Budapest - Need suggestions
- Daniel Jun 23, 2006 12:52 AM
I will be in Budapest, Hungary for a week in early August. I would appreciate some restaurant suggestions. Places where to have good hungarian food.
I had the best stuffed cabbage at Carpatia. Very authentic. (almost as good as my mother's who got the recipe from my grandmother, who got the recipe from........
Also, if you are looking for a fancier place, Gundel was also very good. Although it is known a little more for its ambience and class rather than its food, the food at Gundel is also very good.
For a great pastry shop, try Rusworm and be sure to get the kremes. They are located up around the Citadell area.
BTW, I am probably bastardizing my spellings on everyting.
One last tip, there is a food market just on the other side of the Danube from the Gellert Hotel. Not sure the name, but its right there where the bridge from the Gellert meets the other side of the river. In this market is a very wide variety of local, authentic style food, meats, etc. Although I somehow missed it, I hear later that I should have gone upstairs as this is where you can get all sorts of prepared foods to eat on the spot.
I hope this helps and have a great trip.
If you are downtown try Cafe Kor on Sas utca (street)..Excellent food and good prices. The Budapest Sun is in english and on-line, check out the restaurant reviews.
Check out http://budacast.hu. They have a good Eats section. Also, listen to the "Breakfast of Champions" podcast, where they hit a lángos (a disk of fried dough typically topped with sour cream, grated cheese and sometimes a bit of garlic oil) stall in the area of the Grand Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) mentioned in MunkeeCIAO's first post above.
Without being too specific:
1)I'd suggest Gundel for lunch. Try to get a seat deep in the main room and facing the windows. The vegetarian plate here is one of the best I've ever had. The famous pancakes are excellent.
2)Fatal on Vaci utca, not far from the main market, is touristy but very upbeat and lots of fun.
3)Central Kavehaz is an excellent place to people-watch and to eat good Hungarian food. The lecso (stewed peppers and tomatoes)with eggs is yummy. Lecso is used a lot in Hungarian and Slovak cooking. I always go here when in Budapest.
4)Menza, on Ferenc Liszt, just off Andrassy, is another place I always go. Not fancy, more like a student place, but the food is very good. The first time I was there had a hot plum soup that lived up to my fantasies. Not, alas, on the menu when next there in a different season.
5)Cafe Mezzo at Andrassy 36 is another good lunch place. Good food, quick service.
6) Abszint at Andrassy 34 is also a good place, with a quite varied menu. Good service here as at all of the above, though Gundel is sometimes spotty.
7) Eden, kosher-vegetarian restaurant across the Danube in District I, at Dobrentei Street 9. I had my last meal in Budapest here this February. Just an arugula salad, a bowl of pumpkin soup, and poppyseed-cherry strudel. It was unforgettable. The restaurant too is pretty cool.
I could also supply a list of places to avoid but am on deadline.
Last spring we ate at a lovely wine bar on Andrassy Ut (just across from the opera and up a block away from the river) called "Red and White" in Hungarian. (Unfortunately, I don't have the book that has the translated name in it anymore). We had a flight of Hungarian wines and a lovely, light, fresh, seasonal lunch. We tried to go back, but it was closed (it was May Day...).
We also enjoyed Gundel, but much more for the ambiance than the food. If you go, I would suggest NOT getting the tasting menu (waaaay too much food).
Although I have not heard of it, the direct translation for red and white is "piros es feher". Was that the name of the wine bar?
I will have to remember that for the next trip, thanks for the tip.
BTW, my parents just got back from a 3 week trip all throughout Hungary and I am trying like mad to get the scoop on all the food. I think they may have done a lot of at home meals with relatives though, which makes me even more jeleous.
the restaurant is called Voros es Feher and is now owned by the Budapest Wine Society, which also runs the very good wine store chain Bortarsasag; another good wine tasting restaurant, near the Central Markett Hall (behind it) is Borbirosag, which has beeen written up in the NY Times (though it's a relatively low key place; Voros es Feher is more upmarket)
Fatal is delicious, as is Menza and several other upscale eateries on Liszt Ferenc ter. Nearby is Falafel Faloda (vegetarian), Cafe Alhambra (Jokai ter.) which are not necessarily Hungarian but are mention-worthy.
We're in Budapest right now - I'm looking out at the moon over Gellert Hill - and since we got so many good tips from other posters, I wanted to give back. We went to Red and White the first night we were here - in Hungarian, it's Voros es Feher, at 1061 Bp. Andrassy ut 41. That's 41 Andrassy Street to you. It's high-ceilinged, airy, looks like a cafe. Sit down and order, and you will probably be delighted. The wine list was lengthy, all wines from different regions of Hungary - I must have sampled five different glasses, and they were all tasty and interesting. Some of them were incredibly fine. The server was knowledgeable, enthusiastic, courtly, and dead on with his recommendations. The menu was creative nuevo Hungarian and the kitchen met the challenge - flavorful, tender but toothsome Mangalica pork over the omnipresent Hungarian sauce called lecso (slow cooked tomatos, peppers, onions and paprika)... fois gras in cocoabutter sauce... lamb with vanilla scented risotto...heavenly light cheesecake with saffron and pistachios dusted on top... The price was way cheaper than a comparable restaurant in New York or Philadelphia. Go there.
Alright fellas ---
1) Stay the hell away from Gundel and Ruszwurm. Way overpriced.
2) If you want the traditional Hungarian fare with Gypsy music etc etc -- try Margitkert in Buda's 2nd district
Margit u. 15.)
3) Here is a well-known secret. If you want the ABSOLUTE best confections in town, go to Daubner (http://www.caboodle.hu/nc/directories...). Blows Ruszwurm way! August Confectionary is not bad either. (http://www.caboodle.hu/nc/directories...)
Pestiside is an irreverent take on life in BP and has a useful restaurant review list:
i am also fond of a pastry shop at the end of Raday utca near Bakats ter, Nadori Csukrazda; there is a very mean retes (strudel) takeout place, way out of the way, on lehel ut, between the Domus and Kika department stores...unbelievable strudel; and i also like the Jeg Bufe on Ferenciek tere, though it's a bit daunting if you don't speak hungarian--you pay first at a cashier and then bring your receipt to the counter for the pastry, but the pastries are quite good; in the underpass at Ferenciek tere there are a number of stalls selling all sorts of stuff..the fruit and vegetable guy is quite good, as is the fried chicken guy next to him, but the best takeaway fried chicken i have had is at a little chicken butcher shop on Semmelweis utca about a block down from Gerloczy; and for a comprehensive and enjoyable gorging of middle level hungarian food, try the all-you-can-eat restaurants called Trofea (one is near Lehel ter)
I used to like Jégbüfé (Ice-Buffet) but quality is not even close to Daubner, although location is much, much better especially if you are tourist. Good people watching too.
For fast take-away food -- that is actually not Hungarian per se, try the delicious and cheap Szeráj (turkish gyros) off of Jászai Mari.