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where to eat in Budapest?

Hello -
I am looking for some recommendations...one of the joys of travel is exploring the food...we love to find the local, less touristy places featuring local cuisine. We will splurge once or twice a trip if truly worth it, but in general look for hidden gems. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance,
Laura

Posted by
1878 posts

Well it's not Hungarian food, but Taverna Dionysos has great Greek food with big portions. My wife and I have eaten there four times on two separate trips to Budapest in 2011 and 2014.

Posted by
796 posts

One of my favorites is Hungarikum Bistro at Steindl Innre Street 13. It is a cute and cozy bistro just steps away from Parliament and not far from the Chain Bridge area and has red checkered tablecloths and comfortable padded seats. They serve the best Hungarian food made lovingly by Hungarians. They welcome you warmly and treat you like a guest in their own home rather than a business. The atmosphere is homey, the staff take time to help you select what you want and will explain what is in dishes, and it is ultra popular with locals.
You will need to reserve in advance - either fill out the reservation form at www.hungarikumbisztro.hu/reservations.html or you can call them at +36 30 661 6244.

Posted by
37 posts

^ what do you mean exactly when you say "beyond your comfort zone"? Too seedy? Not what I pictured for Budapest, but would be good to know.

Posted by
4637 posts

Several years ago we ate at Rezkakas restaurant. It is on Veres Palne utca. Parallel with Vaci utca. Very good hungarian food, excellent Tokay wine and hungarian folk music. We were staying in nearby pension. They wanted to send us to some American restaurant but we told them we wanted something very Hungarian and it surpassed our expectation. We bought the musicians CD. I recommend, if you want something typically Hungarian and a little upscale with excellent wine, go there.

Posted by
10675 posts

Sooooo much good food in Budapest that I think its easier to do it by location. Where are you staying?

Posted by
37 posts

worldinbetween: thank you for your helpful response. Usually I feel bad about eating at well discovered places but you have put me at east. I can't wait for our trip in May!

Posted by
22 posts

Thanks for the advice - we are staying at the Kapital Inn, near the House of Terror. We will only be in Budapest for 2 nights (a Saturday and a Sunday), so want to make the most of them.

Posted by
12084 posts

Regarding beyond "comfort zone, zero English" in restaurants: a long the menu in BP is multilingual, no problem. So far, I've seen them as multilingual.

Posted by
10675 posts

Thanks for the advice - we are staying at the Kapital Inn, near the House of Terror. We will only be in Budapest for 2 nights (a Saturday and a Sunday), so want to make the most of them.

Interesting location. Right on the M1 which is great; and a nice traditional neighborhood. Based on the location of the hotel a few places come to mind. I picked close to your hotel but with the M1 right there you can eat and head for the river or the park. Or you can be coming from something else, eat and go home if you are tired. Also tried to pick interesting places in interesting locations. Don’t know your taste so these are all very, very good, but sort of span some costs and styles:

Haxen Király Étterem: Higher end traditional Hungarian food in the same location for generations. The sort of place you could imagine Communist Party Bosses having dinner while they plot the …….. You get the idea. One of my favorites in town. Few tourists outstanding food and service. About a 5 minute walk from your hotel.
Király utca No. 100
http://haxen.hu/
06-1-351-6793, 06-1-342-8193
info@haxen.hu

Paprika Vendéglő: Traditional Hungarian food in a more relaxed atmosphere, but still a great menu. A little further away but worth the effort. Seeing Hero’s square all lit up at night after dinner is also pretty nice. Take the M1 metro to Hero’s Square and then walk about 5 minutes. And remember, the M1 goes nearly to the river so after dinner you just hop on to the last stop, get off and stroll the river front and all of those gorgeous lights.
Dózsa György út 72
http://www.paprikavendeglo.hu/

Menza: Still one of Budapest’s best mid-priced restaurants for traditional and European menus. About a 10 minute walk down Andrassy ut. Another beautiful street in the evening and again on the M1 if you want to cap the evening at the river front.
Liszt Ferenc tér 2
http://www.menzaetterem.hu/

Klassz: This one on Andrassy ut has pretty amazing food (for which you pay) and wine, wine and more wine. Downside is there are no reservations accepted. Pretty exceptional and a good location for the evening. Always worth the effort to try and get in.
Andrassy ut No. 41
www.klasszetterem.hu

After dinner, or before, or as a stop along the way, you need to go to the coffee house in the Paris Department Store (Alexandra’s Books) at Andrassy ut No. 39.

My experience with language and comfort zone is that in the center its no problem at all. Beyond the center, because of the kindness of the Hungarian people, a lack of good communication can be more fun than hindrance.

Posted by
10675 posts

And another really interesting idea. Its not Hungarian, but its also not something you are likely to find in your home town either which makes it a perfect choice while traveling. Hachapuri Georgian Restaurant at No. 4 Andrassy ut. I’ve had Gerogian food and its good; but alas I haven’t had the time to drop in here yet. But it is on my list for April or May. Here is some more on it: http://budapesttimes.hu/2014/01/24/dining-out-georgian-style/

Posted by
12084 posts

Then I had better go out beyond "the core" to find these restaurants when I am there in May.

Posted by
11152 posts

I'll put in another one of my plugs for the Trofea Grill Etterem. It's an all you can eat restaurant, but don't let that discourage you - it's really good. 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." James has been to several of their other locations, and feels they are good as well, even if patronized by more tourists because they are more central. I can only vouch for this location - it's not hard to get to, and I'd certainly go back.

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 with children 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
10675 posts

Harlold: All fo the Trofea locations have united on one webpage so I am guessing the feud is over: http://www.trofea.hu/ It is a bargain. Who ever heard of an all you can eat place where the wine is also all you can drink?? Very good food and not priced too bad for what you get.

