Where’s hot? Where’s new? Where’s great? Every week in Budapest, restaurants, cafés, drinking destinations and street-food spots pop up all over the city. Here we select the best recent arrivals to have opened, offering farm-to-table treats, sausages, macarons and pancakes, as well as some of the finest Hungarian wines.
The Greek: Blue Agori
The latest addition on ever-changing Madách tér is a Greek eatery, serving quality kebabs, authentic tzatziki and olives. The man behind the venture is long-term Budapest resident Stavros Koranis, originally from Salonika, who wanted to open a place where his compatriots would also feel at home and gather. Kebabs come in pitta bread, or as a platter they are served with home-made spicy fries. Greek salad and dips also feature.
Pancake heaven: Cukorka
This tiny pancake place opened by Nyugati station, offering Hungarian, American and French crêpes made according to traditional recipes from our grandmothers’ time. No alternative flours or superfoods, just simplicity. Five fillings feature: cocoa, Nutella, marmalade, cinnamon and sweet cottage-cheese, and they can all be topped with chocolate sauce or maple syrup. Classic Italian coffee is also available and the prices are really friendly. Not even the most sugar-crammed pancake costs more than 1,000 forints.
- 1055 Budapest, Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út 76.
Carnivore's dream: Gléda
A bit out of the way in Óbuda, Gléda is worth the trek. This new restaurant is a joint venture of two experienced chefs who are trying to revive the grand times of Hungarian gastronomy, when French cuisine also shaped the country’s culinary customs. Back then, daring dishes – pigeon, escargots – featured together with classic Magyar courses. Here, the interior is antique and modern at the same time; a century-old cupboard fits perfectly into the contemporary design. Their first à la carte menu features duck-liver terrine with Tokaji aszú fig chutney (2,800 forints), beef goulash (1,800 forints) and rabbit leg in bacon (3,900 forints). Lunch specials are also available.
- 1037 Budapest, Mikoviny utca 2.
Fine herbs: herBar
Budapest has just recently welcomed a bar purely focused on spices and herbs. Steps away from showcase shopping street Váci utca, this brand new concept fuses a herb store and a hangout in one. Customers can pop by to take home dried hibiscus flower and sage, or linger here and sample herbs infused in tea. For something to eat, waffle-based sandwiches are offered with vegetables and the shop’s very own spice blends.
Sausage eatery: Kolbász Box
This budget-friendly alternative to District V’s sit-down eateries is where paprika-infused sausages are served with a thick slice of soft white bread and the sauce of your choice. Ready within minutes after ordering, links are also offered in spicier versions, either as a single piece, in pairs or filled in burger buns and slathered with smoky prune sauce. French fries, waffle fries and pickles are also available to complete the feast.
Cute French cakes: Macaron Heaven
Buda has just welcomed its first macaron shop, the pink-toned Macaron Heaven. In addition to classic French favourites, this sweet spot offers macarons in animal shapes such as little bears, beavers, owls, kittens and unicorns. All macarons are made on the spot, at a workshop behind the shop counter. New shapes can be invented at customers’ request. The basic selection includes 30 different flavours from pistachio to chocolate and lavender, even matcha or peanut butter. One item costs 350 forints. The confectionery also offers the bigger ispahan (990 forints), a cookie inspired by the texture of macarons. Meringue and unfilled macaron wafers also form part of the dessert assortment.
- 1027 Budapest, Margit körút 62.
Romantic wine bar: MyWine
Soft chairs, cosy corners and a large sofa on a secluded mezzanine level entice couples to make eyes over mineral-rich Tramini or fruity Pinot Noir at MyWine, a recent addition to Arany János utca hangouts. A showcase of local wines includes prime small-batch libations, handpicked by the trio of oenophiles who run the bar. For pairings, cheese, crackling, salami and ham are offered, as well as pálinka as a digestive.
Classic bakery: Pékesség
This little bakery has opened in distant Óbuda, but enticing flavours, quality products and a timeless, countryside atmosphere mean that many trek here from town. Besides classic bakery favourites, exciting and sometimes piquant pastries also feature, shaken up with ingredients such as pesto, feta cheese, chili, Parmesan, jalapeño or garlic and walnut together. Experimenting is endless here. Everything is made on the spot, behind an open kitchen, separated by a glass wall.
- 1036 Budapest, Lajos utca 93-99F.
Students’ haunt: The Nook
The university buzz around District IX is ushering in a crop of new openings. Within this lively neighbourhood, The Nook should become a regular haunt for students who want to chill after classes or work on their laptops. A fast Wi-Fi connection, plenty of sockets and USB ports are provided, along with double lattes and cold brew teas. Bakery products are also served, with meat or in vegan varieties. Eco-conscious initiatives include selective waste collection, recycling and reusable coffee cups to go.
This quality-conscious restaurant, where seasonal ingredients are the cornerstone, opened on Zrínyi utca near St Stephen’s Basilica. The name, and the fire-red Porsche tractor parked inside, indicate that this is a farm-to-table operation, also represented by the courgettes, green beans and eggs on display, carefully chosen after serious dialogue with farmers and producers. Delicacies such as oysters, rib-eye steak or lamb come from faraway lands. Quality, though, is always top priority. Recent offerings have included kohlrabi with prawns, creamed peas and spring onions (2,500 forints), house steak tartare (2,900 forints) with capers and wasabi mayonnaise, stacked on bread from Marmorstein.
- 1051 Budapest, Zrínyi utca 2.