Restaurants That Are Open During Christmas in Budapest

Okay, so you spend Christmas in Budapest. But where can you eat?
Budapest has a really abundant restaurant scene – except for those three days of Christmas. You might be surprised how hard it is to find a restaurant open this time of the year – because all the Hungarians are stuffing their faces with halászlé and töltött káposzta made by their grandmas, even the top chefs. So here’s a little help for you to save you hours of googling. Booking is a must everywhere!

Tasting Tokaji Essence at Cultivini

Tasting Tokaji Essence from a special angel glass at Cultivini

The hardest of all: the 24th of December

For Hungarians Christmas Eve is definitely the most sacred day of the year when everybody gets together with the family. Your best chance to find a place to eat well is at the hotels. Our pick would be the High Note SkyBar of Hotel Aria, they have even a special event for this day, and they have a beautiful forest-themed atmosphere in this season with matching food and cocktail creations. And of course don’t forget the magical view from up there!
If you prefer a place to be more casual Jedermann is a bohemian café with food and good music, open all day long until late night. Street food lovers will also find many vendors open at Erzsébet square until 10 pm.
For brunch on the 24th we also recommend Déryné and the Budai Milieu, both on the Buda side, but they close for the evening.
And if you want to get a last minute bottle of wine (or even a quick wine tasting) Cultivini is waiting for you with a great selection until 2 pm.

Casual meat-lovers meal at Cupákos, Budapest

Casual meat-lovers meal at Cupákos

25th and 26th of December – life is coming back to Budapest

Finding a good place open is getting much easier on the 25th and even more on the 26th. Here are a few places we would go to if we had to eat out:

Börze (in Pest) and Ramazuri (in Buda) offer many Hungarian dishes, often with a modern twist, in a relaxed but pretty atmosphere.
Halászbástya Restaurant is more up-scale, but it has the most romantic setting ever at the Fisherman’s Bastion.
Zona is also located in Buda, and their Christmas menu sounds really exciting – we would pick the “Red tuna, coconut curry bulgur, mango” dish for sure. Or maybe the Ossobucco if we felt more classic.
Klassz is also a good option on the gorgeous Andrássy avenue if you opt for fine dining on the Pest side.
For a totally laid-back experience we recommend Cupákos, a modern “butcher” style place where meat goes to heaven. On the 25th they open at 6 pm, but on the 26th they are open for lunch and dinner as well.

On the 26th steak lovers can finally visit KNRDY again, and innio opens the doors again with an amazing international wine selection and true fine dining.

Coffee, please!

Specialty coffee lovers will not suffer too much during the holidays, our two favourite coffee shops will be open! Mantra is waiting for you on all three days (24th: 9-14, other days: 9-18), and Warmcup is also open (24th: 10-15, other days: 10-21).

Specialty coffee and great cakes at Mantra Café, Budapest

Specialty coffee and great cakes at Mantra Café

Posted by Judit, foodie and guide of Budapest 101

Szekszárd, the Land of Spicy Reds

Szekszárd (pronounced as ‘sex-ard’) is a great region for a day trip if you love your red wine spicy and maybe even fruity – and we promise not to make too many bad pun jokes with the name during your tour there. 

We only need an hour and a half from Budapest to reach the town of Szekszárd surrounded by gorgeous vineyards and welcoming family owned wineries. Located in the south of the country Szekszárd is one of the 22 Hungarian wine regions. With its thick loess soil and warm climate the region is famous for its fruity and full-bodied red wines. Conditions in the region are perfect for international varieties such as Merlot or Cabernet Franc, but many wineries in the area are finding their way back to traditions and revive old and characteristic local varieties such as Kékfrankos (Blaufränkisch) or Kadarka.

The true flagship of the region is Kadarka, an indigenous Hungarian variety. If made with care Kadarka wines are spicy yet fruity at the same time and usually lower in tannins due to the thin skin of the grape. If you are looking for a perfect match with your paprika-infused fish soup, the so called Fisherman’s Soup, don’t go any further. Besides single variety wines Kadarka is the base of exciting blends like the famous Bull’s Blood (Bikavér) as well.

