Eating our way through Budapest
Just putting this out there – I’m a terrible food photographer. I would much rather take photos of our hikes, rugged landscapes, or cityscapes. On our recent trip to Budapest I had planned out a huge list of foodie places I wanted to go. Since we visited in the dead of winter I knew we would need to escape inside quite often. On the first day, Drew (also commonly known as “the hubs” on the blog) said:
Let’s photograph all of our food and write a blog with our different ratings! It’ll be a rad post!
(And yes, he really did say rad. He’s such an 80s kid.)
I had already had a few too many glasses of mulled wine at this point so I of course replied yes since he seemed so excited. So, here goes nothing! Our first joint food-blog! Let us know what you think in the comments below and maybe you’ll see more from us since we are going to be traveling fiends over the next few months (Morocco, Italy, and maybe even the German/Austrian alps!).
Budapest is known for it’s historic “coffee culture” which began back in the 16th century. From a 200-year old historic timbered building to an exquisite cafe with ornate chandeliers you’re sure to find a coffee house that fits your personality. Our favorite on the list (we agreed!) is Ruszwurm Cukrászda for not only the epic coffee, but also the mouth-watering croissants.
Drew – 9/10
CROISSANTS! COFFEE!! MEXICAN COFFEE!!! No, but seriously – this coffee was divine. In Ireland we have shite coffee. It’s oily and grainy and just not tasty. But, the coffee at Ruszwurm was not only perfectly smooth but was accompanied with chocolate and heavy cream. Perfect combo if you ask me. AND – Dani won’t tell you this because she likes to pretend she would never go somewhere twice, but I was able to convince her to go back a second time on our last day and we tried every single croissant – almond, chocolate, and plain. The almond was OUT OF THIS WORLD.
Danielle – 10/10
Walking inside was like traveling through a time warp. With the ancient (and squeaky) door, the tiny interior with the wobbly tables, and the little old ladies covered in flour bringing out the freshly baked croissants I legitimately felt like I had accidentally stepped back into the early 1900s. This cafe was by far my favorite of them all. The coffee was unbelievably good and the croissants literally melted in my mouth. In fact, I shamelessly indulged on three coffees. The Mexican coffee was my favorite, but they have so many different combos if you have the time (and can take multiple cups of coffee without dying) I would highly suggest indulging.
Drew – 7/10
Have you ever felt like all of your toes and fingers were going to fall off? Go to Budapest in January and I can promise you’ll have this exact feeling. This cafe wasn’t originally on the list, but we spent over 2 hours in here de-thawing. The cake was meh at best, but the coffee was again fantastic. Maybe I’m just used to crap coffee in Ireland, but I loved this coffee even more than Ruszwurm Cafe. I’ll be back – going to go cry for a bit since I won’t have good coffee again at least until end of March when we go to Italy.
Danielle – 8/10
I’m a big atmosphere person. This little cafe off of a main street in Budapest had the most beautiful chandelier that I’ve ever seen and a wall painting that legitimately took my breath away. Tucked away in a huge corner booth of our own for two hours sipping on coffee and eating (in my opinion) decent cake I was quite content.
New York Kávéház
Drew – 3/10
Real talk: I’m a video game designer. Which also means I wear hoodies and t-shirts pretty much every where I go. This cafe made me uncomfortable. Everyone was in fancy clothes and Dani and I had visited after going to the baths (we looked like a hot mess). The coffee was about as good as in Ireland (shite) and the apple pie was a 4/10. This place is overhyped if you ask me.
Danielle – 2/10
Wow. The details put into this cafe scream “rich and famous”. Exquisite is the only word to describe it. But, unfortunately, that was all this cafe had going for it. The coffee was almost inedible. Admittedly, I’m a bit of a coffee snob, but I struggled to finish my coffee. The apple cake and ice cream weren’t bad, but at almost 10 euro it was way overpriced especially for Budapest. Once we got the bill, I down ranked this cafe quite a bit as it was by far the most expensive place we visited during our stay in Budapest for lack-luster quality.
If you’re a long-time reader you already know this, but we love to walk when traveling. Which also means we’re ALWAYS hungry and looking for good snack spots. We weren’t expecting much when coming to Budapest in terms of “snack-food”, but were pleasantly surprised with the quality and number of good spots we were able to find.
Central Market Hall
Drew – 10/10
I’m way more of a foodie than Dani. She could go days hiking in the backwoods with freeze-dried meals and I would slowly die inside. This hall is my version of heaven. The chatter of locals buying their groceries, smells of sausages frying up, and the chill in the air satisfied all of my senses. We grabbed a side table and feasted on Lángos and mulled wine. Lángos are a traditional Hungarian food made of fried bread topped with literally anything you might want. To get to the Lángos stand, turn right up the very first escalator as you enter the food hall and at the top of the elevator walk straight until you have to turn left. After turning left walk a bit until you see the stand with the huge Lángos sign. You’ve now experienced heaven (even if only virtually).
Danielle – 7/10
This food hall is SO cool (figuratively and literally unfortunately). I LOVED exploring all of the different souvenir stands and was able to easily stock up on all of our paprika needs. I ate Lángos covered in chicken, sour cream, goat cheese, arugula, and tomatoes and although I don’t like fried food (the bread is fried) I really enjoyed this. Plus, the mulled wine really hit the spot after walking across the city and nearly freezing to death. The hubs was also soaking up everything about this hall so watching him light up like a little kid was fun.
