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If you agree that the best way to explore a foreign culture is through food, read on! Atlas Obscura has a perfect reason for you to visit Budapest.
Ever toasted with pálinka and tucked into chicken paprikash in a Hungarian home? Hungry for Hungary offers this experience.
We've got you covered with the go-to spots to ease those post-night-out munchies.
The revered Bambi
Eszpresszó has been a popular spot on the Buda side since the ’60s. Read about its colourful
history here. The interior remains unchanged to this day, exuding the same homely atmosphere as yesteryear. The best feature of the place is that it also has a
terrace, popular as soon as spring arrives. For breakfast or just a coffee in a small glass cup, you
can expect the same, old-school presentation.
A favourite spot
on Buda’s trendy boulevard Bartók Béla út, BÉLA is also named after an acronym of its various functions: bar, eatery, loft and
arboretum. Mainly, though, it’s a cosy place for dates and gatherings, its bohemian
feel enhanced by a recent refurb as it welcomes new and returning guests to its
shaded terrace. Superior tapas – beetroot-and-gorgonzola spread, BÉLA platter
with all kinds of cheeses, sausage and ham – complement a discerning drinks
list featuring rums from the Seychelles, Nicaragua and Panama.
The Bereg Embassy
Bar & Cafe is
one of the cosiest gardens in Budapest, imitating the north-eastern Hungarian
region of Bereg, where the sibling owners come from. In the courtyard of the Hattyúház,
a small business centre in a historic building, draught Bavarian Hekkelberger
and Angus beefburgers with homemade sauce are served, along with an excellent
lunch menu. All is not ten minutes’ walk from the Mammut mall, and invariably less pricy than
other local options.
Csendes Társ is a
real oasis right in the city centre, largely thanks to the proximity of popular
pocket park Károlyi-kert. Some
of Hungary’s best winemakers – Dúzsi, Jásdi, Szent Dónat – feature on the
drinks list while breakfast options abound, including eggs and bacon, and raspberry
granola with Greek yoghurt.
Just like Nap
bácsi (see below), Fellini Római Kultúrbisztró is also a well-known place at Római-part,
alongside the Danube in Óbuda. The name, ‘Fellini Cultural Bistro’, suits the
place, as acoustic concerts, film screenings, art workshops and fairs are all
regular events here. Draught beers are Czech-only, either Primátor from Náchod
or Konrad from Vratislavice, there’s bottled cider, too, plus the signature house
softie, the Fellini Fresca, with ginger, lemon, tonic and mint. Food-wise, carnivores
can munch into a Balkanburger of pljeskavica with ajvar, vegetarians can go for spinach-and-cheese
flatbread, among many other options.
Kabin is one of the
most popular places on unspoilt Népsziget,
the lesser-known of Budapest’s islands with its own bohemian scene, and the
perfect place to take in sunset at the foot of Újpest railway bridge. Young and
old mix on the terrace, where local FIRST craft beers can be sipped and burgers
devoured beside the Danube.
The garden at Kőleves Kert in the heart of the Jewish Quarter has just opened. Here diners may enjoy one
of the best lunch menus (11.30am-3pm) in the area or choose from the seasonally
changing selection of mainly Jewish classics, in reliably bohemian and retro surroundings.
At weekends, the Római-part
by the Danube often gets crowded, but luckily Nap
bácsi is still a place for peaceful relaxation. Its wooden deckchairs, cauldron
stews, small-batch beers, home-made lemonades and DJs from Tilos Rádió make it
a special place to wind down after a stressful week. Open from the last days of
The key location of Nemdebár on the busy Buda square of Széll Kálmán tér attracts musicians and artists all
year round, familiar faces convening in a bohemian space. In addition to the
familial atmosphere and great underground music, a dog-friendly attitude applies.
Now with the warmer weather, you can take a seat outside the entrance and watch
the constant tram blur and bustle – or find a place in the inner
courtyard under open skies.
The Pántlika has been integral
to City Park since the 1960s, occupying an authentically retro house constructed
as an information booth for fairs that once took place here, and an Expo that didn't. Read about
its colourful history here.
These days, it serves a large range of shots and pálinkas, as well as the
signature Budapest burger in relaxed, family- and dog-friendly surroundings,
mainly beneath tree shade.