You cannot leave Szekszárd without trying a Siller wine. This speciality with its distinctive pale red color can be described as something between a rosé and a red. Indeed, during the winemaking process skin and juice come into contact with each other for one to four days. A little bit longer than in the case of a rosé, but not as long as in the case of a red. This winemaking method was introduced in the region by German settlers in the 18th century. It is an old tradition that is very much alive today. Siller wines can be made of just one variety as well, but in Szekszárd you will come across some very exciting blends, too.

A special type of Siller is named Fuxli. It is made as a blend of different varieties and can only be found in this region. It is produced by a few wineries only. They joined together and committed themselves to a strict condition to be able to market their Siller under the same brand. At least 50% of the wines used during the production of Fuxli need to be local varieties (Kadarka or Kékfrankos).  

Though the region is known for its red wines, wineries think of white wine lovers as well. Olaszrizling (Welschriesling) and Chardonnay are the most common whites, but during our last visit we came across a white Kadarka wine as well. It sounds unusual and it is a proof that the small cellars of the region are ready to experiment when it comes to old traditions.

Eager to try some of the wines mentioned above? Join us on a wine tour to Szekszárd and visit our favorite family-owned wineries. Get some more inspiration from the instagram of the region.

No time to leave Budapest for a whole day? Why not join us on a food tour focusing on Hungarian wines in Budapest?

Posted by Veronika, guide of Budapest 101

Specialty Coffee Budapest

The Best Specialty Coffees of Budapest – Pest Edition

Budapest is becoming one of the leading cities in the world of specialty coffee, and it’s something that we like to show you on our tours as well. Nothing makes us sadder than seeing people with Starbucks cups when there are so many great options to enjoy higher quality, pay less, and support a local business. Let us give you the most useful list if you are a coffee lover in Budapest! In this post we’ll list our favourites on the Pest side – the Buda edition is coming soon!

Best Specialty Coffee Shops of Budapest

One thing is common in the next ten places: excellent specialty drinks using light roast coffee beans from the best roasters, baristas with enthusiasm, knowledge and dedication, plus of course great atmosphere.

1. Mantra
Mantra Coffee Shop
Mantra is proof that great things can happen in a tiny place. Their baristas are some of the most dedicated people in the city who don’t just make crazy good coffee and tea, but most coffee lovers in Budapest probably took some of Mantra’s courses at one point or an other, including me. I basically learned everything I know about coffee here. Mantra is using the coffee of the best Italian roaster, Gardelli, and they offer limited delicacies from time to time, for example coffee flower tea. Don’t expect the cookie cutter hipster interior, they put more effort into their cups than into ironic tattoos. Very soon they will open their new café in a bigger space just down the street, we can’t wait! Great sweet and savoury vegan options if you’d like a bite.

2. Warmcup
Warmcup entrance
Located in an art cinema with a very instagrammable design, Warmcup is a safe haven on the Grand Boulevard (“Nagykörút”) of Budapest. The head barista Gábor is somehow miraculously everywhere, giving advice to new places, training people for competitions, doing catering for events, and yet he finds time to experiment with some new stuff from time to time. Their cakes are made freshly every day just behind the counter, always highly recommended. 2017 December edit: Warmcup has a new owner, and we still need to test it to see the changes.

3. Piknik
Piknik
A brand new coffee shop in the heart of the 13th district, outside of the touristy area in a neighbourhood loved by artists and intellectuals. I love that the design features splashes of colour, even their La Marzocco espresso machine is magenta! Besides the usual pastry and sandwiches you find a huge Prosecco selection for take away – perfect for a picnic in the park!

4. London Coffee Society
Rosemary Olive Oil Cake and Espresso at London Coffee Society, Budapest
We were quite happy when London Coffee Society opened and filled a big empty gap on the map of specialty coffee. Finally we can have our proper caffeine load in the less busy part of the Jewish district as well! They get the beans from a London based roaster, Mission, and what makes them really special is the mind-blowing selection of home made cakes and breakfasts.

5. Espresso Embassy
Espresso Embassy

This might be the most well known specialty coffee shop in Budapest thanks to its central location and relatively big size. They are working with the most famous Hungarian roaster, Casino Mocca. For summer we highly recommend E.T. here – espresso tonic. It’s so refreshing! And get the flódni cake, a traditional Hungarian Jewish pastry, if it’s available. Apple, walnut, poppyseed and plum jam in one heavenly cake – you won’t regret it! I’m only missing some more savoury options here.

