Looking to "tuk" into some chocolate, marzipan, and more? Here's where to go in Budapest (and how to get there.)
Happily, we DID get to experience Budapest - or at least a taste of it. And what a taste it was! I fell head over heels in love with Budapest - not the least of which was because of the city's fantastic culinary scene. Here are our favourite sweet spots in Budapest (and most are accessible after hours just in case you're at a conference too)!
Sweet surprises at Szamos
While this more relaxed environment may be a departure from Szamos's usual style (which you can still enjoy on the second floor), I thought the youthful energy was extremely fitting for Budapest. I was in city for only a few hours before I was swearing to return (and no, it's not just because of all the cakes!). Budapest is such a vibrant, young, stylish, social city and the informal, easy going environment of Szamos Today perfectly reflects that vibe.
For those curious - we settled on two of Szamos's most popular cakes, esterhazy (with the white frosting), which contains walnuts, orange liquor, and fondant, and the second was a chocolate-hazelnut blend. Coffee lovers take note: They also make a mean flat white.
It's well worth a stop to learn more about the company's storied history and see the precision and hard work that goes into making their beautiful chocolate and marzipan creations. We shamelessly tried sample after sample and also took some time to admire a gorgeous reproduction of the adjacent Parliament - entirely crafted in marzipan. .
Daring dessert at Borkonyha
The beetroot (an ingredient that once colored red velvet cake many years ago) was a seamless fit with the raspberry. The tiny pieces of minced bell pepper were intriguing when presented away from their usual savory counterparts; and the rest of the dessert brought out their underlying sweetness. There were other hidden veggies that I can't remember but overall, eating "vegetable dessert" made me feel smug and superior, as if I had chosen salad over sweets (ha! not exactly), and thus I had no objections to eating more treats later throughout the day
Where dessert is never 'ruined' - Spiler Bistro Pub.
Ruin pubs are famous for eclectic art, mismatched furniture, and sunny summer gardens. I have to say, my first impression is that the decor is anything but ruinous - more like a modern take on shabby-chic. They're casual, relaxed, welcoming environments where you're just as likely to see a group of local students as you are a group of seniors from a bus tour. And while my ruin pub research is still a work in progress, my favourite so far is Spiler Original Bistro Pub.
They were so good that I couldn't stop talking about them and I kept saying that they were exactly what I wanted wings to be every single time I ordered them. They were crispy and meaty, not at all greasy, and covered with the most delicious sweet chili glaze. (See, I worked 'sweet' in there!) Honestly, they were just so amazing!
(PS: For wing lovers out there, the other best wings I've found on my travels were in Philadelphia at Cheu's Noodle Bar. Seriously awesome - read about them here.)
Dessert on the Danube: Spoon Cafe
Though I enjoyed the dessert options at Borkonyha the most, and my favourite location was Spiler, I think Spoon would top my list for anyone who had restricted time in Budapest. Its location is unparalleled and the views are spectacular.
The best transportation for dessert hopping? Budapest Tuk Tuk Tours!
A tuk tuk, or auto rickshaw, is a motorized three wheeled vehicle which serves as a taxi. They're ubiquitous in Asia and notorious in Bangkok where 'tuk tuk' is often synonymous with 'tourist scam' (or a fun and cheap method of transportation, depending on who you talk to.)
We had a fantastic time as we zipped along, our driver explaining the sights to us and turning down side streets so we could catch a different glimpse of the city. (And for those wondering about myanti-adventurist tendencies- I felt perfectly safe! A tuk tuk is much more stable than a motorcycle and we even had seat belts.)
On the list for next time...
I know we'll be back to visit Budapest again - and not just to eat. It's at the top of my list for places I need to return to soon. It's a city that has so much to offer and so much to experience - and even if you have a limited time or a challenging schedule, you can still pack in many sweet experiences.
- You're time in Budapest will be all the sweeter if you know a bit about marzipan before you go.
- If you want to visit more ruin pubs, The Crowded Planet has a great list.
- Our choice for accommodations is the Hotel Moments Budapest. You can search for reviews and deals on Trip Advisor, Hotels Combined, and Expedia.
If you enjoyed this article, you'll also like:
The Lute, The Lovers, and The Lasagna: Visiting Rome For The First Time.
The Recipe For A Great Time In Prague? Cooking Classes.
Local Eats From Berlin's Foodie Streets.
Our time in Budapest was facilitated by the local tourist board and we thank them for their support. All research, writing, and opinions are our own.