Elysée Bistro & Cafe Mini-Review


As our apartment is in the 5th District of Budapest, there are no shortage of places to eat or drink. To be honest, it is sometimes a bit overwhelming, even for someone who lives here. Considering this, I thought I’d write a mini-review of a place or two as we visit them.

The first, one I visited today for a late breakfast, is the Elysée Bistro & Cafe. It sits on the edge of recently renewed Kossuth Lajos tér. It has a nice looking and somewhat inviting patio space. They even had chairs and tables with blankets out today, but it seemed a bit nippy for dining alfresco.

The inside is very nice, but overdone a bit in my opinion. There were 3 lights in particular which seemed a bit overstated.  There was 1 television which was anything but obnoxious. Its lack of centrality was appreciated, but I still think the place could have done without. They are very much trying to harken back to the days of old (pre-WWII), and the television just hampers this. Also, the end of the bar looks just a tad too much like a LA nightclub with the underside lighting. This area seems to be in some sort of disagreement with the rest of the cafe. Beyond this though, it is quite nice and lovely.

Now, the food and drinks. I had a cappuccino and 2 dcl of freshly squeezed orange juice. Both were very nice and well presented. Neither were the best I’ve had in Budapest, but certainly enjoyable. I then ordered an omelette. That is exactly all I got. It is probably my own silliness, but I expected cheese at the least. I also thought I might get some advice about certain additions you could order, but the waitress failed to mention anything. I found this a bit strange. So, for a simply 3 egg omelette, it was a winner. The salad on the side was not the freshest, but the red peppers did add some very nice crunch. The lettuce and tomato could have been a bit more presentable though.

The service was pleasant and attentive. The only problem was that there was only 1 server for the entire cafe. She did quite a tremendous job, and it wasn’t lunchtime yet, but it would have been nicer if she had some sort of backup. Also, I was a bit put off by 2 people (possibly managers/owners) who really distracted from the atmosphere by throwing purses down and the like. I can certainly say that the service is better than the average Hungarian restaurant that you find in Budapest (hate to say it, but the average is a pretty low benchmark).

I did enjoy the many vintage black & white photos on the wall from the square’s earlier days. This was very nice. I just wish the whole place had more of this vibe. All in all though, pretty good service and not a bad menu. I just wish I would have been helped with my order more. To say the least, I am planning on going back for lunch. The bacon wrapped catfish sounds quite nice.

Don’t expect the cheapest prices by any means, but I didn’t think it was that overpriced for the location. If they just run a slightly tighter ship in the near future, they will really have a cafe to be proud of. For now though, it is still very much worth a visit, at least to see if it is to your liking.

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