6. Dose Espresso
Dose Budapest
A brand new name in the city that we learned quickly: Dose is located really close to the foodie heaven that is the Hold street market, so it is our go-to place after a quick market lunch now. We fancy the darker design, and if there was a contest for the instagram pages of coffee shops, they would be our winners.

7. Kontakt
Roket at Kontakt
The most unique thing at Kontakt is the Roket: cold brew coffee on nitro tap. It looks just like a pint of Guinness as the foam is settling on the top, great on a hot day! Of course they have espresso based and other filtered drinks as well, and once I’ve even had a Cascara prepared in AeroPress here. It was delicious! They have one rule: don’t ever ask for sugar!

8. 9bar
9bar entrance
A cosy coffeeshop tucked away in a small street halfway between the Opera House and the St. Stephen’s Basilica. The super friendly baristas love to play around with different tools, you would find even the mesmerising Syphon here, and on warmer days their cold brew is absolutely recommended. It’s not crazy busy usually, so you can get a lot of things done on their free wifi if that’s what you are into.

9. My Little Melbourne
My Little Melbourne
They were one of the pioneers of the specialty coffee scene taking inspiration directly from Melbourne, the mother of all hipster coffee cities. An espresso bar and a brew bar next to each other to cover all needs in the heart of Budapest. Since the opening they were responsible for several other cool venues in the Hungarian capital like This is Melbourne Too, My Green Cup, BeoPlay, and Coffee Market. You won’t be disappointed in the quality in any of them.

10. Budapest Baristas
Budapest Baristas
One of my favourite things about this coffee shop is the venue: previously an antique book store was working here. And it’s just opposite my old university – I wish we had such good coffee around back in my days! Besides the usual drinks you can enjoy here a beautiful and healthy matcha latte as well, and they are pretty strong on the savoury breakfast as well.


These were just some of our favourites where we go often, but there are many more places to try, and the list is constantly growing. A few more names that you can trust: Tamp & Pull, Madal, One Cup, Fekete, Tényleg.

Stay tuned for the Buda edition! And if you are really into coffee culture don’t miss our Coffee Tour when you visit Budapest!

Check out some more pics in the gallery:

Posted by Judit, founder and guide of Budapest 101

Modern Map Art Budapest

Budapest on Your Wall: Probably the Best Souvenir!

Good souvenirs are essential. Even if colourful embroidery seems to overwhelm the gift shops in Budapest, it might not exactly fit your home, right? We know it, because it certainly doesn’t fit ours! If you want to have something that matches your style and makes you smile whenever you look at it this really stylish Budapest map might be the best solution.

Modern Map Art Budapest

I’m a map geek and I’m proud of it. As someone who practices orienteering running I’ve been always drawn to maps. I’ve had some not so pretty ones from my favourite places on my wall since I was a kid. But as I’m growing older more mature I’m trying to have a grown-up apartment, and I just found the perfect solution: designer map! Of course I had to have one about my eternal love: Budapest.

Modern Map Art Budapest

There are many options on the market, but I love the clear-cut design of ModernMapArt, and the fact that they have about every big city you have ever heard of (and even famous ski resorts!), so you can think of it as a collectable from every destination you love. And it’s super convenient that you can order it online and don’t have to worry about how to drag it home in your overstuffed carry-on.

Modern Map Art Budapest

You can find the Budapest map here, but I recommend you to browse between the 500+ different places, they all look fascinating! And don’t forget to get a nice frame for it to keep it in a good shape for many years to come.

Our map was a gift by ModernMapArt, but the love is real!


Babel logo

Babel – Fluent in the Language of Fine Dining

One of the most important parts of our job as tour guides is recommending the best restaurants for our guests. When you spend only a few days in a city you don’t want to risk a bad meal, right? Well, Babel is a shiny star on the fine dining scene of Budapest that we can highly recommend. Spoiler alert! Don’t continue reading if you want to get surprised by their current seasonal tasting menu.

