Budapest: the perfect city for sights, food and drink
I've recently been lucky enough to spend my birthday week (28! I swear time is speeding up) in the beautiful city of Budapest ruining my diet. I've been to Budapest once before on a lads holiday (the inaugural LOT in fact) pre-Jon with the Wind and have been looking for an excuse to go back ever since to confirm by belief that it is in fact the best city in Europe.
We spent from Thursday through til Tuesday morning in the city and managed to get a good package deal via Hungarian airline Wizz, flying out of Liverpool John Lennon airport and staying at the Royal Boutique Hotel. In this post I want to give you the perfect bars and restaurants to help you on your way to the perfect long weekend in Budapest, I know 5 nights in a city isn't everyone's ideal, but with the mix of sights, restaurants, bars and spas Budapest certainly has enough to keep you occupied on any budget.
So what I want to do is recommend two perfect spots for breakfast, lunch and dinner along with a couple of bars. If you end up visiting any of these places or think you know some better ones please do let me know in the comments, as I'm sure I'll be going back!
Breakfast in Budapest
The first place I want to recommend for breakfast is called Cirkusz, located in the trendy Jewish Quarter, its a little bit more formal than I would usually go for breakfast, most of the people in there, Hungarian or not had made a little bit of effort with their outfit - I turned up in an Iceland football top. The coffee and food we had was absolutely delightful though, my Eggs Benedict was a strong contender for the best I've ever had. We also shared a completely unnecessary French toast accompanied by caramel sauce and caramelised bananas.
My second breakfast/brunch recommendation has to be STIKA Budapest, where I must admit I was nursing a bit of a hangover so I went with the Hungarian take on a full English breakfast. STIKA is a little bit more casual than Cirkuaz and has outdoor seating, which went down a treat in the heat. If you're feeling something a little bit lighter I would also recommend Wood and Vine, We only had a coffee there but the restaurant area of the place was full so it must be good!
Lunch in Budapest
The first place I have to recommend is somewhere I ate at 4 years ago when I first visited Budapest, it came very highly recommended by the man who owned our apartment, he was brimming with pride that 3 local lads had opened up a very successful place on his street, and 4 years later it is still going stronger than ever. You know a place is good when locals are queuing down the street on their lunch. Bors specialise in delicious soups and sandwiches
The second place I would recommend for lunch is on the same street and is a pop up place, like what have been taking off in the UK for the last couple of years. There is a great selection containing Hungarian favourites and food more typically seen at the UK pop ups. The place I tried specialised in vegetarian burgers - and by vegetarian I mean they just relpaced the patty with a slab of breaded smoked cheese, a more than worthy subsitute.
Evening Meals in Budapest
For a nice sit down meal in the evening you will have no trouble finding a spot with a view as you walk through the town or along the Danube river, most of the restaurants also serve food until fairly late, which suits me down to the ground.
The first place I want to mention is actually about 5 minutes further down the same street as Bors and Karavan, which has to be one of the best streets in the world for top restaurants and bars per square meter! Its called Kazimir, I had actually ate here the last time I came in 2013, but did not realise until we had sat down, and I think it might be under new management. There is an indoor seating area and a courtyard, if you're going to Budapest in the spring or summer I'd definitely prefer to sit in the courtyard, it has such a relaxed feel to it.
The food from Kazimir is heavy and satisfying but it might not be the best option if you've got a long night of drinking ahead, although you would be missing out if you walked passed this place and did not go in for something to eat. My main at Kazimir was a confit duck leg, which came with a duck sausage, which was new to me. Between this and the bottle of wine we had I slept like a baby (100% snored though).
The second restaurant I want to recommend specialises in real traditional and contemporary Hungarian cuisine called Korhley and it is located across from the stunning Zeneakademia building, which I believe is a music academy. If I remember correctly the price here is a little bit more expensive than what is standard around the town but with the location you can understand why. To start I had the Goulash, I had too right? and I'd put it up there as probably the best goulash I've ever had, even compared to my goulash recipe on the website - which I will probably have to update now.
For my main I had the lamb shank with traditional Hungarian bread dumplings, which was very, very tasty - on the whole the food at Korhely is not as rich as some of the food I came across while in Budapest which after 5 days was a welcome break. The food at Korhely has more subtle flavours and makes for a really nice meal before going out for a few drinks.
Bars and night life in Budapest
Now of course, Budapest is famed for its bar scene and overall nightlife so I won't give you an extensive list of recommendations because there is no way I've been to enough of the bars to tell you my favourites are any better than the ones you will see while exploring in a drunken stupor but I will point you in a great, if not original starting point - Szmipla Kert, which is probably the pick of the ruin bars in the city. If you're already planning to go to Budapest you will almost certainly of heard of Szimpla Kert but I wanted to put it in because it is one of the most unique bars in the world for two reasons, firstly; how quirky and original the decor and feel is inside, both at night and in the day, it takes on a completely different feel and secondly, its one of the only 'scene bars' which lives up to the hype...and on a personal note, Szimpla Kert reintroduced me to one of the best FIFA songs of all time, so it will always have a place in my heart just for that!
Technically this one isn't a bar but if you get chance please for the love of everything that is good visit the Thermal Beer Spa, in the Szechenyi spa, in which you get to relax for 45 minutes in a malt and hop infused bath while pouring your own giant Czech beers, I've not got any photos to show how cool it is because that would just be me in a bath drinking beer, no one needs to see that but do check it out!
Thanks for reading guys hope my little tips help you along in perfecting any trip to Budapest you undertake and hopefully a few of you will get the chance to experience Budapest at its finest during the summer. Its one of those cities which is on everyones list, so get on with crossing it of and enjoy!
Cheers for reading,