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Budapest 1st September


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Going to Budapest for 6 days and I'll be wandering around the city by myself during the day while my philosopher husband talks about quantum computers to other philosophers of science.

I run a farmers market in Washington DC and want to see local farmers markets in Budapest, excellent bakeries for great bread and pastry shops for Hungarian dessert I once tasted in Montreal in a Hungarian pastry shop == it was called Dobos, I believe, a chocolate dream plus other specialty food shops or kiosks or markets or stalls.

And yes, good places to eat (NOT Gundel, not downtown tourist traps).

Would also be interested in advice about going to the wine areas -- how far away by train?

And places that any Hungarian out there thinks I should definitely not miss. (Including getting on a bus/tram/train and going to a nearby town.)

Thanks.

Robin

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We've been 4 days in Budapest this july, but we were tourists; for pastry you can try Gerbaud in Pest and cafe Ruszwurm in Buda, near the castle.

For restaurants we go to Aranyszarvas Szarvas ter 1 (36-1) 375-6451, www.aranyszarvas.hu, In Buda near the river, it was the second best restaurant, we also try Fatal it was good but too much to eat and too much noise, and Karpatia also good but too much for tourist, the best restaurant was near Budapest in Szentendre (about 20 Km.), the Aranysarkany Vedeglo, Tel: +36-83-340-832 , +36-83-340-839, www.aranysarkany.hu, little artist town near Budapest.

We try other, but these were the best. We return enloved with the city.

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Going to Budapest for 6 days and I'll be wandering around the city by myself during the day while my philosopher husband talks about quantum computers to other philosophers of science.

  I run a farmers market in Washington DC and want to see  local farmers markets in Budapest,  excellent bakeries for great bread and  pastry shops for  Hungarian dessert I once tasted in Montreal in a Hungarian pastry shop  == it was called  Dobos, I believe, a chocolate dream plus other specialty food shops or kiosks or markets or stalls.

And yes, good places to eat  (NOT Gundel, not downtown tourist traps).

Would also be interested in advice about going to the wine areas  -- how far away by train?

And places that any Hungarian out there thinks I should definitely not miss.  (Including getting on a bus/tram/train and going to a nearby town.)

Thanks.

Robin

If you can make it to Eger do go. I was there 6 years ago and had great time. The wine festivals are in September and you can try some very nice bottles that I have never seen in America. We had dinner in a hotel patio on the main square and had some ot the best trout I've ever tasted. I recall a farmers market in the town as well. Take a walk to the vinyards and you'll find lots heurigen-like places to just sit and sip wine. The town does get quite full during this time so you may want to make a day trip, especially if you have accomidations in Budapest.

We took a train from Budapest. It wasn't too bad but there weren't many people who spoke English so there were some tense moments. Hopefully things are a bit more self-explanitory now.

There are also wine festivals in Budapest in September which are quite fun. I'll look back through my notes and try and fnd out where we ate in Budapest.

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The tourist books will send you to the Vamhaz Piac (market is piac - "pee-atz") in Pest next to the Petofi Bridge, which is not really a farmer's market at all. Better to take the #7 bus (the red 7 is an express bus) all the way out to the end of the line at Bosznyak ter, get off the bus, and follow the people there into the brick building, which reveals a huge market, especially on Saturday mornings. The back part of the market is where local peasants (we don't really have "farmers...") sell produce, including home made bacon and bootleg brandy. The ladies in folk costume are usually from the Slovak minority villages just east of Pest.

Other markets are at Hunyadi ter (ter=square) near Oktagon station and Rakoczi ter near Blaha lujza station. In Buda there is the Szena ter piac right behind the Moszkva ter metrio and the Mammut shopping center, but it is a bit upscale and chi-chi, not very farmer's market style. On Thurdays there is an organic farmers' market in front of Marczibanyi ter Culture House about ten minutes walk from Moszkva ter.

Dobos torte you can find everywhere, but for the best creme cakes (kremes) go to the Auguszt Cukraszda on Rakoczi utca near downtown Pest's shopping area. The real best cake bakery is the Perity ("peritch) next to the Kossuth movie theater on Vaci ut next to the Westend City shopping ceneter (not the downtown shopping street called Vaci utca.) It used to be located next to the Muvesz Coffeehouse near the Opera, and supplies all of their pastries and cakes.

