Budapest: Stay and Eat

What is this, you ask? Dense chestnut mousse, a national dish popular during the holidays. Yum.
What is this, you ask? Dense chestnut mousse over cherries, a national dessert popular during the holidays. Yum.

You want our recommendations on where to stay and eat in Budapest? No? Well here they are anyway! And if you're interested in walking about town between meals, check out these suggestions for your self-guided walking tour.

Where to Stay

AirBnB Parizsi Street
We were happy as clams with our own pad right in the center of things. Though we hadn’t planned on spending this week in Budapest (we were thwarted crossing into Croatia due to Hungary’s refugee blockades) we suddenly felt right at home. Well equipped, clean, and a nice coffee maker!

Kempinski Hotel Corvinus
We learned to love Kempinski Hotels in Berlin, so we were quick to take advantage of a discount media rate here at the Corvinus in Budapest. It’s a wonderful location, classy service, spacious rooms, and all the star amenities (including spa and fitness area) you’ll want. The two entrances put you right onto either Elizabeth Square or Deac Ferenc Street. You can practically feel the major deals and inspired conversation taking place in the restaurants and lounge.

Eurostars Budapest Center
We are regulars at Eurostars Hotels across Europe, maybe because they are Spanish owned, and maybe because they support literary arts. Always friendly and reasonable. This location doesn’t have a lot of street appeal, but breakfasts are fine and everything essential is within a 10 minute walk.

The charcuterie sampler or goose liver pate–or both–for starters at ES Bisztro in the Kempinski Hotel
The charcuterie sampler or goose liver pate–or both–for starters at ES Bisztro in the Kempinski Hotel

Where to Eat and Drink

Murci Wine House
This was our main stay; we returned several times. The menu combines a couple Hungarian specialties, but also features interesting pasta (with salmon is good) and international dishes, just when you’re yearning for a break from paprika sauces. And the wine? Most reasonable. Murci adjoins the pricier Cyrano Restaurant, but we preferred this cozy corner.

Spinoza Cafe
This place is popular for its Jewish food and heritage, and its Klezmer performances. Go for the soups and sides and you’ll be plenty satisfied.

Trattoria La Coppola
Craving an arugula pizza and a bottle of wine, I discovered this place while wandering on yet another interesting street in District V.

Pickled vegetable salad is perfect with rich, classic Hungarian dishes
Pickled vegetable salad is perfect with rich, classic Hungarian dishes. This one's from Karpatia Etterem.

Karpatia Etterem
The interior, the menu, and the musicians exude old traditional Hungary. This place is oft recommended and a tad pricey for the fare, but we were happy with the pickled vegetable side and the proximity to our Eurostars Hotel. It’s fun seeing families and couples celebrate special occasions here.

The classic Dobos Cake from Ruszurm Cafe
The classic Dobos Cake from Ruszurm Cafe

Ruszwurm Cafe
What’s a visit to Budapest without a torte and coffee stop?

Dionysos Tavern
We visited this place by accident, trying to find a another place down the road (which has since been transformed). An OK meal in a good location is best finished with a walk along the river.

Kempinski es bistro lunch
Here's the paprika sauce we all know and love, this over a chicken stuffed “Hortobagy” pancake at ES Bisztro. Mouthwatering.

ÉS Bisztró in the Kempinski
We ate here at the invitation of the hotel, made complete pigs of ourselves even at midday, and thoroughly enjoyed the company of Kempinski’s Ildiko Dudas. I’ll let the pictures tell the story. By the way, the Kempinski is also home to the fabulous Japanese Nobu Restaurant.

Szimpla Kert
The best known of the “ruins” nightclubs, this is a cavernous space. Grab a beer at the bar and find a place to perch while checking out the steady stream of local hipsters from here and abroad.

Look for Juhfark or Tokaji wines, with a side of candlelight.

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