Budapest is a destination that’s been on my travel wish list for some time now. It’s beauty, the food, ‘ruin bars’ aplenty, the spas…. why haven’t I been sooner?!
I enjoyed 6 days and 5 nights in this stunning city towards the end of the summer and the food alone needs a blog post, so here it is – my guide to eating (and drinking!) your way around Hungary’s capital city.
Budapest is going to tempt me back again and again, I’m pretty sure it hasn’t seen the last of Miss Sue Flay – it’s truly one of my favourite locations for a well deserved break.
Here are my favourite places to eat and drink in Budapest, enjoy.
Brunch & Coffee:
We had tried a different cafe, but it was closed on the Monday morning, so we stumbled upon this just around the corner from our apartment. Such a fine it was too – we had the most delicious Croque-Madame and the strongest “nitro” coffee (eek, super strong!) I’ve ever had, it fuelled us until dinner! They also specialise in healthy bakes and smoothies, all homemade and enjoyed in this trendy coffee bar or outside in their ornate garden courtyard.
We walked past this a few times and I’m so glad we went for brunch on our last day. Plastered with a huge circus mural, it’s hard not to be enticed inside… and it’s worth it! I tucked into Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon whilst my partner in crime devoured a “Hungarian” version with cured meats, both hugely satisfying, we didn’t leave a crumb…
Városliget (City Park) – for Lángos.
This is a traditional Hungarian delicacy, of which I could only describe as a deep fried pizza base – crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy in the middle, it’s Hungarian fast food at its best. You could have it plain, but I highly recommend trying with cheese or sour cream – perhaps even both! We enjoyed this little kiosk in City Park for our first experience after a day in the Szechenyi spa. You could also try the kiosk at Buda Castle (At the bottom of the Sikló funicular) which was much nicer.
Book Cafe at Lotz Hall.
This is a hidden gem in Budapest, secretly nestled at the very top of Alexandra Bookstore on Andrássy út. It looks like any regular book shop, but ride the escalators and climb the steps to find one of my most favourite highlights of the trip – the grand ceiling, a pianist in the corner and a refreshing “Fröccs” out of the sunshine, heaven. If you go anywhere, visit this place!
Corinthia Hotel Budapest.
For me, this was the Holy Grail of afternoon tea venues. We didn’t go for a full tier, simply a pot of tea and two generous wedges of layered cakes to share… ok…. and some savoury scones, ahem. With Abba playing in the background, within this very modern hotel, it was a very random experience.
However, before visiting, the first I had ever read of Budapest and what it has to offer was through one of my favourite travel bloggers (Brooke at ‘World of Wanderlust’) and her blogs had inspired my want to go on holiday here. One of her blog posts on Budapest included photos of the symmetrical lobby’s and restaurants around the Corinthia Hotel – so we simply had to visit. I want to return to the Corinthia to stay, it was a stunning hotel and I’d love to spend more time here one day soon, a girl can dream.
The Box Donut.
These guys picked me up on Instagram during our stay and they just so happened to serve amazing glazed doughnut creations that we couldn’t resist. We happily tucked into a filled raspberry cheesecake and a salted caramel concoction… they beat your Krispy Kreme hands down!
The New York Café.
If you go anywhere for afternoon tea, even just coffee and cake, this is THE venue of the year, every year! Just wow. An opulent hotel and traditional cafe, dripping with over the top decor, candelabras and murals across the ceilings – a venue to rival tea at The Ritz for sure. It isn’t a cheap venue, far from it, but worth every penny to experience the finer side of life. The same pianist from the Lotz Hall Book Cafe was happily twinkling the keys as we sat and took it all in. Read my full review here.
Töltött Kürtős (Stuffed Chimney Cake).
Hungarian “kürtőskalács” are an iconic Hungarian sweet treat sprinkled with different things such as sugar or cinnamon, also known as “tunnel cake”. Likened to a cone shaped doughnut, we had been drooling over Instagram pictures of these being turned into summery ice cream cones – so, naturally this had to be done. We found a kiosk at Fröccsterasz in Erzsébet Square and on ordering, they looked stunning. However, this was not as glamorous as we thought it might be in 42*c…. by the time we had walked 50ft to dip our feet in the pool and enjoy our ice creams I had lost half of mine dripping into the water and the Bearded one lost half of his down the front of his shirt – so stressful! Goodness knows who gets the stunning “food porn” Instagram shots in this sort of weather!!
Pubs & Ruin Bars:
A relaxing spot to soak up the sun down by the Danube River, sat directly under the iconic Elisabeth Bridge. The perfect bar to sip on a Soproni in the sunshine, reclining in a deck chair and watch the world sail by.
A great little secret for anyone visiting Budapest – Fröccs is ‘THE’ drink in Budapest – part wine, part carbonated water, varying in strengths depending on which you choose from the menu. This terrace overlooks the Akvárium, a trendy coffee shop, that also turns into a nightclub in the evenings.
