Top 10 - New Wave/ Trendy Cafés

#1: Kelet Café  —  $$$$$

Kelet is an all-purpose café and bar, and one of the reasons that new life is breathing into the neighborhood.

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district 11

#2: Kontakt  —  $$$$$

The interior of Kontakt could be mistaken for a Brooklyn café, with new-wave specialty coffee, heavily bearded staff, and people busy typing away on their smartphones.

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district 05

#3: STIKA Budapest  —  $$$$$

Many places have tried to emulate the “hip café” concept in Budapest. But STIKA, this pocket-sized space in District 7, is the first to get it exactly right.

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district 07

#4: Madal Espresso & Brew  —  $$$$$

Madal serves outstanding new-wave coffee in the center of downtown and, hands down, it has one of the friendliest services you will find in the city.

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district 05

#5: Espresso Embassy  —  $$$$$

New-wave coffee, fancy brewing equipment, and attractive Millennials typing away on their Macs at Espresso Embassy.

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district 05

#6: Sarki fűszeres  —  $$$$$

Sarki Fűszeres is a closet-size, partially outdoor café along the upscale Pozsonyi út and one of the best kept secrets in Budapest.

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district 13

#7: Printa  —  $$$$$

Printa was one of the first stores in Budapest that figured out that selling new-wave coffee alongside Hungarian designer products can be a winning combination.

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district 07

#8: Fekete  —  $$$$$

The pre-war marble well in the courtyard is one of those Budapest surprises behind sooty facades, and definitely the place for your morning coffee at Fekete.

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district 05

#9: My Little Melbourne  —  $$$$$

My Little Melbourne was one of the first cafés to bring A+ quality specialty coffee to Budapest, resulting in a cult following that still continues to surround it.

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district 07

#10: The Goat Herder - Espresso Bar  —  $$$$$

What's this stylish café (The Goat Herder) full of foreign students doing in the sleepy outer part of District 7 inhabited mostly by working class locals?

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district 07

Top 6 - Trendy Breakfast Places

#1: STIKA Budapest  —  $$$$$

Many places have tried to emulate the “hip café” concept in Budapest. But STIKA, this pocket-sized space in District 7, is the first to get it exactly right.

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district 07

#2: Sarki fűszeres  —  $$$$$

Sarki Fűszeres is a closet-size, partially outdoor café along the upscale Pozsonyi út and one of the best kept secrets in Budapest.

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district 13

#3: Fekete  —  $$$$$

The pre-war marble well in the courtyard is one of those Budapest surprises behind sooty facades, and definitely the place for your morning coffee at Fekete.

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district 05

#4: Zoska Reggeliző Kávézó  —  $$$$$

Before Zoska, Pest didn't really have places specialized for breakfast food, even though we all know what a difference a plate of well-prepared scrambled eggs can make.

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district 05

#5: Szimply  —  $$$$$

Szimply is a closet-size breakfast-all-day place in the charming cobble-stoned inner courtyard of a pre-war building.

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district 05

#6: Gerlóczy Cafe  —  $$$$$

Gerlóczy Café is a French-stlye café/bistro tucked away in an unexpectedly serene and charming corner in the middle of downtown.

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district 05

Top 6 - Casual Breakfast Places

#1: Csiga Café  —  $$$$$

Csiga Café is a buzzing bistro at the entrance of the newly cool part of Pest in District 8.

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district 08

#2: Csendes Társ  —  $$$$$

Csendes Társ is an outdoor-only downtown café and an island of peace and quiet within the hustle and bustle of the city.

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district 05

#3: Jedermann  —  $$$$$

Far from the throngs clogging District 7, Jedermann is a locals' favorite jazz-infused bistro with live music.

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district 09

#4: Kino Cafe Mozi  —  $$$$$

Kino is a relaxed café with outstanding breakfast-all-day offering inside the ticketing area of a movie theater set along the Grand Boulevard.

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district 13

#5: Lumen Kávézó  —  $$$$$

For those who want to avoid the heavily touristed streets of the Jewish Quarter but still get a cup of new-wave coffee in a hip neighborhood, Lumen is your spot.

