It happens quite often that when I visit a place I leave back a little piece of my heart. Budapest is definitely one of those cities for me. After visiting the city couple of times over the last few years I can’t help myself from going back for more of all things Hungarian. The more I see, the more I want.
If you happen to do a short weekend trip or stay in the city then these are some of my favourite places around town and hopefully you’ll enjoy them as much I do.
First of all don’t be lazy, get up get dressed and get out! The best way to travel around the city is by tram. The system is extensive and reliable and there’s no way you could get lost if you use them.
Now once you’re out – head to the Great Market Hall!
As the name suggest it is the holy grail of markets in the region. If you’re looking to get an insight into the life of an Hungarian than start with the food people eat. I’ll be honest I judge people by their food and so there’s no doubt Hungarians for me are on top of that list. At the Great Market Hall there is so much to see, taste and experience that you may need a whole day dedicated to this market. The meats are to die for and totally under rated in my opinion. A good paprika sausage could battle it out neck to neck with a Spanish Chorizo.
The veggies and fruits are as fresh as they get. I usually nibble my way around the market and finally buy a few products to bring back.
The city of course has many sites to see. The many iconic bridges are an absolute must. Walk across or stand and admire the many that sit side by side connecting the city of Buda to the city of Pest. My favourite is the chain bridge which looks mystical at night when its lit up.
Ok back to food as usual :
If you plan on starting the day like royalty then head to New York Salon at the Busco Hotel. Breakfast is served in grandeur in a place where time has stood still since the golden era. And when I say golden yes I do actually mean gold! Its really hard to concentrate on food when there’s so much to see around. However whats good is that food lives up to the ambience.
If you’re in a mood for no fuss then i’d suggest a quick coffee and meal at Zoska Reggeliző Kávézó. This cute little cafe is tucked in a corner and offers a homely atmosphere as seen in the plating below.
If the weather is good and you happen to catch the sun then eating at the market in the center of town is the best option. There’s a ton of places and food stalls to choose from and everything available is freshly cooked for the day. My favourite is this salmon on the pit that was finger licking good.
At the market you’ll also find a lot of art and handmade crafts on sale. Some are quite unique and sold at a bargain.
As for dinner I am die hard fan of one place in particular. I keep going back to it not because of the food in particular but clearly because of the ambience. The restaurant is bang opposite the Great Market Hall and is called For Sale. The concept of the place is quite unique. At this bar that looks more like a barn ground nuts are served as snacks. The staff encourage you to throw the peels or shells on the floor to add to the feel of the place. Besides that the entire and when I say entire I mean entire restaurant is covered in love, travel, business cards and notes left by visitors of the years. Every night theres a 2 man band that plays tradition Hungarian music that just lifts up the mood a bit even more that usual.
Not all the food served is excellent but it dishes out a pretty decent goulash that I always order.
If you’re in the city over a weekend and want to eat exotic yet delicious food in a hip friendly neighbourhood and later dance the night away then I recommend arriving at Erzsébetváros & the Jewish Quarter early evening. The place is buzzing with the trendiest crowd of the city and If there’s one place to spend the entire evening it would be at Vicky Barcelona. This Tapas / bar / club will offer you a guaranteed fun night out in the city. Reservation is highly recommended as this place is quite popular with the locals and is easily booked out earlier in the week.
This one is a new find for me and was recommended by a close friend who recently moved to live in Budapest. The Balna – New Budapest Gallery is tucked away from the busy crowded tourist street and sits right on the pest side of the River Danube. There are a few cafes restaurants serving up mean cocktails with an unobstructed view of the city of Buda. Heaters, blankets and cozy couches make it the whole experience feel even better.
Like I mentioned right in the start, i’ve been several times to this city and have only grown to love it more after each trip. There’s so much to do and see that after all maybe 2 days is just not enough however enough for now to bring back some fine fresh produce and leave me longing for more.
Bon Voyage & Bon Appetit