While some people find it magical when the first winter breeze blows through the trees, others are less enthusiastic about the coldest season. One thing is for sure: we all appreciate warm food and drinks on a chilly day.
In Budapest chances are high that no matter which part of the city you are at, you’ll pass by stands that sell body and heart-warming delicacies. If you don’t want to leave it to chance, our bucket list of winter gastro must-haves will help you locate them easily.
Mulled wine, roasted chestnut, strudel
Do you desire the closeness of nature? Believe it or not, a buzzing capital city like Budapest has its green areas too! Take a hike in tranquil Normafa that provides you with an awe-inspiring view of the surrounding area, and visit the Elizabeth Lookout Tower for a wonderful panorama. In case you would feel hungry or cold, get yourself a mug of mulled wine, roasted chestnut or a delicious strudel!
Catfish fillet, walnut/poppy seed roll
At self-professed “island of tranquillity”, Rosenstein restaurant, you can recharge your spiritual batteries while feasting on nostalgia-flavoured fish dishes: a third of the dozen fish-based offers featured on the menu are soups, with three of them made of carp, and the fourth one prepared with catfish fillet. For the complete culinary experience, order a true Christmas treat, walnut/poppy seed roll that we call bejgli!
Very close to the entrance of metro line M3’s Arany János utca stop, within walking distance of Deák Ferenc tér, Retro Lángos is open 24/7 awaiting admirers of the Hungarian flat bread day and night. Served hot, lángos is our pride and joy, a savoury street food best with sour cream and grated cheese. Believe us when we say that munching on it on a cold day is the best thing you can do.
Instead of hanging candy canes on the Christmas tree, we Hungarian use szaloncukor (parlour candy) as decoration. And when it comes to a marzipan filling, Szamos knows best. The repertoire is as colourful as the tinfoil wrapped around each candy, with flavours such as marzipan and sour cherry, orange, black currant, chocolate, and many more.
Blood sausage, mákos guba
Known for its always fresh meat dishes and signature pig-killing meals, Belvárosi Disznótoros is another spot in the city where you can get familiar with Hungary’s Christmassy flavours. If you aren’t afraid of experimenting with something new, give blood sausage and Hungarian sausage a try. From the dessert section, order mákos guba aka poppy seed bread pudding, it’s a choice you won’t regret.
It’s not without reason that our sweet and delightful Hungaricum is known in and outside of Hungary. Originating from Seklerland (a former part of the Kingdom of Hungary), chimney cake is a classic hot dessert you can warm yourself up with while walking around the Christmas Fair, for instance. You can taste-test Vitéz Kürtős’s traditional flavours and special combinations at Vörösmarty tér.
Wesselényi utca’s Gettó Gulyás restaurant is the perfect place for those longing for a genuinely Hungarian dining experience. There you’ll find everything a typical Hungarian meal consists of, including goulash, of course. Not only will it sate your appetite but know that the secret to warm your fingers and toes might actually lie in a bowl of soup.
Somlói sponge cake, plum-almond rolls
Christmas without desserts is like a birthday without cake, hence we recommend you a must-visit patisserie. Opened by pastry maker Béla Daubner in 1901, Daubner confectionery’s desserts are out of this world. Prepare to be spoilt for choice, follow our guidance: Daubner’s festive plum-almond rolls, the E-80 cake and the somlói sponge cake are all insanely good.