On summer evenings, many of us dream of crackling firewood, cauldrons of stew bubbling above the flames, and skewered meats slowly roasting. There is no better way to bond with our friends than working together to rekindle the fire or debating about how best to chop onions. Such communal events rank high on our wish list for summer plans, but what if none of our friends has a garden to host a grill party? What if we don’t have a stew pot, either? We searched for solutions for these problems, and are happy to say that there’s no reason to panic – Budapest has many places that are happy to help.
Barbecue parties are a sure-fire recipe for a high-spirited summer get-together with friends, since everything is conducive to having a good time: a DIY atmosphere, warm weather, starry skies, shared challenges, fragrant food, and chilled drinks. But there are some problematic details to organizing such a gathering – for example, if none of the participants have a garden and/or the appropriate tools for preparing the meats (and/or veggies). However, such small obstacles cannot stop us if we’re determined enough, so we searched for places in Budapest where we can have a grill party without worrying about much beyond showing up. Naturally, we also tested these venues, so here’s our list after an editorial test grilling rich in smoke and calories.
Right off the bat, we have two places to recommend at Római Part, on the Buda riverfront a short journey north from downtown. The first spot is Két Rombusz, which we were happy to visit a little earlier this summer, and were amply impressed – the terrain is spacious, has ten outdoor fire pits where we can ignite wood (which the place provides), and we can get a stew pot, grill cart, and skewers for free. Naturally, we have to bring our own ingredients, and it’s only fair to buy refreshments at the bar to accompany our smoky snacks on the spot. The place’s pair of two-story buses, which make Két Rombusz rather easy to spot, have a unique charm and pleasant rural atmosphere that is even better in the back garden area, which can be rented for larger events. For weekends, it’s best to book in advance.
Another promising place in the area is Golyós (“Ball”); this family-friendly open-air bar has a reason for its unique choice of name, but more about that later! We can use the barbecue here as well, or cook for free in our own or borrowed stew pot. Just like at Két Rombusz, we have to provide the ingredients, while it is heartily encouraged that we purchase all drinks at the bar here. Now, we can look into the origin of Golyós’s name: we find the answer to this riddle at the petanque court, since the French ball game is rather popular around here – the place even organizes tournaments! As a side note, the Saturday evening “menu” is a retro disco.
Dürer Kert, located across the street from City Park, has been a popular concert venue for a while, and is now becoming an increasingly popular grill-party venue, as well. There are two fire pits in the inner courtyard that can be reserved (preferably well in advance), so that groups can cook a delicious dinner there in a borrowed stew pot. For this, we also receive firewood, but if we prefer charcoal, we can also choose a grill. In both cases, we must pay a 10,000-forint deposit and 2,500 HUF rental fee – but the colorful chairs, nice shade, and pleasant atmosphere are included for free.
VaLyo – Gerilla Grill
Did you know that there’s a barbecue spot right on the bank of the Danube (quite literally – it’s often covered by water)? Not only that, it’s free for anyone to use. This venue is featured on our list because there’s a very special initiative behind it. The story starts with the efforts of VaLyo, also known as the Város és Folyó Egyesülete (“City and River Association” in English). The group’s goal is to get citizens to utilize the Danube, and they come up with various exciting activities in order to reach this riparian objective, including installing the grill at the Buda quay in front of Saint Gellért Square, a project which was carried out courtesy of the BETON workshop team Gerillakonyha this May. We’re talking about a real communal barbecue facility, the free usage of which is determined only by who shows up first, and how high the Danube is on any given day – therefore, it’s recommended to check the water level before making any plans here.
So, with no cooking equipment of our own, we can comfortably throw a grill party even in the middle of downtown, but nevertheless we shouldn’t let traditional options go unnoticed, either. After all, there are numerous classic fire rings that we should visit at least once in our time here in Budapest – prepared with stew pots, firewood, and lots of bacon and onion. Such options include the popular Normafa, the beautiful Hármashatár Hill, the romantic Róka Hill, the somewhat-worn-out-yet-loveable Népsziget, or Hajógyári Island (at least before the Sziget Festival begins). However, when starting a fire outdoors, please keep basic safety guidelines in mind, and don’t forget to clean up after yourself!