This was my first foray into district eight dining after over two years living in Budapest, and it proved to be a real tasty little hideaway. Mixing Hungarian with (non-kosher) Jewish dishes differentiates this restaurants food from the hundreds of others in the city, but it's the quality, taste and great service that makes it stand out.
Don't be surprised to find it empty or close to it. It's a little more expensive than the average Hungarian eatery, and it's a little too far off the beaten tourist path to be popular with foreigners, so they seem to have been struggling through the recent recession. Don't be put off by it's quiet location: go straight in and enjoy some good Hungarian cooking.
Food wise expect lots of goose. You can even get chilled goose fat dumplings covered in paprika. But you can get other food too, including steak and cholent (a kind of Jewish stew) based dishes. There's even a vegetarian dish (a rarity in Hungary), and you can mix together some of the starters, like pita and humus, to make a hearty meal.
All the dishes are quite big and filling, so even hungry eaters might struggle with more than two courses. Don't worry, though, as they don't mind you taking the leftovers home in a doggy bag.
Despite its name (fulemule means nightingale in Hungarian) the place shuts quite early, at 11pm, so turn up with plenty of time to eat and enjoy a good glass of wine. The wine list is excellent and reasonably priced.
Favorite Dish: Couscous and Feta with a bottle of Thummerer Blauburger.
The Walhalla Club can't make up its mind. Is it a restaurant? Is it a bar? Is it a club? Is it a pool hall? It's also a hodge-podge of styles. It calls itself the Walhalla Club, but you won't find anything Scandinavian here. The beer and food is strictly Hungarian, although there is Fosters on tap. Once you get past the Viking themed exterior, you go downstairs into what looks like a Japanese garden, complete with glass bridge over flowing water. If you follow the life size replica of the Bayeux Tapestry (which kind of looks a bit Viking if you didn't realise it represents the invasion of Britain by French Normans) you will find yourself in an American style pool hall, complete with bowling alley at the far end.
Now don't get me wrong - it's a fine place to eat and drink. The food is good, the drinks are reasonably priced and the pool tables are high quality. It's just weird. But maybe that's part of its charm. I'd certainly go back!
Best point: Perfect for large groups. There's something to please everyone, and the long tables downstairs fit a lot of people.
M is one of the progressive Hungarian restaurants trying to push the cuisine beyond the vein busting goose fat and bacon of more traditional etterems. Its menu is short and ever changing, but always inventive, especially if you take a chance on the "vegetarian surprise".
If you order this, and you are lucky, the chef will come to your table and ask what ingredients you hate, so that this doesn't turn into a nasty surprise. Even though I didn't get this special treatment, the food itself was special: I didn't really know what was in the dish, but the flavours matched and contrasted fantastically. There was coriander, cinnamon, a little chilli and a lot of pumpkin.
The restaurant itself is a bit of a surprise too. It's easy to miss from the street, and if you didn't know it was one of the best restaurants in Budapest, you might easily think you'd wandered into some cheap eatery. The walls are covered in brown paper, as are the tables, and a rough paper menu will show you what's available that day.
But it all adds up to a unique feeling, and definitely a top contender in the Budapest restaurant scene.
Rated as one of the best restaurants in Hungary, I have to admit I wasn't overwhelmed. The food and service was fine, but nothing special. And it was relatively expensive by Budapest standards. The dining area, though, was very pleasant, with lots of wood and brick and a vaulted ceiling.
My pasta dish sounded great: ricotta and walnut ravioli in a gorgonzola sauce, but it's presentation and execution was a little flat. White pasta, with white filling, in a white sauce in a shallow white bowl, with not even a sprinkle of herbs to brighten the scene. It tasted pretty good, but it was a very small portion. For over 2500 forints (including a obligatory 10% service charge) it wasn't great value.
