Dining

Aperitivo bar opens on focal Nagymező utca in Budapest’s theatreland

Photo : Péter Kálló / We Love Budapest
Gisell

La vita è bella. Especially with those crispy bruschette, succulent salamis and olives… New spot Gisell serves aperitivi on Nagymező utca, a central Budapest thoroughfare of thespian legend. Opened steps away from the Thália Theatre, alongside Budapest Operetta, this new hangout evokes something of laidback Italy. Whether you crave coffee or a cocktail, plenty of eats can come with your drink, depending on your taste (and budget). And for a real-deal aperitivo treat, just go for one of Gisell’s antipasti plates.

It’s all about the guest at newly opened Gisell, an appealing aperitivo bar in central Budapest. Owners Orsi and Gizi strive to be the perfect hosts to those who pop into this Mediterranean-inspired hangout in the city‘s theatre quarter.

Photo: Péter Kálló / We Love Budapest

Formerly housing the heritage Operett Café, Gisell preserves traces of the antiquated design from the previous establishment. Vintage chandeliers creatively complement the floral decoration of the new locale. The menu, meanwhile, takes its inspiration from the Italian concept of post-work aperitivi, when you pay a little more for your drink, allowing you to graze without being charged by the dish. The difference at Gisell is that the food here is paid item-by-item.

Photo: Péter Kálló / We Love Budapest

For early risers stopping by, breakfast means scrumptious French toast served with salted caramel sauce, fruit and orange jam. The local version of the same is called bundás kenyér, egg-coated bread fried in oil, more savory than sweet. Then there are Hungarian scrambled eggs and croissants with jam. Prices for these morning boosters range from 390 to 1,090 forints.

Photo: Péter Kálló / We Love Budapest

To pair with alcoholic drinks later in the day, crispy breads come with  creamy toppings such as green-pea spread fused with sun-dried tomatoes and basil, körözött (local paprika-spiced cottage cheese) and liver pâté. A selection of three dips with vegetables on the side costs 1,490 forints. Bruschette are made from baguettes or ciabatta topped with a blend of tomato and basil, or mushrooms, or possibly prosciutto.

Photo: Péter Kálló / We Love Budapest

Evenings, you can spend time here over an antipasti plate, the delectable accompaniment to an Aperol Spritz or two. Served on a wooden cutting board, this Italian mix of starters incorporates ham, salami, cheese, olives and red-onion marmalade. A generous serving will set you back 2,990 forints.

Photo: Péter Kálló / We Love Budapest

Desserts complete the selection, while sandwiches and salads are available to take away. Plans call for Gisell to expand later this spring with a terrace space, a bright addition to the bar.

Gisell
  • District VI, Nagymező utca 26
  • Tue-Wed 9am-10pm, Thur and Sun 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat: 10am-midnight