Budapest Journals

Kavehaz Kultura in Budapest

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A January 2009 trip to Budapest by sararevell

Novotel Budapest Centrum Photo, Budapest, Hungary More Photos
Quote: I’m not a caffeine addict but in mid-winter, I could see sense in Budapest having so many coffee shops. Thick cappuccinos, honeyed black tea, hot chocolate, a pastry or two; Budapest may not be the place to detox but it’s a wonderful city for big books and long walks.

Budapest Overview

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Story/Tip

Budapest Overview Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
Highlights I am excited to report that I did not see one single Starbucks in Budapest. Yes, there are plenty of other chain shops and restaurants but Starbucks was blissfully absent. And to be honest there’s really no place for them because Budapest has plenty of fine cafes to choose from.Favourites for me were the edgy Tandem Café, smart Gerloczy, laid-back Central Kavehaz, cosy cake emporium Ruszwurm Cukraszda and the bright and studious Café Eckermann. I also enjoyed a rich, thick hot chocolate at Café Kafka, near the Basilica of St. Stephen, a great little place to hide out in, in the centre of Pest. If you’ve got a few more forints in your pocket however, then you may be d...Read More

The Hotels

Novotel Budapest Centrum

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Hotel | "Novotel Centrum: The Facade of Art Nouveau"

Novotel Budapest Centrum Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
The Novotel Centrum is a curious place. The noisy, dirty crossroads of Rakoczi Utca and Erzsebet Korut hardly befit the hotel’s sparkling black and white entrance but as you move in through the reception area and to your room, the hotel feels less out of place with its surroundings. In the end, the Novotel is what you would expect from a hotel chain. Yes it has a fancy front but rather than capturing the essence of its 1911 Art Nouveau heritage, renovations rendered its rooms (or most of them I’m assuming) with something of a Ikea Nouveau feeling. Formerly the Palace Hotel, there is little palatial about the accommodations. The rooms I admit were spacious but there were more than a few chinks in the a...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 24, 2009

Novotel Budapest Centrum
RAKOCZI UT 43 45
Budapest, Hungary 1088
36-36-4775300

Ramada Budapest

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Hotel | "Ramada Budapest: Small, Warm but Close to Raday Utca"

Ramada Budapest Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
As my husband was in Budapest on business and the Novotel couldn’t accommodate us for the duration of our stay, we spent the last two nights at the Ramada Budapest on Tompa Street. The Ramada is at the far end of the quiet, residential Tompa Street and is very close to the lovely Raday Utca, a great area for shops and restaurants. Check in was quick and easy but we had been allocated a room on a smoking floor and asked to change. The online reservation had requested a non-smoking room but for some strange reason, this hadn’t been communicated to the hotel management. However when they did find us a non-smoking room (twin though, not double) it smelt smokier still so we reverted back to the...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on May 24, 2009

Ramada Budapest
30 34 TOMPA UTCA
Budapest, Hungary
36 1 4777282

The Sights

Budapest History Museum- Castle Museum

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Attraction | "A Patchy History Lesson"

Budapest History Museum- Castle Museum Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
The Castle Museum in Buda is one of three locations that makes up the Budapest History Museum (the other two being the Aquincum and Kiscell Museums) but it’s possible to dedicate almost an entire day just to the Castle Museum. If you take their floor plan guide at face value then you would need to spend a grand total of five and a half hours across the four floors. This is probably a little excessive but allowing about 2-3 hours wouldn’t be unreasonable. English language audio guides are available at the ticket counter but are not included in the 1,200 HUF (£3.45) entrance fee. The investment is probably worthwhile as about half of the exhibits (if not more) do not have an English translation. I decid...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 24, 2009

Budapest History Museum- Castle Museum
Buda Castle Royal Palace, wing E
Budapest, Hungary 1014
+36 1 355 8849

Central Market Hall/Great Market Hall

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Attraction | "The Central Market Hall and Fakanal Etterem Restaurant"