Fred: All the places recommended by everyone here are good. The real problem is there is just too much good food in town and its hard to decide where to go. So I made it easy and picked a few places with direct routes to their hotel. Basically they are all on the M1 line or within a few minutes walk for it.

Laura; you did say less touristy, local, hidden? Like worldinbetween suggested pretty hard to find such a place thanks to the internet.

I do know one place not far from your hotel. It's a wine bar with a sort of gourmet menu. Besides the expected goose and pate and cheeses and chicken plates and home baked bread they have hamburgers. Big, juicy European sort of ball shaped, way too tall hamburgers on some pretty amazing buns. Combined with the wine and a table on the sidewalk I cant have a much better evening in Budapest.

The owner Arpad (Arpy) and the staff: Julie, Judy and the 6'-2" Mr. G are among the kindest, most considerate and generous people I have met in Budapest.

Tourists? Rarely if ever. Actually I would guess about the only tourists they see are the ones from the holiday rental apartment nearby. In the early days I would show up after dinner sit outside and try a new bottle. How many places do you know will open a bottle for you to try, and then not require you to purchase it if you don't like it? Anyway, as bed time approached I would purchase a full bottle of what ever it was I was drinking (which they would open for me), and BORROW a couple of glasses for the night --- returning them the next day.

Technically there are wine bars with more photogenic atmosphere, but this is one of those places you go to when you are in the right frame of mind and you want to soak in Budapest for a few hours surrounded by good food, good wine and very good people.

Or its all my imagination.... Not sure which............................... Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! The name? You know, I like this place the way it is - sans tourists. Never mind.................https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3FnpaWQJO0

Posted by
10675 posts

Fred, about the "Core", I sort of like the location where Laura is staying. A little far out for my taste but not bad at all. BUT, if you were to stay in the core (sort of the end of Andrassy ut) you would find yourself pretty equally distant in time and effort to reach most all of the great restaurants and sights in town. Beyond the end of Andrassy ut, towards the river, it just gets a lot too touristy and expensive for me. In a place like Prague that's less of an issue because Prague's center is pretty much an architectural amusement park. You go to see and check off the boxes on your list. You can do a lot of that as well in Budapest, but in Budapest the places in-between the sights for some at least, become the real reflection of the city. I temper all of this by saying this is more a first time visit 3 or 4 night impression. With more visits and more time Prague, Vienna, Budapest, etc; they can all take on different impressions.

Posted by
11152 posts

James: thanks for the update about Trofea's status.

Posted by
10675 posts

Worldinbetween, it's on my list for next month. Our OP is staying just off Andrassy near the House Of Terror, so it's a good choice to have a unique meal, one difficult to duplicate in the states, and to see an interesting part of town .....and easy to reach from her hotel on the 4/6 Tram which is a great sight seeing experience on its own. She could stop at the New York Palace for desert on the way home....I know too expensive, but it's called an experience and tourism.

Posted by
557 posts

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE check out Zona for their prix fixe lunch. I believe their cuisine leans towards modern Hungarian, but you will not regret going there. It's so good, I even went back for dinner. It's right on the bank of the Danube next to the Chain Bridge on the Buda side. YOU MUST GO! Ok, shameless plug over :-).

Posted by
2081 posts

My first meal in Budapest was from a stall in the Great Market Hall (Nagycsarnok) and it was delicious--a big pork sausage in a perfectly delightful greasy red sauce over what appeared to be butter beans, washed down with an enormous Dreher beer. My last meal was at a restaurant near the end of Vaci utca called Futol, I believe--pork sausage stuffed cabbage on a bed of shredded cabbage with a spicy sausage on top garnished with bacon. More Dreher to wash it down. In between there was chicken paprikash in Szentendre, goulash and excellent pastries. Of my travels thus far I loved the food in Hungary the best, just like my Hungarian grandmother's cooking.

Posted by
40 posts

Hoping the most informative poster, James, will direct me to some good restaurants near my hotel NH Budapest City. I'm here all week. Last night a hotel clerk directed us to Firkasz which was walking distance. We had an excellent meal. Walking is preferred if you have some suggestions. Thanks in advance.

Posted by
40 posts

Hoping the most informative poster, James, will direct me to some good restaurants near my hotel NH Budapest City. I'm here all week. Last night a hotel clerk directed us to Firkasz which was walking distance. We had an excellent meal. Walking is preferred if you have some suggestions. Thanks in advance.

Posted by
10675 posts

Actually worldinbetween I think I have eaten over there 3 times in 12 years. Isn't there a boat restaurant near there? Its a part of town I am no help with. I'm sort of partial to the area between Dobb and Andrassy. I will defer to your fine judgment. Besides I am in the middle of a power Ottawa here right now.

Posted by
10675 posts

I know where it is. I've been to Panini and on the other side of the park I've been to a sort of antiquated looking Cukrászda; very large with mezzanine seating. The boat place was moored in front of the park. It a lovely comfortable part of town. Just not one that gives me many excuses to visit. If I were going to take up permanent residence it would be one of my first choices.

Posted by
10675 posts

Yup, that's the place. Went with the children of a couple of friends. Ate too much cake.

Posted by
47 posts

Great information and thanks very much for all the on the ground information, most helpful!

I have been bookmarking some of the recommendations along with some in the RS book on Budapest. We will be in Budapest from May 5th to May 11th, staying in the Butterfly Home B&B, located Képíró utca 3, 1053.

Interested in any recommendations about coffee houses and restaurants in this area worth checking out.

Thanks for any help / Gene