Wooooof! It’s time to sniff out the coolest spots in Budapest (pronounced “BOO-DA-PESHT”). Summer has come to a close, but I can’t help but reminisce about those blazing hot experiences in Hungary. I would pant, pant, and PANT to offset the sticky heat and I often amaze myself (and humans) with a yorkie tongue so long that you could probably write out the intricate history of the city (or shall I say, two cities?), from the occupation of Celtics to the Romans to the Mongols to the Ottoman. Seriously, like a Guinness World Record-type tongue. Okay, maybe not THAT long. Whether you’re in Buda or in Pest, the heat will get to you with little you can do to escape (with the only real escape route is to stay indoors and spoil yourself with AC). As the top dog, I ensure my pack stays cool in the heat, and by that, I don’t necessarily mean temperature cool; I mean TOP DOG “cool.” Walk in the club like you own the place “cool.” Cream of the crop “cool.” So “cool” that the heat miraculously disappears from your mind. Here is my list of 10 Coolest Places in Budapest:
#1 Coolest Place in Budapest: BB’z Bar and Grill
Location: Kiraly utca 15.
Why it’s COOL: First (and foremost), it’s dog-friendly; and by dog-friendly, I really mean it. It’s beyond your average “I guess you can come in, but make sure you stay under the table (out of everyone’s sight)”; it’s more like, “ALL dogs are welcome! Please come in and make yourself at home.” Yep – you heard it right. I can simply walk into this joint with my tail curled upright and not have humans glare at me like I don’t belong. Second, not only is it a bar and grill, but it is also a great place to party the night away; it’s a great venue to put my paws to the pavement and bust some dance moves while the DJ plays my favorite old school jams (from the 80s and 90s). Third, they have fabulous food options, ranging from meatless burritos to “must guard and protect” meaty burgers. I even get VIP water service (not to mention an honorary blankey and chips) from my boy Gabor!
What my tail WAGS to: The Vegan and Carne Asada Burritos!
#2 Coolest Place in Budapest: Slow Foodiez
Location: Szondi u. 11
Why it’s COOL: When in Budapest, this is definitely my go-to SPOT: not only to devour a delicious lunch, but also to hang out while working. It’s colorful, stylish, young, and hip, yet far from pretentious. They have transformed traditional meaty dishes into worth-burying vegetarian (and even vegan) options, which comes in handy on my meatless travel days. AND again, it’s dog-friendly! I love blogging upstairs while enjoying a cup of coffee, dog-watching through the upstairs window, and devouring veggies like a real healthy dog.
What my tail WAGS to: Raw Vegan Sushi, Raw Foodie Veggie Wrap, Vegan Omelette, and Huxican Quesadilla.
#3 Coolest Place in Budapest: The Original Most Kortárs Bistro
Location: Zichy Jeno utca 17
Why it’s COOL: The menu is simply AMAZING! It’s diverse and offers traditional Hungarian meals, Indian dishes, and East Asian courses. It’s a true neighborhood favorite. The food here is spectacular, and by that, I mean – I’d stare it down, lick my chops repeatedly, and slowly (but surely) WILL IT to my mouth. Yes, all that intensity for one tasty bite of anything on the menu that I’ll literally slurp down in a second. CAUTION: OVER-sized yorkie portions! They also have one cool patio! If you are seriously trying to hide from the heat, this patio is a pretty safe bet; it is nicely covered with large umbrellas, wooden and brick walls, and rocks on the ground to create a somewhat rustic feel.
What my tail WAGS to: Egg Noodles (with vitamin salad) and Tandoori Chicken Mix.
#4 Coolest Place in Budapest: Pótkulcs
Location: Csengery u. 65b, 1067
Why it’s COOL: This is a unique spot for nightlife, branching away from your typical Budapest bar scene. If you hail from the Bay Area and miss the Berkeley-type vibe, this is right up your alley. While I’m far from being a hippie yorkie, I do love hidden gems and local spots; this is an untainted, marvelous nook that’s sweetly tucked away. You can relax in its laid-back outdoor patio, mingle with the down-to-earth locals and students, or hold hands and dance to soothing live music in the nook. The only problem you may have is finding the place; if you happen to come across a building covered with ivy and no apparent entrance, you have found the place. Just walk through the hidden door and savor the unforgettable experience.
What my tail WAGS to: Tasty drinks + wonderful music + earthy people = ONE AWESOME NIGHT.