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district 08

#6: Farger Kávézó  —  $$$$$

Highly touristy areas tend to bring the worst out of the local service industry, but Farger, located near the Parliament, is a welcome exception to the rule.

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district 05

Top 6 - Restaurants with Modern Hungarian Food

#1: Borkonyha  —  $$$$$

Among the top tier restaurants in Budapest, Borkonyha, with a Michelin star, is one of the few with a relatively laid-back, comfortably formal atmosphere.

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district 05

#2: Olimpia Vendéglő  —  $$$$$

You need to trek out to a working class neighborhood to experience the surprisingly delicious, elaborate meals prepared by the 25-year-old executive chef at Olimpia.

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district 07

#3: Zeller Bistro  —  $$$$$

The sum of the parts make the experience at Zeller a special one.

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district 07

#4: Klassz  —  $$$$$

Klassz is the type of safe-bet restaurant recommendation you would give to acquaintances visiting your city, being certain that it won't disappoint.

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district 06

#5: TÁBLA  —  $$$$$

TÁBLA, a closet-sized, lunch-only space at the edge of the Jewish quarter, occupies the territory between fine dining and a casual restaurant.

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district 07

#6: Chablon Bistro  —  $$$$$

Chablon Bistro is a truly hidden gem buried in a basement, where the chef learned the tricks of the trade at some of the finest restaurants in the city.

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district 06

Top 7 - Places with Traditional Hungarian Food

#1: Café Kör  —  $$$$$

With a quaint atmosphere of the pre-war gastro scenery of Budapest, Café Kör serves classic Hungarian dishes that bring out the best of traditional Hungarian cuisine.

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district 05

#2: Menza Étterem és Kávézó  —  $$$$$

The dishes at Menza are centered around traditional local staples and prepared with such consistency that they would make any Hungarian grandmother blush.

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district 06

#3: Belvárosi Disznótoros  —  $$$$$

Belvárosi Disznótoros, a duly popular self-service type eatery, serves a dizzying array of freshly prepared traditional meat-heavy dishes.

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district 05

#4: Séf utcája  —  $$$$$

A leading Hungarian chef ventured out on his own to make traditional Hungarian dishes prepared with his own twist at affordable prices at Séf Utcája.

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district 05

#5: Gettó Gulyás  —  $$$$$

The name of Getto Gulyas makes its culinary priorities clear - the short menu features the heart of Magyar cuisine.

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district 07

#6: Buja Disznó(k)  —  $$$$$

Make sure you come to Buja Disznó(k) hungry otherwise the odds of you finishing these oversized pork schnitzels with a side of cold potato salad are not in your favor.

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district 05

#7: Mangalica Mennyország  —  $$$$$

Amid closed storefronts you will find Mangalica Mennyország, an eatery/butcher shop, that makes it worth popping in for the mangalica-based lunch prix fixe.

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district 07

Top 8 - Retro Eateries

#1: Városház Snack  —  $$$$$

The type self-service/take-out lunch venue of Városház Snack was popular during communist times, but now they are nearing extinction. Go before it’s too late.

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district 05

#2: Kádár Étkezde  —  $$$$$

If you wonder what everyday dining was like during communism, look no further and visit Kádár Étkezde.

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district 07

#3: Tera Magyar Konyhája  —  $$$$$

Many local residents can be found at Tera Magyar Konyhája, a diner with traditional dishes in Újlipótváros, a must-visit neighborhood not usually on visitors' radars.

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district 13

#4: Öcsi étkezde  —  $$$$$

At Öcsi Étkezde, Erzsi, the driving force behind the kitchen since the 1980s, occasionally pops into the dining area with cilantro-covered hands to chat with regulars.

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district 08

#5: Frici Papa Kifőzdéje  —  $$$$$

Those in search of the lost communist-era dining scene won't be disappointed at Frici Papa Kifőzdéje.

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district 07

#6: Akácfa Étkezde  —  $$$$$

Neighborhood Roma and office workers alike line up for outstanding home-made Hungarian flavors from the bizarrely decorated Akácfa Étkezde diner.

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district 07

#7: Retro Büfé- lángos, palacsintázó  —  $$$$$

Lángos, a popular Hungarian specialty is the area of expertise at Retro Büfé, a tiny communist-era kiosk.

