All summer, eateries and drinking destinations have been opening around Budapest, including high-end restaurants, brunch spots and rooftop bars. Here we pick the best of the bunch so that you can try them for yourself.
Restaurants & bistros
From this spring onwards, two elements have typified new restaurants and bistros: ever more recommendable places have opened outside the city centre, and the range of breakfast and tapas spots is that much stronger. One of the big favourites this summer, for example, has been the Kami Kisvendéglője on the border between Budapest and Pest County up in Újpest, with a constant traffic of diners now familiar with this cosy kitchen.
Over in Óbuda, Alice and Attila, a newly arrived British-Hungarian couple from England, opened the Kovászos restaurant in a house containing other small businesses, where an exciting menu characterises the kind of affordable bistro you would find in Western Europe.
More modest in scope but no less worthy have been the breakfast and snacking places providing after-work tapas, light meals and salads. Pantry brunch & coffee unveiled a relatively unique breakfast concept, where you can create your own meal with a different culinary base, in smaller or larger portions. You can also have a light lunch here and good coffee is available until 4pm.
The newly opened Babart Café on Dob utca also set out its stall, offering simple, attractive, refreshing breakfasts throughout the day, accompanied by light lunches and fine Italian coffee. It’s worth checking them out after work as well, as they prepare excellent tapas and wines for you to relax in tasteful and comfortable surroundings.
Breakfasts, light lunches and afternoon snacks are the stock-in-trade at Kalitka Bistro & Shop on Arany János utca, but you can also browse for Cargomoda shoes and Art on me clothes in the shop.
On Múzeum körút, Mindenem has friendly prices, hearty breakfasts, delicious lunch menus and tasty sandwiches, giving it every chance of becoming a major hangout for the many students in the area.
A completely different concept is the Liszt Restaurant at the Aria Hotel – the kitchen of this elegant downtown landmark gives a modern twist to the cuisine of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In addition to sophisticated and imaginative dishes, they place great emphasis on the basics of hospitality, so they focus on their own sourdough bread, and their own water to greet each guest.
Habsburg culinary tradition also provides the foundation for the latest location to open on Madách tér, Fiaker, where besides 400 different wines, you’ll find modern reworkings of Central-European dishes of a century ago.
Cafés, bakeries & confectioneries
This summer, ice cream was in vogue, with four new places opening since May. A Fagyi started out in Vác, then opened up this spring on Boráros tér, offering classic scoops. Cloud 9, on the other hand, offers cool desserts in creative small boxes, complete with freeze-dried and dried fruit, flavored sponge and crumbs.
The renowned Gelateri Pichler from the Káli Basin near Balaton invited expert confectioner Balazs Damniczki to be their ice-cream maker when they opened a branch at Városmajor in Buda. Now, in additional to the traditional cone, you can order their ice cream in a brioche. Kell fagylalt? reminds visitors of the balmy Balaton Uplands, even when chestnuts are dropping onto the streets of Buda.
A couple of new bakeries have also been added this summer: nor/ma awaits shoppers with Nordic-style bread and pastries, while the Arán Bakery brings a little bit of Ireland to Budapest. Their signature cruffin is now one of the city’s seven deadly sins.
Doktor & Pék, a classic example of a baker who changed career paths to be at the forefront of the domestic industry – their award-winning sourdough breads are well worth a try on Csengery utca. To the delight of lovers of South-American desserts, dulce de leche can now be found at Eleche, which focuses on this sweet caramel cream. You can sample other Latin delights here in District IX.
Essence Delicates is a great little delicatessen where along with prime ingredients, you can get pick up fine coffee, sandwiches and cakes. Imagine a trendy Újlipótváros boutique in the heart of residential Zugló.
Specialty coffee spots continue to flourish: two venues in opened District I this summer. At Budapest Kávé Művek, you can get your own roasted coffe at surprisingly friendly prices and take home a bag of it ground. Kaffantó on Batthyány utca is a real original – not only a café but also a rowing shop, with oars and all sorts of paraphernalia. Quality cakes and sandwiches are also available, of course.
A wide range of outlets opened up here this summer, from pizza to Hungarian to Asian. One of the city’s old favourites, Budapest Bägel, finally opened up in Buda, bringing not only the usual offerings to Margit körút but also a number of new and vegan sandwiches.
The street-food version of a family mealtime favourite appeared on busy Madách tér. At A Rántott Húsos (‘Breaded Meaterie’), the pork or chicken in breadcrumbs can be ordered as a sandwich or as part of a main dish. Either way, it’s irresistible.
There was also a plenty of movement on the pizza front: we found one of Buda’s best at the Fragola ice cream parlour on Pasareti tér. It’s hard to choose between their classic Italian varieties, made from traditional ingredients, so customers living nearby have been spoiled these last few months.
We’ve become accustomed to KIOSK coming up with something new every summer – this year, they brought something of the dolce vita to downtown Március 15 tér. Piazza awaits with great pizzas and chilling cocktails right by the Danube.
Local Japanese gastronomy has expanded its offerings thanks to two niche ambassadors: Okonomiyaki Kincsán and its omelette pancakes on Ráday utca, and the Kicsi Japán and its little classic lunchboxes and sushi.
Bars & nightspots
We are pleased to say that more and more rooftop bars have opened in Budapest in the last few years, with two more added this summer. The top of the Mammut mall, which also serves as the Budapest Rooftop Cinema, is a drinking destination in its own right, while the Memorise Skybar near Kálvin tér beckons on the Pest side with a panoramic view of Citadella. Speaking of which… 1xfent opened atop Gellért Hill with fair prices and great views for a series of alfresco Botellon parties.
Equally good news has been the rise of specialist spirits bars, augmented by the excellent Schrödinger macskája in District VII.