“We don’t just want to criticise, judge and talk about what was on a plate at a given place and at a given time. We would like to show how far the Hungarian restaurants today are able to correspond to the requirements made by their guests,” the “Volkswagen Dining Guide TOP100“ says by way of introduction to the innovative and user-friendly approach of its new 13th edition. We take a closer look at the book, which, with the “Michelin Guide”, counts as one of the most important national restaurant directories.
According to the publisher of the guide, it is not worth visiting any place that is not included in the more than 200 restaurants placed on Hungary’s gastronomic map by the gourmets who compiled the list. “We want to put a reliable compass into the hands of the people for discovering the national gastronomy scene,” says Zoltán Herczeg, the gastronome who has undertaken its publishing again this year.
According to Herczeg, the reliability of such a guide depends on its independence, and this is why this year they again selected only food testers who could not be accused of impartiality due to their professional work. The selection of the top 100 Hungarian restaurants was based on the evaluations of these tireless helpers. For the evaluation of the best 10 restaurants, celebrities from the international gastronomy scene were invited to participate.
This year an Italian, Giancarlo Perbellini, led the jury of experts. Nicola Portinari, a chef awarded two Michelin stars – just like Perbellini – assisted him with his culinary judgement. But the editorial staff of the Dining Guide is especially proud of the participation of Fausto Arrighi this year. The Italian chef has been helping produce the Italian edition of the Michelin Guide for over 36 years. His professional experience and judgement enhance the latest “Volkswagen Dining Guide TOP100“.
This is what the reader expects
The restaurant guide is again divided into two parts. In the first 150 pages or so is a short description of the 100 best Hungarian restaurants, with important data such as addresses and opening times, followed by a more extensive selection of establishments that only just missed the main list. The final pages have an overview of the best on offer in the increasingly popular Hungarian streetfood scene.
The book is Budapest-centred: 85-90% of all the recommendations are limited to the capital, with some selected pearls from other towns such as the Anyukám Mondta restaurant in Encs and the Kistücsök in Balatonszemes.
The guide looks good: dark-blue cover, white and golden text in both Hungarian and English and a slim design that makes it a practical travelling companion. Simple symbols help find what you are looking for, and point out new openings or restaurants with new chefs, while the background colour gives a hint about whether we are talking about a classical or progressive kitchen.
Finally, “golden Dining Guide service bells” – similar to the stars in the “Michelin Guide” – indicate the quality of the restaurants. The guide is on sale in major bookstores, newsagents and petrol stations for HUF 1690. See www.diningguide.hu.