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Budapest Parliament Tour, Food and Music

Any recommendations on best time to tour Parliament 945, 12, 2 or last tour 3pm?
Any food or restaurant suggestions for budget meals and places to hear music?

Posted by
11152 posts

I don't think it matters which Parliament tour you take; they're all the same (unless something has changed). So go whenever you can get tickets, and whatever fits the rest of your schedule.

In general, food in Budapest is both excellent and cheap. Rick's book has lots of good ideas, or you can just walk around and pick a place. But I will put in a plug for one place that Rick didn't mention. It's an all you can eat restaurant, Trofea Grill Etterem. I learned about it from Fodor's Budapest, and here's their page about it: http://www.frommers.com/destinations/budapest/restaurants/231783#sthash.7dFdL0pO.dpbs

At the end of the listing, they say "Note that there are four locations with the same name, but they are owned by different companies. This location is the only one we recommend." So, here's how to get there: Take the metro line 1 (the yellow line) to the last stop, Mexikoi Ut. When you reach the top of the stairs of the metro station, turn right. You will see tram tracks: cross them, and turn left. At the end of the block you will see the restaurant (I believe you have to cross the tracks again).

You can sample little bits of everything, then go back for more of what you liked. And if you like grilled squid, be sure to have it here. If you still have room for dessert, note that they have unlimited chocolate sauce and unlimited whipped cream. But everything was delicious.

A further bonus is that I was the only non-Hungarian there, and many families patronize the place, so it had a very nice local atmosphere. Note that the price is much lower for weekdays than for weekends, and much lower for lunch than for dinner.

This is also a good place to go early in your trip, since you can sample lots of dishes and learn which ones you like, so you can re-order at other restaurants.

Posted by
10662 posts

First the Parliament. I don't know if it is "required" but the lines have been pretty significant the last few times I was near the Parliament. If it were me I would show up no later than 9:00 am and get it done as early as possible. I would also purchase the tickets in advance just to make it easier. And I would re-check the times at the official site: http://www.parlament.hu/english-page

Harold, the Trofea Grill Kirlay utca is around the corner from where we stay in Budapest and in general it’s a lot closer and easier to get to for most tourists The one you referenced is indeed another company that operates 3 locations, one each in Districts 11, 14 and III. I have a close friend that visited the one in District III (Buda) and he and his wife had great reviews.

The one owned by a different company that is located on Kiraly utca in District VI is very good as well. I compared the websites between the two companies; same name, logo, ambiance, menu, etc. Sounds like a partnership gone bad. The only significant difference I can see is that the one I go to on Kiraly utca costs about $2.25 more. Still, all the Hungarian food you can eat for under $30 is a bargain. Price includes unlimited consumption of the following drinks: Törley champagne, Hilltop wine, beer, soft drinks, fruit juices, mineral waters, coffee, and cappuccino. http://kiraly.trofeagrill.eu/en/offer

I like Harold’s attitude about ducking the tourists. If you get off Vaci utca most of the restaurants you go to you will find tourists to be in the minority. There are just so many good places in a town where the tourism is spread fairly thin that more often than not you get to be in a Hungarian environment as opposed to a tourist environment. One of the niceties of Budapest. You can some ideas here: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/hungary/best-local-restaurants-and-best-baths-3-days

Right now my favorites are Macesz Huszar (District VII – The Jewish “Ghetto”) for really well prepared Hungarian food at reasonable prices. Haxen Király Étterem (District VI, Kiraly utca 100) for the best of Hungarian Food in a very upscale but very seldom visited by tourists restaurant. I sort of hesitate to advertise this one because I don’t ever want to see a tourist there. Somewhat expensive. Vak Varju (District VI., Paulay Ede utca. 7) what Chili’s would be if it were Hungarian; almost always a piano player and mostly young Hungarian professionals.

Posted by
557 posts

I'm curious about this buffet place. I'm probably assuming wrong based on the crappy buffets you'd find here in the states, but are these places really that good? It sounds intriguing to be able to try many Hungarian dishes all at once. James, I have Vak Varju listed in my itinerary, but when you say Chili's all of a sudden I'm a bit turned off (sorry, kind of a food snob lol). But I trust your judgement. Is it really worth it?

Posted by
10662 posts

For the Trofea Grill, go to the link I provided and you will see it's not a Golden Corral or a Luby's. It's quite a bit upscale from that. Is it fine dining? If you are a foodie you would be better served at

Costes
Onyx
Macesz Huszar
Bock Bistro
Rosenstein
Arkade
Csalogany 26
Arany Kaviar

Vak Varju is a couple of notches above a Chili's but it isn't fine dining either. Its good food, in a good environment with a good piano player. I know what you are looking for and I enjoy that as well, but there are those nights when I want to dress down and just relax with comfort food.

Posted by
11152 posts

I keep quoting from the Frommer's guidebook when they say "this is the only one we recommend," because I haven't been to any of the others. If James says they're good too, I would trust that.

Yes, the quality at the Trofea Grill Etterem that I went to was high. I was surprised too. It's certainly not like a cheap chain in the US. I still rate the squid there as one of the two best I've ever had (the other was in Banff, Canada). I was just in Sicily, and even though the squid is caught fresh there, it wasn't as good as the squid in Budapest and Banff (which are, of course, landlocked). Go figure.

As I said, though, I didn't have trouble finding good food in Hungary; I guess proof of this is that even an "all you can eat" restaurant is good there! When I think of returning to Hungary, food is one of the top reasons (even though I didn't care for langos, the rest of the dishes were so good I can ignore that).

Posted by
10662 posts

Harold, Frommer's and you are good solid ratings. I walked past that place on Kiraly utca a hundred times over the years but never stopped in. Then one year I needed to check on something in Budapest but couldn't do the trip myself so I sent a stand-in. He came back with great reports about Trofea so the next time I was there I tried it and it was pretty impressive. Only later I found out he had gone to the one in Buda. The one on Kiraly utca on average is 80% Hungarian guests and 20% tourists (at most). The interior design is consistent with the best restaurants in town and you wouldn't believe you were in a all you can eat place. What is especially hard to believe is the beer and wine is in the cost... also as much as your heart desires. AND, there is table service for the drinks, and to make sure everything is to your liking. You really cant go wrong. From what I have heard my description here is consistent with the place Harold went to as well. like I said, I think a split in a partnership would be consistent with these places having separate ownership but otherwise being nearly identical. Tell you want. I will be back in December and I will go to the one in Buda. BETTER BE AS GOOD HAROLD!!! ;-)

Posted by
10662 posts

AND speaking of squid. How do you explain a

It's a Monarchy but it has no king
It has no navy but its ruled by an Admiral?

Go figure?

Posted by
16743 posts

As James said, I'd go for an earlier Parliament tour and confirm times a day or two ahead. The day that I tried to go on the last tour, without advance confirmation, it was cancelled.