Épitész Pince

Ötpacsirta utca 2 [map]
Pest, VIII,
Kálvin tér (M3, T47/49), 2 min
Cuisine > Hungarian

Rating: 8.0/10

The restaurant itself is well hidden. Tucked in between the National Museum and the Szabó Ervin Könyvtár (ELTE Library), past the ocher facade of the Chamber of Hungarian Architects (hence épitész), across the sand-dollar courtyard, and finally down the steps to the basement (hence pince), therein lies Épitész Pince. Directions and meaning in one, how illuminating!
It's hard to deny the aesthetic charm of Épitész Pince. The courtyard, entangled with ivy and surrounded by marble busts and Romanesque colonnades, is worth a peek even if you're not going to sit down for a beer. You might as well though, given that prices are surprisingly reasonable, and never have I nursed an unenjoyable beer while surrounded by ivy and Romanesque colonnades. The crowd, too, is impressive. Pick a season (cough, not winter) and the sprawl of tables is packed with a student-dominated clientele. Come colder months, however, tables are piled high in the corner and gastronomic pursuits are directed indoors.

Inside, both view and ambiance head south. At times deserted, at times dominated by real live architects doing real live business, Épitész Pince is hard to count on for a lively evening out. With popularity waning with the temperature and an interior design that feels more Liszt Ferenc knock-off than its exterior would suggest, indoor dining might not seem the brightest prospect.

The waitstaff, however, are as friendly as they come and more than make up for the drab decoration. Even with almost-every-other-monthly appearances, I am still greeted, "Egy korsó Borostyán, ugye?". Yes, you've remembered, Good Sir. And for that I am honored. But you're here for the food, after all. Skim the menu and you'll find the fare to be traditionally Hungarian with a smattering of a surprisingly creative poultry and pork options. Portions are generous, well prepared, with mains hovering between 1500 and 2000Ft.

At times Épitész Pince feels Mom and Pop gone awry. With an interior so uninspired and a courtyard so charming, you might feel that they've missed a trick. But it's perhaps to the credit of this strange dichotomy that the restaurant hasn't gone the way of its more popular, expensive brethren. So get there before you're actually hungry, have a couple of beers by the rolling ivy, and the vision might just linger long enough to last your meal.

Food: 8/10
Service: 9/10
Atmosphere: 8/10

Value for money: 7/10

From Kálvin tér head down Múzeum utca to Ötpacsirta utca. You'll see a yellow building on the first corner. Duck inside the courtyard and head downstairs. Open all week except on Sundays.



  1. Anonymous said...

    I agree with the review
    the setting of the restaurant is wonderful  

  2. Unknown said...

    Your review makes this worth checking out. Thanks for the insights. You have a wonderful blog. The best I've seen on Budapest.  

  3. Unknown said...

    Coming to Budapest in late August of 2010. Thanks to you, this is on our list. Great blog, btw. Everyone from the USA going to Budapest needs to check this out.  


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