Back to Budapest

Back to Budapest

posted in: Articles, Europe, Hungary | 0

We had just visited Budapest in January with some friends and had such a great time that we decided to come back when the weather was warmer. In fact, Budapest is the only city that we previously visited together that we are returning to on our honeymoon for some significant time.

A repeat of one of the best dinners I've ever had

We got in around 4 PM from Salzaburg which as a nice easy train ride that actually had functioning Wi-Fi. We had dinner reservations at Comme Chez Soi which was our favorite place we ate at in January so we just checked in and got ready. The restaurant is in the middle of the Pest side and there are a number of other shops and restaurants in the area. We had a nice walk along the river to get there and we reminisced about our stay in Budapest. I had been thinking about this meal for a while so I knew what I was getting, the goose liver, which I was able to try last time but didn't get the full order. Diem didn't know what she was going to get but ended up getting the same thing she got last time, the seafood pasta. The food was amazing once again! It was just as good as we remembered and the staff repeated its top notch service and helped make the night special. I highly recommend anyone going to Budapest to make reservations to eat there because it is a small place and fills up well in advance. Also, get the goose liver, quite possibly the best dish I’ve ever had. After dinner we were so happy and full so we just walked back to our place and called it a night.

One of the nice spots around Margaret Island

The menu options at Onyx, glad we didn't do the dinner

The next morning I ran around Margaret Island which I wasn’t able to do last time. There’s a nice little rubber 5k track around the entire island which is well populated with runners and a small gym under the bridge. For lunch we went to Onyx, a 2 star Michelen restaurant that Diem researched. She told me that lunch was affordable (around $30) but dinner was way too expensive so I agreed and was excited. We walked in and it had a really nice and elegant interior, I felt under-dressed. Then we got the menu and saw that there were only two options, a four-course lunch for 19,900 Ft (~$70) or a six-course lunch for 24,900 Ft (~$90), roughly 3 times more expensive than I was told! Lunch for just one of us was more expensive than our entire dinner including drinks at Comme Chez Soi. I’ll let Diem write about this meal in her blog, but unfortunately, this meal did not live up to expectations. Especially with the sticker shock, I would not recommend going here. After lunch, I needed some rest to recover from the check and so we made it a cheap dinner of leftovers from Comme Chez Soi and a gyro from down the street. Last time we were in Budapest our friends went to Gerbeaud and highly recommended the café mainly for its beautiful interior. We got there shortly before closing so most of the café was closed and we only saw part of the interior but it was very pretty. We decided against getting a dessert and just walked back to our Airbnb.

Beautiful outdoor baths of Széchenyi

Our last full day in Budapest we planned a busy day because we hadn’t seen much of the city up till now on this trip. We went to  the train station to book our overnight train to Kotor the next day. Afterwards, we went to Széchenyi Thermal Bath. During our last trip to Budapest, we went in the lobby but didn’t actually go inside the baths. The bath day pass costs 4700 Ft (~$16) with a locker and access to all the indoor and outdoor baths. The outdoor bath is really beautiful with white sculptures and large pools. Inside there are a number of pools that range in temperature and the type of minerals present in the water. There are also a number of saunas that are included in the day pass. If you want more services you can get massages, pedicures, etc. that you can pay for separately. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed a beer outside, did some hot / cold therapy in the indoor pools, and then decided it was time for lunch. We went to the Great Market Hall (Central Hall) that has a number of food stalls, butcher shops, fresh fruit, fresh fish, and Hungarian clothes and souvenirs. We grabbed some Hungarian food at one of the vendors, which was pretty good but we wished we could’ve tried more.

Most beautiful cafe in the world

After exploring the Hall we walked to the New York Café which is touted as “the most beautiful café in the world.” I haven’t been to many cafes, let alone a lot of nice ones, but this one is really beautiful. It has a nice big seating area, fountains, chandeliers, ceiling murals, and there was a 4 piece band playing some classical music. It seemed really fancy but the prices weren’t really that outrageous. I had ice cream and Diem had hot chocolate. My ice cream was really good but Diem’s hot chocolate was a little too rich. We went back to rest before dinner at Zeller Bistro. Make sure you make a reservation because it’s not that big of a place and fills up quickly. Just like Comme Chez Soi, Zeller Bistro has great service. They let us taste a number of wines before we selected a nice red. We had beef carpaccio, beef cheek and a roast duck. When Diem was researching restaurants in Budapest there were comments saying that Zeller Bistro was the best dinner in Budapest. It was a really good meal and I would definitely go back but I can’t say it was better than Comme Chez Soi. I would say it was just a notch below and was in an area of town that was not as nice but it’s definitely worth going to. After dinner we went back and called it a night.

On our last day, our Airbnb host was really nice and let us check out really late (7 PM) since he didn’t have anyone else staying and our train wasn’t leaving until 10:20 PM. We took a rest day and did some travel planning and work catching up on our blogs. We got lunch at a pita place nearby, picked up some groceries, and then got ready for our long trip to Kotor.

Left: Vajdahunyad Castle; Right: Buda Castle and the Chain Bridge

We were really happy that we made it back to Budapest. I feel that we took the city for granted a little this time around since we just visited earlier in the year. We didn’t explore that much more of the city on our second visit and I feel there are still a lot of things to see in the city that we didn’t get to. I thought we’d be able to visit the interior of the Parliament building this time around but tickets are really expensive ($30 USD) for a 45 minute tour and didn’t fit in our budget. We also didn’t get to explore the underground city/caves on the Buda side. I left Budapest still wanting more, it’s definitely one of my favorite cities. It is beautiful in both the winter and the summer so you can enjoy the city all year round.

See the full gallery of our second trip to Budapest here: Budapest 2, Hungary.

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Paul is a lawyer taking a mid-career break focused on capturing all his adventures during his yearlong honeymoon around the world.

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