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Eating and Drinking Under the Radar in Budapest, Hungary

Heading on over to Budapest from Austin, Texas for a couple weeks in August.

I'm a serious eater and am ready to range broadly across the city and hope to eat like a Magyar.

I've read the Critical Guide by Andras Torok and can't wait to get to the city and do some serious exploration

The common hog is perhaps the most noble animal on earth. I know Hungarians are serious about their pork and so am I.

Who's working with Mangalitsas in Budapest?

This pig is really making a splash in culinary circles stateside and I'm hoping to eat quite a bit while in Budapest.

What restaurants are the most serious when it comes to their pork preparations?

Is there such a thing as Hungarian barbecue? Slow smoked meats cooked with fire built from hardwood?

Pickles? I'll be eating lots of pickled vegetables while in town. Please point me to the pickle queen.

What district provides the best, most diverse array of restaurants?

No fancy, high dollar places where the architecture of the food on the plate is the most important point of the chef. Just good exemplars of Hungarian cuisine done right. Diners, cafes, bars, old joints that have been there forever?

I need to know because that's where I'll get my pension.

Cake and/or Pastry: Where do you go to satisfy your sweet tooth? Who's been to Fröhlich cukrászda at Dob utca 22?

Home cooking: Kiskacsa restaurant at Dob utca 26 offers “one plate home cooking" according to one internet wag. How is it?

Kádár étkezde at Klauzál tér 10 is mentioned as being one of the better lunch spots in Budapest. What's the story?

Interesting food outside Budapest: I'll have the use of a motorcycle while I'm in Budapest. Any good places an hour or so outside of town? How is the Lake Balaton region?

Deryne? Read a favorable review for this restaurant. How is it?

Beer? I'm going to be drinking as much beer as possible on this vacation and need to know where to get the best of the region. I like small, weathered taverns preferably where the typical drinker is an old man with a pint and a newspaper. Frippery interests me little.

How is Aranyászok Sörözö at József Nádor tér ?

Paul's Pub at Váci utca 49 ?

Kaltenberg Sörözö Kinizsi utca 30-32 1092 Budapest?

The Caledonia Mozsar Utca 9, Budapest 1066?

Corso Petõfi Sándor utca Budapest?

Henri Belga Sörözö (Belgian Brasserie) I. Bem rakpart 12, Budapest? I'm very excited by this as I LOVE Belgian beer. Word?

Mister Sörház Régifóti út 31, 1152 Budapest.?

Pater Marcus I. Apor Péter u. 1., Budapest.? More Belgian beer and food is supposed to be served here. Who's been? How is it?

Haxen Kiraly Kiraly utca 100, Budapest.?

Are there any breweries in Budapest producing Hungarian micro brews?

I read an interesting article about Romkocsmas [Ruins Pubs] in Budapest.

Your thoughts on Szimpla kert?

How about Mumus?

Fogas haz?

Coffee. I drink an inordinate amount of coffee. It's my lifeblood even more so than my beloved beer. Where do you go in Budapest to get delicious coffee? Any places roasting their beans on premise?

Buffets: http://www.trofeagrill.net/index.php?...

Street food: After reading this http://www.chew.hu/csulkos_magyaros_l...

I'm filled with a craving for Magyaros Lepény. Who is the standard bearer for this dish? What is some other street food I need to know about? Any particular neighborhood where there's plenty carts afoot?

Is Buda better than Pest or vice versa? How is district 7?

Three Monkeys or Három Majom: Still open? Still good?

Hungarian soul food: Slow cooked meats, careful takes on gravy, homespun use of potato etc. Where do y'all go to get your Hungarian soul food?

Steak. I'm going to need to eat a ribeye at some point. Preferably from a well reared Hungarian steer [ Grey cattle? ] that's been cooked by a pro, preferably on a high heat grill. Where do I go to realize this dream?

Sausage: I'm lucky to live in Central Texas where thousands of emigree's from Germany, Austria and Czechoslavakia have lived for generations. We have incredible sausage and I can't wait to tear into some Hungarian links. Where do y'all go to get your kolbász ?

Ice cream: Vári Cukrászda, worth the trip to District 16? Read about it here: http://budajest.com/2010/05/03/vari-c...

