Friday

3

June 2016

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4 Days In Kraków

Written by , Posted in Travel

After spending 5 fantastic days in Budapest, we hopped on a plane and headed north to Poland to spend the last 4 days of our trip in Krakow. Like Budapest, Kraków was a city that kept coming up when talking to others about which cities in Europe to visit, so we decided this would be the perfect trip to squeeze it in.

Kraków, Poland, obwarzanek, bagel, pretzel, main market square

Traditional obwarzanki sold from street carts around Kraków, somewhat of a cross between a bagel and a pretzel

As usual we rented an apartment on Airbnb – and spent a whopping $183 for 4 nights, crazy right?! Talk about affordable. The apartment was located in the Jewish Quarter of Kraków, also known as Kazimierz. Kazimierz is a great location – lots of cute little restaurants and pop-ups, bars, and small shops and it is outside of the more touristy area near the Main Market Square (Rynek Główny). The neighborhood has a ton of character with it’s narrow, cobblestone streets and awesome street art and graffiti hiding around every corner. While the area is no longer the center of Jewish life that it was prior to World War II, the history of the neighborhood survives with a plethora of historical sites, synagogues, and Jewish cemeteries. Just across to river is where you can find Oskar Schindler’s factory, which now serves as Kraków’s historical museum.

Kazimierz, street art, graffiti, black and white, poland, Kraków

Street Art in Kazimierz

While we really loved the neighborhood, looking back at the end of the trip I think we would have enjoyed staying near the Rynek Główny (Main Market Square) as that was where we ended up spending a majority of our time. We usually try to stay in less “touristy” areas, but Kraków hasn’t quite reached the popularity of other major European cities, like Prague for example, and while the Main Market Square was definitely crowded during the day, it didn’t feel as commercialized as those we’ve come across in other cities. Kazimierz was great, and we really enjoyed exploring the neighborhood, but it isn’t a far walk from the square and for us it would have made more sense if our home base was closer to where we spent the majority of our time.

Kraków, Poland, Main Market Square, Europe, Rynek Główny

Rynek Główny, Kraków’s Main Market Square

While 4 days gave us plenty of time to explore all the highlights, we could have easily stayed a few more days and kept ourselves busy in Kraków and other nearby cities. Kraków has all the great things we love so much about European cities: great food, beautiful churches, impressive museums, cute cafés, a bustling main square, tons of local character, and an endless amount of winding streets and alleyways to get lost in. Read on to see how we spent our time in this beautiful city!

Krakow, Poland, Windows, Flowers, Brick, Old

Sightseeing in Kraków

 

Kazimierz

As I mentioned above, Kazimierz is also known as the Jewish Quarter of Kraków and has tons of character. I’d spend a morning/afternoon here just walking up and down the cobblestone streets, checking out the unique shops, and stopping into a bar or two (…or three) for a pit stop. You can grab a Zapiekanki from Endzior for lunch and finish it off with a little Lody from Lody na Starowiślnej (see below for details on both). There are also several great restaurants in the area so you can plan on staying a little longer and make a day of it!

Lion + Maven | Kraków

Kazimierz, Graffiti, Street Art, Black and White, Poland, Krakow

Main Market Square (Rynek Główny)
30-062 Kraków, Poland

If you’re visiting Kraków, you can’t miss the Main Square, or Rynek Główny. It is surrounded by beautiful, colorful buildings and St. Mary’s Basilica with the Cloth Hall right in the middle. You’ll find tons of vendors with carts here during the day and lots of outdoor seating from the restaurants lining the square. If carriage rides are your thing, you’ll find them all lined up here.

Kraków, Poland, Main Market Square, Europe, Rynek Główny, Horse Carriage

Kraków, Poland, Main Market Square, Europe, Rynek Główny, Night, Horse Carriage

Krakow, Poland, Main Market Square, Yellow Building

St. Mary’s Basilica

plac Mariacki 5, 31-042 Kraków, Poland

St. Mary’s Basilica is Kraków’s most famous church right off the Main Square – trust me, you can’t miss it! A beautiful church inside and out, definitely a great spot for photo ops.