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district 05

#8: Balla-Hús  —  $$$$$

Balla-Hús, one of the few remaining independent butcher shops downtown, serves delicious sausage omelettes for breakfast (for €2) and various meat-heavy dishes for lunch.

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district 05

Top 10 - Trendy Dinner Places

#1: Mazel Tov  —  $$$$$

Mazel Tov is for people who like the ruin bar concept in theory, but prefer things more upscale.

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district 07

#2: Kiosk  —  $$$$$

Kiosk is a trendy bistro in the heart of Budapest that has two things going for it.

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district 05

#3: Liberté  —  $$$$$

The prices are on the higher end, but the Hungarian-influenced culinary essentials and a highly-invested interior at Liberté can make it worthwhile.

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district 05

#4: Vintage Garden  —  $$$$$

Vintage Garden is a (over)designed trendy restaurant with a shabby chic interior and stylish waitstaff in the buzzing District 7.

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district 07

#5: Vicky Barcelona  —  $$$$$

Skepticism is in order when you go to Gozsdu Udvar, aka tourist central of Budapest. This lively tapas bar, however, will not disappoint those in search of a trendy spot.

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district 07

#6: Spíler  —  $$$$$

Spíler is a trendy and crowded bistro inside the pulsating evening hangout spot with loud music, cool décor, and good-looking waiters.

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district 07

#7: Gettó Gulyás  —  $$$$$

The name of Getto Gulyas makes its culinary priorities clear - the short menu features the heart of Magyar cuisine.

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district 07

#8: Esetleg bisztro  —  $$$$$

After a long day of sightseeing tourists tend to find much-needed relief at Esetleg to wind down with cocktails, decent food, and splendid views.

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district 09

#9: Oriental Soup House  —  $$$$$

Oriental Soup House serves outstanding Vietnamese food in a trendy space and an under-the-radar neighborhood.

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district 13

#10: Padron  —  $$$$$

One can't fail to pick up on the clues that a family business is busy at work in Padron: mother taking orders, son serving food, and father behind the bar of course.

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district 08

Top 9 - Fine Dining Restaurants

#1: Borkonyha  —  $$$$$

Among the top tier restaurants in Budapest, Borkonyha, with a Michelin star, is one of the few with a relatively laid-back, comfortably formal atmosphere.

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district 05

#2: Kollázs Brasserie & Bar (Four Seasons Hotel)  —  $$$$$

Even if you're on a tight budget, try to stop by at Kollázs, a brasserie, to experience the exclusive grandeur and panoramic vista of this art nouveau building.

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district 05

#3: Costes Downtown  —  $$$$$

Costes Downtown is a well-deserved addition to the Michelin-starred restaurants of Budapest. ’Nuff said.

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district 05

#4: MÁK bistro  —  $$$$$

The good news is that the food is on par with the Michelin star restaurants in the city, even though MÁK bistro hasn’t yet joined the club.

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district 05

#5: La Perle Noire  —  $$$$$

The kitchen at La Perle Noire is run by two heavyweights (one of whom came from a Michelin-starred restaurant), which is obvious as soon as the dishes arrive.

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district 06

#6: Fausto’s Ristorante  —  $$$$$

Fausto’s Ristorante serves, hands down, the finest and most expensive Italian food in Hungary.

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district 07

#7: Petrus Restaurant  —  $$$$$

Petrus is a top-notch French bistro in the sleepy and still gritty outer part of District 9 with an inventive owner-chef.

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district 09

#8: Prime Steak & Wine  —  $$$$$

Prime, a chic downtown steakhouse is in-line with the top steakhouses around the world. Go for the szürkemarha filet mignon for a depth of flavor one rarely experiences.

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district 05

#9: Baraka Restaurant & Lounge  —  $$$$$

Baraka is a top-notch fine dining restaurant in the center of the city with Far Eastern and European cuisines, infused with Hungarian culinary essentials.

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district 05

Top 5 - Trendy Outdoor Bars

#1: 360 Bar  —  $$$$$

At 360 Bar trendy locals peppered with tourists tend to sip pricey cocktails at a rooftop lounge along the upscale Andrássy Avenue.

