Being further out from the true centre of Budapest means that District IX doesn’t often get much consideration as a place to eat out. However, if you’re after trendy restaurants across a spectrum of tastes and cuisines in an area well-suited to pleasant evening strolls or lazy sunsets by the banks of the Danube, then it really is worth the time to explore.
There’s a number of Michelin-starred restaurants in Budapest these days, but Costes is the one that gets a lot of the recognition. There are two locations, but this – the original at the head of Ráday Street – is the one to visit. Despite the acclaim, it still manages to avoid being too stuffy and pretentious, with elegant plates of perfectly presented contemporary meals built with a mix of flavours. It sets a benchmark in every aspect – décor, service and food – that many restaurants in the area cannot hope to beat, but it comes with a price tag to match.
While Costes might be the restaurant to go to when you’re looking for the finest of dining, Petrus is arguably the best option for those who want the best but don’t want to pay over the odds for it. With a renowned Hungarian chef at its helm, the French-Hungarian cuisine on offer here is constantly changing with inventive mixes of flavours, but it’s a smaller, more quaint environment that keeps the setting more grounded. The fact that the prices are more affordable than Costes also helps, but the fact that the Michelin Guide awarded it a Bib Gourmand in 2017 might give you that extra push to visit.
In the summer months, District IX’s part of the Danube banks is especially pleasant. Take the 4/6 tram to Boráros Square and wander the recently renovated walkway along the Danube, stopping to enjoy the view or a beer at Jonás Craft Beer House in the Bálna exhibition centre. When you’re ready to eat, Esetleg Bistro, also located at the Bálna, is a great option. Its meals are uncomplicated but well presented, but really none of that matters as you while away the evening with the sun setting beyond Géllert hill on the Buda side.
While there are a number of tapas bars in Budapest, they more commonly offer a mixture of flavours with a Hungarian slant, but not Pata Negra. This spot is a place built on the true Mediterranean style, including imported Iberian ham and Spanish wines. If you’re looking to escape Hungarian food for an evening, then you’ll easily be able to slip away from the Eastern European city inside Pata Negra.
Ráday Street has countless restaurants, bistros and even some bars to while away the evening in, stretching from Kálvin Square to Boráros Square to cover a considerable distance and making it easy to access from any part of the city. Vörös Postakocsi is not fine dining, and there are certainly trendier places on this very street; however, it is home to some traditional dishes made with traditional recipes and produced with a good deal of care. The fish soup, in particular, is worth trying.
There aren’t too many places in Budapest to find good quality Chinese food, and by that, we mean anything that doesn’t come as part of an all-you-can-eat buffet. Taiwan Restaurant is not only the biggest in the city but easily one of the best, offering the sort of typical Asian-style food that you might expect: spring rolls, ho beef strips and, of course, Peking duck. It’s all made with good produce, too, so if you’re looking for something more authentic, then District IX is where you’ll need to go.
While this wine bar is tucked away behind the Great Market Hall, it doesn’t suffer from its inconspicuous location. Borbíróság’s popularity comes from its numerous wines, but the food – which features fresh ingredients from the nearby market – deserves just as much acknowledgement. It’s presented with precision and offers a good range of contemporary dishes, but it’s the duck that is a particular favourite.
Even though this is technically District V, you only need to cross a single road from District IX to reach it; therefore, we’re going to count it. For Sale attracts many people because of its intricately decorated interior, with a canopy of letters and papers hanging from the ceiling or attached to the walls. However, its elaborate décor isn’t the only reason to visit, with many popular Hungarian dishes that, mercifully, are presented as they ought to be and not with the pomposity that you might expect.
It doesn’t matter which part of the city you’re in if you’re craving a burger; there’s always a great option in any of Budapest’s major districts. For District IX, that option is Black Cab Burger, and though you shouldn’t expect any gourmet options here, you can at least be sure that you’ll get something that will hit the spot when all you’re craving is something greasy and fried.