For foodies looking to explore more of Europe’s capitals, Budapest is certainly worthy of consideration, thanks to its 6 One MICHELIN Star restaurants and its new Two Star restaurant which was announced at the launch of the new MICHELIN Guide Hungary this month.
What makes Budapest so interesting is that while it feels European, it also offers something else, something a little different – thanks to the influences and elements over the years from assorted cultures and civilisations.
Back in the balmy days of June this year, a group of British and French influencers from the worlds of gastronomy, lifestyle and travel spent time getting to know and appreciate all that the city has to offer.
Checking out their itinerary is a good place to start when planning a trip:
Day 1 started with a visit to the Castle District, Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion.
After a couple of hours they headed to the Sauska Sparkling Winery in Buda, where they visited the cellars, tasted their wines and met artisan producers from Etyek. Lunch was at Textúra, sister restaurant to Michelin Starred Borkonyha Winekitchen which is opposite. The restaurant is known for its imaginative dishes and stylish surroundings and the brasserie feel makes it a great choice for lunch.
What better way of indulging that post-prandial torpor than taking a luxury cruise on the Danube? This really allows you to take in the history and the unique character of the city. It was then off for tea at Café Gerbeaud – it dates back to 1858 and is one of the city’s most famous cafés. But the highlight of the day was dinner at Stand. Awarded Two Stars in the MICHELIN Guide Hungary this year, the restaurant is rightly celebrated for its two chef-owners’ modern reinvention of classic Hungarian dishes. A glass-walled kitchen allows diners to take in the action. A nightcap in the rooftop bar of Matild Palace ended a long but exhilarating day.
The pace of Day 2 was a little more languid. It began with a visit to the Great Market Hall and then a five-minute walk to Rózsavölgyi Chocolate. Lunch was on the charming terrace at Spago by Wolfgang Puck, where the group enjoyed that most classic of Hungarian dishes – Somlói cake. The afternoon was spent exploring two of the city’s newest museums: the House of Music and the Museum of Ethnography, both located in the City Park.
Many visiting the city will treat themselves to a longer stay than just a couple of days, especially as there are many more sights to see: the Parliament Building, the Jewish Quarter, St Stephen’s Basilica, Heroes’ Square, Franz Liszt Memorial Museum and the Hungarian State Opera, to name just a few.
When it comes to eating out, the city has restaurants for all occasions. There are fun spots like Hoppá! Bistro with its local beers and blackboard specials; rustic bistros like Mák which plays with classic Hungarian flavours; unique counter restaurants such as Rumour which offers sophisticated, modern dishes and was the recipient of a MICHELIN Star in the new guide; intimate spots like MICHELIN Starred Salt whose surprise menu of intricate dishes will thrill and intrigue in equal measure; and unique restaurants like essência, run by a Portuguese chef and his Hungarian wife and whose cooking, which mixes the two nationalities, has earned it a MICHELIN Star.
A colourful cultural life, striking architecture, a rich history and first class gastronomy all combine to make Budapest a must-see destination.