Goulash Place

Review by: Michael Stern

A hard-to-find restaurant in a mostly residential neighborhood, the Goulash Place is a treasure-trove of Eastern European gastronomy not far from Interstate 84. During the several decades we have loved it, some things have changed — most notable is the absence of hostess Magda Aczel, who was in turn charming and entertaining or wickedly blunt, but who always was a force of nature. Magdi passed away a few years ago. Another change is the prices. Since we first wrote about it in the early 1980s, the cost of a full, hearty dinner at the Goulash Place has risen from about $5 to $10.

Made-from-scratch specialties include three kinds of goulash, including our personal favorite — Transylvanian, which is velvety hunks of pork adrift in sauerkraut. Other favorites include chicken paprikash, roast pork, and stuffed cabbage. It is a dilemma choosing side dishes, for Mr. Aczel’s mashed potatoes are chunky, soulful spuds served with a bit of gravy from whatever they accompany; on the other hand, there are always nockerli, which are little hand-fashioned dumpling squiggles in a butter sauce that go so well with paprikash. With any meal, it is essential to fork into a bowl of traditional Hungarian cucumber salad – a refreshingly pickly tastebud-refresher.

Start with a bowl of wondrously aromatic chicken soup and finish with palascinke — tender crepes wrapped around apricot and chopped-nut filling. From soup to nuts, this superb food is presented with Old-World charm so genuine that sometimes you feel that you are dining not in a restaurant, but at the home of a favorite relative.

What To Eat

Hungarian Goulash

Chicken Paprikash

Transylvanian Goulash

Chicken Noodle Soup

Sampler Plate

Wiener Schnitzel

Stuffed Cabbage



Goulash Place Recipes


What do you think of Goulash Place?

3 Responses to “Goulash Place”

Doug Eisler

July 2nd, 2009

A friend and I ate there once when Magda was still alive. She looked at me and said, “What are you?” A bit bewildered, I looked at my friend (who knew I was Hungarian) and he motioned and whispered “Hungarian, dummy.” So I told Magda and she said that I looked like a certain type of Hungarian. It was very interesting to me, because no one had ever in my life guessed that I was Hungarian. Then she asked if I spoke the language and I replied no, and worse, I’m only second generation. So, sitting at the table before we had even ordered, she lightly slaps me in the back of the head and says, “That’s terrible!” My friend and I had quite a chuckle.

The food was great, especially with a bottle of Bull’s Blood wine. And, of course, Magda made it even better.


John Buonaiuto

April 19th, 2007

I have been going to the Goulash Place for as long as I can remember. Contrary to what the other reviewers have said, Magda was a wonderful woman who you had to get to know; once you did, you loved her. I heard that she recently passed away, which is quite sad. On to the food…

This is some of the best Hungarian food that you will ever eat in a restaurant. It’s where I learned to love paprikas. Their goulashes are amazing. Everything is amazing. I will continue to eat here until the Goulash Place closes its doors for good.

If you are looking for great service and atmosphere you might want to try somewhere else. If you want GREAT Hungarian food, try the Goulash Place.


Daniel Lucente

March 13th, 2007

I am a real fan of the Goulash Place. Magda, who used to oversee the restaurant, has departed this realm. Her husband, always very pleasant, remains, along with a polite waitstaff.

The food is sublime, well-spiced, and delicious. The cabbage in particular, served with many dishes, is wonderful, always perfectly limp (a desirable quality in Eastern European cooking), perfectly spiced, and generously served. The sauces and gravys are rich and complex, imparting a wonderful flavour to anything they touch. The chicken paprikash is also a standout as is the goulash soup, almost a meal unto itself. Do yourself a favour and dine here before it is gone. It is not to be missed.


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