The entrance of Babel, Budapest

The design of Babel inside and outside sends a strong message of quality, it is clear and simple enough to avoid overshining the food itself, the main colours are earth tones that resonate well with the dishes, with a lot of contrasting blacks. Just check out the logo.

Butter selection at Babel

The creamy butter selection arrives quickly and already sets the tone: besides the natural salty butter we find smoked onion and pine flavours on the “plate”. It is quite something when you can notice the style of the two chefs already by the time of butter: modern and professional thanks to Langer Gábor, while Veres István brings in nature from his homeland, Transylvania, where using pine in culinary is not a new idea.

Babel amuse bouche

Then comes the amuse bouche mixing exciting textures and flavours together, my favourite element is the fermented cauliflower. This type of fermenting called “kovászolás” is very common and popular in Hungary, usually done in summer with cucumbers, but chefs have started to rediscover it lately and to use the method with all kinds of vegetables. The result here is a very subtle but fresh flavour.

Babel chicken liver paté

We went with the 4-course tasting menu, the first “official” plate was this chicken liver parfait with smoked apple and crispy shallot. I’m a big fan of both liver and mixing savoury with sweet, so it was really my kind of appetiser, melting in the mouth, creating a beautiful balance between the different flavours and textures.

Babel tojásos galuska

One of the classic dishes of both Hungary and Babel is the “tojásos nokedli”, or as they call it in my region “tojásos galuska”. It’s a handmade dumpling with eggs that Hungarians eat a lot in Spring time when the first fresh lettuces grow – and we soak this lettuce in a sugary vinegar water. Sorry, lettuce. At Babel they created a heavenly creamy version of this nokedli with truffle, and even if it’s made with the best kitchen technology and served fancy, it did revoke all the memories from my childhood, sitting by the table of my darling grandma, who at the time I thought was the best chef in the whole world.

Babel apple sorbet

Next a light surprise to relax the stomach: apple sorbet with herbs. The herbs arrive frozen in a mortar, you have to grind them yourself: the sound of it is like walking on dry sticks in the forest, while the wonderful aromas of the green herbs get to the nose and wake you up. Then comes the sorbet. So simple, yet so good.

Babel beef cheek

After this little break we go back to some more serious matters: beef cheek with coffee, potato, black radish. The radish is fermented again (“kovászolt”), the cheek is so soft it’s melting as easily as the potato mousse. Isn’t the black radish the most stylish looking vegetable ever? The black and white contrast of the Babel logo comes to my mind.

Babel garlic dessert

We get to the dessert, and it’s one of the highlights of the whole dinner: garlic gelato (yes), pumpkin, hay (yes), lemon, caraway. It. Was. So. Good. (Their other desserts don’t sound any less exciting, I could probably just have all the desserts in a tasting menu.)

Babel surprise

To say goodbye we got three more bites: marshmallow, salty caramel between crispy layers, and foie gras in chocolate. The last one was my favourite, but then again, I love all things liver.

Babel interior

Babel has a great wine list and a knowledgeable sommelier who apparently loves Hungarian volcanic white wines as much as I do, as the wine pairings were all whites with this tasting menu. If you have ever taken a wine tour with me you know already that Hungary has so many different local white grapes that result in the most versatile wines ever from the perfume-like Irsai Olivér to the super serious Somlói Juhfark.

The whole experience was great thanks to the professional staff, the perfect rhythm of the courses, the nice interior design (although it’s quite a challenge to find the toilet among all the mirrors) and of course the delicious and creative dishes. If we could just criticise one thing: enough with the acoustic remakes of American pop songs, why can’t restaurants pick anything authentic when it comes to music? Taste of Prague had a great blog post about this topic some time ago, and most things they write about is true in Budapest as well, we recommend every restaurateur to read it.

The 4-course tasting menu (that is more like 8 courses as you could see) costs 20.500 forints plus 12.5% service charge, so around 70 euros per person. If you are looking for a treat, don’t miss it! Reservation is highly recommended, you can even do it online, but they are only open for dinner.

Babel Budapest
1052 Budapest, Piarista köz 2.
Tuesday – Saturday 18h – 24h

Budapest chalk, an item at the Budapest Design-képletek exhibition

Could Budapest souvenirs be better?