Central Market Hall/Great Market Hall Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
The Great Market Hall next to the Szabadsag Bridge in Budapest’s 9th district is the city’s largest indoor market. Opened at the end of the 19th century and renovated in the 1990s, the hall manages to keep a foot in the past but is a treasure trove to tourists and Budapest residents today. The hall was designed by Samu Pecz, who also had a hand in the renovations of the Matthias Church and gained a reputation for his striking diamond-patterned Zsolnay tilework, which are displayed to great effect on the roofs of both buildings. We saw locals strolling out with armfuls of fresh bread while inside others pored over the fruit and vegetable selections. I was personally impressed by the sausag...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 24, 2009

Central Market Hall/Great Market Hall
Fovam Ter, Ix Kerulet
Budapest, Hungary

Matthias Church (Matyas Templon)

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Attraction | "The Painted Gem of Buda"

Matthias Church (Matyas Templon) Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
Matthias Church, or Matyas Templom is, I’m guessing, a beautiful beacon sat atop Buda Hill. I say ‘guessing’ because at the time of my visit, the exterior was largely hidden behind a curtain of scaffold. I know most structures of its age have to undergo renovation at some point or another but it always takes the wind out of your sails when it happens to be during your visit. At the back of the church I noticed a couple of roofers and didn’t envy their task of replacing endless stretches of Zsolnay tilework. I have a feeling that Matthias Church will be surrounded by scaffold for a while longer yet. The popular name came from Hungary’s King Mátyás who ruled between 1458 and 1490 and was twi...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 24, 2009

Matthias Church (Matyas Templon)
Szentharomsag Ter 2 Castle Hill, District I
Budapest, Hungary 1014
36 1 355 5657

Memento Statue Park

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Attraction | "Communist Sculpture Kultura "

Memento Statue Park Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
If the joy of traveling is derived more from the journey and less from the destination then the Memento Sculpture Park delivers much happiness. I admit that I am doing the park a little disservice saying this but on a bitterly cold January day, I found myself squelching around the parks boggy pathways thinking that I would much rather be holed away in a café wrapping my blue hands around a mug of very hot chocolate.The journey though was an interesting one and I had expected it to be. If you go to the park website (www.szoborpark.hu - ‘szobor’ being Hungarian for monument or statue) you’re presented with no less than five options of getting there. It’s only a 10-15 minute drive outside of ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 24, 2009

Memento Statue Park
Bathori utca, 22
Budapest, Hungary 1054
+36 1 424 7500

Hungarian Parliament Building

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Attraction | "A Worthwhile Tour if you have an EU Passport!"

Hungarian Parliament Building Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
If you are an EU citizen, and therefore entitled to the free entry at the Budapest Parliament Building then doing this tour is a bit of a no-brainer. However, if you don’t have a European passport then the 35-minute tour doesn’t offer value for money. The gilt interior dazzles but just as the tour gets started, it’s over. I arrived at Gate X and was admitted entry to the burrow-hole ticket office by a lone guard. If you pass through the cordon without a guard directing you you’ll find yourself turned around very quickly. I presented my passport and was issued a ticket for the 2pm tour in English. A young guide came to meet just before 2pm and led us to what I believe is the door of Gate 12...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 24, 2009

Hungarian Parliament Building
Kossuth Lajos Ter, 1-3 District V
Budapest, Hungary 1055
+36 1 441 4904

The Coffee Shops

Angelika

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Restaurant | "Angelika: Far from Heavenly"

Angelika  Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
On the doorstep of the Batthyany ter Metro station is the Angelika. This deceptively large restaurant is tucked into the corner on this neat square, enlivened by pedestrians heading to the supermarket (cunningly disguised as a beautiful market hall) and the Szent Anna church. In addition, Batthyany ter is possibly the best place to take a photograph of the Parliament building as it sits directly across the Danube. At around 5pm, the Angelika was almost empty so I was seated right away. I took a table in the non-smoking section and had the choice of sitting on a low sofa or a regular chair. I plumped for the sofa and placed my order from the English-language menu. I’m not proud to admit tha...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on May 24, 2009

Angelika
Batthyany ter, 7
Budapest 1011
+36 1 212 3784

Cafe Csiga

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Restaurant | "A Little Taste of Morocco in Budapest"

