International eating isn't a dangerous adventure through customs where the customs officer asks you to open your bag and you refuse, which prompts him to teach you about manners by reading select Goofus and Gallant comic strips. Teach taste buds about Old World cuisine with today's Groupon: for $12, you get $25 worth of sophisticated comfort food and drinks at Danube Bistro in Bellevue.
This charming café brings the atmosphere, traditions, and cuisine of Eastern and Western Europe to downtown Bellevue. Diners will feel as if a porthole has transported them to Vienna, Prague, or a European basketball league, where comfy Old World favorites such as goulash, hearty stews, pancakes, and sweet pastries await. The dinner menu offers up Hungarian staples such as tender beef goulash in paprika sauce with homemade bread dumplings ($21) and a deep-fried veal wiener schnitzel ($26.75) that hearkens back to Austria. Other favorites include the tender-roasted, Czech-style pork roast with bread dumplings and sauerkraut ($21) and the stuffed peppers filled with beef and rice ($17.50). For lighter fare, try appetizers such as the Euro-style plate of assorted sausages, salamis, and cheeses ($12.75). The meals pair wonderfully with Danube’s sweet Hungarian wines.
Drawing on hundreds of years of Old World tradition, the bistro’s décor and hospitality both recall stylish, cozy European restaurants. Share a meal with an army of soccer goalies, or invite your grade-school teachers to discuss your accomplishments over a hearty meal. There's free parking in the Avalon Apartments garage, which is perfect for cars.
- Smejkal's bread dumplings, or knedliky, are quite possibly the world's most perfect expression of starch: Torn-up bread is mixed with milk, flour, and seasonings into a batter. Then it's rolled into a log as big around as an English muffin, wrapped in cloth, and boiled. Sliced into half-inch ovals, the dumplings come out airy, white, and soothing, their Swiss cheese–like holes the ultimate sponge for every last quarter-teaspoon of meat juices on the plate. Knedliky are to Wonder Bread what the éclair is to the Twinkie. – Jonathan Kauffman, Seattle Weekly
Danube Bistro Restaurant
Like the Danube River itself, the cuisine at Danube Bistro Restaurant winds through various parts of Europe, making for a menu as eclectic as it is satiating. Italian and German wines complement family-style cuisine of those same two nation. These two formative influences result in entrees such as house-made lasagna filled with a choice of meat, seafood, or vegetables. In true international style, Hungary scores some influence on the menu as well, with a goulash studded with chunks of beef simmered in a paprika sauce.
Once patrons enter the family-owned restaurant through its fountain-marked entrance on the ground floor of the Avalon Apartments, they'll notice the care the proprietors have taken to make the restaurant a relaxing dining experience. Patrons can sup indoors on one of the restaurants two floor, or choose to take their meals on the outdoor patio, where large red umbrellas and an invisible force field shield meals from the sunlight.