Budapest is chock-full of gyros and falafel stands and many operate all night to service the roving bands of pub crawlers. Yet, I’m going to recommend Szinbád, which is an atypical example for closing late afternoon. “But Kalman, you dark horse, you,” – some of you readers might exclaim – “you got us all excited about the idea of nighttime cuisine! Why recommend a daytime-only place, then?”
Well, simply put, the food is just so much better than elsewhere. You see, the food in many of these gyros places just tastes samey. Not bad, just rather indistinguishable from the food in all the other gyros places. That’s because (at least so I hear) all these places buy their stuff from the same central distributor, from the meat on the spit to the spices and sauces.
And that’s where Szinbád is different. The Syrian owner and his sons make all the food themselves on the spot, from original raw ingredients (except the baklava, but even that’s from some special source); therefore, their stuff has its own distinguishable – and very good – taste. So much so, in fact, that there people coming here from the far end of the city, passing half a dozen other takeaways of a similar profile on the way.
Personal tip: try the grape leaves filled with rice and ground meat. Just be aware that it’s rather messy for finger food, so you might want to take it away and eat in in the vicinity of a bathroom.