The pizza looked a lot better, and they had a genuine wood fired brick oven for the perfect pizza base. The pizza, like the rest of the cooking, is claimed to be authentic Tuscan. The pizza was very good by Hungarian standards, and at around 8 euros was definitely the value buy. The base was fantastic, and the sauce had a distinctly sweeter, fruitier flavour than I'm used to with traditional Napoli pizzas. Not sure I preferred it, but it was good.
Not quite Nobu but decent Sushi at a decent price. The restaurant on Podmaniczky utca was the first conveyor belt sushi restaurant in Budapest back in 2005 or something. Today it has branched out to several restaurants around the city. It has a huge menu, the sushi is good by Hungarian standards, the ingredients are fresh, and it even has a decent selection of vegetarian options. It's definitely my favourite sushi runner in Budapest.
It's also the restaurant where I discovered a surprise entry on the menu. Check out the picture.
Favorite Dish: The sushi is good. The noodles are so-so and a bit greasy.
After three years in Budapest this is my new favourite Indian restaurant. It's as good as anything you might expect to find in the UK and better than pretty much anything I've eaten on the continent. There are other good Indian restaurants in Budapest, but none have been able to match the consistent heights of Taj Mahal. The prices are a bit above average for Budapest, but the quality matches the price.
The restaurant itself isn't anything special. It's functional and everything you'd expect from a good Indian: clean, gaudy and with Indian pop music playing in the background over tinny speakers. The service is friendly and fast, and seems mostly staffed by young Hungarian women who speak English but don't appear to be able to offer expert advice. I wouldn't come here for a romantic night out but I would come here for a damn good curry.
Favorite Dish: Anything tikka is particularly good. The paneer tikka masala is addictive.
Vak Varju is Hungarian for Blind Crow, which is also another name for the special "Hungarian Pizza" made from the soft, pan fried Langos bread, and covered in a variety of toppings. This restaurant specialises in these Langos pizzas, and they are fantastic. Definitely not a healthy option, but neither is pizza, and the food here is tasty, and not too heavy. And the prices are excellent for its central location, just off Deak Ter.
The restaurant is built into a classic turn-of-the-century Budapest town house with enormous high ceilings, from which a gaggle of models from that era look down upon the hungry eaters, models that put the transport museum monsters to shame. It's not a tourist restaurant, but it's also not a grubby side-street eatery. It's clearly aimed at well to do Hungarians, but they welcome foreigners too, and the menu is wide-ranging and available in English. The food focuses on Hungarian items, but includes some Mediterranean dishes and even a few vegetarian ones (even though they think fish is vegetarian).
The service is very friendly, and although they took a bit too long with our meal, they provided us with free beer until it arrived.
Favorite Dish: Langos Pizza
This is a relatively new bar/restaurant in the up and coming area just behind the Opera house. It gets rave reviews from locals and expats alike, and for me it lived up to expectations. The food options are varied, from pasta to Hungarian, from well made staples like burgers to the more unusual deer stew. The chef is also asian, so there's a few authentic asian dishes.
Service is friendly, the cellar bar is cozy and the outside summer kert* in the converted car park is relaxing. The bar area can get very busy at peak times, so if the kert isn't open it's definitely a good idea to book ahead. It also gets quite smoky downstairs, so sit outside if you want to avoid reeking of stale cigarettes.
If you are looking for a relaxing mid-range restaurant, this fits the bill nicely.
A kert is a Hungarian inner courtyard, very common in older apartment blocks in the city.*
This is one of the classiest restaurants in Budapest. It's a place that is hugely popular with the expat crowd, so you might want to reserve ahead. It serves up very high quality food, in cozy rooms with pleasant ethnic decor. The menu is very imaginative, and mixes up dishes and food from around the world, like a Dutch cheese tempura or an Argentinean steak with a red curry chick pea mousse. The food is presented beautifully and elegantly, with a real eye for colour and composition.
As with Budapest in general, the prices are very reasonable by European standards. Mains are generally in the region of 10 to 20 euros. The only downside was the service, which while excellent, was perhaps a little too hard sell with the optional extras.
