BUDAPEST – Food Travel Guide

One of the first things that I do when I book a holiday is check out the food scene!  I go straight onto YouTube and online to watch and read about the foods I have to eat when I go to my destination so that I don’t miss out.  Along with site seeing, I think it’s really important to try out the local cuisine to not only get a good understanding of the country, but to also try foods you may not necessarily cook at home.  Recently, I realised that despite all the places I have travelled and despite having a food blog, I’ve never written about the foods I have eaten myself when I go away!  So in today’s blog, I’m going to share with you some of the food we ate while on my birthday city break to Budapest in September 2019.

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View of the Chain Bridge from Buda Castle

Budapest is the capital of Hungary and is home to the ‘World’s Most Beautiful Cafe’.  For our stay, we chose a four star spa hotel called the Continental Hotel Budapest, which was built on a former popular Hungarian spa and is located close to the Jewish Quarter.  We highly recommend this hotel based on our experience.  Our room was divine, it was in a perfect location for us and the places we wanted to visit and the service was excellent!  Below, I share with you some of the foods we ate each day during our 3 night stay in Budapest!  Have you ever been? If so, comment down below on your favourite Hungarian dish!

DAY 1

We arrived late afternoon so after exploring our beautiful hotel room, we decided to check out one of the most famous ruin bars in the city called Szimpla Kert, which conveniently was a 5 minute walk from our hotel!  After, we decided to go explore the streets to find some food and to our amazement, just two doors down we came across a street food place called Karaván.  A place where pop-up stalls and bars sell an array of street food and drink for you to enjoy in the open air!

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We were there pretty early in the evening for Hungarian dinner time so we fortunately got some good seats to sit and enjoy our food and we didn’t need to queue for food and drink.  There was a fabulous selection of food, including vegan food that were all fairly priced (our food and two cocktails were just under €20).  Seeing as it was our first night, we had to go with the most Hungarian dishes that we could find based on our research.  We decided to go for the Lángos and beef stew with dumplings! Lángos is a very popular dish in Hungary and probably the most popular street food.  It is a deep fried flat bread served with warm sour cream and grated cheese.  Beef stew is also incredibly popular along with goulash and is notably packed with paprika – in fact almost all dishes in Hungary are made with paprika!

DAY 2

The next morning was my birthday and so we had a lazy morning having a fabulous buffet breakfast in our hotel.  My breakfast mainly consisted of fruit (melon, orange, grapefruit), yoghurt, toast or pastries, cheeses and some cured meats.  When we got back to the room, the hotel staff had left an ice bucket with sparkling wine and 2 glasses and so of course we sat and enjoyed it on the sofa while opening cards and presents!  After getting ready, we took a casual walk to the New York Palace Café, where we had made reservations weeks earlier (and thank goodness because the queue was out the door!).

We could have eaten everything on the menu, but decided to have afternoon tea with a twist – a Hungarian twist!  It was called the Franz Joseph Coffee For Two.   This was of course more pricy at around €55 euros but it was totally worth it!  The venue is stunning and there is also live music to enjoy.  First, we chose our hot drinks of coffee and hot chocolate.  We then had our warm main dish which was a beef goulash soup.  Then, we had a selection cakes and pastries!

After our visit, we decided to get tickets for the hop on hop off bus tour.  I recommend that you do this in any European city that you visit because it’s so easy, it goes everywhere you want to go and it’s affordable (€25 day).  In between our site seeing, we stopped for food and drink!  First, we stopped at a beautifully decorated bistro called Zona, where we had a drink each and some mixed olives.  This is located on the Buda side of the Chain Bridge where you have a view of the bridge and Danube river.  They have an incredible menu and the food looks so delicious so I would highly recommend this place of an evening!

