I’m just back from a few days in Budapest with my kids (grown-up ones!) where we were really surprised and delighted by the variety of food and wine we enjoyed. My daughter makes an excellent tour guide (I think she’s wasted in Insurance) and she loves to seek out the best options for us to try.
The Hungarians do like to eat heartily, even in the 38/40C heat we ‘enjoyed’, so we were rarely able to finish a meal, but it was good to try all sorts of different dishes. Along with the must-try Goulash which we had on our first night, the following are the highlights from our trip.
The Market Hall near the Danube has an amazing variety of street food stalls, scattered in amongst the usual tourist stalls and amazing fresh produce, where you can get some very meaty breakfasts. I tried what I thought was going to be a crepe with Mediterranean salad – it turned out to be a huge slab of pancake stuffed to the gunnels with salad, cheese and chicken. It could have fed all three of us! We also had cakes from Ruszuum Patisserie, which is supposed to be the oldest patisserie in Buda, dating back to medieval times and well worth the effort of seeking out.
I was treated to a dinner cruise on the Danube, it is worth paying extra for a cruise rather than the ‘all you can drink’ boats. Ours was beautiful and we enjoyed Duck with Sour Cherry Sauce and I tried a lemon cream soup, which was more like a pudding than your usual starter, a bit disconcerting really, but obviously very popular locally as we saw it on several menus.
One exceedingly hot afternoon we found respite in Dobblo Wine Bar in the Jewish Quarter, which serves sharing meat and cheese platters to accompany the wines. We noticed that everywhere we went we were only offered Hungarian wine but we weren’t complaining, it was so good! We tasted a couple of different wines each at Dobblo’s, and they took the time to tell us all about the wines beforehand so we could make sure we made wise choices!
Our final dinner was at Zeller Bistro, again near the Jewish Quarter, we tried ‘Rabbit Ridge’, basically a sort of rabbit sausage parcel, so good! My daughter, Rachel, had a starter of Nonna’s Tiny Fish – which was a cone of deep fried tiny fish, they were so tasty, but again it would have been enough for all three of us. The bistro has an open courtyard, usually with live music, so a really lovely setting, but you have to book to stand a chance of getting in there. There were so many other bars and restaurants we wanted to try, but we simply ran out of time – another visit maybe?
All in all, I’d definitely recommend Budapest to any foodie – just make sure you arrive hungry!