Lion + Maven | Kraków

Oskar Schindler’s Factory
Lipowa 4, 30-702 Kraków, Poland

What was once Oskar Schindler‘s Enamel Factory is now home to the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków as well as the Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibition at the factory focuses on Kraków Under Nazi Occupation; they have several remnants and information on Oskar Schindler’s factory as well as interesting history on the rest of the city during this time.

Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków (MOCAK)
Lipowa 4, 30-702 Kraków, Poland

I’m pretty sure that MOCAK is the first Contemporary Art museum that Mike and I have visited, and while they definitely had a few odd exhibits, overall we really loved the museum and were very impressed!

Lion + Maven | Kraków

Kraków, Poland, MOCAK

Ghetto Heroes Square
plac Bohaterów Getta, Kraków, Poland

Previously Plac Zgody and now named plac Bohaterów Getta for the ‘heroes of the ghetto’, this public square was the largest open space in the Kraków ghetto and was the point of departure for many of Kraków’s Jews who were deported to various camps. Now the square is spotted with 70 empty metal chairs symbolizing departure and absence. Just a few blocks from MOCAK and Schindler’s factory – worth a stop if you’re on this side of the river.

Lion + Maven | Kraków

Wawel Castle
Wawel 5, 31-001 Kraków, Poland

We didn’t end up going in to tour the Wawel Royal Castle, but we did head up the hill to admire it from the outside and snap a few photos of the castle and the fire-breathing Wawel Dragon at the base of the castle. I’ll be honest…the fire-breathing dragon was my main concern here! Don’t pay the money to go down the special staircase into the dragon dungeon (which we did because we didn’t know any better), the dragon is fully visible to the public if you just walk your way down along the river.

Wawel Royal Castle, Krakow, Poland

Wale Royal Castle, Krakow, Poland, Fire-breathing Dragon

St. Francis’ Basilica (Church of St. Francis of Assisi)
pl. Wszystkich Świętych 5, 31-004 Kraków, Poland

The Church of St. Francis of Assisi is another famous church in Kraków, known for its beautiful Art Nouveau interiors and stained glass by Stanisław Wyspiański.

St Francis Basilica, Krakow, Stained Glass, Art Nouveau, Stanisław Wyspiański

Wieliczka Salt Mine
Daniłowicza 10, 32-020 Wieliczka, Poland

Since our time in Kraków was limited, Mike and I decided to set one day aside and do a double tour of Auschwitz and the Wieliczka Salt Mine. The Salt Mine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and located just 20-30 minutes outside of the city in Wieliczka, so we figured we might as well visit while we were there. While the tour was somewhat interesting, it just didn’t really do it for us and if we had to do it again we would probably skip it, unless we had a few more days in Kraków to fill. We booked the tour (as well as our airports transfers) through Krakow Direct and we were more than pleased with the service. We were picked up in large, clean vans for just the two of us, our drivers were all very friendly and expertly guided us and set us up right where we needed to be.

Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland, UNESCO World Heritage Site

Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Chandeliers

Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum
Więźniów Oświęcimia 20, 32-603 Oświęcim, Poland

After our visit to the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial in Germany last year, we had an idea of some of the things we would see and hear at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, but even that couldn’t really prepare us for taking in the sheer size of Birkenau and the things we saw and learned at Auschwitz. This is a place that I feel everyone should take the time to visit.

Auschwitz-Birkenau, Memorial, Concentration Camp, Poland

Auschwitz-Birkenau, Memorial, Concentration Camp, Poland

Auschwitz-Birkenau, Memorial, Concentration Camp, Poland

Auschwitz-Birkenau, Memorial, Concentration Camp, Poland

Shopping in Kraków

 

Cloth Hall (Sukiennice)
Rynek Główny 1-3, Kraków, Poland

The Cloth Hall is right in the middle of the Main Market Square and impossible to miss. The inside is lined with booths of vendors selling a wide variety of goods and souveniers, some shops with more quality items than others. Amber is a popular stone found in Poland, and you’ll find plenty of it here.

