Whether they are located on roofs, in courtyards, or on sidewalks, terrace hangouts are important parts of urban life in Budapest. When spring arrives, we eagerly anticipate the time when tables start to appear outside of cafés and restaurants, and during autumn we still drink our tea outside, even though we need to bundle up in blankets. The good news is that many city hangouts are aware of this cherished relationship between terrace and guest, and a lot of places decided to winterize their outdoor-seating areas this year; here are seven of Budapest’s best cold-weather hotspots.
Fröccsterasz is an essential part of summers in Budapest, and being fully packed is its distinguishing feature. This is really not surprising, as it has an ideal location and a simple concept: a cool vibe in the middle of busy Erzsébet Square, the perfect place for hanging out in the open air with a fröccs in hand. In November Fröccsterasz moved its striped bar and colorful string lights to the neighboring (former) Terminál Restaurant. They added courses composed by chef Richárd Domján, plus parties on the weekends, and named it Fröccsterasz Télikert (translating to Fröccsterasz Winter Garden).
Hidden away in the middle of central Pest, Ellátó Kert is a locals’ favorite ruin pub for its laid-back open-air atmosphere... and that atmosphere doesn’t change much when the weather gets cold outside, thanks to the huge tented terrace area loaded with space heaters and heated conversations. The Mexican motifs on the walls provide the eyes with warm colors, while the taco bar provides spicy specialties from South of the Border that will certainly make your taste buds forget that it’s winter. Furthermore, this is a hallowed haven for Budapest’s smokers during wintertime.
The charming indoor dining area and the high-quality courses of Kert Bistro can be found in Budapest’s Zugló district. The restaurant surely gained a lot of regulars during the summer due to its proximity to nature and its really delicious meals, and the good news is that the arrival of winter did not put an end to the view of trees during a family lunch or dinner. The terrace became a winter garden, complete with a roof and heating, not to mention blankets which are great to wrap up in with a mug of mulled wine, or a (non-alcoholic) fruit punch in hand. Squash, ginger, chestnuts, pears, and saffron often resurface in the winter courses, and for the orange liqueur chocolate souffle it’s definitely worth leaving downtown behind. Plus, once a week they also have live music: the invited performers usually play acoustic songs or Django-swing.
Majorka is already familiar as the playground of many residents and visitors of inner Buda. The pub, located near the Városmajor parkland, has three very appealing qualities: it’s dog-friendly, they broadcast sports games regularly, and they have a huge terrace, which is available even in winter. For a while, it was simply covered with a tent, but last year they built a more stable and elegant metal structure around it, with lamps, heaters, and large glass windows, so that we can watch the neighborhood and feel close to nature while eating the lunch menu, a hamburger, or drinking a cocktail. They also have themed parties every now and then.
Margitutcakilenc is one of the coolest garden hangouts of the city, and here, the peaceful atmosphere of the countryside sets in within seconds of walking inside, clearing away all troubles. Those who have been there know what we mean, and those who haven’t explored the place yet should go there, even as early as this weekend, because this garden located at the Buda side of Margaret Bridge was winterized; here grilled sausages and mulled wine await in a warm, roofed space. Besides the delicious bites, they also have some pretty exciting programs, like hosting acoustic concerts, flea markets, and even fairs.
Mazel Tov is an elegantly cool ruin-restaurant at the imaginary intersection of Tel Aviv and the Jewish Quarter of Budapest. Thus at Mazel Tov it’s summertime all year long, especially since the courtyard received heated brick flooring in 2015, and last year they finished another beautifying-winterizing process. The audience had the chance to first test its result on December 6, 2016. Regarding the food, the open kitchen provides a view of the staff making Israeli-inspired bites, including the chef’s new wintery choices like fried Nile perch, beef meatballs baked in tahini, yogurt and beetroot mousse, and the pistachio and chocolate dessert. Their grogs are also great; it’s a good idea to make a reservation for a table.
Sarki Fűszeres is the multifunctional delicatessen shop of Pozsonyi Street. This means that, besides selling all kinds of gourmet delicacies, we can also have breakfast, coffee, and a drink here. Here there’s absolutely no shame in ordering scrambled eggs at 8pm, or a glass of wine at 10am. The terrace now has a foil cover and was equipped with blankets, so they have everything we might need to begin or end cold winter days here.