Restaurant Review: Márga Bisztró

  • 11 Nov 2016 8:00 AM
Restaurant Review: Márga Bisztró
The hot days are over, so for many Budapesters it’s time to leave their summer residences at the “Balcsi”, as the Hungarians lovingly call their largest lake, and move back to their urban domiciles. However, it is not only they who are returning to the capital this year: one of the Balaton region’s most renowned restaurants, namely Márga, has also shifted east – making the taste of Balaton available to us throughout the whole year.

Márga made its expansion to town by taking over the premises of the restaurant Lou Lou – some of you may remember it – in District VI’s Székely Mihály utca in April. However, they quickly decided a month after the opening that the place needed to be tailored to the character of the new business.

This was the beginning of several months of renovation that, although keeping both the special structure and a few pieces of furniture from Lou Lou, the conservative-elegant atmosphere of the French restaurant with its dark wallpapers and heavy curtains was given an airy makeover. Today Márga is airy and brightly coloured.

The bar was completely renewed and a lot of natural green decoration was used – the concept of the interior is titled “Urban Nomad”, reminding of the original location of Márga Bisztró in Csopak at the lake with its natural and relaxed ambience.

Balaton on your plate

However, the real similarity can be spotted on the plates and wine shelves at the restaurant, which was reopened only a month ago. You will find all the culinary highlights from the Balaton region served here: first of all, wild pigs, duck, trout and pikeperch.

“Using the ingredients coming from the Balaton region is important for us,” Judit Szauer, the PR manager for Márga Bisztró Budapest and Csopak, explains. Chef Ákos Horváth relies on simple but high-quality ingredients and leaves alone exotic frills.

However, he does let his creativity roam free. His dishes tell stories about the Balaton region, for example the wild pig neck steak, which is served with a garnish of wild berries, red beet mash and clear pine jelly. When you close your eyes and have a taste, you feel like you are standing in the middle of the woods just next to the little hairy beasts looking for food in the undergrowth.

The chocolate mousse with lavender jelly and almond cream is also full of fantasy. It’s a speciality of the house, characteristic of the northern shores of Lake Balaton.

Balaton in the bottle

It’s a good idea to try the lunch menu, which is relatively cheap at HUF 2850 for two courses and HUF 3450 for three courses, if you take into account the offered quality and quantity. This menu gives an opportunity to chef Horváth to prove his skills again and again in new ways.

Wine is a strength of the restaurant, stemming from Márga’s ancestor at Balaton being near the Szent Donát winery.

Incidentally, the name Márga, which means marlstone in English, is also a reference to the region, since a calcareous sedimentary rock covers the soil around Csopak and gives a special taste to the wine varieties produced there.

In addition to the Szent Donát wine and other numerous noble drops from around Balaton, the wine card covers everything from Sopron through Mór and Mátraalja even up to Tokaj, basically all the Hungarian wine regions.


If you have already visited the Márga Bisztró in Csopak, you surely don’t need any convincing to visit the one in Budapest as well. The restaurant is oriented first of all to those who value good food and decent servings, as well as ingredients coming from around Balaton.

Márga emphasises that they don’t want to become a fine-dining restaurant, probably trying to avoid the particularly dusty image that is connected with the scene nowadays. Still, the dishes in terms of composition and serving are far above the standards of a simple bistro, even if the same goes for the prices, which are in the upper third compared to the other restaurants in the neighbouring streets of the Jewish Quarter.

Appetisers and soups: HUF 1590-2490
Main dishes: HUF 3190-7490
Desserts: HUF 1950
Lunch menu (two courses/three courses): HUF 2850 / 3450
Wines (1 dl): HUF 700-2700

Source: The Budapest Times

Republished with permission

  • How does this content make you feel?