I've got a lot more questions but this will get me started. After reading the Critical Guide I could not be more excited to come to this incredible city.

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  1. Wow. I was in Budapest about 2 years ago, and you will not be disappointed when it comes to the divine swine. Pressed for time here, so let me give you just a couple tips. Go to the big market in town, and you'll be in salami heaven. Head upstairs for a couple of beers while you are there. As far as nice meal out, you need to go to Menza. One of the best dining experiences in Hungary. If you like Fois Gras, order it!! Menza is a cool upscale spot that does it right, and does it with Hungarian sized portions. Being from Texas, you should be used to the insane portion sizes of Hungarian meals. I'll get my Aunt to jump on this site and help you out, as she just returned from a trip to Hungary. Have fun, and enjoy! -Prizat

    1 Reply
    1. re: prizat

      Hadn't planned on eating Mexican food in Budapest but there's a Mexican on the range at Ellato Kert

      http://www.pestiside.hu/20100625/kert...

      Who's been?

      How's the taqueria?

    2. Menza is a pretty good choice! I went there last month.
      Borsso is good at delicate French and Hungarian food with higher price and more cozy environment.

      4 Replies
      1. re: littlerice99

        Tracking the performance of the Forint vs. the dollar whilst doing more Budapest research. I might be able to wiggle a spot or two like Borsso in during my journey.

        Between http://chew.hu/ which is the Istanbul Eats of Budapest and www.pestiside.hu I'm starting to get my bases covered.

        I'm really enjoying the Kert Watch series http://www.pestiside.hu/20100625/kert...

        as I get my pubs lined up for the trip. I'm really looking forward to tearing into a ribeye off some Grey Cattle as well. I wonder if Pampas, the Argentine steak house is sourcing their beef from Hungary or Argentina?

        http://www.caboodle.hu/nc/directories...

        1. re: scrumptiouschef

          Very fetching menu at Restaurant "M" http://www.metterem.hu/

          Maybe this is where I can get my hands on some Grey Cattle?

          http://quarter6quarter7.com/

          and found my Hungarian soul food fix apparently. Lecsós Borda anyone?

          http://theeatenpath.com/2009/06/21/ko...

          Hungarian Soul Food:

          Kádár Étkezde
          Klauzál Tér 9
          VII District, Budapest, HUNGARY

          Roma Étterem
          Csalogány u. at Málina u.
          II District, Budapest, HUNGARY

          Kölöves
          Kazinczy u. 35
          VII District, Budapest, HUNGARY

          Less than 3 weeks til I'm on the ground in Budapest.

          1. re: scrumptiouschef

            Hunkering down on my daily coffee intake in Budapest.

            Lots of options available. I read that the communists shuttered the coffee houses in 1948 but it looks like once the Magyars shook off their oppressors they've rebounded nicely.

            Ruszwurm
            Buda, Castle District, Szentháromság utca 7.
            Open: 10.00-20.00, Closed on Wednesdays

            Any place that opened in 1827 is going to have my full and undivided attention. Who's been to Ruszwurm? How was the coffee?

            Angelika Cafe & Restaurant
            I. district, Batthyány tér 7.
            Open: 10.00-22.00 daily

            Mentioned in the same article as Ruszwurm as being significant. Curious about their coffee.

            The Auguszt Pavilon near the Farkasréti Cemetery (Sasadi út 190.) I love the idea of sitting in a chestnut tree laden garden and drinking coffee with a fat slab of Hungarian cake. Who's been to Auguszt Pavilon? How's the cake and coffee?

            Hauer
            Rákóczi út 47-49., VIII. district
            Open: 10.00-20.00

            Mentioned as being one of the VERY best places to eat Hungarian sweets. I have a terrible sweet tooth and can't wait to tear into some regional pastries. How is Hauer?

            I'll update this thread more later.

            1. re: scrumptiouschef

              Just stumbled upon a link to Frank Zappa cafe. Who knew that Frank is actually alive and well and running a small cafe in Budapest?

              http://zappacaffe.hu/

              Who's been to the Zappa cafe?

      2. I see you mentioned Trofea Grill. I don't know how into buffets you are, but most are quite average because the quality and freshness of food just isn't on par with a restaurant. I found Trofea to fall into that case (like most buffets). I would recommend eating at a restaurant and skip the buffet.