Cloth Hall, Sukiennice, Krakow, Poland

Cloth Hall, Sukiennice, Krakow, Poland

Hala Targowa (Plac Targowy Unitarg)
30-962, Grzegórzecka 14, 33-332 Kraków, Poland

Hala Targowa is a huge outdoor market (I might call it more of a flea market) where you’ll find everything from fresh fruit and flowers to questionable DVDs and mismatched shoes. We walked through on our way to Wesola Cafe (see below) and it was definitely crowded and overwhelming, but interesting nonetheless.

Asortyment Shop
Bozego Ciala 22, Kraków 31-051, Poland

My favorite (non-edible) shop in Kraków was this tiny little Polish pottery shop hidden off a quiet street in the Jewish Quarter. When we were in Germany the previous year I bought a beautiful piece of Polish pottery – and paid a pretty penny for it. Well, I was kicking myself for that purchase when I stepped into this store because they had the same gorgeous pieces for a fraction of the cost. Definitely a great spot to pick up something for yourself as well as loved ones back home.

Bistro Charlotte
plac Szczepański 2, Kraków, Poland

The best thing I brought home from Kraków was a jar of raspberry jam from Bistro Charlotte. Seriously, this stuff was so amazing – I was scraping out the jar for every last bit! I brought a jar home for my mom and she loved it too, who doesn’t love edible souvenirs?! (Plus it was super inexpensive!) If you plan on visiting Kraków and have a little extra room in your suitcase, I’d pay handsomely for a few jars!

Calik Gallery
Rynek Główny 7, 33-332 Kraków, Poland

A great little shop hidden off the Main Square with tons of beautiful hand-painted Christmas ornaments.

Krakuska Sztuka Ludowa
Szewska 9, Kraków, Poland

Krakuska is a little shop off the Main Square with a wide variety of traditional souveniers. A good option for a one-stop-shop if you’re pressed for time.

Eating in Kraków

Kraków, Poland, Sausage

Endzior
plac Nowy 4, Kraków, Poland

If there was a “dishes to eat in Poland” bucket list, a Zapiekanka would definitely be at the top. Zapiekanki are open-faced sandwiches made on half of a baguette and are very similar to what we would think of as French Bread pizzas. They are cheap and easy to make and first became popular during the Communist-Era in the 70’s. In Kraków you’ll find tons of places serving up Zapiekanki, but the most popular spot is Endzior, a tiny stand in the middle of plac Nowy in the Jewish quarter. Zapiekanki start with a base of cheese and mushrooms and traditionally (or so I heard) they are topped with ketchup – I tried this on my first Zapiekanka and as much as I love ketchup, this was not for me. We returned for a late night visit and I had an amazing combo of fried onions, chives, and bacon and it was nothing short of amazing.

Kraków, Poland, Endzior, Zapiekanki

Kraków, Poland, Endzior, Zapiekanki

Wesola Cafe
Rakowicka 17, 31-511 Kraków, Poland

We enjoyed a ton of great food in Kraków, but a simple breakfast at Wesoła Cafe was definitely one of my favorite meals. The cafe itself is super cute and very Instagram-worthy. They don’t mess around when it comes to coffee and offered a great selection of beans and brewing methods. I ordered their mixed plate with ham, gouda cheese, egg spread, another delicious spread, a spring salad, and bread and butter, along with their coconut chia pudding with fresh fruit – simple but so fresh and delicious. Mike ordered the Fried Eggs and Frankfurters and as much as I loved my plate, I had a bit of order envy…I don’t know how they made their frankfurters, but they were delicious! They can get super busy and it’s not a huge place so I played it safe and made a reservation – I’d definitely recommend that if you’re planning ahead. A little out of the way but we would have loved to return if we had the time!

Krakow, Poland, Wesola Cafe, Brunch, Breakfast, Coffee, Instagram

Kraków, Poland, Wesola Cafe, Coffee, Instagram

Coffee Cargo
Przemysłowa 3, 33-332 Kraków, Poland

Coffee Cargo is a must-visit for coffee lovers in Kraków. It’s located just a couple blocks from Schindler’s Factory and the MOCAK and somewhat hidden in a very industrial area (and building). Just a super cool space, I highly recommend checking it out.

