Café Csiga

Vásár utca [map] [website]
Pest South, VIII,
Rákóczi tér (T4/6), 2 mins

Rating: 8.5/10

I wonder what the owners of Café Csiga think about Metro 4. At the moment, the construction work is making it almost invisible, not that it particularly stood out before.
Rákóczi tér was never the height of sophistication either – it used to be the height of prostitution – so when the Metro’s eventually completed, their location, and that end of town in general, will be that much more desirable.

But will Csiga survive it? It’s 1.30 on a Wednesday afternoon and there’s practically no one in here. It’s surprising because, as soon as I step through the door and out of the construction noise, it’s an oasis of warm colours, gentle music – Goldfrapp / Belle & Sebastian – and arty homeliness. There’s a beercan palm tree by the door and the works of local contemporary artists dominate the walls. I look up at a golden Buddha-like woman, who seems to be in the right place, along with everything else. Although Csiga has plenty of quirks, it looks like someone’s chosen with a discerning eye, rather than making do with a visit to the flea market.

Csiga should be a hive of activity at lunch time because their daily menu, at 990Ft is extremely good value. The Egyptian lentil soup is a more generous serving than I would expect for a first course and is also pretty tasty. The main, a more traditional Paprikás Chicken with galuska (gnocchi) is decent too and by the end of it, I’m stuffed. Alternatively, and if it’s not lunchtime, you can choose à la blackboard: soups at 500Ft, mains, sides included, below 2000Ft. (Shhhh... my wallet need never know that I’ve been eating out.)

In the evenings, Csiga remains relaxed and fills up quite a bit, so much so that you may find yourself milling around at the bar waiting for a table. There’s a small leafy mezzanine, which is particularly cosy. Certainly, it's a place for drinks and conversation rather than an all-out piss-up, but definitely a bar rather than a coffee shop. You have a choice of Arany Ászok or Dreher on tap too.

Csiga means snail and is pretty slow-paced to match but it’s not too far from Corvintető or Jelen, if you want to up the tempo. It has the atmosphere of a Rothko painting with a lot more detail, and is a good option for a satisfying low-cost lunch, a chat and a beer, or simply time-out from city living... at least until Metro 4 brings it out of its shell. Luckily, Hungarian engineering is pretty slow-paced too, so you may have a few years yet.

Service: 8.5/10
Atmosphere: 8.5/10

Value for money: 8.5/10
What people we know think: 8.5/10

Get off the 4/6 tram at Rákóczi tér and walk down the left hand side of the square. It's at the end, on the left.

Andy Sz.


  1. Mókus said...

    check out INSTANT in Nagymezo utca!  


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