Happy New Year with Rigó Jansci!

À Côté is a small restaurant in Oakland, California in the charming Rockridge district. There are individual and communal tables, a sunny patio, delicious Mediterranean cuisine, friendly and knowledgeable staff and a great selection of wines.

The restaurant is a “neighborhood gem.”  Even The New York Times reviewed them.

This week À Côté celebrated the New Year’s Eve with a Hungarian dinner party.  Yes, Hungarian cuisine has arrived to California and mainstream restaurants started to serve Hungarian food.

New Year’s party

To be honest, I always considered Hungarian food too spicy and heavy for the American taste. The amount of red color from the paprika in dishes can be frightening and if you dare to taste local hot peppers, you know they can be brutal.  One of the biggest complaints is the lack of vegetarian meals. The salads we know here in California are rare or non-existent in Hungary.

Many Americans know only “goulash” as a Hungarian dish.   Well, the “gulyás” served in rural Hungary has little to do with the goulash stew served in American restaurants.   “Gulyás leves” is a wonderful soup, heavy on meat, paprika and spices. My favorite Hungarian dish is “halászlé” of fish soup with carp.  Carp is considered low quality fish in the US and not even sold in most California fish markets.

Here is À Côté’s special New Year’s Eve Hungarian menu with lángos, hidegtál, lecsefőzelék…. and Rigó Jansci Torte.   (The correct spelling is Rigó Jancsi)

Happy New Year!

György Lázár


  1. Avatar Pierre Divenyi says:

    I have been to A Cote but sadly missed the Saint Sylvester event. May I ask, Gyorgy, which is your favorite coffee spot in the East Bay (Oak-Berk), Hungarian or not?

  2. Avatar György Lázár says:

    Pierre, I’m a Starbucks guy… also love Caffe Trieste on Piedmont Ave. Knew Gianni Giotta from the original Caffe in SF… If I’m not mistaken the family hails from Trieste and spoke a little Hungarian…

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