Food tasting in Budapest

The touring of the castle left us hungry and once we were back down on Danube level we made our way to Horgásztanya, a place that looks as if it has been around for years (which it has) but serves a great Hungarian fish soup. When I put together my restaurant list for this trip I came across the fish soup. Until then I didn’t even know that Hungary had a tradition for fish as well.IMG_8956The restaurant is actually at the other side of the block but I love the sailor on this one! Also I forgot to take a picture while we were there and this on is from the bus tour the next day.

Take a look around the place, it has quite an unique decor.IMG_8850IMG_8852IMG_8853IMG_8854IMG_9025

Poor Susi had to come with us although she doesn’t eat fish. There is not much else to order besides all kinds of fish soup, fish and meat dishes. There is basically nothing for vegetarians. So she ate a cabbage salad while we sampled the soup.IMG_8856

Love the way how it was served and it was super delicious!

And all within walking distance of the Chain Bridge which we crossed right after the meal with another view on the parliament.IMG_8859IMG_8861IMG_8863IMG_8864IMG_8865
Every good meal deserves a dessert, which we wanted to eat at Gerbeaud. The Gerbeaud coffeehouse is well-known for its cakes and has a long history. Coming from a land with a tradition in coffeehouses and cakes, we nonetheless wanted to try what our former “crownland” had to offer.

What they did offer compares with the best! A beautiful coffeehouse, delicious coffee (at least mine, Susi tried the “exclusive” one and it was sour) and mouth-watering cakes.IMG_8880IMG_8881IMG_8867IMG_8868IMG_8869IMG_8870IMG_8871

Cat decided to stay with the beer and got some nuts with it. They seemed to taste especially good!

When we left the coffeehouse it was already dark outside and we did a little shopping at the Christmas market in front of Gerbeaud.IMG_8882

We also looked on how the traditional Hungarian chimney cake was prepared but at that moment there was just no room to try it.IMG_8890IMG_8892IMG_8894IMG_8883

And then more shopping along the Váci ut which is a super long pedestrian zone. Although it was not so much shopping as stopping at every store to warm up again.IMG_8897

Finally we decided to go for a drink. It was dark after all and we knew if we went back to the hotel for a short siesta, there would be a good chance that we might not leave the place again that evening. The name of the wine bar was Borkonyha – Wine Kitchen, right at the end (or rather beginning) of Váci ut and actually the least tourist looking place although it was a hotel bar. Upon looking at the website now I noticed that it was recommended by Michelin and Gault Millau, no wonder the tourists in the back were making such satisfied noises.IMG_8901IMG_8902IMG_9057IMG_9058

From there it was only a short walk to our next destination that evening. Since it was Sunday night the choice was limited to begin with. The reception had made a reservation that morning for Ruben, a restaurant from a guide book. It had the added advantage of being near the hotel. The walk to it was eerie though since not one light worked in the street of the restaurant and the place was rather at the end. At least the place itself was illuminated.


Inside it was small with gallery on top for more diners and the kitchen.IMG_8920Quite the cozy dining experience, only the food didn’t live up to it.

We shared as starter Hungary’s best (different meats) which turned out to be good and was quickly devoured.IMG_8911
The second course we shared as well, stuffed meat crepes with red pepper sauce. Definitely the highlight of the meal. So sorry that the picture is blurred, I had to rush to take it before Cat ate all.IMG_8912

Meanwhile Susi had a salad and gave Tici the cold eye. Wonder what had piqued her interest?IMG_8913IMG_8910

I refrained from ordering more (unbelievable I know) and had only a small “Retro” cucumber salad. I kid you not, it was really called retro. But of course you are right, I shared the crepe with Cat.IMG_8914

From then on it was all downhill for me. I had the weekly special of lamb with pumpkin as main course and the lamb was overdone while the pumpkin was more than crunchy, the others had duck with mango, pasta with cheese (and a substantial amount of garlic) and a stuffed cabbage roll.IMG_8915IMG_8916IMG_8918IMG_8919With a good bottle of wine these mountains of food were manageable. Still, the restaurant was nice but only excelled in the typical dishes category.