You are all fed up with the tacky T-shirts and fridge magnets made in China, right? Budapest is getting better and better with creative souvenirs, but there is still space for improvement. This was one of the topics that inspired the creators behind the Budapest Design-képletek (Budapest Design-Formulas) exhibition.

Budapest Projekt Gallery

Students and professors of the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design came up with really original concepts around the image of the Hungarian capital. Some of their big themes were the souvenirs, the child-friendly city, mobile apps, and visual concepts. Of course we are most interested in the first! So let’s see some of our favourites.

Wearing a necklace like these is like having a secret affair with Budapest. Only you will know what it means, and you will smile remembering your fantastic days in the city every time somebody will ask about it.

Budapest necklace

An other great example of jewellery that serves as a subtle reminder of your love for architecture: ceramic pearls inspired by the Zsolnay rooftops that are like pearls on the Budapest skyline. Without Zsolnay we would have a very different Art Nouveau heritage, and it is definitely something that makes you fall in love with this city!

Budapest roof inspired pearl

What is something that makes us famous here? Of course, the thermal water! But did you know that you can also drink it, not just bathe in it? In fact it is something that can be prescribed by doctors around here. Take a few drops of this magical liquid with you in these stylish ceramic bottles.

Budapest Thermal Water

Talking about magical liquids: the younger generation’s biggest motivation to come to Budapest is visiting the mysterious ruin bars. So why not bring the atmosphere home with you with these bohemian ceramic mugs and bottles?

Budapest Ruin Bars

Unfortunately these objects are not for sale (yet), but if you would like to find similarly creative souvenirs for your loved ones (and for yourself!), sign up on our Budapest 101 Design Tour, we will make sure to take you to workshops and stores where everything is designed and made by local artists and designers.

To see the full exhibition go to Budapest Projekt Gallery until the 25th of February, 2017. A must for design buffs! And good news for the low-budget travellers: it’s completely for free!

Budapest Design-képletek // Budapest Design-Formulas exhibition
Budapest Projekt Gallery
Kossuth Lajos street 14-16, 1053
February 3-25, 2017
Tuesday to Sunday 2 pm – 8 pm

Budapest Mugs

For more inspiring pictures check out our gallery:

Budapest restaurants

3+1 New Places Where Local Foodies Eat in Budapest

There are two kinds of tourists: the ones that would eat on the main shopping street at a restaurant that offers a fixed tourist menu, and the ones that are always looking for the most authentic places, “where locals eat”. If you are reading this, you must be in the second category, so I will share with you our current favourites. Just don’t tell anyone!

A pro tip: Restaurants with a strange Hungarian name are very rarely tourist traps. Our dear language is so difficult for others, that no place would risk their success if they wanted to see only tourists among their guests.

Beszálló quail eggs

An extremely social starter at Beszálló: quail eggs with green chili

The next three places have a lot in common (and the fourth one almost fits into the list):

  • they all opened recently in the fall of 2016
  • they are all located in the hip Jewish district of Budapest
  • they all offer great price-quality ratio
  • their chefs are among the best of Hungary, yet they are affordable and cozy
  • they are super stylish
  • AND locals want to keep it a secret

 

1. Házi/Állat

2017 October update: Házi/Állat reopened with a new chef, Réti Sebestyén. They kept some items from the old menu, added a lot of breakfast options, and they are open every day from 8 am to 4 pm, no dinner. It is still a place for meat lovers. 


The newest of the three is a really easy-going bistro attached to a pub (Aznap). It’s the love child of Lőrincz György, chef of the year in 2015. At the time he worked at Babel, one of the fanciest restaurants of Budapest. Then he went on a few months of “holiday” at an office canteen (oh, weren’t we jealous of those office workers!) and finally opened Házi/Állat.

Házi/Állat beef cheek stew with dödölle

Házi/Állat beef cheek stew with dödölle

Their philosophy is to offer the classic “Monarchy’s kitchen” in a really high quality, mixed with typical bar food. Yes, their pizza and burger are great, but if you want the real Hungarian pub (“kocsma“) experience, pick a “zsíros kenyér“: bread with lard. Sounds weird? You won’t regret it, trust me.