Cafe Csiga Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
Csiga isn’t particularly easy to find. Unless someone specifically instructs you to turn down off Jozsef Korut at the big construction site, you might well miss it. After one about turn we arrived into the warmth of the Csiga oasis. Late on a Saturday night we had expected this place to be busy but with only a handful of people propping up the bar and a couple of tables, we practically had the place to ourselves. A DJ was wedged under the staircase, mixing tunes on an impossibly small table. We took a table upstairs and ordered a couple of Dreher beers while taking a look over the menu. The waiter kindly translated the specials blackboard to us and explained that the big black site next do...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 24, 2009

Cafe Csiga
Vasar Utca 2
Budapest 1084
+361 210 0885

Cafe Kor

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Restaurant | "First Night Goulash in Budapest"

Cafe Kor Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
We took a calculated risk and went to Café Kor without a dinner reservation. Our guidebook had recommended making one and given its central location, I can understand why. Being just two of us, we snuck in at 7pm without any problem but the place gradually filled up as the night went on and a few groups of four who arrived after us had sensibly booked ahead for their tables. Café Kor is a fairly small restaurant, with a scattering of wooden tables covered with white linen cloths and flickering tealight candles. The décor is fairly neutral, with dark tangerine walls displaying an array of old photographs. Small green pool-hall style lamps hang high from the ceiling, barely illuminating the ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 24, 2009

Cafe Kor
Sas utca, 17
Budapest, Hungary 1051
+36 1 311 0053

Caramia Etterem

Hotel | "An Unadventurous, Substantial Tourist Lunch on Raday Utca"

Caramia Etterem Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
To be honest, Caramia isn’t the most exciting restaurant along Raday Utca, but they do offer a decent tourist lunch. We had been out walking all morning and having eaten one too many expensive chicken baguettes during our stay, the 1690 huf (£5.10) three-course meal advertised on their outside blackboard seemed like a good deal. Apart from a couple of locals watching the Australian open tournament on the TV at the end of the bar, we had the place to ourselves. Our subdued waiter asked which menu option we were interested in: the paprika chicken or the pork chop ‘gypsy style’. I never found out what ‘gypsy style’ is but I have a weird vision of it being a pork chop on a plate with a crystal...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on May 24, 2009

Caramia Etterem
Raday Utca 31
Budapest 1092
+36 (1) 215-8079

Central Kavehaz

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Restaurant | "Decadent Dining in the Centre "

Central Kavehaz Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
My other favourite, Central Kavehaz is an elegant coffeehouse of times gone by. It has refined edges but the Central is a lovely laid-back café. We took a seat at the very back of the long room and this is actually the perfect place to be if you want to sit uninterrupted and watch the outside world go by. We ordered two chicken salad sandwiches on ciabatta bread and some tea. Noticing that I wasn’t a local, the waiter offered to bring the tea with milk rather than lemon, which seems to be the norm in Budapest. The staff here, as in most coffeehouses, was courteous and spoke good English and I was again impressed by the toilet facilities. Down the stairs, I found an impossibly large (and cl...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 24, 2009

Claro Bisztro

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Restaurant | "Clearly Delivering Good Food, Wine and Value for Money"

Claro Bisztro Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
You can often get good measure of a place if it’s popular on a Monday night. Every time we walked past Claro Bisztro it was busy so it seemed foolish not to try it out for size. We took a seat in their no-smoking section at the far end of the bar. Most restaurants appear to have smoking and no-smoking areas but the boundaries are fuzzy at best. Claro was decked out in a myriad of Hollywood film posters. Most of the titles are written in the local language, allowing you to try your hand at some Magyar-English translation. At the opposite end of the bar is the Claro Gallery, the management’s attempt at supporting and popularizing local contemporary art. I didn’t actually notice it while we w...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 24, 2009

Claro Bisztro
Raday Utca 35
Budapest 1092
+36 (1) 216 1577

Eckermann Cafe

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Restaurant | "A Collegiate Coffee Shop"

Eckermann Cafe Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
We came upon Café Eckermann somewhat by accident. It’s at the far end of Ráday utca, just before you reach Ferenc Korut and probably at a point beyond where most people would turn and head back up towards the centre of Pest. This large coffeehouse is home to what may be the largest cappuccino, they just haven’t notified the Guinness World Records committee yet. What they deliver in quantity doesn’t lack in quality though as the coffee is topped with an even blanket of foamed milk. We arrived late in the morning and had apparently missed out on most of their breakfast menu, which was unfortunate, as the buttered croissant with jam had sounded particularly good. The quiet-spoken waiter seeme...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 24, 2009