        I didn't stay very long (or eat very much) in Budapest, but one no nonsense restaurant is Lugas. Not super fancy, but the quality of food is good and fairly cheap (at least compared to other European cities. It's probably average compared to other Hungarian restaurants in Budapest).

        Belvárosi Lugas
        Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út 15, 1065 Budapest

        13 Replies
        1. re: ballmouse

          My investigation on eating in Budapest continues apace. Found a good source here

          http://horinca.blogspot.com/

          Lots of Hungarian info. Found this http://www.durerkert.com/ here. Sounds like a must visit.

          As well as this. http://www.pantlika.hu/ Amazing architecture and I do love coffee

          Chinese food in Budapest? http://www.caboodle.hu/nc/directories... Apparently Chef Wang is the man. Not sure if I'll get to try this or not

          Mangalitsa tasting anyone?

          Yes I found a place that celebrates the wooly pig:

          http://www.caboodle.hu/nc/directories...

          Polgar Etterem features: Mangalica töpörtyűkrém, Mangalica füstölt szalonna, Mangalica zsír, libazsír, and more all paired with delicious Hungarian wines!

          and finally: http://budapestguide.net/category/res...

          Lots more good info on eating out in Budapest above

          1. re: scrumptiouschef

            Scrumptiouschef,

            Please report after your trip. We are planning on visting Budapest in late November and December for the Christmas Markets and Holiday food finds. I would love to know your favorite restaurants/pastry shops.

            We visited Budapest five years ago, I am sure our restaurant finds from then may have changed. However, the food was fabulous. I dream of visiting the Central Market again. I brought back tubes of goulash spice for everyone from the market. They have all requested it again.

            Have you reviewed the different types of paprika?

            1. re: hoteliere

              I'll be issuing several reports starting in a couple days. Will be purchasing a few different paprikas to ship back to US.

              Just found a speakeasy style beer store right around the corner from my apartment in Budapest.

              Csak a jó sör - Only rare beers

              http://www.ratebeer.com/Places/ShowPl... The lads over at Ratebeer love this spot and I can see stocking up my fridge from there. I love that they don't have a sign, just a buzzer to get in the unmarked door.

              Here's their website http://csakajosor.hu/

              My Hungarian is a mite rusty but I figure there are probably a few native speakers out there who can navigate the site.

              Found a Czech beer hall and restaurant over on www.chew.hu

              Ferdinand Monarchia Cseh Sörház, District VI Sounds enticing

              Review: http://www.chew.hu/how_about_some_cze...

              Any restaurant called "The Inner City Pig Platter" is going to have my full and undivided attention. http://www.chew.hu/a_butcher_demystif...

              Can't wait to get my hands on some Serbian pastries: http://www.spottedbylocals.com/budape...

              Who's been to Csalogany 26 ? Read a great review here http://www.budapesttimes.hu/index.php... They're in contention for a Michelin star? Curious about this restaurant...

              Lots of good eating in Budapest these days I reckon.

              1. re: scrumptiouschef

                After a 29 hour journey I'm finally LIVE on the ground at the Pedal Cafe in lovely downtown Pest. After a glorious morning breakfast at the Central Market [ Fried Pork Skins and fresh orange juice] I'm about to make my way to Kadar.

                Last nights late arrival meant the restaurants were mostly closed so I opted for multiple beers [sor] for sustenance. Lovely Dreher, Saproni and Staropramen at Habrol's, Bonnie and Clydes and another spot that had no sign.

                Budapest is gorgeous. It's a little beatup. The American city it reminds me of is Cincinnati. I reckon one day it'll be varnished and glossed but right now it's a little rough around the edges. Just the way I like it.

                Heading to Kadar for a soul food lunch then who knows. Csalogany 26?

                Hit the Mangalica motherlode at Central Market. Thankfully my apt has a stove so I see myself cooking up the kilo of bacon I have in my backpack and then just slowly munching on it over the next couple days.

                The bartender here is a pretty fair dj too. Buddy Guy playing when I walked in and now he's on a Junior Kimbrough song.

                Good ol Budapest.

                1. re: scrumptiouschef

                  Sorry for the clutter caused by my new thread. I didn't see this.

                  This one is very helpful!!

