As you more than likely know, I recently took a trip to Budapest, Hungary. Sorry it has taken me so long to compile a list of where we ate, but I have been a very busy girl since I arrived back in Seoul. It was my first time visiting, so I couldn’t wait to spend three days exploring all the best places to eat and drink. This European city is split into two by the famed Danube River, each half making up the cities name Buda & Pest. We stayed on the Pest side which was where we found all the amazing places below, hopefully one of these days I will find time to return and check out the Buda side. Hungary still uses their own currency making it very affordable, especially when compared to the rest of Europe though it’s likely to go up once(if) they officially change to the Euro so be sure to check out this amazing city sooner rather than later.
Ruin Bars – One of Budapest’s most famous food and drink attractions are the ruin bars in District 7, also known as the Jewish district. As a regular reader it should be clear to you how much I enjoy going to the pub, so was thrilled by the prospect of visiting these fabulous attractions in the name of sightseeing. All of the bars are different but one of our favourites and probably the most famous is Szimpla Kert. The ruined building is set over several floors and deceptively large. When you first enter you are greeted with a map which points out the various bars to be discovered all serving different drinks. The walls, floors and pretty much every imaginable surface are covered with plants, bathtubs, mannequins, old cars, and all manner or trash like treasures. It was a real sight to behold. If you like things a little bit more sleek and polished then you will surely enjoy Mazel Tov, a more glamorous location which houses a gorgeous long stone bar, and ceilings which are covered in fairy lights and dangling ivy. We kicked off our night here with a couple of really good cocktails, and pre-dinner appetizers of freshly baked pita bread, sweet potato fries and hummus. We really enjoyed the the live band which was playing, though the place got pretty busy, so be sure to make a reservation if you want to avoid a long wait.
Karavan – The Karavan is a street food market and beer garden filled with different food trucks. This place was uber cool, and conveniently located right next to Szimpla Kert. The trucks had a real mix of foods going on from burgers, to pizza, cocktails and desserts. We decided to try the burger made from the Hungarian speciality bread called langos. This burger was topped with salty sheep cheese, grilled paprika peppers and rucola. We also tried the Kolbice from Kobe sausages. This was a gigantic cone shaped pretzel type bread that was filled with our choice of sausages, cabbage and bacon. I wasn’t really sold on this particular speciality, but my beloved seemed to enjoy it.
Szimply – After walking around the city for only half a day, we soon realised that there are a hell of a lot of vegan and veggie friendly places happening in Budapest. Clearly the healthy food craze is happening in this Bohemian city. One place I couldn’t resist trying was the beautiful Szimply. We ordered their Avo Toast (2200 Ft) which was smashed avocado on sourdough toast topped with sun dried tomatoes, roasted chickpeas, and basil. We also got the Cheese Steak (1900 Ft), a sandwich filled with celery steak, beetroot mayo, cheese sauce, grilled peppers, and bacon. While this item wasn’t veggie, most of the other items on the menu were. We also shared one of their Fresh Juices (990 Ft), a beetroot and lime concoction which helped revive our jet lagged bodies. As well as the food being just what we needed, the cafe itself is located in a really cute courtyard along with their coffee shop which is just opposite.
Great Market Hall – The Great Market Hall is probably the most famous of the food markets in Budapest, which is why it is filled with lots of high end goods and tourists. However while it isn’t the cheapest, it has a great selection, and the market itself is quite beautiful and will yield some great photos. It is also conveniently located at the Pest end of Szabadság Bridge allowing you to take a gander at the Danube river after you are finished.
Drum Cafe – For those on a budget but desperate to try some Hungarian food, then you must stop at the Drum Cafe, we stumbled across this adorable outdoor cafe that was packed to the rafters on a sunny afternoon when we were looking for a delicious snack to tide us over between lunch and dinner. The menu was huge and had plenty of traditional dishes like the Goulash, and Paprikash, but we couldn’t resist trying the traditional Langosh (790 Ft). A Hungarian fried bread topped with sour cream, garlic and cheese. The bread was delightfully fresh and chewy and quite refreshing when topped with the sour cream and cheese. We also tried the Dödölle (990 Ft), a dumpling filled with cheese, and roasted in goose fat, topped with bacon and cream. We adored this dish, it wasn’t one we were familiar with and never would have tried it if we had not stopped here.
Mr Funk – If you love desserts then Mr Funk is one place you cannot miss. The donut and bagel cafe is the kind of place where all your dreams come true. The donuts are decadently decorated, and you can even have one on top of a freakshake. I couldn’t resist getting the Unicorn Shake (1990 Ft). The strawberry shake was topped with a unicorn donut with a sour candy mane and fondant horn and ears, marshmallows, whipped cream and sprinkles. But there were dozens of others to choose from along with the bagels which also tasted great and I’m guessing often get overshadowed by the more instagramable donuts. We had The Italian (1190 Ft), the bagel of your choice topped with cream cheese, tomato and prosciutto, a damn fine lunch indeed.
All you can eat Hungarian Buffet – There isn’t much I enjoy more than an all you can eat buffet, the greedy pig inside of me just loves the opportunity to stuff myself silly. So when we came across an ad for the Trofea Grill Restaurant, it seemed churlish not to give it ago and have the chance to try lots of different Hungarian specialities in one go. There are three locations in the city but we visited the Etterem Location which included all you can drink cocktails along with the wine and beer for the same price. It varies between lunch and dinner but we paid 5900 Ft per person for a weekday dinner. This included all of their booze, which was surprisingly good (even the cocktails). A huge appetiser, soup, and salad section. A grill to order station with at least 20 different kinds of marinated fish and meat. A hot buffet filled with more meat and side dishes like goulash, paprikash, and the famed dumpling. There was also a magnificent dessert buffet, with at least 8 creamy and chocolatey desserts. One of my favourites were the incredible profiteroles, which were served in a fabulous chocolate mousse, but there was also tiramisu and another half a dozen things I was too drunk to remember or photograph. For the more healthy among us there was also a beautiful fruit platter. Probably the best part of the evening was when the two Hungarian dancers put on a show for us all, after that they started a conga line and then taught us all a dance. I was having the time of my life after all those drinks and it made for a very fun evening. If you are short on time this is a truly great find.
Gozsdu Udvar – We found this cute and quirky courtyard of bars when we very tired after a hard days sightseeing. The Gozsdu Udvar area is overflowing with bars and restaurants, and I can imagine it is the place to see and be seen of an evening. There is also a little area filled with more food trucks. If you are looking to party this would be a great place to start your evening, sadly we had a very early flight the next morning so neglected to do so. But next time I will be there for sure!
Lehel Market – We first came across the Lehel Market when we were travelling to Trofea for dinner, but quickly found out it was worth a trip in itself. The market is more local than the Great Hall, and here you will see the community doing their shopping and living their lives. The array of different goods was quite impressive, from fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses, bakeries, dried goods, and even a honey store. We found that the prices here were really cheap and if you are staying for a couple of weeks and have time to prepare your own food then this would be a great place to source your own ingredients.