We then explored the Buda Castle by going up the Funicular.  As we were coming down I said that one of the things I wanted to try was a Chimney Cake.  As I got off the funicular, I spotted a street food stall that sold it for around €4 and so I had to have a Chimney Cake on my birthday!  This also kept me warm while on the open top bus!  It is dough that is wrapped on a wooden cylinder which gets rolled in any flavour of your choice such as chocolate or cinnamon.  The best way to describe it is like a crunchy doughnut combined with a pretzel!

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Right next to St Stephen’s Basilica is a place called 0,75 Bar and Bistro.  It is a very popular area and all around the square are nice places to eat and drink.  From what I saw most of the places have outdoor seating and provide warm and cosy blankets!  Just the night before, Will Smith gave a performance at the square as he was in the city for the premiere of Gemini Man and it was also his 51st birthday and so this is definitely a hot spot!  The menu was good and so this is where we had our evening meal (they also serve tapas).  However, there was a lack of choice for starters and so we just went straight for main course.  We had the seafood black spaghetti and paprika chicken!  After, we walked back to the hotel and enjoyed Budapest at night.

DAY 3

After spending most of the day at Szechenyi spa, we decided that we were going to make the most of our last full evening by finding some of the best food that we could find!  We were determined to find somewhere nice where we could have a three course long dinner.  We got out of the taxi and decided to stop for a lemonade and a snack of bruschetta while we researched some of the best places to eat in the area.

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We found a place called the Budapest Bistro which is behind the beautiful parliament building. We got there really early in the evening.  All the tables were empty, which was great as this meant we could get seated, so we decided to go and explore the parliament building while it was close by.  When we got there, we were stunned by the architecture and decided that it would be even more beautiful at night when it was all lit up.  Plus, this would have been a great excuse to walk off our food!  So we went back to the bistro and picked our table where we would spend the next two hours!  We were lucky we got there when we did because as the evening went on, almost all of the tables were gone!  This was a great indicator that we had chosen a really good place!  As the sun set, the evening lights came on at the Bistro and they even had a live pianist who was fantastic!

This was probably my most favourite food visit of the trip!  The venue is beautiful and is located in one of the most quiet and clean areas of the city.  The dishes that I chose were so unusual and I had never had these combination of flavours before!  On arrival we had warm crusty bread with a potato and paprika spread.  My starter was grilled goats cheese served with green tomato chutney and figs.  My main  dish was farm chicken breast fillet with Tokaj aszu wine marinated pear and Gruyere cheese mashed potatoes – It was delicious!  We also shared a mouth-watering dessert.  Be sure to check out the Budapest vlog on my channel to see it!

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DAY 4

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On our last day, we had reservations for Mazel Tov, a Middle Eastern restaurant located in the Jewish Quarter and just a short walk from our hotel!  Once again, we were grateful for being organised and booking ahead because the queue was out the door!  I highly recommend that you book reservations in advance when going to Budapest.  The venues are smaller and so when they’re incredibly popular it’s very difficult to get seated when you just turn up on the day.   I can only imagine what it would be like in the summer!

From the outside, Mazel Tov looks like a ruin bar but inside, looks like a tropical paradise with its plants, lights and court yard.  After enjoying yet another cocktail, I decided to have the warm grilled cauliflower with tahini, almond and pomegranate as my starter which I absolutely loved!  Then for my main, I had the shakshuka with added feta cheese and merguez sausage.  This was another great meal in Budapest, despite it not being traditional Hungarian food and the best way to spend our last few ours in the city!

Fried Cauliflower

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So these are some of the things that I ate while on my trip to Budapest!  If you want to see a bit more of Budapest and it’s food scene, head to my YouTube channel Nayemma where I will be uploading the vlog version of this blog.  If you’re interested in food travel blogs, my next trip booked in is to Iceland in March, so stayed tuned for that because I anticipate it to be very interesting!  If you enjoy these blogs, don’t forget to subscribe to the emailing list (free) to be notified every time I post a new blog!

cropped-draft-3.jpg© 2019. Naomi Laws. All rights reserved

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