Drew – 8/10
I don’t do most of the writing on this blog so I’m about to tell you a little secret about Dani while I can – SHE HAS NEVER SEEN STAR WARS! It’s okay to shame her, she’s used to it. But, based on this fact, you can imagine my surprise when we walked into a Star Wars themed GastroPub for a pre-pubcrawl snack. Not only has she never seen Star Wars, but she doesn’t like germs. And, I hate to break it to you, but I’m pretty sure gastropubs are breeding grounds for germs. But, lo and behold we ordered huge meat-filled baguettes and fell slowly in love. These sandwiches are a must-do while in Budapest if you end up in the Jewish quarter.
Danielle – 8/10
One of our really good friends visited Budapest last summer and since we trust his food preferences we knew we would have to make a stop at this little gastropub after his raving about it. I ordered some type of chicken filled baguette and it was super tasty. The only reason it didn’t get a 9/10 for me is because I’m a bit of a germaphobe and this place was tiny and there’s no way it could be THAT clean with so many people crammed into the space. But, all in all, I would definitely go back when in Budapest.
Jamie Oliver’s Italian Restaurant
Drew – 7/10
“Honey – this is a tourist trap.” — Me, thirty seconds before walking into this restaurant. Dani, at this point, was hangry so we went in anyways. Surprisingly, the food was pretty good. We only got snacks since we had a dinner reservation a few hours later after our night at the opera (more on that in a future post!). Everything we ate had a nice kick to it and since eating spicy food gives me life this made our tourist trap falling worth it to me.
Danielle – 9/10
Real talk – My Monday-Friday life is at a company where I get fed three times a day and have all of the snacks and drinks I could possibly ever want to consume. The unfortunate side effect of this life is that when traveling (I HAVE TO BUY MY OWN FOOD?!?) I still have to eat every 3-4 hours. So, after walking around for about five hours with no food, I got hangry. Hence why we ate at probably one of the biggest tourist traps in Budapest aside from the Hard Rock Cafe. But… the food was GREAT! I loved our calamari and the baked ravioli was surprisingly tasty! If you’re in the area and looking for something a bit more mainstream this is a great stop.
Coming from Ireland, one of the more expensive countries in Europe, Budapest really surprised us with not only the quality of food, but also how affordable everything was. For the cost of an average meal for two (€40) in Ireland, we were eating like kings in Budapest. Drew had the best Eggs Benedict of his life (he’s told every single one of our friends about this meal) and I indulged in high-class food for three days straight. Eating in Budapest really is a dream come true for foodies.
Trattoria Pomo D’Oro
Drew – 5/10
EVERYTHING IS SO BRIGHT – first thoughts after walking in here. So, I’ll be honest. I don’t quite remember everything about this place. We ate here after about four hours at the famous Szimpla Kert and we were pretty tipsy to say the least. But, what I do remember is that the pizza was okay at best. The one good thing was that the pizza was huge which helped up soak up all of the excess alcohol in my system. Unfortunately, this restaurant is not somewhere you should go for “drunk food” (although we did..) because it’s pretty fancy and is far too classy for the typical drunk dive spot.
Danielle – 8/10
OH MY GAWD – The tortellini here is TO DIE FOR. Plain and simple, I’m not much of a foodie. But, I LOVED this tortellini. I have a sweet spot for Italian food and although I had my fair share of wine by this point, I still could taste every single of morsel of food melting in my mouth. The only unfortunate part of this meal was that there wasn’t enough tortellini. I was able to steal a bit of the hubs pizza, but in general I wish the portion sizes for the pasta were a bit larger.
Drew – 9/10
Pretty much every American mom I know makes some form of goulash. The goulash at Bistro Fine was nothing like anything I’ve ever tasted and was unbelievably tasty. I normally don’t like stews and soups because it’s the same flavor over and over again. This goulash seemed to change flavors with every single taste. Quite the experience.
Danielle – 11/10
I went to grad school for chemistry so I know that 11/10 isn’t really a thing. But… this was the BEST salmon I’ve ever had in my life. The crispy skin of the salmon combined with the creamy risotto was mind-blowing. Topped off with a wonderful glass of Hungarian wine to match the fish I was delighted. I ate way more than I should have and then even dove into a phenomenal dessert. I don’t remember the name of it, but it was a spongy poppyseed-filled goodness that I can only hope to experience again one day. Bistro Fine topped the list of my favorite restaurant in Budapest.
Drew – 4/10
Meh. I tried the schnitzel with salad and I couldn’t even finish half of it. The atmosphere slightly made up for it, but overall I wouldn’t go back unless Dani was dying to go. It was pretty overpriced for not very good food.
Danielle – 6/10
We visited this restaurant on a Sunday for lunch and were immediately greeted by a small orchestra (violinist, cellist, and pianist) which immediately put me in a good mood. I ate a few breadsticks while waiting for my food and really enjoyed my chicken paprika. Unfortunately, it was pretty greasy so I couldn’t eat very much and left feeling kind of hungry. Despite the awesome atmosphere, for the price of food we probably wouldn’t return.
À la Maison Grand
Drew – 12/10
HEAVEN. I’ve told every single one of our friends about this place. Pure melt-in-your mouth amazingness. I had the bacon and avocado eggs benedict and haven’t stopped thinking about it since. All I can say is that you must go to this restaurant for breakfast when in Budapest. If you don’t, well I can’t be your friend. Sorry, not sorry.
Danielle – 8/10
The coffee and eggs benedict combo at this cute little cafe hit the spot before our trips to the baths. The menu is a million pages long and is filled with amazing goodies like Nutella stuffed waffles, but we were good and stuck to our eggs benedict which did not disappoint. Highly recommend stopping here for breakfast!
We had a blast eating our way through Budapest. If you’re looking for “high class” food on a budget, then Budapest might be the city for you. At the very least, it’ll turn you into a bit of a foodie by the end of it.
Happy Trekking (and eating)!
– Boots not Roots