Above it, sits a shallow pool that allows you to sit in 40*c heat and dip your feet whilst enjoying your refreshing beverage – it was very welcome indeed!
An open-air bar by one of the main train stations (Budapest-Nyugati Pályaudvar) in Budapest – perfect for a beer in the sunshine, relaxed music and “industrial” pop-up food containers dotted around this sprawling summer terrace. Surrounded by terraced fencing and colourful flowers everywhere, it feels like a secret summer garden.
An odd bar in the early evening, we were the only people here so it was fairly confusing – it felt closed, but they served us a beer regardless – the huge red “Bücherbus” had been turned into a bar and the neon signs and chilled house music made it a great place for a pre-ruin bar crawl – perhaps later at night it had a little more soul, but as an empty bar, I couldn’t really comment too much… but I adored the bus, so it’s going on the list.
Such a quirky ruin bar and the hub of Kazinczy Street’s ever-growing nightlife scene, one of the busiest party areas of downtown Budapest. Some nights the queue to get inside was out the door and round the corner, so we headed there on our last day for a daytime burger from the fixed BBQ stand and some local craft beer.
You’ll never stop looking around the little nooks and crannies, rammed full of quirky toys, games, vintage Russian cars and ornaments. We even scrawled our names on the “graffiti wall” so go find “Miss Sue Flay” and drop me a line if you spot me…!
A hangout like none other – a bar surrounded by swinging hammocks, colourful chairs and great beer on tap – I adored this ruin bar for it’s chilled out vibe. The bar staff were super friendly and the variation of tourists and locals mixed around the tables. We took advantage of their wifi and got a few FaceTime family calls in, such a friendly place to hang out.
Very easy to miss, tucked away within a little courtyard, graffiti and decorated walls everywhere you looked with a sea/spacey theme – curious! Jelly fish decorations hanging everywhere and friendly travellers chatting amongst each other, swapping travel stories and tips – one of my favourite ruin bars.
Restaurants & Eateries:
Bocadillo Astoria Mediterrán.
On our first night we took a punt on dinner, there was so much choice as we walked around that it was so hard to decide. We tucked into a shared Hungarian meat platter which included duck breast in red wine jus, chicken breast with garlic & spinach cheese sauce, duck liver and Hungarian sliced meats – it was great value for money and lots of it, we were stuffed and the service was super friendly.
Goodbar – Goodburger.
Sat outside in the warm street after dark was actually very relaxing and this burger bar served a great selection of craft beers and juicy burgers to satisfy our meat cravings – they really do serve good beers and even good-er burgers.
Street Food Karaván.
If you fancy trying street food, but a little worried about finding a dodgy food vendor (not that we found any of those here) then Karaván (in the Jewish Quarter) is the place for you. We enjoyed picking little bits up from different food vendors just before the heavens opened and the place cleared during the biggest rain/thunderstorm of the week.
We tried food from The Real Cheeseburger, Kolbice by Kobe Sausages and shared a scoop of Snickers Ice Cream on the way out – yum. We dipped into here during the night of a mini “Ruin Bar” pub crawl, it complimented it perfectly.
This highly rated restaurant was next door to our apartment and came up high on TripAdvisor for Hungarian cuisine.
This was, hands down, the best meal of the week, it was beautiful. If you want a romantic meal In Budapest, book a table (we got turned away once before as we hadn’t booked!) – they are very popular, for very good reason.
The Great Market Hall.
This is a bustling food market, filled with fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, baked goods, herbs and spices. You can buy super fresh produce, Hungarian Paprika by the sack load as well as traditional souvenirs – treat yourself to an intricate lace tablecloth or a bread roll holder for a great gift idea.
We enjoyed food upstairs on the first floor from one of the many hot food kiosks – goulash served in a bread roll bowl and the biggest spiced sausage and plate of smashed potato I’ve ever seen. Food can be pricey here, but for the atmosphere alone is worth a visit.
The Vintage Garden.
I’d seen this place recommended through a blog, it’s very special and like nowhere else we visited in Budapest. As well as being a flower shop and bakery, this French-inspired restaurant also has a herb garden under the sky light and a private Hawaiian-style tiki hut at the back of their floral, vintage restaurant.
Because we pre-booked a table, we were seated in the tiki hut which was so much fun to enjoy our little date night dinner in. The fresh salmon fillet with green beans was superb, make sure you go if you’re looking for somewhere special.
Wherever you go in Budapest, it isn’t going to disappoint – we never had a bad meal or drink – and we plan to return again soon, one of my most favourite locations of all time.
Why not take a nosey at my blog post on the street art on offer within Budapest?
Or a more detailed review on The New York Café?
Have you been to Budapest yourself?
Leave a comment below with your food and drink recommendations, I’d love to hear from you for my next visit.
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