The Favorite Budapest Places of a Transportation Guru

Photo: Dávid Nyitrai

When it comes to finally transforming Budapest into a 21st-century city — greener, cleaner, more pedestrian and public transportation friendly — perhaps no one has done more than Dávid Vitézy. As head of both the Budapest Development Center (Budapest Fejlesztési Központ) and the Museum of Transport, he juggles many projects with enviable energy, keeping an eye on what’s happening beyond Hungary’s borders and educating the public about the way forward.

Which neighborhood do you like to hang out in?

I enjoy the Buda side of the city, especially the central parts: everything from the heart of District 12 and Böszörményi út to Városmajor park, Széll Kálmán tér, Víziváros, and the currently revitalizing Margit-negyed.

Where do you usually go for coffee or a drink?

For coffee, I like My Little Melbourne on Madách tér. I started going there when I worked at the nearby BKK (Center for Budapest Transport) and I still return when I’m in the neighborhood. For fröccs, last summer I often visited Kertem within the future home of the Museum of Transport where we also hosted a pop-up exhibit. We’ll have a similar setup this coming summer. 

Is there a lowkey restaurant you like to drop in for a quick meal?

Unfortunately, many of my favorite places shuttered because of the pandemic. Recently, I’ve been going to 101, a cool Taiwanese spot on Széll Kálmán tér which can stand up to any comparable restaurant around the world.

How about for a sitdown dinner?

Rosenstein. It serves the best Central European homestyle Jewish dishes in Budapest. They remind me of my great-grandmother’s cooking.

What are some places you visit to see local art?

Amid Bartók Béla Boulevard’s cafés and restaurants, one can unearth many treasurers at the local galleries. In addition, the National Gallery, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Ludwig Museum offer world-class art in Budapest.

What are some recent developments in Budapest fans of urban design might enjoy while in Budapest?

The just-opened House of Music is a highly welcome addition to the city. The inner District 7 has become a much better place since they reduced car traffic. I was sorry to see the old Dürer Kert go but its current venue in southern Buda is a boost to the neighborhood. The new park, Széllkapu, near Millenáris, is already bustling with activity and it ushered in much-needed green space to this part of Budapest.

What tip would you give for Budapest visitors to get the most out of their time in the city?

They should venture out from the inner city of Pest and explore the Buda side too, even beyond the Castle Hill. Using public transportation, which is very safe, they can discover all parts of Budapest and also become part of the city’s everyday life.