Jó étvágyat!

(good appetite!)

The list of places to eat in Budapest is never-ending: Hungarian food is wonderful, and Budapest knows how to serve it up in many great ways.

In general, as in any European city, the best places are ones that DON’T offer a “tourist menu” — and, the places where Hungarians actually eat.  The following, are just a short list of my favorite-est favorites.

~~~

Menza – jazzed up Hungarian favorites, on the popular Liszt Ferenc ter. There’s probably better food in Budapest, actually, but I enjoy the vibe of this place — a Cool interior trying to play with the idea of Commie chic. The big patio makes it a good place for the see-and-be-seen time.

http://www.menza.co.hu/, located at Liszt Ferenc tér 2. (4/6 tram to Oktogon)

Klassz – by far, my favorite “nice” place to eat in Budapest. Hungarian/International fusion with an AMAZING wine list (it is run by the Hungarian wine society). They don’t take reservations, so you often have to wait on the weekends.

http://www.klassz.eu. Located at Andrássy út 41.

Fülemüle étterem — A cozy place that does Jewish Hungarian cooking. The food is heavy and probably bad for you – so come hungry, and it is definitely more of a winter-friendly restaurant (you don’t want to eat here, then have to put on a swimsuit) – but it is so, so delicious. Very nice staff, too – our first time there, they gave us free palinka and Unicum. They specialize in goose, and they do it quite well.

Nagyon Finom!Fülemüle = Nagyon Finom!

http://www.fulemule.hu/, located at Kőfaragó utca 5. (near the Blaha Lujza stop on the 4/6 tram or M2/Red metro. Get off here, walk down Rakoczi utca towards the Danube. Left of Gyulai Pal utca, and it ends at Kőfaragó utca after like 3 block)

Kőleves Vendéglő — Inexpensive, but with very good food – nice selection of palinkas and wines as well. Cute interior, always packed with Hungarians (which is a good sign the food is good!) Located at Dob utca 26

Blue Tomato Pub —  Huge portions and a huge varied menu. They have insanely good soups, and a very warm, all wood atmosphere. Located at  Pannónia u. 5-7 (nearest metro or 4/6 tram stop is Nyugati pályaudvar)

Castro Bisztro —  A very hip (if smoky) café that has yummy food, at cheap prices. A great place to come for a big bowl of spicy goulash or a plate of noodles. They do some interesting things with veggies and cheese, too. Very low key, with a funky atmosphere. Located near the Deak Ferenc ter metro stop, on Madách Imre ter

As much as I love Hungarian food, it does get heavy after awhile. Should that happen to you, I can recommend a few vegetarian things to switch it up:

Hummus Bar — big bowls of hummus with fresh baked pita bread and fantastic falafel sandwiches. Run by Israelis, and has a super-friendly dude working the front counter who will greet you as if you are his long-lost family member. Order at the counter, then wander upstairs with your free cup of hot mint tea. You can also buy beer and wine or other drinks from the Szimpla across the street and bring it back with you (They have some deal with Hummus bar). On Kertesz utca, between Kiraly and Wesselényi utca.

Govinda —  a vegetarian restaurant run by Hare Krishna. While they wear their togas and all, they don’t try to convert you – they just serve yummy Indian vegetarian food. The also make this AWESOME rose lemonade. They also sell jewelry and yoga mats (you know, if you want to work off all that stuff you eat) Located near the Chain Bridge/Roosevelt square at Vigyazo Ferenc ut 4,

Things to try!

Pálinka – Hungarian fruit brandy. Super strong, but I feel I have developed a taste for it. The traditional way of enjoying it is to sip it, not shoot it like a college kid in Cancun, which I reccommend (as I am not kidding about the strong part here. Especially if you get some hazi pálinka offered to you.)

Pálinka Appraisal

Pálinka Appraisal

Unicum – the Hungrians claim this is a health drink (many of my colleagues fervently claim that one need to  take a shot when you start getting sick)… but it is a thick, black herb liquor. Personally, I think it tastes horrendous, but some people, like fellow Fulbrighter Sarah, love it. Let’s just say it is one of those things you need to try.

Palascinta – the Hungarian version of crepes. Very yummy. There is a 24-hour place called Nagyi Palacsintázója right near the Batthany tér metro station … and let me tell you, nothing is better as a drunken snack than 24-hour palascinta!

Gyulas – or “goulash”. I mean, need I say more?

Hungarian wine – who knew Hungary was a huge wine producer? This was news to me. I recommend trying an Egri Bikaver,  a dark, rich red wine whose name translates to “bull’s blood” and a dessert Tokaji, a sweet white. Also good is anything from the Villanyi group.

Lángos — fried potato dough, traditionally topped with sour cream and cheese. A heart attack on a plate …  but at least you’ll go happy! You can get them upstairs at the central market, or at a stand here Blaha Lujza ter metro stop (it’s hidden behind the construction now, but it lies one block in from the Ring Road, next to a gyros stand — perfect for post-Szimpla enjoyment!

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