We were unfortunate in Budapest with regards to good restaurants…
… quite honestly, with the exception of the fabulous Gundel, which we already reviewed, we were very disappointed.
And it’s not as if we didn’t try – I know immediately people will say things like: “Ah! But did you try the Smelly Horse? See, I thought so, how could you miss it?” etc.
Fact is, in international settings, we base our selection on the advice of the relevant Tourism Office; and if they couldn’t find us a super-delicious restaurant, no one can.
But what we did find exceptional about the Budapest food scene is the street stalls and cafes, and pubs!
So, welcome to the Budapest streets – this is where the real taste of the city is.
Immense flavor – recipes that are passed down generations – specialities that you will taste nowhere else: absolutely fabulous!
Muslims beware – pork is everywhere!
In the trendy cafés, delicious snacks are served – some cafés are combined with art galleries.
This café is called Telep.
Even a simple fresh bagel, with large green olives in oil, and a slab of warm goat cheese, was totally delicious.
Telep is a favorite hangout of university students, and you are welcome to stay as long as you like in the roomy upstairs.
The young demographics means most of the clientele speaks English, and they will engage in passionate conversation on any topic you may put forward.
Even the toilet has an opinion at Telep!
But deeper into the night, we move to the real underground – the ruin pubs.
At this website you will find all you need to know, run by the intrepid ruin pub explorer Mr Attila Höfle.
“Restaurants not working for you? Forget restaurants! Come to a Pálinka tasting at Szimpla Kert!”
Crikey Moses! First you must know that Pálinka is a strong fruit-based brandy, similar to German schnapps or Italian grappa. Secondly, despite the Warriors-of-the-Bronx look of the ruin pub, it’s a very friendly place – don’t be as scared as I was upon entering!
Szimpla Kert is the most famous of Budapest’s ruin pubs.
Again, people were very friendly and it is totally safe. I’m not particularly a pub person, but Szimpla Kert rocked!
Artists, musicians, poets… you’ll find them all there.
And also you’ll find farm markets, cultural activities, and tasting events, such as the one presented by Ms Borbath Gabriella, an expert in Pálinka and working with an organization dedicated to preserving the quality and heritage of the Hungarian national drink.
Here she is in action, and here are her tools of the trade!
And then onwards into the Budapest night!
Now to a nightclub built onto a river barge, and moored by the bank of the Danube – called simply A-38.
And there our underground tour comes full circle, and we no longer care about restaurants – Budapest is alive with awesome talented people!