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Early, simple evening meal

Planning another trip to EU in June. Looking for ideas to address our need for lighter, early (5-6 pm) dinner options in EU cities of Hungary, Austria, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. Bottomline: we mean no disrespect for local customs, but for health reasons we cannot handle heavy meals later in the evening. This has been an issue on past trips. Hoping for some fresh ideas.

Posted by
16938 posts

In both Germany and Switzerland we have been able to find nice casual places with outdoor seating, offering a big salad with choice of added protein for a nice light (and early) dinner. Or many places will offer a “Fitness Teller” ( healthy plate) with grilled chicken and mixed salad. Dining early is not a problem in those two countries.

Posted by
406 posts

I think you'll have a decent chance at getting a meal of any kind at any time
in busier, more touristy areas where there are people on all kinds of schedules.

The tradeoff is, of course, that the food and value may not be as good in other
neighborhoods during regular dining hours.

Another thought is to hit the grocery store and pick up something prepared.

Posted by
460 posts

Would you be just as happy to plan your biggest meal as lunch and then relax in the evening in hotel with a snack such as fruit, nuts, cheese, crackers, etc from a grocery store. Many fine restaurants are a great value at lunchtime.

Posted by
4004 posts

Just as Laurie Ann suggests, eat your main meal in the afternoon. That’s what we do. We eat around 3:00 then usually have a snack later in the evening. We always manage to find some place to eat.

Posted by
101 posts

Once again the RS community has provided many great comments within 90 minutes!
Thanks to all for this help.
Just added plastic utensils to my packing list :)

Posted by
15723 posts

Just added plastic utensils to my packing list :)

Don't rely on the cheap plastic utensils that are acutally disappearing. (They're being replaced my bamboo.) They break very easily.

Instead, go to a camping store and get a set of Lexan cutlery. This is heavy duty plastic that is allowed in carry on and can take a beating.

You might also want to pick up a cheap plastic or melamine plate (7-8"). Walmart has ones that sell for 50 cents.

If you dine anywhere that has salt and pepper packets, grab a few extra for your trip.

Posted by
18860 posts

When you get to Hungary the average dinner time may be 7pm, but restaurants generally open between noon and 5pm and the kitchens are in full swing. Eat what you want, when you want.

Posted by
6104 posts

Don't make my mistake, I received a travel set of metal silverware in a tiny metal box. I did travel with it a few times, but eventually TSA took away the metal knife. It was a table knife, but nonetheless, not allowed.

Posted by
8245 posts

i used to spend time planning places to eat when on trips. Most places when we got there were not appetizing to us or too expensive. I was wasting time. We're not necessarily trying to eat local food.

But in Budapest, one of the best burgers & fries we've ever had was at Zing Burger.

Ask your hotel desk clerk where to eat locally.

Posted by
28 posts

Don’t forget the apertivo hour ( or chichetti in Venice) it’s basically happy hour before dinner time… usually around 6ish. When you order a drink, a nosh comes with it. It can vary wildly… we got grilled cheese panini with our Prosecco at Harry’s bar in Florence; a 3 tiered tray of snacks with a glass of red in Puglia; lovely canapés with our cocktails in Taormina; or pick and choose cicchetti in Venice.

Posted by
18860 posts

The post above reminds me of something I have always enjoyed when traveling; that is interacting in the culture in any way that does not include waiting in a tourist line. Grocery shopping for instance. Oddly enough some of my most memorable experiences have included things such as doctor visits and trying to communicate with pharmacists.

If you are going to be spending three nights or more in Budapest then a short term rental located near one of the old market halls might be convenient and provide some interesting experiences. Get up in the morning, fix a little breakfast then a short walk to the market hall where you purchase a few things to make a light dinner in the evening; local produce, chesse and fresh bread. By the third day you should be greeting the produce vendor by name.

If that idea appeals to you then check out apartments on VRBO or AirBnb or I would suggest one close to one of these market halls (all three locations will give you a nice local experience and still be well connected to the tourism):

  • Hunyadi Square Market (great outdoor produce market on weekends) Budapest, Hunyadi tér 4, 1067
  • Rákóczi Market Hall (a bit further out, but very well connected by tram and metro) Budapest, Rákóczi tér 7-9, 1084
  • Klauzál Market Hall (between the market hall and Andrassy ut is sort of a sweet spot when visiting the city) Budapest, Akácfa u. 42-48, 1072

If you go that route, post some of the flats that look interesting and possibly I, or someone else on the forum, can tell you about the street, the neighborhood and the convenience of them before you choose.

Posted by
18860 posts

Also I remembered from a long time back that you had asked about if you ran out of meds. If that is the case or if you have any other medical problem while in Budapest I will send you who and where to go in a PM. I am an old fart too, so I relate.

And if you want to go out here are some salad ideas.

You are probably going to want one in District V, VI, VII or maybe IX all depends on where you are staying and where you are visiting when hungry in Hungary. A clue is the zip code. 105X is district V, 106X is district VI, 107X is .... well you get it. The X can be any number.