Szabad Bisztró

Szabad is the 2019 venture of a group of long-time servers at the once iconic, now defunct Castro Bistro. Thankfully, Castro Bistro's adorably bohemian spirit is fully embodied at Szabad, which falls somewhere between a bar and a restaurant. The food offerings are all vegan. Though the menu changes daily, some of the hits are the ginger-infused carrot soup (€2.5), the tofu-drizzled polenta (€4), and, my favorite, the "phony túrós csusza" (€4), which manages to convincingly mimick this classic Hungarian noodle dish normally made with cottage cheese, sour cream, and pork cracklings. There are also vegetable dips and spreads.

But the best part about Szabad, which translates to "free" in Hungarian (a moniker that's open to everyone's own interpretation), is the relaxed vibes and communal spirit. Local regulars comprise the customers, most of whom are 30+ and seem to know one another. The reasonably priced drinks include draft beers, Hungarian wines, and liquor.