Budapest, Vienna & Salzburg
Planning a mid April 2008, 30th anniversary trip to Austria & Hungary. My wife was born in Budapest and has not been back since 1956 so I really want this trip to be special. I have read many of the posts but am looking for updates on restaurants, more of local that tourist traps or chains if they have any of those over there! Also, hotel or bed and breakfast accommodations as well as MUST SEE cities, museums etc.... if anyone has suggestions it would be greatly appreciated. We plan on spending four (4) nights each in Salzburg & Vienna and then spending six (6) nights in and around Budapest. I appreciate any input that you may have to offer.
For Budapest: The food blog chew.hu has a Top 33 list (http://www.chew.hu/top33.html) that lists a lot of very good restaurants with links to a sister site with maps, reviews and links to the restaurant's websites. Not all of them are pricey places. But do keep in mind that Budapest restaurant quality does vary, even at the better restaurants, and especially with the service. (now many places bill you a compulsory service fee of at least 10%, which doesn't help matters)
As for your liking "low brow," I would say that many of the restaurants fit that description in my mind because everywhere has about the same things on their menus, with the better places tweaking them a bit. (Menza, Café Kör are good examples) Except at the better restaurants, gulyas (ghoulash) is usually a re-heated dish reserved for know-nothing tourists. The item that is worth looking for that isn't everywhere is Hortobagyi palacinta (a savoury crepe filled with pork or veal and baked with a paprika and sour cream sauce).
The best authentic Hungarian restaurant list on the Top 33 is Kisbuda Gyöngye, which is a bit of a trek on the Obuda (Old Buda) side, but well worth it.
Another frequent poster here, farago, has a great page that has a bunch of information that can be relevant for you:
I took a trip to Vienna and Budapest last year and did a lot of eating. Mostly I just checked out smaller casual places I found when researching on chowhound and other websites.
Most of the places I tried were more on the low-brow side, but I did really enjoy the food there.
Some places that stuck out for me:
If you and your wife enjoy cheese, I'd highly recommend the Meierei at Steirereck. It's a really cool cafe specializing in milk and cheese and very different from anything I've seen in the US.
Here's a link to a Vienna guide with a small description of it:
And here's a picture I took of the huge cheese platter that the group I was with ordered:
As for Budapest, I really enjoyed Fülemüle étterem if you have a hankering for goose:
Just a few simple suggestions, but I'm sure you can find lots more with a little digging around the site. :)
There is one place you should not miss:
The "Pfefferschiff", a little bit out of town, but in a spectacular ambiente
Please look at my many postings from the last years. Vienna is chowhound heaven, since there are not only great high-class places, but many excellent and inexpensive eateries. When visting the museum area between Hofubrg and Museumsquartier, you should end up in the Glacisbeisl, upstairs behind the MUMOK. There you can splurge on Viennese classics in a quiet oudoor dining area, among many Viennese who like this restaurant as much as the tourists.