Zsíros kenyér aka bread with lard - the upscale version served at Házi/Állat

Zsíros kenyér aka bread with lard – the deluxe version served at Házi/Állat

They also offer a lunch menu on weekdays with seasonal specialties, and among others you will always find on the board a perfect beef cheek stew, rosé duck breast, goulash soup, and their signature dish, the bone marrow toast. Warning: it’s not really a place for vegans, but meat lovers are in the right place. And it is unbelievably affordable, the smallest pizza starts at 590 huf (1 eur), but even for the stew you don’t have to pay more than 1800 huf (6 eur).

Dohány utca 68, Mon-Sat, 11:30-21:30

See more pictures about Házi/Állat:

2. Beszálló

The place feels like if they took a hip eatery from Saigon, stopped for some influence in New York and Berlin, and finally put it down in the most multicultural district of Budapest. The dishes show similar eclectic style: you will find the most Asian items on the menu like green mango or quail eggs with green chili, but most of it is a total fusion like Vietnamese goulash or Hungarian sausage with curry.

The front of Beszálló

The front of Beszálló

Although they don’t have a fixed menu, some of their signature dishes always return, like the up-scale fried chicken sandwich. Hungarians go crazy for this: the home made version is often our loyal companion on long train rides, and the typical traveller would eat the first bun before the train even leaves the station.

Fried chicken sandwich at Beszálló

Fried chicken sandwich aka “rántott húsos zsömle” at Beszálló

The starters and mains are really straight-forward, the desserts we tried were maybe even too complex for the place. It’s not a complaint, they were delicious and very memorable! Prices for the mains are around 1800-2500 huf (6-8 eur), but some dishes, especially the vegetarian ones are not going to satisfy the hungry ones, so maybe order two starters.

Dessert at Beszálló

A very elaborate chocolate dessert at Beszálló

The “father” of Beszálló is chef Huszár Krisztián who cooked for Mák, Zona, and Konyha in the past, winning many awards. He’s going to open Fáma, a fine dining restaurant soon on the Buda side, and Beszálló is a casual playground for this next project.

Madách Imre út 1, Mon-Sat 12:00-22:00

More pics of Beszálló:

3. Tábla

2017 October update: They are now open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but only on weekdays.


We praised Esca after its opening, but a lot has changed since! They went for a darker design in the interior, it’s open only for dinner now, and they focus on the tasting menu. So I guess Fehér Gábor, the chef was too bored during the day, therefore he decided to open a place for lunch. Just kidding! No idea how he has so much energy.

The blackboard of Tábla

The blackboard of Tábla

Tábla means blackboard in Hungarian, and yes, the menu changes every day and it is written on a blackboard. It is always quite seasonal, and luckily they tend to include some vegetarian options as well. The food is great quality, but not trying to be too fancy, in the case of the desserts I even had a certain grandma’s cooking feeling.

Pork with pickles at Tábla

It might sound weird, but the pickled cauliflower was the highlight of the lunch

The atmosphere is following Esca’s Scandinavian touch, the space is small and intimate with just a couple of tables, so definitely try to make a reservation before going. A 3-course lunch will cost around 2500 huf (8 eur).

Dohány utca 29, Mon-Fri 11:30-16:00

Check out more photos of our lunch at Tábla:

+1: London Coffee Society

Okay, it’s not a restaurant, but they have awesome cakes, savoury breakfast, and of course coffee, so it’s the perfect place to start your day, and it’s located in the same neighbourhood.

Rosemary olive oil cake and an espresso at London Coffee Society

Rosemary olive oil cake and an espresso at London Coffee Society

The staff is extremely nice, you can tell that they don’t spare any effort to have you as a regular, and honestly, it’s working! The coffee beans come from selected farms from all over the world, roasted in London by Mission Coffee Works. For the first try the filter coffee was not fruity enough for my taste, therefore I will probably stick to the espresso based drinks here, but that’s okay. The olive oil cake compensates, and I can’t wait to try the Guinness cake! Furthermore, even the restroom made me smile.

You can work or have intimate chats on the second floor at London Coffee Society

You can work or have intimate chats on the second floor

Dohány utca 27, Mon-Fri 8-19, Sat-Sun 9-19

See more photos of London Coffee Society:

For more recommendations of Budapest restaurants and cafés sign up on any of our tours, and we will send you right away our hand-picked list of places, or follow our foodie instagram!

