For many of us, a good restaurant is a place where you feel taken care of. The food has to live up to expectations, of course, but even more importantly, the dining experience needs to feel warm and intimate. Zeller Bistro in Budapest ticks all the right boxes.
Nestled off the beaten path in the 7th district, Zeller is a bistro that has gained a well-deserved hype in recent years. Amongst cutting-edge venues such as Zona and Bar Pharma, this family-run restaurant has become a popular choice among both locals and tourists who want to experience modern dishes that are affordable and rooted in the Hungarian traditions.
What is noteworthy about Zeller is their strong connection with the local Hungarian community. This is something to think about in an Eastern European country, where it is unfortunately not uncommon for restaurants to conveniently choose imported goods over local products. They describe their menu as modern in approach and Hungarian in essence, as they are supplied almost exclusively by local farmers and domestic producers.
Visiting Zeller, you will experience a cozy sense of familiarity about both their menu and the story behind their products. As soon as you start talking to the waiters, you find out that the wines and the cordials come from the vineyard of the owner’s father. Then there’s the small fish on the menu that is brought fresh by another family member. The ham and sausages come from neighbours that prepare them with great care. Cheese and vegetables are from local farmers. The process seems honest and heartfelt, an almost paradoxical quality for a big-city restaurant that is both modern and in sync with its past and traditions.
With Zeller, it’s the little things that make the difference. Their menu is minimal, but well balanced and straightforward. Serving both meat-based and vegetarian dishes, they show care and try to have something for everyone, without overfilling with superfluous extras and sides. Their wines are carefully selected, and a waiter will present you with three wines that would fit the dishes. On top of the things you order, there’s the free welcome drink consisting of elderflower sparkling wine (homemade, of course) and the small cupcakes that come at the end of the meal. And then there’s the finishing touch: their cozy logo with a dog pulling down a tablecloth.