Another excellent Italian restaurant discovered, and there aren't many in Budapest. This was so new I'd never seen it before, despite regular visits to the neighbouring Iguana Bar & Grill. But it's actually the second restaurant of an already well established and popular Italian restaurant on Andrassy Utca, so we were pretty sure it was going to be good.
And it was. My home made gnocchi was great. The mussels were apparently incredible. Although one of our contingent complained their pasta was too salty. The restaurant itself was very pleasant without being snobby, and it's location on Freedom Square is perfect, and possibly unique; I've not seen another restaurant except for the seasonal cafe in the middle of the small park.
Prices are reasonable, although a little above average for Budapest. The wine list was annoying though: they didn't have one and the waiter wasn't forthcoming with the prices for his recommendations. The wine was excellent though, and I'd highly recommend the Valpolicella. The service was friendly, polite and knowledgeable.
For a small restaurant, tucked inside a giant shopping mall, and looking for all the world like a chain restaurant, I wasn't expecting much from this place. But the bean chilli I ordered was better than anything I'd eaten at any Mexican restaurant in Germany in the last few years. I'm not sure it was 100% authentic, and probably fall short of American standards, but it was very tasty and surprisingly spicy for this part of the world.
It's not particularly cheap, at around 10 euros for a main dish, but it's worth the price.
Hungarians generally don't make good pizza, but if you are hungering after a slice of Italian pie, then you can't go far wrong with Pizza Marzano. A branch of the same high-quality pizza chain in the UK, Pizza Express, Pizza Marzano is pretty much the same thing.
There are a few branches in Budapest, but this one is on Battyany Ter, overlooking the Danube and the Parliament building. It's huge, the service is good and the prices are reasonable. It's also open when many other places are shut, as we discovered on Christmas day.
I just found out, that the real name is kürtőskalács. Hard to remeber, so we will keep calling them "rolled buns". It even sounds so "friendly". And even more, when we say it in Finnish "rulla-pulla"..
We just loved these things, they were so tasty. Like the top level from Finnish "korvapuusti" bun, but it is "top level" whole bun, because it is hollow.
They are tasting the best eaten close to baking. We did bring one back home also, but it wasn´t as "cruchy" from the top anymore.
The best ones we got near the fishermans lodge, coming from funicular.
Favorite Dish: We loved the one with coconut best.
I found this place from my guidebook. Since we are big fans of Belgian beers, it was like made for us. They had several beers we had never seen before. (Not so common to find the "new ones" for us.) And the prices were half or less from what you pay in Finland for this kind of specail beers.
We sat for some time, and both took 3 beers, all different, so we both could taste 6 beers (zipping each others glasses).
Many people were eating clams, and we thought it was only food they had, but we were wrong. I just checked their web page, and noticed we could have had chicken or steaks also (we don´t like seafood). We are going to Budapest again, and we will try their food at next trip!
Favorite Dish: The great beers! I was planning to put this to "nightlife", but after reading the menu, I changed my mind.
While there are good Hungarian dishes on the menu, Peppers! location in the Budapest Marriott requires that American tastes be considered. So you have pork and more pork and goulash alongside steaks and burgers. It seems to be the main restaurant for the hotel, thus open all day, which puts weight on a kitchen that is trying to be somewhat upscale. The barn-like space is nicely divided into several zones, using metal mesh curtains. The kitchen is open and there is a good view of the Danube as well as Castle Hill and the trolleys that along the river front.
I had the goulash twice and found it delicious and very similar to the goulash I make at home from my Hungarian cookbook. The salads were interesting, but lacked the flavor profile we expect in a good restaurant. Service was mostly good, although the servers' English was variable.
Since the Marriott was just across the street from my hotel, Hotel Zenit Budapest Palace it was a very convenient place for dinner.
Favorite Dish: The Goulash.
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