 

Savoury ice cream? Yes!

Ever tried pairing gelato with savoury dishes? It totally works! We’ve been loving the gelato of Gelarto Rosa for a long time. They are still going strong thanks to their very instagrammable and delicious creations, but this year they came out with something special: savoury ice cream. There you go, one more thing to add to your list of “things to eat in Budapest”!Three of the seven savoury combinations by Gelarto Bistro

It was incredibly hard to choose. There are six ice cream flavours paired with seven different plates, we decided to go with the more Hungarian flavours to see what can we include in our tours. We learned that they don’t use any sugar, yet the gelato itself has a quite sweet taste. Hard to choose

We picked the red pepper gelato with a modern version of “paprikás krumpli”, paprika potatoes. The quail egg on top was freshly prepared, beautifully creamy. Probably this was our favourite of the three. Red pepper ice cream with modern paprika potatoes

The green pea – mint gelato with an asparagus mousse was the lightest flavoured one, quite refreshing on a hot day.Green pea gelato with asparagus mousse

Our third pick was the beetroot ice cream with goat cheese salad, a real treat for the eyes as well. Beetroot ice cream with goat cheese salad

You can get a full range of all flavours for 3300 forints (about 10 euros), or you can taste them separately, every combo costs around 750-850 forints (less than 3 euros). It’s great for a light snack in between lunch and dinner, but you can also create a full meal of them. More traditional breakfast items are also served in the morning.The amazing selection at Gelarto Bistro

The bistro itself has a few tables inside and many outside, and we love the friendly interior. Check out more pictures below in the gallery!

They are conveniently located just a few steps away from the St Stephen’s Basilica, a great stop to rest after a lot of sightseeing. And if you like the idea of combining the best gelato places of Budapest and its classic sights, our GelaTour was made for you!

Gelarto Bistro
Sas utca 11, district V
Open: every day 8 am – 10 pm

The secret face of Budapest

 

A balcony in Budapest

Recently we had the honour to collaborate with Marriott International in the celebration of the breathtaking architecture of Budapest. They picked some great examples like the Parliament, the St. Stephen’s Basilica or the Vigadó, and we provided them with quirky stories – you can read the article here! I really enjoyed this work, and it gave me the idea to show you the less famous wonders of local architecture: the apartment buildings. They were picked quite random from my last photo walk, but they are nice representatives of the thousands of unique houses of Budapest. So here we go!

Facade of an apartment building in Budapest

First of all, those facades. Yes, some of them are crumbly and grey, but every year more and more of them get a facelift. The 20th century was not kind to them, first the war, then communism and the revolution of ’56 left its mark, but these days we see a wonderful revival!

Facade of an apartment building in Budapest

They come in all styles, some are more creative then others, but they fill hundreds of streets, and thanks to them you can walk for hours and hours and always feel like you are in a magical place. Don’t be afraid of leaving the touristy areas!

Mosaics, facade of an apartment building in Budapest

This house above has some hidden (stone) bats and brilliant mosaic details, and it is located in a tiny street where nobody goes except those living there. It’s one of the many beautiful gems you can see if you take a Neighbourhood Tour with us in the 11th district, the South of Buda.

The Four Seasons, facade of an apartment building in Budapest

The next building, featuring the mosaic of the Four Seasons (starting with spring on the left), is less hidden, but still many wouldn’t notice: just turn around when you are facing the Great Synagogue! And let’s hope that they clean up the not so creative street “art” from the side. Can you believe that people actually live here and it’s not a museum?

 

The door of an apartment building, Budapest

Let’s step closer! Many of the doors have so beautiful details… The carving and the ironwork is fabulous.

The door of an apartment building, Budapest

Every door handle could tell millions of stories…

The door of an apartment building, Budapest

This little thing above in the shape of a flower was a hole to check the visitors before opening the door. Nowadays you can just push the buzzer from upstairs, more convenient, right?

Door in an apartment building, Budapest

Let’s step inside now! The entrance hall of these buildings can be very surprising indeed.

Tiles in an apartment building in Budapest

The old tiles are simply fascinating, and sometimes the choice of colours is really brave.

