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36 Hours in Budapest - NYTimes

Cultural attractions, upbit nightlife, fine dinning and affordable fashion shops were reviewed and experienced by the NYTimes' Evan Rail

Evan Rail from the New York Times reviewed Budapest as a tourist destination.

Budapest's brightest spots, he says, are often native-born. From stately Buda in the west to Pest’s shabby-chic streets east of the Danube, a range of new attractions show off the achievements of local artists, producers, vintners and chefs. Even if you don’t end up tasting every last domestic food specialty identified as a “hungarikum,” a weekend here provides a glimpse of the city’s justifiable pride, as well as an authentic sense of place.

First stop was Buda hills and Pest's boulevards, followed by an evening of wine and dine. Home to the oldest classified wine regions in Europe, says NYTimes, Hungary is also a fount of excellent Old World cooking. The two combine splendidly at the seven-month-old Borkonyha with a list of about 200 outstanding domestic bottles.

Rail's night continued at the Garden Bar, grungy outdoor dives occupying a middle ground between beer gardens and anarchist squats, generally with a downmarket vibe. He recommends finding a quiet corner nook to chill out over a shot of pear or apricot palinka.

He began the next morning by checking the Our Style online store (ourstyle.hu), in case one of its fashion pop-up shops was operating somewhere in the city. Rail recommends to head down to the area between the Dohany Street Synagogue, the Hungarian National Museum and the Danube, where numerous small boutiques offer everything from club wear to haute couture confections, all by local designers, often at very affordable prices. 

Afternoon was spent at a former secret hospital and nuclear bunker, hidden deep inside the mountain under Buda Castle, that opened to the public as an unusual cold-war museum in mid-2007, followed by the local hero Franz Liszt.

Some of the best new bright spots in Budapest, says Rail, echo the glories of the city’s interwar period. A legendary fashion center when it first appeared in 1926, the giant Corvin department store is now better known as Corvinteto, a club and after-hours lounge that has taken over the building’s top levels. The enormous rooftop bar might just be the best spot to watch a sunrise over the city skyline.

On Sundays, trendy locals and expats meet at the second Pest branch of Culinaris, a lunch counter with a separate specialty-foods shop that opened near the neo-Gothic parliament building in 2008.