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FOOTLOOSE

Hungary Can Appease All Kinds of Appetites

January 12, 1992|BEVERLY BEYER and ED RABEY

Start with caviar, wild boar soup with sour cream or a Hungarian hunter's plate of dried meats, all about $1.50; then a cassoulet of goose with red cabbage, leg of wild boar, fillet of stag or venison. The cassoulet is $2.75, all others just below $5. Dinner only here.

Restaurant Mecset (Torony utca 1) is in the shadow of its namesake minaret, a small and intimate room with carnations on the tables, hanging green plants and soothing classical music adding to the ambience. There's a plate for two at Mecset that gives you cold sliced beef with mustard and onions, chicken breast stuffed with mushrooms, baked goose liver and pork cutlet garnished with vegetables. This princely spread goes for $5.60, and the desserts of crepes or numerous pastries are about 75 cents.

On your own: Start with a walk up to the town castle and then down to Dobo Stvan Square, the city's medieval marketplace, and a look at the lovely Church of the Minorites (Franciscans) and the statue to Eger's defenders in 1552. The church, inside and out, is a beautiful example of late Baroque architecture.

By all means, make a late-afternoon or evening visit to the wine cellars of Szepasszonyvolgy (Valley of Beautiful Women) on the edge of town and join locals in a carafe of wine and, perhaps, a few songs. We stopped in at Kodmoncsarda, where the best local wines are about $2 per carafe.

GUIDEBOOK

Eger, Hungary

Getting there: Fly KLM, Swissair, Delta or SAS to Budapest, then take a train or rent a car for the 77 miles to Eger. An advance-purchase, round-trip air ticket to Budapest is about $1,026, the Eger train fare about $9 round trip.

Accommodations: Hotel Senator Haz (Dobo Stvan 11; $33-$46 double B&B); Minaret (Harangonto 5; $34 B&B double); Hotel Flora (Furdo utca 5; $42-$46 double B&B); Hotel Eger (Szalloda utca 1, $46 double B&B).

For more information: Call Hungarian Hotels at (213) 649-5960, or write (6033 W. Century Blvd., Suite 670, Los Angeles 90045) for a brochure on northern Hungary, including Eger, plus a map.

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