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Any recommendations for restaurants, cafes, spas, places to buy/taste palinkas, and so on, in Budapest? I would be grateful for any suggestions on great experiences to be had there, and day trips to the surrounding countryside as well.

Thanks so much in advance!

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I will copy from a PM I sent to dcandohio a few months ago with details about my Budapest trip:

I loved the food there, though I didn't get the chance to try all the restaurants I would have liked to. We went to Alabardos in Buda, a beautiful and old world style place with a violinist and a heavy dependence on duck and goose liver. The food and service were both wonderful, and the price high end even at a favorable exchange rate (don't know how it would compare now). We also ate at cafes, and a couple of restaurants including a buffet style place, Trofea Grill on Kiraly Ut,which was a good place to sample a lot of Hungarian dishes. I thought all of the places we found, some chosen because they were near tourist attractions, were at least decent. One, the Bali Cafe, in the Jewish Quarter, seemed drab-looking but the food was surprisingly good.

We ended up staying on the concierge floor at a lovely hotel, so took advantage of the always available food there. Breakfast consisted of both British style eggs and bacon, etc., and the Eastern European slices of meat and cheeses as well as vegetables at every meal (probably a rather new development, from what I have heard). At lunch there was the buffet plus a soup such as sour cherry or goulash, and a light supper with most of the same. Also an amazing assortment of small pastries. We took advantage of this especially after noting the long wait for service in most places, so it gave us more time for sightseeing. And I get cranky when I am hungry, so this helped a lot.

There was also a very elegant but not too expensive restaurant with a patio on Andrassy Ut, the grand Boulevard, near the House of Terror, whose name escapes me at the moment, and the incredible opulence of the New York Cafe, which an investor has restored to its turn of the century ambiance. The food and drink there are really secondary, though.

There is so much to see there that it would be hard to fit in everything I could recommend, but in addition to the usual sights I would recommend the Free Walking Tours of the Jewish Quarter and the Communist Walking tour, which both ended up at amazing pubs with wild art and so on, and where nobody pushed you to order anything. Also another great experience if you can fit it in is a trip to one of the bath houses. It seems Budapest is built on top of thermal springs.

Happy to share more if you would like more information.

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Had dinner at Hungarikum Bisztro tonight.  We were there at opening (6 pm) and they let us eat because someone else canceled.  Otherwise they turned everyone else away without reservation.  The place seats maybe 30.  Great classic Hungarian dishes - get the gulash.  Friendly young waitresses who busted our asses for not finishing all the food we ordered.

The stalls are the Central Market sucks.  Prepared food, microwaved, and the goulash had very little beef.  It’s crowded too so just don’t eat there.

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