The city of paprika and Tokaji wine has a lot to offer food-loving travellers.
Budget: After World
War II, Budapest lost its traditional restaurants, but 21 has revived the national style. Try
the fish soup, £5.50, or the Hortobágy Palacsinta (pancakes filled with minced
chicken), £9. The wine list is also exclusively Hungarian.
divided Hungary’s food-bloggers over its refusal to serve beer. The reason? Its
owner is Bortársaság, Hungary’s premier wine retailer. Order the Mangalica pork
belly, £6.50, and wines such as Szepsy István Édes Szamorodni, Tokaj 2003 and
Vylyan Cabernet Sauvignon, Villány, 2002. (00 36 2 342 2587)
Popular with Budapest’s intellectual crowd, Café
Kör’s signature dishes include homemade smoked salmon, £7, and beef tenderloin
goulash, £11. Wash them down with a glass of Sparklers (Hungarian fizz), £2.
Budget: Menza has authentic 70s décor and an
outdoor terrace with views, plus good Hungarian cuisine. Order classics such as
beef stew, £6.50, or chicken and Somló sponge cake, named after a small
Hungarian mountain, £3.
place for Budapest’s elite, Gundel’s Restaurant
reopened in 1992 as if Communism had never happened. It serves mains such as
Hungarian paprika chicken, £17, and slow-roasted tenderloin of pork, £19 – but
the prix-fixe menu is great value at £38.
Blowout: Onyx Restaurant received its first
Michelin star this year. Chef Szabina Szulló’s signature dish is goose liver
torte with Tokaji furmint jelly, £11.50, or try a Hungarian Evolution tasting
Budget: Drink Pálinka at classic Mo
Restaurant and Bar, where black and white photos of old Budapest line the
walls. Ask for Árpád (plum flavoured), Szicsek (red pear) both £4, or Szicsek
made with raspberry and strawberry tree, £5.50.
at Negro Café Bar has great basilica
views and an interesting line in Gyomorkeserű (Hungarian bitters), which come
in sensible 4cl shots. Locals order a Hunter – Jägermeister mixed with Red
Blowout: Dez and Gabor preside in their natty bow
ties and braces at the recently refurbished Boutiq’bar. Order martinis, all £5
– specialities include Cardomomed, made with cardamom, vodka, strawberry and
Budget: Hotel Palazzo Zichy offers
exceptional value in the old palace quarter. Once home of Count Nándor Zichy,
it has been converted into a modern hotel where classic marble meets
flat-screen TVs and leather sofas. A buffet breakfast is served in the lofty
glassroofed restaurant. Doubles from £68.50.
of Budapest’s Royal Castle and custom-designed furnishings, Lánchid 19 has scooped numerous design
awards. L19, the hotel’s restaurant, serves stylish dishes such as salmon
roasted in a black mustard crust. Doubles from £60.
The gloriously opulent Four Seasons
Gresham Palace is housed in one of the city’s most impressive Art Nouveau
buildings. Its Gresham Restaurant also boasts the best burger in Budapest.
Doubles from £255.
Great Market Hall with its distinctive roof tiling is the place to go for
classic Hungarian produce – salami, paprika, Tokaji wines and caviar. You can
eat dishes such as white sausage and stuffed cabbage on the upper floor.
Pick was founded in 1869 in the town of Szeged.
It’s a big brand nationwide now, and sells the best winter salami in Budapest
from its shop on Kossuth tér. Also available are juliska salami, ungar paprika
salami and szegediner.
Founded in the 1930s, Szamos Mátyás
has shops all over the city. Don’t just take home the marzipan – buy some
Hungarian dragées (almonds, hazelnuts, raisins and marzipan balls dredged in
sugar) and pralines.
Adrian Mourby has visited Budapest for more
than 25 years, and his love of goulash remains undiminished. He writes
regularly in The Independent on Sunday, Evening Standard and Sunday Times
Travel magazine, and has written and contributed to guides for the AA, Dorling
Kindersley and Michelin.
The article 'Budget and blowout guide to Budapest' was published in partnership with BBC Olive magazine.