One can explore a city by snapping a pocket guide open and hopping from one landmark to the next. Then, others get to know new places and cultures through food. If you fall into the latter category, we feel you. What's more, we have put together a one-day itinerary for your hedonistic self who is always on the hunt for unique gastro spots. We will take you off the beaten track, with unusual sights dotting the programme, but with breakfast, lunch, pre-dinner drinks, and dinner being the main event. See what you can get up to in Budapest's 7th and 8th districts.
We hope you like jungle vibes because the first stop is the Instagram hotspot Twentysix Budapest. This hidden oasis was a lush addition to the capital's gastro scene in 2020. Housed in an inner (and covered) courtyard and the building surrounding it on Király utca, we can't help but adore its interiors. However, the reason for choosing it is not only its aesthetic appeal. The breakfast menu got revamped recently, offering an array of creative, Middle East-inspired, and healthy dishes. You can go for a vegan shakshuka or salty quinoa or avocado porridge. You can have a sweet porridge with lemon curd, coconut cream, and puffed grain granola or a fluffy pancake topped with raspberry or chocolate chips. Whatever you choose, wash it down in style with freshly squeezed orange juice. Or a G&T. Or both.
After breakfast, head towards Deák Ferenc tér and set off on a walk along Small Boulevard in the direction of Kálvin tér (trams 47 and 49 will guide you). Once you reach the Hungarian National Museum, you have officially arrived at the Palace Quarter. The nickname comes from the fact that you see former residencies of 19th-century noblemen wherever you turn. Most historic buildings have succumbed to old age, but with a little imagination, you can still travel time. Even more so if you venture into Szabó Ervin Library. Housed in the Neo-Baroque Wenckheim Palace built in 1889, it has served as a library since 1931. No wonder it is an architectural landmark, and then we haven't mentioned its vast historical halls where you can settle down with a book. One of its reading rooms, adorned with golden ornaments, mirrors and chandeliers, was once a ballroom, making it a must-see for bookworms and Instagram enthusiasts. You can enter with a visitors' pass (daily ticket).
Once the bell of the nearby church signals midday, it's time to make your way back to the 7th district for lunch. Head to Dohány utca, where TATI Budapest awaits with its fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and flavourful dishes. This stylish restaurant, which opened last year, is at the forefront of the farm-to-table concept. They use ingredients from local farms and only serve seasonal dishes. Recently, they introduced a lunch menu, which we are super excited about. You can try Hungarian classics such as goulash or chicken paprikash, but for a true hedonist experience, start with a 'Hungarian tasting plate from the farm'. Liptauer cheese spread, duck liver pâté, smoked meat selection from Békés, homemade pickled vegetables, and a cheese selection from Etyek will be laid out before you. Nibble on them with a glass of wine in hand before moving on to the main course: you can't go wrong with Hungarian hash browns or a vegan sandwich.
Synagogues and colourful murals
TATI will definitely leave you full of joy and food. So a nice and easy walk is due, and the inner part of the 7th district is an ideal place for that. It is known as the Jewish Quarter, besides the 'party district', which means it is dotted with synagogues. That includes the largest one in Europe found on Dohány utca, and the synagogues on Rumbach Sebestyén utca and Kazinczy utca. These are all open to visitors, and we encourage you to peek inside as they showcase breathtaking architecture and stunning interiors.
Taking 'colours' one step further, embark on an expedition to explore street art. This part of the 7th district is brimming with painted murals, so you don't need to go Sherlock Holmes to find one. Take a stroll along Rumbach Sebestyén utca, Kazinczy utca, Dob utca or Akácfa utca, and remember to look up often. Prepare to be amazed by the diversity of street art on display.
Cocktails and dinner
Make the last mural the one on Király utca, as it will bring you almost to the doorstep of a splendid cocktail spot. KAA Mixology is a mysterious, moonlit jungle housed inside Twentysix Budapest, our starting point. Lush vibes are evoked by an impressive array of dry plants attached to the ceiling, making the bar another Insta gem. But let's not be superficial and only judge by looks. You will see that the cocktail selection is equally impressive, with our favourite being En Fumo. It is for the ones appreciating a touch of drama, as it arrives enveloped in a cloud of smoke.
One of the advantages of sipping on a drink at KAA is that you won't have to go far once you get peckish. Dinner is served right next door at Twentysix Budapest, so you can finish the circle and end the day where you started. A new dinner menu has been created recently, spoiling us with dishes to share (such as Moroccan carrot stew or red lentil kofta), taking us to the Mediterranean (buffalo burrata, creamy labneh) or speaking to the heart of carnivores (ribeye steak, crispy lamb phyllo pastry, or chilli shrimps). Crown your meal with a cheesecake served with rose water dressing.