Hargita Restaurant Békéscsaba, a True Transylvanian Gem

I’ll get straight to the point: Hargita Restaurant (Kisvendéglő a Hargitához, unfortunately no English website) is a real culinary gem in Békéscsaba, which is definitely worth trying. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend it. But you should even consider traveling to the region just for this culinary experience.

And no, this article is not an ad. In other words, I paid with my own money for what we ate here, and I write my own opinion and experience about the place.

Hargita restaurant inside 2

Why Haven’t We Heard About it?

We found Hargita Restaurant in Békéscsaba completely by chance. We had some errands to do over there, and while flipping through Dining City, I noticed that they also recommended some places in Békéscsaba. Once there, we tried Hargita and definitely did not regret it.

It is time for you to get to know this real Transylvanian gem in Békéscsaba, Hargita Restaurant.

Hargita Restaurant: The Taste of Old Transylvania

First, let me start with probably the most important information. This is not a fancy, modern, progressive restaurant. They don’t serve reconstituted sous vide truffle chicken paprikash, they are not using never-heard-about exotic ingredients shipped from 3000 miles.

Hargita restaurant pickles

They simply cook traditional food. But they do it very well, what I think is a treasure in today’s world. It’s not that I have a problem with modern foods – they’re fine too. But restaurants where traditional food is prepared and presented in an authentic way unfortunately get scarce these days.

This kind of good-intentioned preservation of tradition is reflected in the entire restaurant. Perhaps the first place where I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the presence of ancient objects on the wall. They all had a purpose here, and they were also kept absolutely clean.

So when visiting Hargita Restaurant, don’t think about preserving traditions with the smell of used oil, objects stained with grease, and a place tired of laziness, what you unfortunately get in many “traditional” restaurants all over Hungary. But think about this place in a way that you can break away from the modern world for an hour and feel like you were in Transylvania a hundred or a hundred and fifty years ago.

Hargita restaurant inside 1


Before I tell you what we ate, a few words about the service. Because I think that the way of serving food is as much a defining part of every restaurant as what they actually serve.

And there were no complaints about that either. As soon as we entered the place, we were greeted immediately and kindly. And even though we had a reservation, we were offered to sit at any table we liked.

Our waiter was also extremely polite and helpful. Not only did he serve all of the dishes with a constant smile (unfortunately, this is something worth of mentioning nowadays in Hungary), but he also helped us find the perfect food with really useful advice and recommendations.

In fact, for the dessert… but more on that later.

I would like to add here that when we visited the place for the second time, we unfortunately did not have the same experience. The restaurant was full at the time, our waiter was also different, and there was nothing wrong with the kindness in itself. But the orders taken in an extensively hurried way – often literally just turning back while rushing with other orders – and the strong impression showing the guest how busy they were, an experience unfortunately very common in Hungarian restaurants nowadays, did not give us a positive feeling at all, and we experienced it as a strong disappointment after our first visit.

We came back a third time though, and everything was again perfect with the service. Maybe just a little hiccup the second time. That happens to everyone, and I still strongly recommend this restaurant.


I’m not saying we ate the whole menu, but we ate quite a bit even the first time, and tried many other dishes on the next occasions.

What I can say that Harigta is one of the few places left in Hungary where you can experience traditional food in an authentic and pleasant way. The kitchen is leaning towards Transylvanian cuisine, but this is actually what people think about traditional food in modern day Hungary.

Soup and Appetizer

We tried Csorba soup with meatballs, a traditional Transylvanian soup. Not only was it incredibly tasty with the obligatory sour taste of csorba soup, but it was also very hearty.

And although we did not follow this path, it is completely realistic that this soup could once have provided a complete meal on its own – perhaps with a dessert. But even here, if you just want a moderate lunch or dinner, order just one of this soups, and with the larger portion and the three huge meatballs, you’re guaranteed to be full!

Csorba soup Hargita restaurant

As an appetizer, we tasted the eggplant spread with winter vegetables and butter, another classic Transylvanian dish.

And although the green salad with balsamic vinegar, advertised as winter vegetables, was the only one that stood out from the traditional flavors during our visit, the eggplant spread itself was divine with its pleasantly smoky aroma.

In terms of taste, this was somewhere halfway between the mayonnaise version, which can be said to be traditional all over Hungary, and Middle Eastern baba ganoush. The butter they served it with was quite surprising to me, I had never eaten eggplant spread with butter, but I can say that they went very well together on toasted bread.

Transylvanian eggplant spread Hargita restaurant

Main Dishes

Among the main dishes, we chose two hearty ones at our first visit. I have to tell you this was not difficult, as this place is definitely not famous for its light meals. The roasted duck liver with brain and roasted potatoes represented a particularly powerful flavor, I must say that it could even be divisive. For those who like brain and liver with onions – like me – I warmly recommend it. But if you don’t like organ meat, this is definitely not the meal for you.

Just a quick note here: eating brain might be intimidating for many English readers, but it is a quite popular ingredient in Hungary, served in many restaurants.

Roasted duck liver with brain Hargita restaurant

Our other choice was wild boar spare ribs confit with grilled polenta and forest mushroom ragout. The wild boar was brilliantly done, soft and succulent meat that is a pleasure to eat. The forest mushroom ragu went very well with the meat with its slightly sweet, barbecue-like individual character. And the grilled polenta (called puliszka in Hungarian) is a truly divine side dish.

Wild boar spare ribs confit Hargita restaurant

Dessert, a Double Pleasure

With the desserts, we were again able to experience how kind the service is at Hargita restaurant. As they serve enormous portions, we couldn’t finish what we had ordered, so we asked the waiter to have it packed for us. But we couldn’t leave without a dessert, at least we had to try the special Transylvanian doughnut, papanasi.

So we asked our waiter about the portions and what else would he recommend. And as he saw that we were already struggling with the amount of food, he offered to make us a special dessert plate. Half portion of papanasi with sweet sour cream and blueberry jam, and half portion of csöröge donuts with homemade jam. For me, this is a level of care that has skyrocketed the service experience here, and which unfortunately can’t be experienced in many places these days.

I have to say, both desserts were divine. I’ve never had papanasi before, but this light, two-part donut was brilliant with the incredibly creamy sweet sour cream and luscious blueberry jam. And the csöröge donut, a Hungarian specialty, was the best I’ve ever had. Not the dry, crumbling cardboard paper-like texture what you get most of the time, but a heavenly soft, yet slightly crunchy donut experience, which is why I definitely recommend trying this dessert if you visit Hargita restaurant.

Hargita restaurant dessert plate

And another good experience. The sweetened sour cream was so heavenly creamy that we thought it was homemade. When asking the waiter, he said without hesitation that it was store-bought, he even told us the brand. According to him, they had previously experimented with homemade sour cream, but it always had a slightly characteristic, unique taste and had been divisive among the guests, which is why they finally switched to the store-bought version. Everything for the guests – a caring attitude to begin with. And instead of beating around the bush, admitting a “weakness” with such sincerity – because homemade or at least some special sour cream would have definitely sounded better than a brand that we can buy in the first supermarket – hats off!

Where is it Located

Hargita Restaurant (Kisvendéglő a Hargitához) is located on Tavasz utca in Békéscsaba, Hungary. Use this interactive Google map to find it.

Békéscsaba, Tavasz u. 7, 5600 Hungary

Hargita restaurant from the outside