BUDAPEST: Restaurant Cyrano

On our last night in Budapest, which was May Day Eve, we were looking for some place special to have a nice dinner. Weaving our way through the holiday revelry, we found Restaurant Cyrano.


Located on Becsi u. amid high-end shops and stores, Cyrano offers fine dining both indoors and on the sidewalk when weather permits.

Deciding to pull out all the stops, we started with an appetizer of foie gras paté made with cognac, accompanied by glasses of Malatinsky Cabernet Sauvignon. Malatinsky is a Hungarian winery in Villány, about 200 kilometers south of Budapest near the Croatian border.

Foie gras with cognac, pomegranate seeds and Balsamic vinegar 

From there, we moved to the entrees: Hungarian Village-style gipsy lamb for my wife, and the “daily steak” for me. Both dishes were cooked perfectly. The lamb, which should NEVER be cooked beyond a medium-rare, was exactly that, as was my steak which was reminiscent of a filet mignon. The lamb dish, made of shoulder and shank, came with grilled red bell peppers while my steak was served with grilled bok choy. We also added a tomato salad of vine-ripe tomatoes with a Balsamic dressing.

Gipsy lamb with tomato salad

A second glass of wine for each of us rounded out the evening.

Daily steak with grilled bok choy

Service was excellent. In Europe, where meals are more a social event than a refueling stop, service can seem inattentive. That’s not the case; the servers are just allowing their guests time to enjoy their meals. At Cyrano, perhaps because of the large number of Western tourists that visit the area, service was closer to what we’d expect at a higher-end restaurant in the U.S., though not at all intrusive.

When time came to pay the bill, I asked our server whether he would share in the 12.5 percent service charge that was automatically added. He said the service charge went to the house, but I have since learned that each restaurant sets its own policy on whether to share the service charge with staff and, if so, how much. There is no standard formula, so always ask. That squared with information I’d obtained from a Hungarian source before embarking on our trip. A source in Hungary said that Hungarians normally add about 10 – 15 percent to the bill, and to not tip is considered rude.

Other sources advise that tips should be given directly to the server in cash, and not added to the credit card charge to ensure that the server does indeed receive your gratuity. Any cash tip should be handed to the server, not left on the table as in North America.

Not exactly cheap at €160 but not over-the-top expensive, either. If you’re in the area with a hunger for fine food, Cyrano could be exactly what you’re seeking.

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Photos and video by Carl Dombek
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