Here are a few things you could do in Budapest or in the vicinity of Budapest. Again, this is a very subjective
view, other people might give you different recommendations.
Places to eat
Most foreigners want to try Hungarian Gulash (gulyás) while they are here because this is the traditional food of the herdsmen in the Hungarian plains. Naturally, today most of us are not ranching anymore and we do not eat gulash on a daily basis. But, being a tourist, you really should try it once.
Hungarians express their hospitality by feeding you meat. Most tourist places would give you a large selection of various dishes made of pork, beef and poultry. Many tourists are shocked both visually and metabolically by such quantities of protein. Still, if you like this, the best place would be the restaurant called Fatál (Vaci u. 67). This pessimistic name simply means "Wooden Plate" in Hungarian, but the plates do look fatal. I personally like their Tex-Mex ribs but, again, you are there to eat gulash and other traditional Hungarian food.
In the last couple of years, a number of all you can eat restaurants have opened. I believe that these are perhaps the best places for a visitor because you can see in advance what you are venturing to eat. I prefer the Mongolian Barbeque restaurant (XII. Márvány utca 19a, Tel: 212 1859) which has nothing to do with Mongolia. They have good Hungarian soups and desserts. The only backdraw is the quality of the service but, as a visitor, you should experience this side of Hungary too. Make sure you reserve a talbe over the phone, they can be quite busy.
Another good place is a place called Pasta Dost (Rákóczi út 57) not far from the Keleti railway station. Despite its name, this is not an Italian restaurant. Food is good, drinks included.
And we should not miss perhaps the most celebrated restaurant in town called Gundel Restaurant (XIV, Állatkerti út 2, Tel: 321-3550). It is located near the Zoo in the City Park behind the Heroes Square. They have a Sunday brunch for about $25.- which a good price for such a famous restaurant. They have an unbelievable selection of good desserts.
Budapest from the inside
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Places to drink|
Although Hungarians love to drink, they mostly do this in the privacy of their home or in cheap stills located in basements. Of course, very few of these places are in the downtown area where you would see them. Bars and night clubs are really not the place where an ordinary Hungarian man would get drunk. If you go to places like this, you will meet fellow tourists and expats only. Not to say that this is not fun...
A good place to start would be For Sale (V., Vamhaz krt 2) right near the Liberty bridge and the Central Marketplace. This is a country-style pub with live music open until 2 am. To be honest, I have never been able to get a place in the bar where I would see the band.
Another choice is Pesti Est Cafe (VI., Liszt Ferenc ter, 5) not too far from the Opera House. Service is friendly, live piano music. Open until 2am.
Places to have fun
You can take a boat ride and see the night view of this city. This is a great thing to do and you can combine it with dinner as well. Of course, it is a very touristy thing to do but you should still do it. The view is astonishing.
You can get a night view from the Castle Hill too. If you take the cable car up, then you can walk all the way to the Matthias Church and then walk down to the foot of the hill. On a clear day, which would mean most of the days anyway, it is a wonderful walk.
As a thing to do you could take the surface rail from Batthanyi square (a metro station at the red line) to Szentendre. This is a small town a bit north of Budapest and has a nice selection of restaurants and cafes. You could also take the boat back to the city, instead of the rail. (In reality, Szentendre used to be a Serbian village, as it can still be seen from the several Orthodox churches around the town.)
Vacation rental in Budapest
Private accommodation in downtown Budapest right next to the Parliament.
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