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HUF Compared to US Dollars

Hello - I am trying to determine if I'm getting the currency conversion right, when looking at menu prices for restaurants in Budapest.

If a restaurant (Costes Restaurant used in this example) shows:
7-course menu with wine pairing HUF 59.000

Does this truly mean HUF 59.000 and NOT HUF 59,000?
-59.000 in US dollars right now is only $0.20 which doesn't even amount to $1.00, whereas 59,000 is equal to $186.86, and for a Michelin Star restaurant, the higher amount seems more realistic to I reading the menu prices correctly?

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
1376 posts

In much of the rest of the world, commas and periods are used in numbers opposite of how they are used in the USA.

So 59.000 in forints is 59 thousand.

Posted by
12103 posts

Lane nailed it with the commas and decimal points.

I tend to be laid back when it comes to figuring conversion rates. I don't want to be standing around with a calculator. The conversion is about 290 to the dollar. Forints come in 500, 1.000, 2.000, 5.000, 10.000 and 20.000 bills. To keep life easy right now I am just rounding 1000ft to $3.50. Easier to deal with on the street. And if you are dining at Costes you don't really care about the pennies.

100ft coin 0,35
200ft coin 0,70
500ft bill $1,75
1.000ft bill $3,5
2.000ft bill $7
5.000ft bill $18
10.000 bill $35
20.000 bill $70 (these can be hard to use, so change them at a restaurant or a large store the first chance you get)

What you don't want to do is pay Euros. Often menus and even prices in stores will be in forints and in euros. The euro rate can be very expensive.

Don't forget, when your run out you can always go to an ATM and get more......

Posted by
62 posts

This is all really great info, I appreciate it! I figured I was wrong and that the periods must be interchangeable with the commas. Was too good to be true haha.

One more question about the restaurants - it sounds like the gratuity is included in the menu prices they list, and would not be additional - correct?

Posted by
1376 posts

A quick Google search tells me tipping 10-15% of the restaurant bill is customary in Hungary, unless it states explicitly on the menu that the gratuity is included.

Posted by
12103 posts

Tipping in Hungary is pretty much optional. Generally most people round up to an even number that represents 5 or 10 percent of the bill. But tips are still seen as something extra and not a requirement.

When you ask for the bill you will need to tell the waitperson if it is cash or credit card. Most, but not all restaurants you are liable to walk into will take cards.

If you are paying cash you will look at your bill for say 7.500 ft and when you hand him a 10.000 ft note you will say give me 2.000 change please. Don't leave tips on the table if you want to appear like you are an old hand at eating in Hungary (or most of Europe for that matter). When paying with a credit card they ALWAYS run the card at the table. Tell the wait person, "charge me 8.000 fts" before he runs the card.

SOME PLACES do put the gratuity in the bill. Costes for instance. In that case tip nothing more.