for quite a while and is well loved by Hungarians, but it’s a bit far out of the city and perhaps difficult if you don’t know the way. But a taxi would work.
We all had delicious food, but do you think I can remember what it was? I checked my little diary, but see I didn’t get specific. I think, now that I’ve looked at their menu online, (which you can do, in sometimes amusing English, here http://www.diningcity.com/en/budapest/nancsi_neni_restaurant/menu) that I had the veal stew with gnocchi because I wanted to have what I think of as authentic Hungarian food, and I believe Ingmar had the duck and really liked it.
(Vee, if you are reading this, I have you to thank for letting me know about alt letters so that I could once again get the accents into my writing. Thanks!!!)
I leave you with pictures of Sofia and Clara in the playground, Emily and her Cousin Miki whose wife and two children were visiting in the US and not back by that day, and Ingmar with Clara.