Kraków, Poland, Coffee Cargo

Lody na Starowiślnej
Starowiślna 83, 31-038 Kraków, Poland

Over the course of our 4 days in Kraków I probably had 4 ice cream cones (I think there may have been 2 in one day) from Lody na Starowiślnej, conveniently located right across the street from our apartment. Lody means ice cream in Polish and Lody na Starowiślnej is arguably Kraków’s most popular spot to grab a little Polish lody. The ice cream is delicious – homemade with fresh, seasonal fruit – strawberry was hands down my favorite. The only downside is this tiny shop’s popularity – people lined up down the block consistently throughout the day for a taste. We stopped in during the lulls, I think I may have even had a cone one morning when they opened around 9am – there was no line, I couldn’t resist!

Kraków, Poland, Lody, Ice Cream, Strawberry

Zazie Bistro

Józefa 34, 31-056 Kraków, Poland

We had a great dinner at a cute little French restaurant, ZAZIE Bistro, in the Jewish Quarter on our second night in Kraków. We made a reservation the previous night with no problem. The dishes were hearty and comforting – we loved the steak tartare and the french potatoes gratin.

Zazie Bistro, Krakow, Poland, Beef Tartare, Kazimierz

Pod Baranem
św. Gertrudy 21, Kraków, Poland

I love Polish food and wanted to find somewhere that I could get my fill – enter Pod Baranem. They had a great menu with traditional Polish foods and then some. Great service, lovely atmosphere, and delicious food – the perfect spot to enjoy our last meal in Kraków.

Bagelmama
Dajwór 10, 31-052 Kraków, Poland

Bagelmama is a cute little bagel shop located right around the corner from our apartment in Kazimierz. The owner is a friendly ex-pat who has lived in Kraków for the last 10 years. He and his sweet old chocolate lab Pablo (who befriended Mike immediately, of course) kept us company and made us feel at home when we stopped in for one of their delicious bagel sandwiches on multiple occasions.

Kraków, Poland, Bagelmama, Bagels, Salmon

Hummus Amamamusi
Augustiańska 3, 30-962 Kraków, Poland

We never made it to Hummus Amamamusi, but they were next on my list of places I wanted to try if we had the time. This is a tiny little spot and the reviews are great – a good option for a different type of cuisine.

U Stasi
Mikołajska 16, 31-027 Kraków, Poland

If you’re looking for a legit (read: where the locals go) Polish pierogi spot, look no further than U Stasi. Located down an alleyway off the Main Market Square, U Stasi can be difficult to find, but definitely worth the effort. This is not your typical sit down and be waited on restaurant – people sit down, order their pierogis, eat, and get on with it, very similar to a Polish Milk Bar. Don’t expect any friendly english-speaking servers here – you walk in, quickly pick your own table and place your order. I would do a quick internet search before going and plan your order ahead of time. Our pierogis came out in no time at all, we ate, and then got up to pay at the counter and head out. It seemed to be mostly locals eating alone on their lunch breaks, it was almost eerily quiet while we were there. A basic, no-frills, slightly intimidating spot, but some seriously delicious pierogis.

U Stasi, Krakow, Poland, Pierogi, Milk Bar

Kraków, Poland, U Stasi, Milk Bar, Pierogi, Bacon

Bistro Charlotte
plac Szczepański 2, Kraków, Poland

Come for a couple jars of their raspberry jam to-go, stay for a simple yet delicious breakfast with a buzzing atmosphere. Bistro Charlotte is located just off the Main Square and I stopped in for breakfast on our last morning in Kraków. I indulged with the Charle’s Breakfast – a basket of croissants, jam, an egg, and of course – a glass of bubbly, because why not?!