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district 06

#2: Kiosk  —  $$$$$

Kiosk is a trendy bistro in the heart of Budapest that has two things going for it.

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district 05

#3: Esetleg bisztro  —  $$$$$

After a long day of sightseeing tourists tend to find much-needed relief at Esetleg to wind down with cocktails, decent food, and splendid views.

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district 09

#4: DiVino  —  $$$$$

At DiVino wine bar you can sip a glass of fine Hungarian red while overlooking the picture-postcard view of the Basilica.

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district 05

#5: Jónás Craft Beer House  —  $$$$$

The obvious advantage of Jónás Craft Beer House, a partially outdoor beer bar, is that while sipping your craft beer, you can marvel at the panoramic vista of the Danube.

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district 09

Top 5 - Casual Outdoor Bars

#1: Csendes Társ  —  $$$$$

Csendes Társ is an outdoor-only downtown café and an island of peace and quiet within the hustle and bustle of the city.

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district 05

#2: Kőleves Kert  —  $$$$$

Kőleves Kert is one of those summertime treasures in the form of a laid-back, all-welcoming outdoor bar in a spacious backyard.

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district 07

#3: Kertem  —  $$$$$

Kertem doesn’t try to be more than what it is - a lively outdoor bar.

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district 14

#4: Pántlika Bisztró  —  $$$$$

Pántlika is an outdoor bistro tucked away in the peaceful end of the City Park, making it an inviting destination following a stroll through Andrássy Avenue.

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district 14

#5: Bambi Eszpresszó  —  $$$$$

If you're looking to immerse yourself in an old school, lively, communist-era neighborhood bar in Buda, Bambi Eszpresszó should be high on the list.

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district 02

Top 6 - Italian Restaurants

#1: Pomo D'oro  —  $$$$$

Pomo D'oro is the iconic Italian restaurant of Budapest that somehow managed to sustain high quality food and professional service since 2002.

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district 05

#2: Ristorante Krizia  —  $$$$$

Ristorante Krizia is a popular lunch destination for Italians living in Budapest - an Italian restaurant hardly needs a better reference than that.

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district 06

#3: Fausto’s Ristorante  —  $$$$$

Fausto’s Ristorante serves, hands down, the finest and most expensive Italian food in Hungary.

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district 07

#4: Al Dente  —  $$$$$

Italian chatter is filtering through the open kitchen at Al Dente - too rare and a highly welcome phenomenon for an Italian restaurant.

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district 08

#5: Caffee GianMario  —  $$$$$

A charming man in his 60s, wearing a cut wool jacket and a smile on his face that hints of a life well lived, is usually in charge of greeting guests at Caffee GianMario.

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district 06

#6: TG Italiano  —  $$$$$

TG Italiano is one of those places you pick when you don't feel like leaving the highly touristed downtown areas but want to avoid the tourist traps.

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district 05

Top 10 - Bohemian Bars

#1: Kisüzem  —  $$$$$

Those looking to debate Hungarian political history will find themselves at home in Kisüzem, a bar where regulars consist of the local intelligentsia/artist communities.

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district 07

#2: Dzzs Bár  —  $$$$$

Stopping by at Dzzs Bár on a late night feels like being at the house party of your rowdiest friend.

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district 07

#3: Kék Ló  —  $$$$$

Kék Ló is a hidden gem of a bar combined with a pop-up boutique located outside the main tourist zones offering welcome additions to the standard ruin bar repertoire.

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district 08

#4: Lumen Kávézó  —  $$$$$

For those who want to avoid the heavily touristed streets of the Jewish Quarter but still get a cup of new-wave coffee in a hip neighborhood, Lumen is your spot.

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district 08

#5: Gólya  —  $$$$$

A spirit of healthy anarchy radiates from Gólya, a bar-slash-community center located a bit outside the city center.

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district 08

#6: Fekete Kutya  —  $$$$$

Despite Fekete Kutya’s location alarmingly near the chaos of Kazinczy Street, this dimly lit bar has an authentic atmosphere and a predominantly local clientele.

