Culinaris Bistro, Budapest
Tel: 36 1 373 0028
Concierge.com's insider take:
Trendy Budapesters and fabulous expats spend hours—and whole paychecks—at the city's three über-cool Culinaris food shops, luxury delis filled with an unashamedly posh selection of high-end cheeses, rare olive oils, snobby chocolates, and fine wines. The second Pest branch, opened in 2009, combines the luxury grocery of the earlier locations with a very cool lunch counter and café (which, sadly, isn't currently open past midafternoon). Located near Parliament, the bistro serves up an easygoing mix of Hungarian and international cuisine: buttery lamb chops with peppery curried lentils, rich chanterelle risotto, chicken tartine with creamy bufala mozzarella and basil pesto, and smoky duck quesadillas with sweet tomato salsa. Come for your midday meal, shop for wine and distilled pálinka (brandy) to take home as gifts, or pick up a picnic lunch to eat in the grassy park in front of Parliament or elsewhere along the Danube. Or just bring back a bunch of goodies to make your hotel minibar insane with jealousy.—Evan Rail
Restaurant open Mondays through Saturdays 8 am to 3 pm and Sundays 10 am to 3 pm; deli open Mondays through Saturdays 9 am to 8 pm, Sundays 10 am to 6 pm.