Budapest has been on my hit list for quite some time so when I finally got around to booking flights I was all kinds of crazy excited. In the weeks leading up to the trip I became a woman possessed, spending every spare minute scouring the internet and Trip Advisor researching the best restaurants, coffee shops and bars the city had to offer and so it was with a list longer than my arm that I set off on my merry way to the beautiful Hungarian Capital.
We stayed in the Mercure Budapest Metropol Hotel which unbeknownst to us was undergoing renovations and had recently been adopted by the Ibis hotel chain. The lobby was pretty much a construction sight but the rooms were clean and thanks be to Jesus the constant drilling did not travel as far as our room (or there would have been heck to pay). While this hotel would not have been my first choice (due to construction gate) I will say the location on Rakoczi street couldn’t have been better.
We were literally a stones throw away from all the main bars and restaurants including the tourist hotspot New York Cafe. Hailed (deservingly) as one of the most beautiful cafe’s in the world it is a must if you are ever visiting Budapest even if it is just to take a quick picture. The ceilings and the lavish furnishings and artwork are absolutely stunning, however the food isn’t up to much so maybe opt for a liquid lunch or a quick coffee if you plan on checking it out.
We were also just around the corner from the infamous Szimpla Kert, the original of Budapest’s ruin bars built in an old abandoned building. Szimpla is a treasure trove of all things quirky and hipster in the world with secret passages and never ending labyrinths of rooms and staircases and “stuff”. You may have to do a few laps before you can find a seat (the old bath tub is the best seat in the house IMO) but it’s a great spot for a few beers (Soproni is the one), local Palinka and a groove (the tunes are very much on point).
As I mentioned above I went a little wild when searching for restaurants and actually had places booked weeks in advance. The first night we headed to Borssó Bistro which was un-freakin’ real. There were a couple of guys playing Gypsy Kings-esque music downstairs while we were seated upstairs on a balcony of sorts. Out of all of the places we tried I would recommend this one with the highest regard. The food and service was incredible (my main course was one of the nicest things I’ve ever eaten) and there’s just a general great vibe to the place. Also to note most restaurants in Budapest have a real push on sourcing all local Hungarian wines which I think is a nice touch.
Due to a minor medical emergency on the second day (do not on the pearl of your life get sick in Budapest, doctors seem to be some sort of mythical creature here) we missed our booking in St Andreas Wine and Gourmet Bar. After a quick search of places nearby our hotel we settled on Araz Cafe. Araz has both a French and Hungarian menu with some Vegetarian and traditional Jewish choices on offer too. The food again was phenomenal I even ordered a desert something which I never normally do (I’m more of a savoury gal). It was the perfect place to unwind after a hectic day.
The last spot on our food adventure was Costes Downtown, sister restaurant to the Michelin starred Costes. The service here was second to none and staff were extremely knowledgeable about the menu and wines. Whilst I really enjoyed the food (the main was a delight) it perhaps wasn’t worth the hefty price tag. However, you do get lots of little extras throughout the meal (I had to be rolled out of the place) which does somewhat ease the financial blow.
Budapest really is one of the most gorgeous cities I’ve ever visited. The Buda Castle was one of the stand outs for me along with the Hungarian Parliament Building (genuinely one of the most breathtaking buildings I’ve ever seen – I want to live there). I don’t know whether it was the weekend that was in it (Easter weekend) but there was a definite laid back air to the place. Nobody seemed to be rushing anywhere and everyone was out enjoying themselves. I’m sold by Budapest and I’m already cultivating the list for my next trip.
Let me know your favourite Budapest spots in the comments. Until next time.