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Best local restaurants and best baths - 3 days

OK, James ( you appear to be the expert), I have two full days in Budapest on our own after a cruise. I think the cruise will give us the standard Buda and Pest tours..... Where would YOU send me for two other days, and they have to include a bath and good , local pubs and restaurants.

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10885 posts

HEAVILY EDITED 15 June

Food
a. Lunch on the Danube promenade in Pest; dang near any place because you are there for the view and the setting as much as anything else. The place with the orange umbrellas and trim has outstanding stuffed cabbage. Last stop on the M1 metro from the Oktogon
b. Lunch from a food booth in the Market Hall.
c. Lunch at New York Café; just to say you sat in that opulence. From the Opera walk or M1 to the Oktogon and then a short trip on the 4/6 tram.
d. Sausage from the little Jewish butcher shop on the pedestrian street facing the side of the Opera House (red store front)
e. Dinner at Haxen Király Étterem. This is in Pest on Kiraly utca. But from the Opera you go up Andrassy ut a couple of stops on the M1 (or walk) and then walk down one of the side streets on your right a block or two to Kiraly utca. This is the restaurant that fairly well to do locals go for that nice night with friends and family. Rarely a tourist and very, very, very good food. Think of something better than a US Steak and Ale but not quite a Ruth Chris’ Steakhouse; with local Hungarian food as well. Great atmosphere.
f. Dinner at Macesz Huszar; Real, first class, reasonably priced, home cooked, well presented Jewish Hungarian fare on white table cloths. Great staff too. In the old Jewish Ghetto about a 10 minute walk from the Opera House. We go on every trip.
g. Dinner at Vak Varju; so you are tired and you just want decent food and to relax. This is less than 10 minutes from the Opera House. Imagine an American Chili’s with a Hungarian Accent.
h. Dinner at Paprikavendéglő. From the Opera take the M1 to Hero’s square then its about a 5 to 10 minute walk. Great real Hungarian food in an interesting setting
I. Dinner and Klezmer music at Spinoza’s (Friday Night). A 10 minute walk for the Opera House. Worth it for the show, but only pretty okay food.
j. Breakfast at Café Vian in the Gozsdu Courtyard. A family ritual. Love the staff. About a 10 minute walk from the Opera.

Cooking class in the home of a wonderful Hungarian woman. (Goulash, Stuffed Cabbage and ……. Forgot what it was called, but good). Cook, drink Palinka, cook some more, more Palinka and the morning goes on. Then you eat what you cooked. Very, Very Good morning. She will meet you at the market if you prefer and you shop for the ingredients prior to cooking. http://budapestcookingclass.com/cooking-budapest/cooking-class/

Late Night
a. Kadarka Wine Bar, 5 minutes from the Opera b. Kadarka Wine Bar (half a block from where we stay. A nightly ritual with wonderful people and good reasonably priced wine and gourmet snacks, burgers and sandwiches)
c. Alexandra Café in the old Paris Department Store, 5 minutes from the opera
d. Walking the Danube Promanade, five minutes on the M1 from the Opera
e. The view from the top of Gellert Hill (most stunning city view in the world…period.); get a cab. Maybe USD20.
f. Any Ruin Pub (most within 5 to 15 minutes from the Opera

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5 posts

Thanks so much, James! I will print this out for our trip! I really appreciate your time!

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10885 posts

Okay, I hate to admit this. I have been in Europe now for about two weeks and as always on a long trip I have had at least two "American Food Attacks". The first was for a hamburger. Despite trying a couple of new places none of them have quite the same flavor and texture of an American burger. They generally try and make them to fru-fru. Still I survived the attack. The second attack was for steak. Now I have fallen victim to this condition all over Europe in the 3 decades that i have been traveling; always without satisfactory results. Two nights ago I made another attempt for relief and I had the absolute best AMERICAN USDA STEAK I have every had in Europe with out caveat or exception. I was told and was beginning to believe this would be impossible. Upon the first bite I stood up and shouted God Bless America. Then my wife slapped me back to reality. Budapest has the best food of any place we have ever visited anyplace in the world. And not just the best Hungarian food. Think Thai, Indian, AMERICAN STEAKS!, Chinese, Italian....... And it is every where and at really reasonable prices. And no, I am not going to tell you where I got the steak. It is my secret. there were no tourists there and I want to keep it that way. UNLESS you can prove to me you are worthy to know.

