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Discover Zita’s My Hometown Guide for the colorful city of Budapest.
By Zita Nagy
1. Szimpla Ruin Pub & Farmers Market (Szimpla Kert és Szimpla Vasárnapi Háztáji Piac)
The beginning of the 21st century was an exciting turning point in the nightlife of Budapest: in the central area of the city new places were opened one after another in tenement houses and factory buildings doomed to destruction. These were equipped with rejected furniture (every corner there is a surprise like an old bathtub functioning as a sofa) of old community centres, cinemas, and grandmothers’ flats, bringing a retro feeling into these places. They were soon called ruin pubs and became popular very fast among the youth of Budapest and tourists.
Szimpla Kert is one the oldest pubs and in 2012 it became the world’s third best bar according to Lonely Planet public vote. The place has a unique charm that you won’t see anywhere else in the world. It also became a social venue especially when the farmers market opened its doors and it became quickly a local favourite. It’s a great place to meet Hungarian farmers and artisan food (cheese, sausages, breads, pastries, spreads, etc.) makers. There is always live music, children programmes and charity lunch (for meat eaters and vegetarians too) organized by the pub, the farmers and a non-profit organization so noone goes home hungry. The market is held every Sunday from 9am until 2pm.
2. Organic Farmers Market (Biopiac)
Organic products are becoming more and more popular in Hungary. The organic market in Budapest is held every Saturday between 6.30am and 1.00pm in the park at the MOM Cultural Community Center, where farmers, agriculturists and vendors of pre-packed foods sell their produce in kiosks made of wood and thatch. It is said that this is the biggest organic farmers market in Central-Eastern Europe. There is a cafe inside the community center that has a huge terrace – overlooking the market – where you can sit down and eat/drink what you bought at the market. It’s a children friendly place with playground and baby changing room.
The community is very strong, farmers are very friendly and you can easily ask advice from them on how to prepare a special vegetable that is new to you. On average 40-50 vendors are present offering a remarkably wide range of products (that can’t be found anywhere else in Hungary) including, fruits and vegetables, dairies, breads, pastries, honey, smoked meat, sausages, bacon, eggs, jams, juices, cereal germs and imported organic products. Within the organic market only products of strictly controlled ecologic farm provenance can be bought. The authenticity of these organic products is controlled and granted by Biokontroll Hungária Nonprofit Ltd.
The smells, the colors are wonderful and the market’s energy is very filling, so visiting the organic market is highly recommended. It’s my favorite thing to do on a Saturday morning.
Organic Farmers Market (Biopiac)
1124 Budapest (12th district)
Csörsz utca 18.
3. Gozsdu Courtyard (Gozsdu udvar)
Gozsdu Courtyard is a walkway that runs between Király utca and Dob utca. There are seven buildings with one courtyard spanning a block. You can tell that in the last century it was a beautiful arcade inhabited by wealthy flat owners who had balconies overlooking the walkway below. A few years ago it was restored and today it is a new fresh location of Budapest, a lively, social meeting point where many restaurants (with traditional Hungarian cuisine, Italian, Thai, etc.), trendy cafes, pubs, bars and nightclubs serve the guests.
From April until the end of October a design fair is held where artisans, makers come to sell their jewelry, paintings, crafts and food (honey, chocolate, cakes, spices, etc.).
Gozsdu Courtyard (Gozsdu udvar)
1075 Budapest (7th district)
Between Király utca 13. and Dob utca 16.
4. Ruszwurm Confectionery (Ruszwurm Cukrászda)
The Ruszwurm confectioner’s is a magic from the past in the present in the Castle district in Budapest. It was founded by Ferenc Schwabl in 1827. The place named after one of the owners and managers, Vilmos Ruszwurm. Since 1990 the shop has been run by one of the most famous Hungarian confectioner family, Szamos. Nowadays the confectioner’s is one of the most popular sight of Budapest, the house and the interior (the counter made of cherry wood with mahogany inlay) are protected monuments.
The cream cake (krémes in Hungarian) is my favourite one here. It is made from real vanilla custard (mixed with whipped cream… Oh My, it’s a die for cake!) and sandwiched between very thin layers of flaky pastry and then dusted off with a layer of confectionary sugar. Cream cake is a pure naughty delight on all fronts. Don’t miss it!
Ruszwurm Confectionery (Ruszwurm Cukrászda)
1014 Budapest (1st district)
Szentháromság utca 7.
Phone +36 1 3755284
5. Napfényes Vegan Restaurant (Napfényes Étterem)
Being a vegetarian I wanted to show you one of the best vegetarian/vegan restaurants in Budapest that serves Hungarian traditonal food (and international dishes as well) vegan style. The restaurant is situated in a basement but in a beautiful atmosphere and with a pretty vaulted brick ceiling. After you enter the place you pass by the kitchen, smelling the wonderful aroma coming out of it.
They have daily menu (even on weekends) and also a’la carte. The self-serve salad bar always has a selection of fresh, mixed and spicy salads. Apart from their home-made desserts, they also offer a selection of vegan pastries and raw cakes. All of their dishes are made with purified water. Portions are pretty big so go there hungry. The service is excellent, waiters/waitresses are friendly and they speak English. It’s not located in the center but close to it so it’s worth the walk.
Napfényes Vegan Restaurant (Napfényes Étterem)
1077 Budapest (7th district) Rózsa utca 39.
Phone +36 1 3135555