                  1. re: scrumptiouschef

                    I always liked the Kisharang on Oktober XVI for a quick Hungarian standards lunch. Great mushroom stew (gomba porkolt) and a fine schnitzel (borju becsi szelet).

                    1. re: jjm323

                      Kadar is a good representation of Hungarian soul food. Simple fare: braised beef with dumplings, cold cherry soup. This was the place whose name kept popping up as I did my research.

                      Address: Klauzál tér 9., Budapest, 1052
                      Phone: 00-36-1-321-3622
                      Opening hours: Mon-Sat 11:30 – 15:30

                      Marquise de Salade serves Azerbaijan food. I stumbled across it on a long hike and took respite inside. The lamb dumpling soup reminded me of Uighur cuisine.The interior layout is incredible. I'd love to know the history of the subterranean building it occupies.

                      Address: 1065 Budapest, Hajos utca 43
                      Phone: +36 1 302 40 86
                      Hours: 11am - 12am (every day)

                      Fulemule is a Jewish restaurant that kept popping up in my Jewish soul food searching. It's incredible and I'll be stunned if I eat food again this good in Budapest. Crispy goose leg with fried latkes smothered in sour cream. Yes, thank you.

                      Address: Kőfaragó utca Budapest
                      Phone: 00-36-1-266-7947 or cell phone: 00-36-70-341-1035
                      Opening hours: Sun-Thu 12 pm – 10 pm, Fri – Sat 12 pm – 11 pm

                      Lots more eating going on over here but those are the highlights.

                      scrumptiouschef

                      1. re: scrumptiouschef

                        for "new hungarian" bistro cuisine try mák http://www.makbistro.hu/ or aranyszarvas http://aranyszarvas.hu/index2.html

                        for great jewish try rosenstein

                        sausage: best at the central market

                        steak: better forget it I think

                        go to the ruin pubs: szimpla kert, kőleves kert, ellátó kert, mumus, all within walking distance

                        1. re: scrumptiouschef

                          Csülök Csárda [aka The Pork Knuckle Inn] puts out platters that makes Texas portions look downright diminutive. I opt for Pork Knuckles with fried potatoes and fried onions. A plate that could feed 4 hungry eaters arrives and it's simultaneously delicious and cheap [under 8 dollars]

                          VIII Berzsenyi utca 4, Józsefváros
                          Phone +36 1 210 7897

                          Kuplung gets good reviews as a kert or ruins-pub but with no music playing I enjoy a quick beer and head out. I love that it's in a former motorbike repair shop but deathly silence does little for ambience when you're on the town.

                          Király utca 48
                          kuplung.net

                          Nearby, Grandio is a garden bar that's seen the wisdom of broadcasting music while the patrons have a beer or two. There's also a busy little grill tucked away putting out all sorts of food. Slow service, lots of vegetation and big with the bicycle crowd. I believe there's a hostel on the same site if you have too many Sapronis and can't navigate home.

                          Nagy Diófa St 8
                          06 20 350-7441

                          Next up: Inner City Pig Platter

                          1. re: scrumptiouschef

                            Polgár Étterem és Bortrezor in the basement of the Domina Hotel is no longer in business. Found out the hardway. I was really looking forward to running the table on their Mangalitsa.

                            Also, iconic sweet shop Hauer Rákóczi út 47-49., VIII. district has closed after 110 years of operation. Found out the hard way when I walked over for breakfast this morning.

                            The biggest heartbreaker though was csalogany 26, the restaurant that everyone is talking about for modern,creative Hungarian cuisine. I took a nice 3 hour hike over there today-CLOSED. Not for good. Just taking a two week break. Reopens this Tuesday, two days after I leave for Bratislava.

                            Ellato Kert: Wandered in here due to its' proximity to Polgar. At first I thought maybe it was a daycare center. Scads of little kids, half of them on bicycles riding amongst the tables. A group of drunk moms over in the corner shrieking with laughter. The little taco bar was good. I had a chorizo taco and a beef taco. There's a Mexican on the grill as reported elsewhere. http://www.ruinpubs.com/index.php?id=...

                            Inner City Pig Platter was incredible. I found my Hungarian boudin and they custom fried me a giant onion ring. Stand up at a wooden plank and have at it with the other punters fresh off the queue.