Kraków, Poland, Charlotte Bistro, Champagne, Jam

Krakowska Manufaktura Czekolady
Szewska 7, 31-009 Kraków, Poland

When you see photos of a beautiful cup of just straight up melted chocolate, it’s hard to avoid the indulgence. Krakowska Manufaktura Czekolady is a chocolate shop off the main square with a cafe above where you can sit down and enjoy a cup of your own. I’ll be honest though, it was incredibly rich and a little much for me…but hey, it was pretty! This would also be a great spot to grab an edible souvenir to bring home to friends and family. Warning: if you go in with kids, watch out for their selection of phalic chocolates in a wide variety and sizes and colors.

Kraków, Poland, Hot Chocolate, Krakowska Manufaktura Czekolady

Drinking in Kraków

 

House of Beer
Świętego Tomasza 35, 31-027 Kraków, Poland

After a little research we were very surprised to find that Poland is quite a hot spot for craft beer, who knew?! We stopped into a couple of craft beer bars in Kraków and House of Beer was our favorite, offering the best beer selection along with great background music and friendly bartenders.

Kraków, Poland, House of Beer, Bar

Kraków Slow Wines
Lipowa 6F, 30-702 Kraków, Poland

Just a few doors down from the MOCAK and Oskar Schindler’s factory, you’ll find Kraków Slow Wines – a bright, airy spot to try a variety of regional wines after an afternoon of sightseeing.

Hotel Stary
Szczepańska 5, 31-009 Kraków, Poland

Sadly, every single time we attempted to visit the rooftop at Hotel Stary for a drink, they were closed for one reason or another. This hotel is right off the Main Square and has great views from the rooftop bar.

Wodka Bar
Mikołajska 5, Kraków, Poland

Another spot we just didn’t have the time to squeeze in was Wódka, a vodka bar just off the Main Square. Convenient location and a ton of fun flavors to choose from.

Lion + Maven | Kraków

 

Well, I think that covers it! We had a fantastic time in Kraków and for anyone considering a visit, Mike and I highly recommend this fun, beautiful city – you won’t be disappointed!

Tuesday

2

February 2016

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Budapest: Szimpla Kert Ruin Pub

Written by , Posted in Travel

It’s nearly impossible to put into words the strange awesomeness that is Szimpla Kert. Szimpla Kert is Budapest‘s first and most popular ruin pub – bars created inside abandoned, run-down buildings with unused outdoor space and decorated with an eclectic mix of vintage decor that many would consider garbage. We first explored Szimpla Kert one afternoon before heading out for dinner and I highly suggest a visit during daylight hours to fully appreciate this unique bar. At night the place is packed wall to wall but during the day it’s an almost quiet, peaceful spot to kick back and enjoy a beer or giant glass of rosé for under $2. Here are a few of my favorite photos from this quirky little place!

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert

Lion + Maven | Budapest

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert, Mermaid

Tuesday

10

November 2015

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COMMENTS

Budapest Food & Drink

Written by , Posted in Restaurants, Travel

It’s no secret that I love food. My mouth waters at the thought of a ribeye steak cooked to a perfect medium rare, a slice of pizza with the perfect crust:cheese:sauce ratio, or a generous slice of my favorite chocolate pie. Maybe your thing is fried chicken or a giant ice cream sundae. Hey, maybe a juicy peach is what really gets you going. We all have foods we love because they’re just flat out delicious, but I’m a firm believer that the foods we love the most become our favorites because of the memories that lie within each bite. Whether it’s a mystery fried dish from a street vendor, a perfectly plated course at a Michelin-starred restaurant, or that long-time family recipe you used to make with your grandmother, good food becomes great food when there’s a story.

Budapest, Farmers' Market, Paprika

One of my favorite ways to get to know a city is by eating and drinking my way around town, seeking out local spots, and creating as many new memories as I can possibly squeeze into one trip. The streets and alleyways of Budapest were filled with so many great bars and restaurants, each beautiful in their own unique way, and when we set out every morning I was nearly giddy with excitement to see what was hiding around the next corner. A broken camera left me with less photos than I’m used to on a trip, but my heart and mind will forever be full with all the wonderful memories. We had a feeling we’d enjoy our time in Budapest but had no idea we’d love it so much. If a trip to Budapest wasn’t already on your travel radar, I hope my experiences inspire you to get there sometime soon!

