September 2020

Taste of Europe

Author: Nina Greenplate

Hungarian culture boasts many rich traditions. A country filled with colorful people and striking architecture can also brag about its tempting cuisine.

Taste of Europe chef and co-owner Timea Szanto is passionate about preparing authentic dishes. From the capital city of Budapest, she and her Dominican-born husband, Marco Sanchez, want everyone’s meal to taste like a trip to the heart of Central Europe. “We are a restaurant unlike anything you’ve tasted on the island,” Sanchez said.

Vibrant spices like paprika are signature to Hungarian dishes. The fourth most consumed spice in the world, paprika appears often in rubs, marinades, stews, chili, and garnishes, adding color and zest to many of their intimate menu selections. Chicken Paprikash is a local favorite—a mouth-watering creamy chicken stew, browned in butter, and cooked with onions, paprika and topped with sour cream. Typical Hungarian food features most meats, dairy, and cheeses, all similar to that of neighboring Polish, Czech, and Slovak cooking. Potato side dishes are also common. Another popular and recognized dish is Taste of Europe’s hearty beef goulash, filled with tender beef, onions, paprika and colorful vegetables. Fluffy, meat-filled crepes, pork chops, stuffed peppers, roast tenderloin, white fish, as well as several soups and casseroles, give a glimpse into some exciting dinner choices. Vegetable entrée features include a delicate vegetable lasagna, veggie burgers, green bean casserole, and large-plate salads.

“Nothing is ever pre-made or frozen,” Szanto said. “I shop every day for the fresh meats and ingredients, then come here to cook.”

“It really is like cooking for your family at home, just for a few more people,” Sanchez added. Dinner items average $15, with portion sizes more than ample.

Taste of Europe is excited to offer 12 different Hungarian wines! “We really want our customers to know about how delicious these wines can be,” Szanto said, “especially when they’re paired with our wonderful food.”

An attached bar area offers pub selections like wings, burgers and wraps. “We close this section of the restaurant around 9 p.m. to attract a different crowd so that families can feel comfortable coming and bringing their children,” Sanchez said. They hope to incorporate monthly activities in the fall such as live music, karaoke, and possibly dancing.

Amid the COVID-19 reality, Sanchez is still hopeful their business will thrive. “Our customers are starting to come back,” he said. “We see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Szanto and Sanchez love and support their Lowcountry neighbors. In March they prepared and gave away 200 free meals at the onset of many other restaurant closings. “We wanted to get good food to people who could not get out to shop or prepare food themselves,” Sanchez said. The owners look forward to continuing this community outreach.

“I have always loved to cook, and I love the excitement of running this restaurant,” Szanto said. Eager to again have friends come out to enjoy great food and socialize, Szanto and Sanchez welcome all to this experience. Open for lunch and dinner daily! 

Taste of Europe is located at 435 William Hilton Parkway, Unit O, in Northridge Plaza on Hilton Head Island. For more information, visit tasteofeurope.us.

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