My Travel Guide : Top Places to Eat and Drink in Budapest

In the second part of my series of Budapest blogs, I want to take you to the places I discovered during my short stay in this fabulous city. Budapest as a city is cool, casual and urban with chilled out vibes. The downtown is filled with lovely cafés, restaurants and bars. Food and drinks are much more reasonably priced compared to London, so you can have lots of fun with a lot less cash. To top it off, almost everywhere the food looks and tastes good so you are spoilt for choice here.

As this was my first visit (one of many I hope), I stuck to the recommendations from my trusted travel friends and work colleagues who have been there before. If it’s your first visit to the city, you should definitely tick some of these off from the list first.

BREAKFAST

The Bake Shop

This cute, cozy little café and pastry shop serves freshly made sandwiches, decent coffee and divine cakes. The interiors match up to their eclectic menu with the use of colourful cushions, mismatched furniture, knick knacks and overflowing potted plants; in short, fit for Insta.

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More details can be found here.

London Coffee Society

This place ticks all the boxes of an industrial-chic, perfect-for-millennials café where you can get your avocado-on-toast and caffeine fix. Not that I was missing my home town, but this cafe reminded me of the many coffee shops you find dotted around Shoreditch. The brunch was good and the coffee even better.

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More details can be found here.

 LUNCH

Menza

The snazzy, brightly coloured, retro interiors provide a cheerful setting to a menu that’s dedicated to a wide range of Hungarian dishes (with a few inspirations from its European neighbours). We tried Hungarian staples like the Garlic Cream Soup with Hungarian Fried bread, topped with sour cream and cheese. Extremely delicious and garlicky so I won’t pick this dish for a romantic date. Substantially portioned mains included Veal Schnitzel and Catfish Stew with Homemade Dumplings. The vibe is casual and upmarket and could equally be suitable for business lunches or weekend brunches.

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More details can be found here.

Klassz

We came to Klassz with huge expectations and it surpassed them. The menu is a contemporary take on popular Hungarian dishes with the chef’s own creative and bold twists. It is actually a breezy bistro that is attached to a fantastic wine bar. They clearly take pride in their wines as our waiter was happy to give us multiple tastings before choosing our wine. The cooking is high quality, tastes fantastic, the service chatty and the wine list expertly-curated.

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More details can be found here.

4 PM TIPPLES

Picco Bar

Stumbling upon this cozy little Aperol bar after walking miles under the sweltering heat of Budapest was a real blessing. You can get soups and light meals here, but really you are here for their Aperol Spritz. They come in various innovative flavour combinations and there is alfresco seating to get all the Vitamin D your body needs!

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More details can be found here.

Extra

Those who know Budapest are well aware of their concept of ‘ruin bars’. This was one of the many bars that we discovered en-route, but the memory of this one lingered longer for its funky pink umbrellas hanging from the ceiling and their top notch Fried Mozzarella Bites, perfect with ice cold beers.

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More details can be found here.

DINNER

Bock Bistro

You know you are onto something good when you are served Pork Fat Butter to slather on warm freshly baked bread. One of the first places we went for dinner as soon as we landed in Budapest was Bock Bistro. It pretty much set the benchmark for all our subsequent meals and TBH it still managed to remain on top of our list of best food we had in Budapest (and there were some serious contenders). Attached to a hotel, it is nothing like a hotel restaurant. We had some exceptional quality food here, mostly super-comforting dishes but as refined as they can be. This is the kind of place where the staff go that extra mile to make you feel special even though you are perhaps their 100th customer of the day.

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More details can be found here.

New York Café

This is perhaps the most iconic and must-visit venue of Budapest. We booked this place for our wedding anniversary dinner. The food includes mouthwatering Hungarian staples like Goulash and Pike, but it is the palatial and opulent interiors that is the real feast for the eyes. Do save room for puds later which are good looking and glorious-tasting.

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More detail can be found here.

AFTER HOURS

Szimpla Kert

All parties in Budapest end in one place, which is why I think its befitting that I end my blog post with the one that started it all –  Szimpla Kert. This indistinguishably hip and quirky place is loud, crazy and magical. Set on multiple floors, this goliath of a space is full of party vibes, banging beats, reclaimed furniture and cheap beer. It still remains one of the biggest, most popular and famous ruin bars of Budapest. A true drunken party wonderland and no trip to Budapest is complete without a visit here.

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More details can be found here.

Handy Tips

English is widely spoken in Budapest and almost all menus have an English translation so you don’t have to pull your phone out for Google Translate. The portions are generous so if you are going for three full courses (you can’t miss dessert) then I recommend going for a light soup as a starter. Most places accept credit cards, and any tips are gratefully accepted. Average cost of a three course meal in a relatively upscale restaurant with drinks and service will cost you just under £30 per person (I know, cheap eh!)

So there you go, these are my favourite spots to hang and chill in Budapest. There are millions more (obvs) that I didn’t manage to tick off my list – Onyx, Fausto’s, Borkonya, Mák, Baltazar – but then that’s what the next trip is for.

 

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