Budapest, Neon Lights,

Eats

Borkynha
Sas u. 3, 1051

Borkonyha Winekitchen is one of three Michelin-starred restaurants in Budapest, and one of our favorite meals of the trip. As soon as we were seated our server arrived and offered assistance choosing one of their many Hungarian wines; after my first sip of a fantastic sparkling white he chose, I handed him the reins and he brought glass after glass to pair perfectly with each course. They offer a very reasonably priced set tasting menu but we opted to order several dishes a la carte to create our own. From the squid ink bread (that we nearly inhaled) to the silky smooth duck liver to the flavorful lamb and everything in between, it was one hell of a meal. If you’re not able to get a reservation, I’d still recommend stopping in and trying to grab a seat at the bar to enjoy a glass of wine!

Budapest, Borkonyha, duck liver

Budapest, Borkonyha, beef tenderloin

Budapest, Borkonyha

Zeller Bistro
Izabella u. 38, 1077

We dined at Zeller Bistro on our last night in Budapest and it was the perfect way to end our stay in this beautiful city. Zeller is a family-owned and operated restaurant and from the moment you walk down the steps to the warmly lit cellar, you can tell they are all fully invested in giving you a memorable dining experience. I spoke with Anna, one of the owners, to make a reservation, and we were given a run-down of the menu, specials, wine list, etc by the other owner, Peter. We even had the most adorable youngster, clad in a full length apron, show us to our table and fill our water glasses. It was seriously adorable.

The food was fantastic – made with Hungarian ingredients but not your traditional dishes. Many of their ingredients including sausages and their tasty “Crispy Small Fish As My Mom Makes Them” come from family and friends at nearby Lake Balaton. Their wines are from family vineyards, they have their own beer from a friend’s brewery, and they make a wonderful elderflower champagne that everyone receives when they arrive. If you’re visiting Budapest I can’t recommend Zeller Bistro enough, just make sure to make a reservation!

Budapest, Zeller Bistro, Crispy Fish

Crispy small fish from Lake Balaton at Zeller Bistro

Menza
Liszt Ferenc tér 2, 1061

We had lunch at Menza once during our stay, but could have easily been convinced to return if we had more time. They have a large outdoor terrace that is the perfect spot to grab a glass of rosé and people watch to your heart’s content. The interior has a very cool retro/mid-century design so be sure to take a trip to the bathroom if you’re dining al fresco. The menu is filled with delicious Hungarian and European classics with a modern presentation. Mike’s Schnitzel was fantastic – super thin and perfectly crisp breading, and I loved my Beef Stew with homemade noodles, but the clear winner was the Garlic Cream Soup topped with a traditional Hungarian Lángos (lahn-gosh). Lángos is a simple yet amazing creation – essentially a large circle of fried dough (think giant doughnut without the hole) that is typically topped with sour cream, cheese and garlic. The cup of soup could have been an entire meal, so if you’re ordering a main course I would plan on sharing because it will not be easy to put your spoon down!

Budapest, Menza, soup, langos

Budapest, Menza, Grilled Goat Cheese

Budapest, Menza, Schnitzel

Budapest, Menza Restaurant, Goulash

Bock Bisztró
Erzsébet krt. 43-49, 1073

We dined at Bock Bisztró on our first night in Budapest and we were very happy with this decision. Their wine list is filled with Hungarian wines we weren’t familiar with, so we left our selections in the hands of our very competent waiter who came back with several winners. The cuisine is Hungarian with a bit of Spanish tapas flair thrown in. We ended our delicious meal with a shot of Pálinka, a traditional fruit brandy, because, when in Budapest! (*On a Monday night the dining room was completely full by the time we left and they were turning everyone away who stopped in without an advance reservation, so I would definitely suggest calling or e-mailing ahead of time to reserve your spot.)