                            1053 Budapest, Károlyi Mihály utca 17
                            Phone: 06-70-451-9445
                            Open: Mon.-Fri., 07-20; Sat., 07-15

                            Back to Fulemule for Hickory Smoked Brisket served w/ beans, slaw, french fries and bread. I knew I could find barbecue if I tried hard enough. This has been my favorite restaurant so far in Budapest. Heroic portions, friendly staff and a cook who puts alot of attention to the small details.

                            1085 Budapest, Kőfaragó St 5, Hungary‎ - 06 1 266-7947‎

                            Cafe Pierrot. I hadn't planned on eating here but was at loose ends after my giant hike and needed a place in the stead of Csalogany. It's fancy. Good service and a credible trio of goose liver.

                            1014 Budapest, Fortuna u 14., Hungary‎ - 06 1 375-6971‎

                            Pater Marcus. Also hadn't planned on this place but it was between my apt and Cafe Pierrot. Good strong Belgian ale and bittersweet chocolate cake. This was the best smelling restaurant I've been in in a long time. Busy.

                            1011 Budapest, Apor Péter utca 1, Magyarország‎ - 06 1 212-1612‎

                            Voros Ordog [ The Red Devil ]. Another spot I bumped into, liked the name. Very fetching courtyard. Enjoyed a brawny bowl of goulash and a Dreher Bock.

                            1014 Budapest, Országház utca 20, Magyarország‎ - 06 1 214-3798‎

                            Only one more full day of eating in Budapest. This is an incredible city. The architecture, the food and the people have all been wonderful. It would take a solid month to really explore it fully.

                            1. re: scrumptiouschef

                              I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed following your culinary journey through Budapest. I will definitely take your advice on Fulemule when I am there in early September. My goal was to eat as much goose as possible, that sounds like a good place to start.

                              1. re: jjm323

                                As a Gentile it didn't dawn on me that a lot of my favorite [read Jewish] joints would be closed on Saturday [Sabbath] so as I went from cukraszda to cukraszda it slowly dawned on me, the men are all wearing their Sunday best and the women are all gussied up too. Wait. It's Sabbath. Silly goy.

                                Muzeum did manage to put out a credible slab of cake for me. That plus two coffees for 780 ft.

                                1088 Budapest, Múzeum Krt. 12. Telefon: 06-1-267-03-75

                                Gourmand was also good. I hated the name but went due to their being open. Good cake, good tea and dirt cheap.

                                Semmelweis utca 2

                                Decided to take a monster hike to far east part of Pest to hit Rosenstein and calibrate them vs. Fulemule. Along the way I found Afrika Cafe and enjoyed a blazing hot bowl of catfish soup and a big bottle of Dreher for 1300ft. Very convivial folks running this place

                                Berkocsis utca 21
                                District 8

                                Rosenstein was closed. Be aware that if you come to Budapest in August a LOT of the businesses are closed. There is a reason the Magyars call it cucumber growing season.

                                Hit 400 a Serbian restaurant for their fried frog legs. Bland waste of calories in a very chic room. Dour staff.

                                VII. Kazinczy utca 52/b

                                Tel: 06-20-776-0764
                                Sun-Wed 11:00-03:00
                                Thur-Sat 11:00-05:00

                                I knew my final meal in Budapest needed to be epic so I hit........Fulemule one last time. See above notes for the Leg of Goose. Honestly, not as good as the daytime version, but still memorable. This is the restaurant I will daydream about when I get back to the states. Beautiful service, incredible food, old world style. I ate here 3 times and had the same entree twice. Unheard of for me. If you like soul food this is the one don't miss spot I found in Budapest.

                                Address: Kőfaragó utca Budapest
                                Phone: 00-36-1-266-7947 or cell phone: 00-36-70-341-1035
                                Opening hours: Sun-Thu 12 pm – 10 pm, Fri – Sat 12 pm – 11 pm
                                Note: literature Nobel laureate (for the novel Fatelessness), Imre Kertész is a regular.

            2. Thanks for the reccomendations on Fulemule - very good. Also went to restaurant Hussar (in the same area) which we liked even better!

              1. This is a great thread. One suggestion / warning: at Troffea--many great choices-but they require cash. Big surprise when hosting 21 persons !