in the Hilton Budapest
Article added on November 20, 2005
As in Spain after the end of the Franco
dictatorship, the culinary culture in Hungary has a long
way to go to catch up with the best in Europe. However, Spain has
proved in the 1990s that dramatic improvements are
possible. Hungary is only at the beginning of this road.
The Dominican Restaurant in the Hilton
Budapest is situated on top of the hill Buda. It offers one of the most spectacular views of
the city, located on the shores of the Danube. It is a particular romantic place for
Unlike the Hilton Budapest WestEnd, the
Budapest Hilton is owned and run by the Danubius Group as a Hilton franchise.
Previously a government controlled spa-tourism company, Danubius is now
owned by an English investor of Austrian descent, Sir Bernard Schreier.
Dominican Restaurant is not a Michelin-starred gourmet place. Still, it is the
hotel's fine dining restaurant, offering - measured by Hungarian standards - a
solid-superior cuisine. On the menu are always several vegetarian
dishes. In addition, on request, the chef can create special menus.
Dominican Restaurant is very suitable for vegetarians. It of course also serves many
traditional Hungarian dishes, which unfortunately are not vegetarian. Other
courses on the menu include lamb, pâté de foie gras, zander, saddle of
venison, roast duck, etc.
A vegetarian dinner at Dominican Restaurant
Tested in 2005 by Louis Gerber
As an aperitif, I chose a Szamorodni, a typical Hungarian dry cocktail from
the Puszta region, suggested by Sándor Béldi-Betegh, the food and beverage
director at Dominican Restaurant. A Szamorodni consists of three elements, an
aperitif wine from the Tokai region, an apricot schnapps produced by Zwack
Unicum and a dry bitter-sweet schnapps from the Mecsek region in southern
As a starter, the chef served me one of his own creations, a boletus
cappuccino with truffles. He calls it cappuccino because the boletus is
stirred up with a mixer, creating a froth soup. The truffle slices swim on top of the soup. A
On the suggestion of Mr. Béldi-Betegh, I chose a regional Budai Chardonnay
2003, a dry, light and fruity white wine, to accompany my first of my two
main courses, a vegetable lasagne with tomato ragout on a white wine sauce. In
France, this Hungarian wine from the Nyakas Ernö winery, recommended for fish
and meat, has won a silver medal at the Challenge International du Vin 2004.
It was followed by a potato pastry (Kartoffelstrudel) with layered
vegetables - eggplants, zucchini, tomato and mushrooms - on a cheese sauce,
served together with two baked cheese slices; not for people on a diet.
This time I chose a Pinot Gris Balatonelelle 2003, another dry and very light
white wine, this one however with a light taste of apple and apricot, chosen
to accompany my potato pastry.
My dessert consisted of Somlóigaluska, a traditional Hungarian "sponge
cake". It is made of sponge biscuit, rum, whipped cream and raisins,
brought into its spherical shape with an ice cream spoon.
A final word on the mineral water Theodora, named after a Byzantine Empress,
whose favorite water is was. Theodora comes from the northwestern region of
lake Balaton. Unlike most still waters, it is not "dead" as an
Evian, but still has some life and taste in it. You may better understand what
I mean once you have tried it.
Overall, Dominican Restaurant offers a solid cuisine and, when you have a place
at a window like me it offers one of the city's best views as well which is ideal for a romantic dinner.
Chef István Juhász
Born in Budapest in 1950, István Juhász began training to become a chef at
the then Hotel InterContinental in Budapest (now a Marriott) in the late
1960s. He joined Hilton in 1976. The company organized some special training
for him, abroad, for some two years. He gained experience at Hilton restaurants in
Australia and Vienna, where he worked under Werner Matt, who
was named "Chef of the Year" by Gault Millau Austria. In 1978, István
Juhász joined Hilton Budapest as sous-chef. Since 1983, he is the executive
chef at Dominican Restaurant.
Dominican Restaurant. Photo © Hilton Budapest.
Executive chef István Juhász. Photo © Hilton Budapest.
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