Budapest, Bock Bisztro

Budapest, Bock Bisztro

Costes
Ráday u. 4, 1092

Costes is another Michelin-starred restaurant in Budapest and while we didn’t get a chance to dine here during our visit, I felt they were worth a mention since they were next on my list had we of stayed another day. Costes offers tasting menus with your choice of courses and wine pairings. Dishes are beautiful and elegantly plated. Costes is a step or two above Borkynha in terms of price point but a bit more relaxed (based on reviews and articles I read before our trip) than Onyx, Budapest’s third Michelin-starred restaurant.

My Little Melbourne
Madách Imre út 3, 1075

Our absolute favorite coffee/breakfast spot right around the corner from our Airbnb rental, I was so sad to leave My Little Melbourne behind! Their chocolate-filled croissants were buttery, flaky, and filled with gooey chocolate, and their croissant sandwiches (pictured below) were so fresh and delicious – does anyone else feel like the simplest things seem to taste better in Europe?!

Budapest, Croissant, Breakfast, Sandwich, My Little Melbourne

New York Café
Erzsébet krt. 9-11, 1073

If you’re feeling fancy, stop in to New York Café for your daily dose of whipped cream and all things gilded. New York Café is located inside the Boscolo Hotel and while I wouldn’t necessarily make a special trip here, it is definitely a very cool interior to see if you’re in the neighborhood. Thanks to a bit of jet lag I was up early walking around town one morning and stopped in for a cup of coffee with the entire place to myself!

Budapest, New York Cafe

Budapest, New York Cafe, Coffee

Juicy
Hongrie, Dob u. 22, 1072

This teeny-tiny juice bar in Budapest’s Jewish Quarter is the place to go for all your fresh juice and raw/vegan/gluten-free treats. Juicy‘s tasty nectars are also sold at My Little Melbourne coffee shop nearby.

Budapest, Juicy, Juice Bar

Sarki Fűszeres
Pozsonyi út 53-55, 1137

If you spend any time exploring Budapest’s Margaret Island, Sarki Fűszeres is a cute little shop and café to visit nearby. Grab coffee, breakfast, and picnic snacks and wine for the island, or stop in for lunch and drinks on your way back.

Trófea Grill Étterem
Multiple locations

It’s not very often that I can recommend an all-you-can-eat (and drink) buffet outside of Vegas, but Trófea Grill Étterem in Budapest is definitely a buffet I can get behind. They’re a one-stop-shop if you’re looking to taste traditional Hungarian dishes, but they also have other offerings like sushi if that’s what you’re goulash-ed out. The beer, wine, champagne, and select cocktails don’t stop flowing until you say so – boozy buffet brunches are what afternoons are made for, right?! For only 20-22€/person, Trófea Grill is your best bet for a quick, inexpensive meal in Budapest.

Street Food Karaván
Kazinczy u. 18, 1075

Wandering the streets of Budapest, especially in the Jewish Quarter, it seriously felt like there was an amazing bar or restaurant around every corner – including a bunch of cool little spots tucked away in alleys like the Street Food Karavan. We passed this trendy row of food stands on our way to Budapest’s famous ruin pub, Szimpla Kert (see below), and stopped by afterwards to check it out. I went straight for the Lángos topped with goat cheese, roasted red peppers, and arugula; it was the perfect late-night bite to soak up the copious amounts of Hungarian rosé I’d consumed throughout the evening!

Budapest, Street Food, Karavan

Lion + Maven | Budapest

Gelarto Rosa
Szent István tér 3, 1051

With temperatures reaching the low 90s during most of our stay in Budapest, we made a point of working a daily gelato stop into our schedule. Gelarto Rosa was our first, and most frequently visited shop, and to be honest, we would have come back every day even if we weren’t dealing with record-breaking temps. Not only are their cones oh-so-pretty, their flavors were outstanding. My favorite was the basil-lemon; mixed with strawberry this was always the perfect refreshing treat!