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district 07

#7: Macska  —  $$$$$

Macska is the type of neighborhood bar we all want to have outside our doors, alas, they are few and far between.

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district 08

#8: Pótkulcs  —  $$$$$

Pótkulcs is a hidden bar inside a former light engineering workshop with a setting that caters to deeply philosophical conversations, accompanied by your evening drink.

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district 06

#9: Úri Muri  —  $$$$$

Úri Muri is the bar to be if you want to hang out with the next generation of Hungarian actors and actresses.

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district 07

#10: Hintaló Iszoda  —  $$$$$

Hintaló Iszoda is a lively retro-designed bar located a bit outside the comfort zone.

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district 08

Top 7 - Retro Bars

#1: Bambi Eszpresszó  —  $$$$$

If you're looking to immerse yourself in an old school, lively, communist-era neighborhood bar in Buda, Bambi Eszpresszó should be high on the list.

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district 02

#2: Wichmann  —  $$$$$

Wichmann is a must-see. This dimly lit, grungy bar has been around since 1987, way before Kazinczy Street and District 7 became popular.

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district 07

#3: Ibolya Espresso  —  $$$$$

Ibolya, a relic from the socialist era, is a popular stopover among locals for watching soccer and fueling up on toasted ham and cheese sandwiches smothered by ketchup.

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district 05

#4: Villányi Borozó  —  $$$$$

The “villányi” in the name is tongue-in-cheek, since the wine they serve in this socialist-era neighborhood bar is hardly the premium stuff from the Villány region.

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district 05

#5: Grinzingi Borozó  —  $$$$$

The formula for success at Grinzingi, an unpretentious wine bar, is simple: serve cheap drinks in the center of a city otherwise crowded with tourist traps.

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district 05

#6: Tóth Kocsma  —  $$$$$

Visiting Tóth Kocsma, a good honest no-frills basement bar is the ultimate immersion into everyday Hungarian life.

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district 05

#7: Krúdy Söröző  —  $$$$$

The patrons of Krúdy bar? Penniless college students, construction workers, and the occasional aging regular, weary from a decades-long, pálinka-infused stupor.

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district 08

Top 10 - Places with No Tourists

#1: Café inside the Szabó Ervin Library  —  $$$$$

Visit the café inside the Szabó Ervin library to marvel at the interior of this former-mansion-turned-library, which is a must-see.

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district 08

#2: Csirke csibész  —  $$$$$

Construction workers and white collar employees alike line up for the notorious chicken sandwiches at lunchtime at Csirke Csibész.

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district 06

#3: Tera Magyar Konyhája  —  $$$$$

Many local residents can be found at Tera Magyar Konyhája, a diner with traditional dishes in Újlipótváros, a must-visit neighborhood not usually on visitors' radars.

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district 13

#4: Műterem Kávézó  —  $$$$$

Flaky almond croissants, fresh orange juice, and new wave coffee are just three of the reasons to visit Műterem Kávézó in the “Harlem of Budapest”.

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district 08

#5: Építészpince  —  $$$$$

Take some time to absorb the view from the inner courtyard of Építészpince: ivy-covered facades, cube stone patterns, symmetrically curved staircases.

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district 08

#6: Műhely Egyetem Café  —  $$$$$

Műhely Egyetem is an eccentric little café in the basement of the largest university in Budapest with breakfast offerings and lunch prix fixe.

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district 08

#7: Gólya  —  $$$$$

A spirit of healthy anarchy radiates from Gólya, a bar-slash-community center located a bit outside the city center.

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district 08

#8: Mélypont Presszó  —  $$$$$

Highly amortized pieces of socialist interior design will await you at Mélypont Presszó, a cavernous underground bar on one of the most charming streets in Budapest.

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district 05

#9: Zsiga bár  —  $$$$$

Think of Zsiga Bár, this bizarrely decorated tiny café/bar as the gateway to a different, albeit no less exciting world outside the comforts of the Grand Boulevard.

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district 08

#10: Keret Klub  —  $$$$$

Keret Klub, a bohemian bar in a deserted side street in District 8, offers additional perks besides the prohibition-era atmosphere.

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district 08
Rankings are based on a combination of food/drink, ambiance, service, interior design, location, and price.