Let me see those reviews.
Miscellaneous advice on living in
If you are new to this guide, please read the following introduction first, as it will help you to use the guide more effectively.
I am no longer attempting to
keep this guide current. However, many people still write to me to
tell me it is useful, so I will leave it up. If you write to me with
suggested additions, I may add them eventually.
While studying in Budapest, Hungary in the spring of 1997 with the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics (BSM) program, I tried quite a few different restaurants. Some I just happened across, but most I visited on the recommendation of Hungarians I met, or of friends of mine from the same program. I wrote this restaurant guide with future BSM students particularly in mind, but hope it will be useful to anyone searching for a good meal in Budapest.
Since much of my audience is located in Europe, where the internet connections tend to be slower than here in the USA, I have tried to keep this page fairly simple, and mostly text-based. I have included some photos, but those are all linked to from the main pages.
The prices I quote here are meant to be a rough guide. Since inflation is high in Hungary, expect the prices to rise accordingly. Most of the entries in this guide are ones I wrote in 1997, but some have been added more recently. Each entry is annotated with a date, to help you determine how current the information is. Moreover, this will also help you interpret the prices. Here are the exchange rates between the US dollar (USD) and Hungarian forint (HUF, or Ft.) at various points in time. When I arrived at the end of January, 1997, a dollar bought 163 Ft; when I departed at the beginning of that June, a dollar bought 180 Ft. When I revisited Budapest in May, 1999 the exchange rate was 1 USD = 236 Ft. As of July 1, 2000 the exchange rate was 1 USD = 273 Ft. You can learn the present exchange rate by clicking here.
In Hungary, tax is included in the menu prices, but the tip is not. The standard tip is 10 percent. The waiter never brings your bill until you request it. Once you request the bill, someone will bring it to you and collect your money, including the tip. The person who does this will often be someone other than your waiter. Never leave the money on the table.
For another source of restaurant reviews, look at the Budapest Sun or Budapest Week, the two main English language weeklies, both of which come out on Thursday. I have heard rumor that the Budapest Week is now available only online, but I do not know this for sure.
For purposes of orientation, the Danube runs roughly north to south. Since none of the streets run exactly north-south or east-west, I will often indicate a direction as upstream, downstream, toward or away from the Danube, even when describing a place not within view of the river. The part of the city on the east bank is Pest, and on the west bank is Buda. North of Buda is a section called O'buda.
A good map is a must. I found that an uncluttered map that leaves some streets unlabelled, does NOT show the bus and tram lines, and is easily folded and unfolded is the most useful for finding your way around on foot. The City Flash brand map (made by Rand McNally) is good for this, and is widely available in the United States. Since it is easy to read and folds only in one direction, one can peek at it discreetly without identifying oneself to pickpockets and panhandlers as a tourist. You should supplement this with a Budapest transit map produced by BKV, the Budapest transit authority. See the miscellaneous tips page for more information.
Note that I have included here mostly places to try but also some places to avoid, so read the description before seeking out the restaurant!
Types of streets:
Since I do not get back to Budapest very often
(only one visit since I lived there in spring 1997), the only way for me
to update this guide is for you to help me! If you find that a restaurant
listed here has closed or moved, please tell me. And please also
write to tell me about any of your favorite places you would like me to
add, including directions and a brief description, and an address if you
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Copyright Aaron Archer, 2000.