Budapest, Gelarto Rosa, Gelato, Rose

Levendula Kézműves Fagylaltozó
Multiple locations

While their cones aren’t the rose petal masterpieces created at Gelarto Rosa, Levendula‘s gelato offerings definitely did not disappoint. They have several locations around the city including a small pop-up stand we found at Deák Ferenc tér. If odd flavors like Gorgonzola, Camembert, and Red Wine interest you, then Levendula is your spot. If you’re not quite so adventurous when it comes to frozen treats, don’t fret – Levendula has a solid line-up of other imaginative flavors that aren’t quite so out there. Fresh mint and raspberry was my go-to combo.

Drink

Caffeine Fix

My Little Melbourne
Madách Imre út 3, 1075

Mentioned above as our favorite spot for breakfast every morning, My Little Melbourne was also our go-to coffee shop in Budapest. They offer a full selection of espresso drinks and their brew bar next door deals exclusively in filtered coffee. They also offer a variety of fresh, raw juices from local juice bar JUICY as well as a variety of quality snacks – a great spot to fuel up before a day of sightseeing!

Budapest, Coffee Shop, My Little Melbourne

A few other coffee shops around the city that deserve an honorable mention…

Fekete
Múzeum krt. 5, 1053

Espresso Embassy
Arany János u. 15, 1051

Tamp & Pull
Czuczor u. 3, 1093

Bars

Boutiq Bar
Paulay Ede u. 5, 1061

Another gem of a find just a block away from our apartment, Boutiq Bar offers tasty, inventive, expertly crafted cocktails at shockingly low (compared to similar cocktail bars in Chicago and other cities we’ve visited) prices. Speakeasy, laid-back kinda vibe – a great spot to end the night.

Budapest, Cocktails, Boutiq Bar

Léhűtő
Holló u. 12-14, 1076

We were very pleasantly surprised to find several great beer bars in Budapest and LÉHŰTŐ topped the list as our favorite. Great selection of local and international craft beers and a lovely outdoor seating area – the perfect spot to grab a drink or two before dinner nearby.

Lion + Maven | Budapest

Szimpla Kert
Kazinczy u. 14, 1075

It’s nearly impossible to put into words the strange awesomeness that is Szimpla Kert. Szimpla Kert is Budapest’s first and most popular ruin pub – bars created inside abandoned, run-down buildings with unused outdoor space and decorated with an eclectic mix of vintage decor that many would consider garbage. We first explored Szimpla Kert one afternoon before heading out for dinner and I highly suggest a visit during daylight hours to fully appreciate this unique spot. At night the place is packed wall to wall but during the day it’s an almost quiet, peaceful spot to kick back and enjoy a beer or giant glass of rosé for under $2. Stay tuned for a separate post exclusively devoted to Szimpla Kert!

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert

Budapest, Ruin Pub, Szimpla Kert

Gozsdu Udvar
Király u. 13, 1075

Have I mentioned that Budapest seemed to have an amazing surprise down every alley? Well, Gozsdu Udvar is no exception. This alley between Király utca and Dob utca is lined with bar and restaurants, all with outdoor seating along the alleyway. The perfect spot for a relaxed evening and a perfect people-watching perch.

Budapest, Gozsdu Udvar

DiVino Wine Bar
Multiple locations

If you’re looking to get a taste of Hungarian wine, or just relax and people watch outside of St. Stephen’s Basilica, DiVino Wine Bar is the perfect place to stop. They also have a second great location in Gozsdu Udvar.

Budapest, St. Stephen's Basilica, Divino Wine Bar

Hops Beer Bar
Wesselényi u. 13, 1077

Another great beer bar in Budapest with an impressive line-up of craft beers.

Csak a jó sör
Kertész u. 42, 107

We stumbled upon Csak a Jó Sör (Only Good Beer) on accident while in search of another beer bar and we were shocked when we walked up to order and saw Founder’s All Day IPA on tap! Somehow a little keg had made its way all the way from Michigan to Budapest! This shop and bar carries an impressive collection of craft beers from around the globe, bartenders are very friendly, and the small space and vintage couches made us feel like we were back home having drinks in a friend’s basement – if we had a friend with an insane craft beer selection.

Budapest, Beer Bar

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