Al fresco delights in a royal setting
Budapest’s Castle District is not only home to bedazzling historical monuments but also an astounding array of restaurants and cafés and their open-air terraces awaiting guests with a wide variety of culinary options, ranging from a quick bite to a first-class dining experience.
If you feel like taking a break while wandering around the historical old town and peering through the doorways of centuries-old Baroque buildings into secluded backyards, there is no better option than Baltazár, a restaurant and wine bar attracting a steady stream of local clientele in addition to tourists.
Tucked away in a tranquil street of the Castle District, Baltazár boasts a vibrant urban atmosphere, top quality wines from the Carpathian Basin and a selection of the best gins from around the world served with organic grain-based Fentiman’s tonic water. The menu includes gourmet street food and grills prepared to perfection on a Josper charcoal grill.
Strolling closer to the monumental Matthias Church, one comes across Pierrot, a veritable culinary gem of the Castle District located in a 13th- century building. This refined restaurant, which has been featured in the Michelin Guide since 2005 and has been awarded two hats by Gault Millau, has welcomed such celebrities as Robert de Niro, Jeremy Irons and Harrison Ford, as is attested by their signed photographs adorning one of the walls.
The kitchen takes a modernized, cosmopolitan approach to the cuisine of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy; guests can enjoy their dinner to the accompaniment of live piano music in a relaxed elegant indoor setting or surrounded by the lush greenery of the restaurant’s garden, which is arguably one of the most romantic venues to be found in the Hungarian capital.
The 21 Hungarian Kitchen across the street from Pierrot strikes a more contemporary tone in both design and culinary offering. Decked with a large terrace under huge sunshades, the atmosphere in this stylish establishment is visibly modern and buzzing, the menu features typical Hungarian dishes with a twist, as suggested by the name, and the wine list carries Hungarian wines with a distinctive character from boutique wineries. If you are in the mood for a lighter, more avant-garde taste of local cuisine, the 21 Hungarian Kitchen will undoubtedly treat you to a memorable experience.
Those on the lookout for a taste of traditional local cuisine straight from Grandma’s recipes should not miss the Pest-Buda Bistro, one of the oldest restaurants in Hungary. Renowned dishes such as the Chicken paprikás with buttery noodles or Beef stew as prepared by the locals are mainstays on the menu. If you cannot find an available table outside the restaurant, a not unknown occurrence given its popularity, take a few steps toward Matthias Church and the Hilton Hotel to find the Pest-Buda Terrace, a cozy and inviting outdoor café where you can enjoy a cup of specialty coffee, a glass of Hungarian craft beer or the offerings of the Pest Buda Bistro under the shade of a giant chestnut tree.
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