Spring is finally here, and the good weather demands us to go have picnics, outings, and outdoor programs in general. Not being able to travel from the city is no excuse, since Budapest – especially the Buda side – holds some great opportunities for us. We explored the Buda Hills, Normafa, the Hármashatár Hill’s surroundings, Hűvösvölgy, Budakeszi and Adyliget in order to show you the restaurants and buffets you should visit before, during, after, or instead of an outing.
Hűvösvölgyi Nagy-mead and surrounding areas: Náncsi Néni
A pleasant spring outing to Hűvösvölgy is an excellent apropos for visiting Náncsi Néni’s Restaurant. We can relax in the shady garden after an exhausting hiking session, with an ice cold fröccs or elderberry syrup in hand. The selection is rather wide, and there are season-dependent offers as well, though they have mom’s split pea soup, iron pan roasts, duck and goose all year long. Right now, asparagus dishes are in the focus, although our favourites are Tercsi néni’s turkey and the classic giant cottage cheese dumplings. As old frequents, we discovered that as the season begins, the prices and waiting time increase a bit with the portions remaining the same. Nonetheless, we like Náncsi, and recommend everyone to reserve a table in advance, because the garden is always full.
This stall is known by everyone who lives nearby. It has been operating as a buffet for fifty years now, and its present owner, Ferenc, has been making hot and crispy lángos here for ten years. They also have crepes, hamburger, hot-dog, and old-fashioned hot sandwiches made from fat loafs of breads. ‘The most important thing is that I am always kind with the customers, I really like to talk with them and that is why they come here’ – Ferenc told us – ‘and the food is good, too.’ The stall is open every day and all year long, welcoming frequents and hikers with fresh lángos and cold beer.
Address: Hűvösvölgyi Street – Szipka Street corner (near the old bus station) Opening hours: Monday-Sunday – 10:00-18:00 Contact: +36 30 286 0119
Hármashatár Hill's surroundings: Cafe Provence
Café Provence‘s owners, Gábor and Gabriella, remodelled the café and restaurant from an old mansion in Buda, far from the city’s noises. It is the favourite spot of local expats and families with its own little garden and playground. They also offer breakfast on weekends: the freshly baked croissant is divine with homemade lavender jam (or Nutella), hmmm… we tried it. But if we would hike first and eat after, a light sirloin salad or croque madame might just get the job done, with some delicious homemade cake, like French apple pie as dessert.
Time stopped in Fenyőgyöngye Restaurant, in the term’s best sense. It was built in 1935, and soon became the hikers’ favourite spot. The hiking routes start from the 65 bus’ final station, and even then the only thing floating before our eyes is that fried chicken. The selection includes classics worth climbing mountains for. Freshly baked dishes are a must, like fried meat or fried chicken liver. We should also ask about their current offers. On weekdays, we can choose from ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ menus for lunch for a very friendly 990 Forints.
Address: 1025 Budapest Szépvölgyi Street 155. Reservation: +361 325 9783 Opening hours: Monday-Sunday 12:00-22:00 Web: http://fenyogyongye.hu/
Normafa and surroundings: Normafa strudel house
Normafa’s strudel house has been operating on Normafa for thirty-four years. Some remember it from their childhood and in some it induces romantic feelings, since it is a popular date place. The strudels are made from home recipe and on the spot, and attract hikers with its warm, fresh scent from far. In addition to the classic flavours (apple, custard cheese, cherry, poppy seed etc.) we can try dill and cottage cheese, chestnut, walnut, salty, or cheese filled strudels as well.
Address: Budapest, 1121 Eötvös Street 50. (behind the ski house on Normafa) Opening hours: (summer) Monday-Sunday 9:00-20:00, (winter) Monday-Sunday 10:00-16:00 Web: http://www.normafaretes.hu/
A good hike on Széchenyi Hill, then a cool lunch in Kőbüfé. There is something nostalgic and timeless about this place. It is hikers’ well-liked spot because of its friendly atmosphere and familiar flavours – some skip the hiking itself and come for the food only. A nice place to rest with a pint of beer or cold fröccs; from the foods, we recommend the gnocchi and homemade crepes. Not dietary but delicious – there is the opportunity to hike off the extra pounds, anyway.
Address: 1121 Budapest, Rege Street 21. Reservation: +36 30 212 6999 Opening hours: Monday-Sunday 9:00-20:00 Web: http://www.kobufe.hu/
Normakert Restaurant (Normafa Ski House)
Normakert is one of hikers’ classic favourites. If we do not want to sit in a restaurant for hours but are also too lazy to prepare sandwiches at home, in Normakert we can order picnic baskets. They make baskets form two, three, or four persons – we recommend asking about the current offer over the phone and ordering our basket at least one hour in advance.
Address: 1121 Budapest, Eötvös út 59. Reservation: +36 1 391 7151 Opening hours: Monday – closed, Tuesday-Friday 11:00-23:00, Saturday-Sunday 10:00-23:00 Web: http://www.normakert.hu/normakert/
Budakeszi's surroundings: Budai Gesztenyés
In the nineteenth century there already was a family restaurant in the place of the newly renovated Budai Gesztenyés. True to its predecessors, the restaurant focuses on the flavors of Hungarian cuisine. Huge, shady terrace, home cooking and large portions welcome every guest, let them be hikers or not. Out favourites are the classic chicken soup, crispy duck leg, and somlói.
Address: 2092 Budakeszi, Fő Street 1. Reservation: +36 23 450 534 Opening hours: Monday-Sunday 11:00 – 23:00
Visiting the Budakeszi wildlife park is a nice weekend program, especially if we also do a bit of hiking around the place. The park has its own, tavern-style restaurant led by the same family for 25 years. Prepare for traditional Hungarian flavours and hospitality, there is no souis vide duck breast or sweet potato veloute here. Instead, we can try pork soup, venison with red wine, cranberry, and homemade croquettes, and semolina pudding with apricot jam as dessert.
Address: Budapest, XII. district, Szanatórium Street Reservation: +36 1 275 2436 Opening hours: Monday-Sunday 12:00-22:00 Web: http://www.vadasparkrest.com/
If we plan on hiking near Adyliget, stopping by Dunyha Restaurant must be part of our program. Dunyha is Budapest’s first goose restaurant, where we can taste irresistible home cooking. The bread is freshly baked in the garden’s furnace; craft ingredients, own smoked fish, friendly service.
While is not really a hiking place, we like it a lot, and decided to take a light weekend walk around it as a form of outing. By the way, if you prefer parks over hills, you can find the best places . Our program will be complete if we drop by , which, in our opinion, is the most refreshing spot of Kopaszi. It is characterized by refined taste and a pleasant atmosphere, spiced with a bit of Hungarian virtue and Italian appearance. So what is Fruska like? Picturesque or pretty? Exalted or elegantly simple? You decide!