There is hardly a restaurant that would have caused more damage to tourism in Budapest than the Monarchia Old and its predecessor, Galilei, which stands out among the tourist traps on Váci Street. It was the worst restaurant in Budapest in the early 2010s, but it ended up being swept away by the coronavirus epidemic.
Several articles were published about Galilei around 2013 after an outrageous guest commentary about it appeared in a series on Tripadvisor, one of the world’s most essential travel platforms. The essence of these was that lousy food was paired with horrifying prices, terrible ambience and aggressive staff.
According to a report from Origo at the time, the police were called twice a week by the scammed guests. In the article, the Csöppű family, which operates the restaurant and a few similarly functioning ones, denied the allegations.
In a 444 article, several former employees of the restaurant shared details about how the place worked. They said:
- The leftover food was used over and over again.
- Used jugs have rarely been washed.
- The meat was left outside in the car for one day, and then the next day, they just used more spices
- Spaghetti with olives has more than once had no olive oil or actual olives. This has been replaced with plain cooking oil and green peas. When someone asked what this was, they said ”Hungarian olive”.
- There were simply no condiments. If a guest complained, they were given another empty bottle, thinking that they would not complain again.
The guests have also complained of lousy food, filth, hidden costs, drunken waiters, or threatening action. Almost exclusively foreigners left their opinions, and several ranked their visit as one of the worst restaurant experiences of their lives. Some snippets from the reviews:
- The food was cold, the staff was stand-offish, the table was dirty.
- Horrible. This is a tourist trap. The food is microwaved, tasteless. The plates and cutlery are dirty.
- This was the most disgusting toilet I have ever been to.
Tripadvisor also received condemning opinions about Monarchia Old in February 2020, but due to the epidemic, the restaurant was forced to close in March last year.
Since then, it has been decided: the Monarchy Old will not reopen.
According to Zsolt Csöppű, they have been trying to rent this and another store in Váci Street for half a year, but there are no potential renters. To his knowledge, the situation is similar in the whole of Váci Street, even though they’ve taken rents down 10 to 30 per cent so far.