Good places to eat? Check the listings at www.pestiside.com, a local blog in english. Alas, a lot of us foreign residents feel that good eating has gone downhill in recent years as prices rise and chefs wages don't. (I used to chef at a cafe in Pest.) When I go out I tend to go to the Casztro Bisztro for the Serbian grilled meat or the gulyas. It is very difficult to find an honest, genuine, gulyas soup in town anymore...

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Great timing - wil be in Budapest for 6 days end Sep - early Oct.

Robin - would love to hear about the markets you visited and places you ate at.

zaelic - you mentioned on another forum (have been trawling through this board, other forums and sites for Budapest restaurant recommendations), a pub called Wichmann at the corner of Kiraly and Szekely utca that hasn't got a signboard but has the best home cooking as the owner's mother cooks a very limited home-style menu not found in regular restaurants - the post was some years back - is this still open?

Thanks

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I'll have to check on Wichmann's or give them a call. There has been a lot of construction on Kiraly utca and it may have closed temporarily. For home cooked meals, the best bets are out in the back neighborhoods of Pest - lunch at little "etkezde" restaurants - sadly these are becoming ever more rare. These restaurants used to be the choice for cheap lunches, but have been edged out by fast food, cheap chinese lunch joints (all of which are really miderably bad) and the rising costs of ingredients.

Still, do not pass a chance for luinch at Kadar Etkezde, on Klauzal ter in the Jewish Ghetto of Pest. Usually closed on Monday, and open from about 11AM to 3:30 pm. Great home style food with a Jewish angle - lots of goose dishes, like the goose risotto cooked with huge goose wings. Friday is "solet" day (the hungarian pronounciation of the yiddish "cholent".) (Be aware that the solet probably has smoked pork meat in it. If you want home style Kosher food go to the Hanna restaurant down the street on Kazinzcy utca, in the courtyard of the Orthodox Synagogue. Really bad food... absolutely authentic!)

It isn't fancy. Go no later than 1 pm, before the good specials start running out. Dishes are pretty cheap - it is really hard to spend more than US$6 on a meal. You may share a table, you may find the service ritual confusing (you pay by telling the owner what you ate, how much bread, and how many glasses of seltzer you served yourself. Remember to personally tip your waitress!) But you will go back the next day.

Edited by zaelic (log)
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Remember to personally tip your waitress

To clarify further, the norm for payment and tipping in Hungary is as follows:

the waiter and waitress carries a purse or wears a money belt. When you are told the price of the meal, you work out mentally on the spot how much you are going to tip, add it to the bill, and then tell the waitress or waiter that you are going to give them that sum. I.e. rather than leaving a tip on the table as in the US, payment and tip are handed over as a lump sum, and you make it clear verbally either that this is the amount you are giving, or you specify the amount of change that you desire.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well,

I just returned from Budapest, where I spent 5 days. I was lucky enough to be there during the wine festival and enjoyed almost every wine I tried. Amazingly Hungary growns some great Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cab, but are most known for Tokaji Azu (the sweet version) but I prefered the dry Tokaji.

As for pastries, they have a delicious variety of savory pastries with various stuffings like mushrooms or bacon. They also make something similar to a Sicilian pizza and fry a piece of dough and top it with garlic, sour cream and cheese. Paprika and peppers accompany almost everything. Try the paprika sausages.

As for restaurants, I was not overly impressed, but liked the following:

Pest Side

Cyrano - A small restaurant with great food and a chic setting. Michelin rated.

Spoon - This is a stationary riverboat, with good food and a great view of the Buda Palace.

100 Yr Restaurant - I have not been to this place personally, but some of my colleagues said they liked it. Great wine list.

Fatal - Down to earth, hungarian version of meat and potatoes cusine. Order the beef bouillon with bone marrow. The potatoes accompanying my Farmers pan were just amazing.

There are many hotels on the Pest side by the Danube, which serve excellent cusine. Most of my lunches were catered by the Marriot and I was pleasently suprized by the quality and taste of their cusine.

Buda Side

Fortuna - Next to the Castle and the Hilton hotel. Nice, but not great, though some dishes stood out, such as the wild duck soup with smoked quail egg.

A few pics of the wine festival at the castle and what I ordered at the restaurants:

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The closest thing I found to a farmers market was the City Market Hall.

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Hope this helps and feel free to post further questions or email me.

Cheers

Percy

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