Tiles in an apartment building in Budapest

Let me show you one more example of these tiles, and this time include my feet. I suspect that in the era when they built this building, showing your naked toes like this would have been immensely shameful.

A courtyard of an apartment building in Budapest

After the entrance hall you arrive to the courtyard. It is something that you can never tell from outside, but these old buildings always have an open patio in the middle, and most of the flats open from the corridors found on each level. Not much privacy here, but this way they could have more access to sunlight. Some courtyards are big and ornate, others are small and simple – you never know until you walk in, so I encourage you to use every opportunity when you see an open door in Budapest!

Stained glass in a staircase

The staircase can be the next big surprise: stained glass like this is rare to find nowadays, but not impossible! Most old apartment buildings have two staircases: one was used by the rich owners and tenants, the other one in the back was for the maids and other employees. Of course the latter was less luxurious.

A balcony in Budapest

A balcony can be a great alternative to a garden, this one is like an urban jungle! I love it when people treat their balconies the right way.

An urban garden in Budapest

And then some are lucky enough to have a real garden in the middle of the city. This little green spot belongs to a quite tall building with many levels, even if those are not pictured here.

Check the gallery for some more photos, and join us on a Neighbourhood Tour if you would like to see such buildings off the beaten path!

In the Mood for Colours – The Museum of Applied Arts

Whenever my guests ask me which museum I recommend in Budapest, my number one choice is the Museum of Applied Arts. The exhibitions resonate with everybody: they showcase art through everyday (and not so everyday) objects that are made with amazing expertise and reflect history, geography, and society. And one more reason: the building itself is one of the most beautiful examples of Art Nouveau (“Szecesszió” in Hungary) designed by Lechner Ödön, the father of this style. Just check out the entrance, full of Zsolnay porcelain and mosaics:

The entrance of the Museum of Applied Arts / Iparművészeti Múzeum, Budapest

Okay, let me just show you one more picture of the interior before we move on:

Museum of Applied Arts / Iparművészeti Múzeum, Budapest

I always love to come here for the permanent exhibitions as well, but this month they opened a temporary one that stands very close to my heart: “In the Mood for Colours”. They picked objects from their own collection and organised them in three different rooms: green, blue, and red.
The first thing that welcomes you is an interactive and very creative installation: the colour mirror. They scan you and match you with an object of the exhibition according to the colours you are wearing, and they also collect the data to answer a few questions, like “Can we detect a warm sunny day from the colour of people’s clothes?”

The colour mirror - Museum of Applied Arts / Iparművészeti Múzeum, Budapest

This was my colour scheme and the object I got:

My colour scheme - In the Mood for Colours exhibition

Then you step into the first room, the green one (click on the link to see all the objects). I don’t want to spoil too much, but of course you can expect some Zsolnay porcelain as well with the typical iridescent green thanks to their signature eosine technology. These were my favourites, especially the little chicken and the fish bowl from the ’70s:

Museum of Applied Arts / Iparművészeti Múzeum, Budapest

Then comes the blue room, where I have to pick an animal again, I loved this dog-shaped glass jug from Transylvania, from around 1700:

Museum of Applied Arts / Iparművészeti Múzeum, Budapest

What I really admire in this museum is the dedication and expertise of the people who made all these objects hundreds of years ago, without any modern machinery. It will sound silly, but I was so touched and even overwhelmed by all the beauty here that in the third room I felt that I could cry from happiness. Has this ever happened to you or I’m a total weirdo? But just look at all the tiny details on this coat:

The red room - In the Mood for Colours exhibition, Museum of Applied Arts

Contemporary objects are also displayed, and great detailed information is available in English as well. A highly recommended place to visit if you are looking for something special in Budapest!

In the Mood for Colours (April 1st – September 4th, 2016)
Museum of Applied Arts
Budapest, Üllői út 33-37. (Get there with Metro line 3 or Tram 4 and 6, the stop is called “Corvin negyed”)
Tuesday-Sunday: 10.00 AM – 6.00 PM / Closed on Mondays
Tickets: 2.200 HUF for the temporary exhibition, 3.500 HUF for the combined ticket – reduced prices under 26 and over 62

Check out more pictures of the museum in the gallery, and make us happy by liking us on Facebook!