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10885 posts

I never answered your question on the bath houses. There are a number to choose from and each is wildly unique. The three I would look at are Gellert, Szechenyi and Kiraly. More information here: http://www.spasbudapest.com/

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10885 posts

Your two full days. If you have no particular interest then look into these:

House of Terror: despite its name a very well done museum chronicling fascism in Hungary. Very current and very relevant. It is on Andrasy ut. Walk the entire length of Andrassy ut to the park. Look at the shops and restaurants on the lower end and the mansion and embassies at the furthest end. In the park is Szechenyi bath house one of the most accessible ones to new comers. See the lake and the pedal and row boats (really a beautiful urban lake) and the castle. I could spend an entire day with just this especially if the wife is in a shopping mood. See the Il Bacio store even if you don't buy and be sure to at least look at the roof top restaurant.

A day on the Number 2 tram. The Basilica to the river then on the number 2 to the Great Market where you shop and maybe eat lunch, then back the other way on the number 2 to its termination, then up a block to Falk Miska utca to see the wonderful basement antique shops and down Falk Miska to the Parliament and the recently renovated grounds around it and then walk to Szabadsag ter (Freedom Square) where you can shake hands with Ronald Reagan, back to the Basilica where you can find high quality gift shops to the right of the steps to the Basilica. The shops are facing the square and facing the side street.

Easier to say where I would not go: Vaci utca which is the main tourist pedestrian street. Expensive junk and expensive food that is no better than what you can get off the beaten path at a fraction of the cost.

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5 posts

Hi James~
Thx for the additional replies! The House of Terror and the Market definitely on our list, and I thank you greatly for the restaurant suggestions!! The restaurants I had found in my research were Kadar Etkezde, Rosenstein, Ruben, Hungarikum Bistro and Fatal.

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10885 posts

Fatal is on Vaci utca,, so on principal...no.
Hungarikum Bistro I don't know, but its in a very quiet roll up the carpet after dark neighborhood. But that means nothing. Kadar, once good local food isnt what it once was.

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10885 posts

Rosenstein Vendéglő is famous from U.S. TV and worth the effort to get to.

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10885 posts

Laura, tell Rick the check is overdue and the Destination page for Hungary is pretty out of date, inaccurate (subjectively) and loosing relevance.

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12090 posts

clovgrin....A good place for lunch, could be crowded, is " Restaurant Horgasztanya Vendeglö" It's located at a street corner. Very satisfactory; good, reasonably priced dishes, multilanguage menu. Would I go back....certainly.

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157 posts

We will be in Budapest next month, so these are great suggestions. Thank you!

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10885 posts

@Fred, one of Budapest's best loved fish places. I've heard about it for years. Guess I will have to give it a try next trip.

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5 posts

thanks everyone! We leave tomorrow for Germany and then will get on the Danube and head toward Budapest!

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6542 posts

James:

Next time we go to Budapest, I'll be PM'ing you for the name of that great steak restaurant in Budapest.

I know you're not talking about Pampas Steakhouse, however. But their Grand Market apartments are great, even if there are 77 steps to get to them. You really should checkout the landlady, Jelena Budai on Facebook.

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10885 posts

I figured that's why you looked forward to all the steps. ;-) You might want to pull her name before her husband comes looking for you.

Nope, not Pampas. We had just spent a week eating yogurt and cabbage in Bulgaria and I had to have a "real" steak, not one of those roasted balls of meat Europeans call steaks. I found a place that flies in USDA beef, and good beef at that. Also pretty outstanding Hungarian food in a slightly upclass purely Hungarian patronized restaurant. Afraid I made a bit of a scene it was so good.