Bucharest and Budapest recommendations, please
We will be flying to Bucharest in the late fall to begin a river cruise on the Danube. We will end our tour in Budapest. We have a few nights on our own in both cities and would like some suggestions for restaurants for lunch and dinner. We like fesh local ingredients, seafood, game meats and wine.
In both cities we are staying in the core of the city. Would also like suggestions for places we must see and and things to do. We love music, markets, shopping and stopping for good coffee.
Budapest is a wonderful city. Onyx is a top-notch restaurant that's set in an old square. They have a Michelin star so reservations are a good idea. Food is an updated take on Hungarian fare. The wines here are quite good so perhaps consider a pairing with your meal. I took my wife there for our anniversary last June.
Borkonyha (Winekitchen), near St Stephen's, is maybe my favorite restaurant in town. It's informal, fun and, if you eat outside, a great place for people watching. The food and wine selections are outstanding. This place is a real gem and is also open for lunch.
In general, though with some notable exceptions, food options in the old town leave a lot to be desired.
Lacrimi si Sfinti (Tears and Saints) in the old town is a funky but tasty provider of classical Romanian cuisine
Best coffee in town can be found at the ultra-hip Origo, also near old town
A carnivore's delight: Zexe. Be sure to at least order the "mici" sausages. Good wine on tap.
Excellent french boulangerie/patisserie for breakfast, lunch or brunch is Rue du Pain
Superb Lebanese with a nice outdoor patio if the weather is right: Chez Toni
Bucharest has some very fine local wines - but try to taste before ordering as your mileage will vary. The Davino brand is solid across the board but tends to be pricey.
Budapest has a lot to offer, but no seafood.
To check my theory you could go to the Budapest Nobu and appreciate what it costs to fly in every single shrimp and clam. (After the meal at Budapest Nobu you will be deaf, because their specialty is very very loud 70s pop music and staff shouting on top.)
Borkonyha mentioned here is indeed good. Another good restaurant is Csalogany 26. For classical hungarian as in goose, venison, paprika infused stews go to Rosenstein.
For sampling wines do visit one of the Bortarsasag shops (the one on the left bank just when crossing the Chainbridge has fine english speaking staff.) or indeed their restaurant Klassz.
Nandori Cukraszda on Raday utca has imo the best pastries and cakes. You'll go on a diet in your next re-incarnation.