Lunch with a View Over the Balaton at Kisfaludy-Ház

If it’s a bit of history, a great wine list, decent food and unbeatable views of Lake Balaton you’re after, Kisfaludy-ház is the spot for you. Constructed in the 18th century and still rocking the classic thatched roof, this place once served as a kind of winery, where grapes were pressed after harvest. At this time, it belonged to the famous Hungarian poet Kisfaludy Sandor. The restaurant has been around for a while too. In fact, this is what it looked like in 1962:

Not much has changed since. Now this same terrace area is covered with a colorful tarp, in case of rain or excess sunshine. The tables are arranged differently and there is a long bar counter on the outer rim of the dining area. But the view over the Balaton is just as astonishing as ever. Faced with the vast expanse of blue and a seemingly endless horizon, it’s easy sometimes to forget that this is no ocean or sea. I visited Kisfaludy Haz with my brother and Ben the very first time we drove down to Badacsony in April last year, initially just to visit Laposa winery. Neither of us knew back then that just a year and a half later we’d be welcoming all of our friends and family to enjoy that same spectacular view with us on what will surely be one of the happiest moments of our life as a couple. After a year so dense with planning, some of the memories have faded, but that feeling is always with me as I organize from afar, that moment under the sun in good company, enjoying one of the most beautiful sights my country has to offer.

I do remember very well an appetizer we shared. It was a chilled, smoked rabbit loin, served with fresh horseradish, on a bed of chopped, marinated beetroot and quail eggs. Though a bit dried from the smoking, the meat was quite plump and full of flavor. The touch of acidity from the beetroot and cool spice of the horseradish was perfect on a sunny, warm day at the Balaton.

I continued with rabbit, ordering a roast loin, which was served with a kind of potato latke, a warm puree of peas and another vibrant orange puree carrots. A super simple dish but with enough different elements to make it exciting. The rabbit was nicely cooked and the moist, juicy latka was perfect to appease my (at that point) ravenous appetite. The purees were also very good actually, very flavorful without being too salty.

My brother got a classic hagymás rostélyos, which is a sirloin steak topped with a mound of crunchy fried onions. With it came the delicious reduced cooking jus of the steak. From the few bites I tried, it was tender and well cooked with the crunchy o’s adding an indulgent touch. Good stuff.

Ben ordered one of their signature dishes, a filet of locally caught Balaton pike-perch cooked on the grill and served with a kind of wide pasta made with grapes or grape juice. I’m a tad picky when it comes to pasta so I wasn’t a big fan of this creation. The fish, however, was wonderfully flaky and juicy, obviously very fresh and seasoned just right.

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