Where to eat in Budapest
by Lucas Aresin
I've always felt that a river upgrades a city a lot. It divides the countless buildings, adds breadth and tranquility, and gives you a chance to cool down next to the relaxing sound of water. When you add a selection of delicious dining opportunities to the riverside, you're in heaven. Budapest knows how to impress here, with the famous river Danube running between the two parts, Buda and Pest. Follow us on this tour across some of the best riverside establishments.
Next to Chain Bridge: Raqpart
Raqpart is an outdoor bar next to the Chain Bridge on the Pest-side. From here, you'll enjoy an amazing view over Buda Castle, the Matthias Church, and the Fisherman's Bastion. Right next to the Danube, this beach bar type of restaurant is perfect for a sunny summer afternoon with some high quality traditional Hungarian food, burgers, salads, and refreshing drinks. At night it transforms to an open-air club with reggeaton and today's chart-fillers. Go there in the summer and you won't be disappointed. Be sure to go between May 1st and the 1st of October – that's when the doors are open.
By Feneketlen Lake in Buda: Hemingway
If you're out for high quality Hungarian and International cuisine, check Hemingway. This inviting looking restaurant will satisfy your palette as well as your other senses. It's located in a small park in front of the small Feneketlen lake (literally: bottomless lake), and is easy to reach with 2 different tram lines. The park itself is brimming with student life, and you can come, sit down in the comfortable chairs and dine on the snow white blankets. The restaurant is big enough to host larger groups of people as well, and if you enjoy a fine dinner surrounded by nature, this is your venue. The outstanding feature of Hemingway is its wine selection, and a wine sommelier will consult you on the perfect wine for each dish if you wish. If you want to dine finely with your partner, family, or business, Hemingway delivers. Surely one of the best restaurants in the city so we decided to add it to our list even though it's by a lake.
On the Danube: Spoon Café & Lounge
Why dine by the river when you can dine on the river? Board the romantic pleasure ship and enjoy the wide variety of food while marveling the stunning panorama view over the chain bridge and Buda Castle. The ship itself is large and offers 3 restaurants, 5 bars, and 2 terraces – the choice is yours. Treat yourself to a romantic evening on top of the floating restaurant, and enjoy the high quality Hungarian-Oriental fusion cuisine, seafood or salads, or try the wide variety of Champaign, wines, beers, and more. If you want to impress your date or celebrate an occasion, try out the Spoon Café & Lounge, but you might want to book in advance. Spoon is a common venue for conferences and weddings as well.
At Kopaszi Dam
Further south, we find Kopaszi Dam. Kopaszi Dam is not one restaurant, but a newly set stage for many. The 19th-century dam is part of a piece of land in South Buda that recently received a full make-over and now shines with new brilliance as a beautifully layered park that gently descends down to the water. The park alone is a great place to hang out, relax, and enjoy the calming sound of rustling water, but if you get hungry in the process, fear not! Kopaszi Dam has everything from smaller venues offering ice cream and lángos, to full-scale restaurants. Get a rustic burger at Flamenco, pizza and pasta at Veranda, or international and Hungarian meals at Café Ponyvaregény. Other recommendations include Vakvarjú Beach (traditional food), Le Bistro (Mediterranean), and Fruska Picnic and Bistro (Italian meets Hungarian). Long story short – this place deserves its own blog post.
In the City Park: Robinson Restaurant
Do you want to dine on an island, but you don't want to leave the city? Robinson Restaurant invites you onto the small island in Budapest's City Park Lake. Surrounded by tranquil water, you can enjoy a lighter Italian menu on the ground floor including hearty Risottos and traditional Pasta, while the upper floor lures you in with mouth-watering steaks. In essence, it doesn't matter if you're into salads, four-cheese-penne, or Angus tenderloin steak – Robinson has you covered. While you eat, listen to the music played in the background and watch the ducks frolic on the lake.
Near Liberty Bridge: Esetleg Bistro
Bálna is the glass 'whale' of Budapest, a mall with several inviting venues next to the riverside that impress with an open view of the river, especially at night when lights turn Budapest into a golden city. This is where you find Esetleg Bisztró – a spacious restaurant with its own veranda. The view alone is a reason to visit, but if that's not enough, try the food. The menu is straightforward with a French twist. If you simply want a neat hamburger trio, duck breast with risotto, or a caramel cheesecake, Esetleg Bistro has you covered. Not literally covered, though, because their sun chairs enable you to work on your tan while enjoying the view!
Close to Elisabeth Bridge: KIOSK
There is always enough reason to go to this centrally located venue with a menu that includes daily offers that change from Monday to Friday. With the Elisabeth Bridge and the Danube in sight, you can enjoy a business dinner, a romantic date, or a snack during the day and an urban/chic transformation with a DJ spinning records on Saturdays at night. The food ranges from rustic pulled pork sandwiches, over foie gras cream, to marinated trout fillet and KIOSK burgers – what I'm trying to say here is that the variety is certainly there. Combine this with an amazing location and view, and you have a must-visit spot for a special occasion.
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