After dinner we were ready to try another bar, this time the Tip Top Bar. Right around the corner of Ruben’s and on the way to the hotel we were ready for a last round. As it turned out the Wallpaper City Guide has another tip to update, this bar was closed too. Defeated we trudged back to the hotel only to find a large nativity set on our way and the girls had nothing better to do than strike a pose with it. And of course it was still raining, let’s not forget about that.


In the end we settled for a drink at the hotel bar, after all this one was still open.
Yours, Pollybert

Girls on tour

A breakfast in September birthed the idea of a weekend together and it all came to life last Saturday. Cat and I met Susi and Tici at the train station (Cat well prepared with a bottle of pink sparkling wine and some plastic cups) and we were on our way to Budapest.IMG_9013.JPG

After the first round we were ready for a selfie and some more sparkling (not to mention the three packs of chips…).

And one more picture because we had so much fun!IMG_9042.JPG

We arrived right on time at the Keleti train station (gone are the times when you had to wait at the border) in Budapest which is a beautiful old building.IMG_8686.JPGIMG_9047.JPG

After a brief discussion with a local cab driver we decided on taking the metro to our hotel. The Palazzo Zichy was only two metro stations from Keleti away. The M4 line was opened this year and it looked brand new and shiny.
The stop at the hotel was only used to freshen up and get ready to meet with Sylvia and Eva at St. Stephen’s Basilica. The name alone made us feel at home but we found out the hard way that we were all strangers in this city. With ill-founded confidence we walked out of the hotel, immediately going in the wrong direction. When we ended up next to the Danube instead of the Basilica we asked some locals and were guided to the nearest metro station. The M3 turned out to be one of the oldest lines and of course we had to take some pictures


IMG_8691.JPG (the pics which look as if done by “David Hamilton” are from Susi’s camera which adds a permanent grey veil over everything)

So with only 15 minutes delay we arrived in front of the Basilica where one of many Christmas markets was held.IMG_8694IMG_8704IMG_8697IMG_8702IMG_8706Lots of food stalls but also a fair amount of craft stalls which really offered something new compared to the stalls in Vienna. Just noticed though that I didn’t take a single picture of a craft stall (I wonder why?).

The apple punsch we tried left us disappointed but decidedly warmer on the inside and we were ready to search for a place to eat. This turned into an odyssey since a group of six is not easily accommodated and it was Saturday evening. We walked a lot that first evening in a constant drizzle of rain (rain wise this was the best evening) and saw already a lot from the city.IMG_8709IMG_8710IMG_8711IMG_8712

We also passed the Alexandra bookstore which has a beautiful café on top.IMG_8713IMG_8714IMG_8716

While walking and trying to find a nice place (we already got turned down by one place and I as usual was picky at where to eat) we arrived in front of Menza, a place we had seen in the Wallpaper City Guide for Budapest and deemed as visitable. The place was packed, but looked exactly like the spot where we wanted to spend a great evening. We set up camp at the bar and waited for a table.IMG_8717IMG_9015IMG_8735

When we finally got one, it was well worth the wait. The food was delicious, giving a twist to traditional Hungarian dishes. Check it out yourself and take a closer look at the garlic soup with Lángos.

As you can see afterwards we all looked happy.IMG_8745

Sylvia and Eva went home after dinner, but we girls were ready for one more drink. The nightlife of Budapest has an excellent reputation and we wanted to try that ourselves. Madame Noi was supposedly right around the corner but after passing the address twice we gave up. Later we learned that it was closed, so Wallpaper City Guide needs to update its books. At least there was another place (also in the Guide book) on the way so we walked to kolor. Which was definitely not worth the visit. The service was slow and inattentive, furthermore we had to pay right away although we set at a table and the lemon in the G&T tasted moldy. Not a classy ending for an otherwise fantastic evening.IMG_8747
Upon leaving the bar it was raining harder, so we were glad to catch a cab almost right away. A cab which had a taximeter, something essential in this city!
Yours, Pollybert