#5 Coolest Place in Budapest: Paprika Vendéglő
Location: Dózsa György út 72, 1071
Why it’s COOL: I continue to dream about this Hungarian classic long after I left Budapest. Eating homemade goulash is a must while traveling throughout Central Europe, especially in Budapest. After sniffing (and marking) my way across this region of the continent, I stumbled across this treasure: my absolute favorite goulash! Want succulent, chops-licking brisket and appetizing veggies? Paprika Vendéglő is your answer. It’s a small, cozy restaurant with a charming, rustic setting in the Jewish Quarter. Goulash is a traditional slowly cooked stew that consists of meat, vegetables, noodles, and aromatic spices. This specific dish consisted of tender brisket, potatoes, carrots, and homemade noodles. All these ingredients were slowly cooked in a toothsome broth that was spiced to perfection. I will chew the oh-so-tender meat up into a billion pieces!
What my tail WAGS to: Bark no more, it’s all about the GOULASH!
#6 Coolest Place in Budapest: Incognito
Location: Liszt Ferenc tér 3, 1061
Why it’s COOL: It’s a love/hate vibe at Liszt Ferenc Square. Although I’m not that big on popular tourist areas, I have to give this place a big paws up; this vibrant restaurant with a modern twist sets off a very cooool, less touristic vibe at this bustling, pedestrian-friendly square. The reason why this place rocks is simple – quality food, fantastic drinks, fun atmosphere, and reasonable prices.
What my tail WAGS to: Want to get down and dirty your paws on traditional Hungarian meaty plates? Try my two favorites – Chicken Paprikash (with dumplings) and Plate with Traditional Hungarian dishes. (Yep, there is literally an item translated to “Plate with Traditional Hungarian dishes”; it comes with egg cream, hot “farm” sausage, “farm” ham, homemade smoked cheese, vegetables, and fresh-out-of-the-oven bread).
#7 Coolest Place in Budapest: Hummus Bar
Location: Hollan Erno utca 6
Why it’s COOL: Hummus Bar represents the hip new age of Middle Eastern restaurants in Europe: quick and efficient over-the-counter service with fresh, healthy food that makes you feel oh so GOOD. A light and simple atmosphere that makes you feel at ease while licking hummus off your plate. You will get a dynamic mix of hummus and olive oil in practically every single dish, hence its name to fame. They have a wide array of healthy vegetarian treats that will make any dog (big or small) growl, hover, and protect his goods!
What my tail WAGS to: Hummus Chicken Breast and Green Shaksuka!
#8 Coolest Place in Budapest: Spirit Thai Massage
Location: Váci u. 39, 1056
Why it’s COOL: Cool down and unwind by treating yourself to a classic Thai massage. After all that traveling and luggage hauling, your body really deserves it. Although most people flock to the thermal baths while in Budapest, I think I’ll avoid that option until the temperature cools off. I mean, the ultimate goal is find fun ways to cool off on these hot summer days. Budapest is certainly no Bangkok, but exceptional Thai massages are bountiful in the city (hear it from someone who has had his fair share of massages in Thailand). De-stress your body from all that traveling by having them stretch you in seemingly impossible, yet effective centuries-old yoga poses. Survive the immediate pain during the session to FEEL the heavenly relaxation for several days to follow.
What my tail WAGS to: The traditional 90-minute Thai massage.
#9 Coolest Place in Budapest: Kőleves kert
Location: Kazinczy u. 37, 1075
Why it’s COOL: On hot summer nights in Budapest, I like to drink generous pints of cold beer at this effervescent, colorful beer garden. It has a laid-back, yet lively vibe. This spot is no joke; it’s simply the real deal. Offering a variety of beers, including regional favorites, efficient bartenders don’t mess around as they quickly fill your glass up to the brim. Hungarians don’t joke around with their beers! Next time you’re in Budapest, avoid the overhyped, congested Szimpla Kert and order a few pints at this relaxing venue while spending the night dog-watching.
What my tail WAGS to: Pant no more… cold beers!
#10 Coolest Place in Budapest: Hannaróza Restaurant
Location: Iskola utca 29. 1011
Why it’s COOL: Nestled in the beautiful and historic Buda, Hannaróza boasts a variety of traditional Hungarian dishes that are worth digging up dirt for and burying away for a rainy day. Besides their famous csirkepaprikás nokedlivel, which is a chicken paprika dish served with soft homemade Hungarian noodles, what really makes this place cooler than cool is their freshly squeezed homemade lemonade; lightly sweetened, it is infused with huge chunks of lemon wedges and topped off with some mint leaves to make this drink a household name, especially on a scorching hot day.
What my tail WAGS to: Chicken Paprika, Beef Goulash, and of course, the thirst-quenching LEMONADE.
Get your paws movin’, but stay cool with the coolest places in Budapest! Want more recommendations? Check out my Destinations: Let’s Mark section!
Markin’ it up,
Roger Wellington a.k.a. The Doob