9 Klauzál tér, Budapest, Hungary
(1) 321 3622
Kádár Étkezde Budapest Reviews
Kádár Étkezde - A Throwback to Goulash Communism Jun 02, 2013
Budapest is, unquestionably, a beautiful city, an eclectic mix of old and new; of the dull and the colourful; of communism and capitalism; of rip-off and value. It is one of my favourite European cities, so much more accessible since the advent of Wizz-Air.
I prefer to stay away from the tourist traps, ideally basing myself somewhere around Nagykörút (Grand Boulevard) near Blaha Lujza Square. The phenomenal public transport links give such wonderful access around the city and Blaha Lujza tér metro station has you to the city centre and the Danube in no time at all.
I am not one for the fashionable. I like the little coffee shops like Pertu Café on Dob út near its junction with Erzsébet körút. (Don’t confuse this with Pertu Café Bar on Vaci út – see Tripadvisor). Pertu Café is a gem, where the staff love nothing more than to be attentive and practice their English. You are also close the wonderful restaurants in and around Liszt Ferenc tér.
I like to think of myself exploring the unexplored; finding those little gems so often hidden down side streets and cul-de-sacs. I like to enjoy a coffee or beer with the locals … at a local price … and to enjoy the delights of home cooked, traditional food away from the tourist masses.
One such jewel, I think, is Kádár Étkezde (Kádár “Diner” or “Eatery”) located at 1072 Budapest, Klauzál út 9 and opposite one of the corners of Klauzál tér (Klauzál Square). This was the largest square of the former Jewish quarter.
Why not enjoy morning coffee at Pertu Café followed by lunch at Kádár Étkezde. Turn right out of Pertu Café and walk about 400 metres along Dob út until you reach Klauzál tér. Turn left into the square and Kádár is less than 200 metres on your left.
If you are interested in how ordinary Hungarian people led their lives during the height of communism then this retro diner is for you, transporting you back to the 1970’s. It’s a throwback to the “Gulyáskommunizmus” (“Goulash Communism“) or “Kádárism” referring to the style of communism in Hungary from the 1960’s until its collapse in 1989. With improved human rights and elements of free market economics, this was a deviation from the Stalinist principles applied in earlier times.
Don’t let the “hole in the wall” exterior put you off. Kádár is one of those atmospheric places where tables are shared and authentic homemade cooking is served; I have never been disappointed. It is a typical lower-middle-class, downtown bistro unaltered with the passing of time; the very essence of ordinary Hungarian lifestyle.
The diner takes its name from János Kádár, Hungary's long-time former socialist leader. It is known to locals as Kádár bácsi's (Uncle Kadar's Place) and this home-style family restaurant has been around for a long time. Dishes like Sült libacomb burgonyával és párolt káposztával (Crispy goose leg with potatoes and boiled cabbage) are a big hit; there is no alcohol but, don’t miss the Málna (Raspberry Soda).
This legendary place nestles in the somewhat rundown alternative Jewish quarter. Internally, the walls are decorated with photos of celebrities from bygone years, many of whom have dined at Kádár. To continue the theme, the tables are topped with old-fashioned soda syphons from which you serve yourself water.
There is a pretty comprehensive menu that offers a couple of soups, around a dozen “Főételek“ (main dishes) and sundry garnishes and salads. There is also a “Napi ajánlat” (daily specials menu) that offers around ten more main dishes. On my last visit I chose:
Hideg meggyleves csészében … Cold Cherry Soup
Sült libacomb burgonyával és párolt káposztával … Goose leg with potatoes and boiled cabbage … although, as the photo shows, a little more than a goose leg!
Rizsfelfújt barackízzel … Rice Pudding Cake
Málna … Raspberry Soda
A feast for 2,800Ft … about UK£8. Somewhat over the top for lunch, I admit, but the food and service are simply too good to pass by. I was unashamedly … stuffed!
Kádár is only open at lunchtime, Tuesday to Saturday. It serves non-Kosher Jewish cuisine; the dishes are traditional Hungarian standards with the kind of populist, socialist gestalt that only adds to the occasion. When it’s time to leave, go to the cash desk at the front door and tell the cashier (usually the owner) what you’ve had and pay … in cash.
Take ten minutes to visit the small Klauzál tér market hall that is almost next door to Kádár. Keep your eyes open as you wander the side streets; you might see some little gems, possibly one of the amazing communal Jewish courtyards.
If you want to continue the communist theme in the afternoon why not visit Terror Háza Múzeum (The House of Terror). Turn right out of Kádár and walk straight for about 800 metres until you meet Andrássy út; turn right into Andrássy út, cross Oktogon, keep going and you will shortly find The House of Terror on your left just before Vörösmarty tér metro station. Alternatively, keep strolling along Andrássy út and you will come to Hősök tere ("Heroes' Square").
Terror Háza Múzeum contains exhibits relating to the fascist and communist regimes and is a memorial to the victims, including those detained, interrogated, tortured or killed in the building. The building is the former headquarters of the secret police of both the Nazi and Communist governments. The museum offers a powerful and emotional experience of a shocking period in the nation’s history.
And, as a final tip, try Duncan J.D. Smith’s “Only in Budapest – A Guide to Hidden Corners, Little Known Places and Unusual Objects.”
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Hungarian "Fast Food" Dec 08, 2010
This place is only open for lunch.There is no real private seating – you usually share a table with a stranger. They serve old fashioned Hungarian food, that you can't eat in restaurants.