Eckermann Cafe
Andrassy ut 24
Budapest, Hungary 1061
+36 1 353 2233

Gerloczy

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Restaurant | "A Beautiful Breakfast"

Gerloczy Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
Of all the cafes we visited, Gerloczy and Central Kavehaz were probably my favourites. Each coffee shop in Budapest seems to have its own personality, allowing you to enjoy the posh, the laid back and the cheap and cheerful. Gerloczy probably falls into the upmarket category, although it’s nowhere near as grand as the New York, although I doubt any of them are. The Gerloczy is located on its namesake road, close to the Budapest City Hall. We had tried to stop in for lunch on a previous day but the busy café and restaurant had a 20-minute wait and judging by the bustling tables, this estimate seemed optimistic. We decided to try for a late breakfast instead and were much more successful as there were p...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 24, 2009

Gerloczy
V. Gerlóczy u. 1
Budapest, Hungary 1052
+36 (1) 501-4000

Kafana

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Restaurant | "An Education in Palinka"

Kafana Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
After a delightful dinner at Café Kor, we headed south and took a walk down pedestrianised Vaci Utca to Kafana. This brick-interior bar has all the trappings of an alpine cabin, which would make for a perfect evening of après-ski revelry. Too bad that it’s far from any snowbound location. When we arrived a very young looking group were singing and dancing along to a round of raucous Hungarian music, livening up the otherwise quiet bar. We took a look at the menu and ordered a couple of shots of palinka, a traditional fruit brandy produced in Hungary. We were hoping to try raspberry and cherry but the bartender only had elderberry and quince so that’s what we went with. It’s served in iced...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 24, 2009

Ruszwurm Cukraszda

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Restaurant | "Cake Therapy"

Ruszwurm Cukraszda Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
If doctors prescribed confectionary for ailments, Ruszwurm would be the number one pharmacy in Budapest. Dispensing row after row of sumptuous cakes, the glass cases in this coffeehouse would tempt the strictest of dieters. Ruszwurm is a top recommendation in every guidebook. It is the oldest confectionary shop in Budapest and they still know how to produce outstanding cakes and pastries. In addition, it’s on the doorstep of Buda’s most popular sights Matthias Temple and the Fishermen’s Bastion so the tourist draw is inevitable. The shop opened its doors back in 1827 and parts of the original cherrywood counter are still in place. Now run by the Szamos family, Ruszwurm only off...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 24, 2009

Ruszwurm Cukraszda
Szentharomsag Utca 7
Budapest, Hungary
375 52 84

Siraly

Restaurant | "A Quiet Coffee Spot or Possibly a Livelier Evening Out"

Siraly Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
Our guidebook described Siraly as a bustling, hip hangout but if their reporter had visited on a Thursday lunchtime, it would have received quite a different review. I wouldn’t have said that Siraly seemed sleepy but closer to dead. The one staff member seemed to be there under duress and was more interested in surfing the net than stocking the counter with fresh food. The coffee wasn’t bad though. One thing that the Budapest natives don’t slack on is a carefully prepared cappuccino. We ordered two and took a risk on a day (or two) old pastry. Being that we had the run of the place, we found it difficult to choose a seat and decided to venture up the spiral staircase. We bypassed a mezzani...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 24, 2009

Tandem Cafe

Restaurant | "Coffee and Cigarettes"

Tandem Cafe Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
The Tandem is a café of contradictions. The floor is black and white, the atmosphere is old school but the crowds are mostly adolescent, the entrance door is inauspicious but a tacky red and orange sign hangs over it. The interior is hip and populated by locals and a long bar displays a selection of snacks, spirits and cigarettes. With coffee costing only £1 a cup, I could have easily spent more time at the Tandem café had the mist of cigarette smoke not been so stifling. Despite being located directly across the road from a wealth of fresh produce at the Central Market, the pastries on the counter didn’t look too healthy so we ordered two lone cappuccinos and found a table in the back roo...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 24, 2009

Tandem Cafe
Pipa Utca 6
Budapest 1093