THURSDAY, JANUARY 09, 2020
Known as the equivalent as Budapest’s Soho, this partially pedestrianized street is the answer to where to go on a Saturday afternoon, when museums and informational walking tours are just a bit too much for your hungover brain to handle.
Seeing as this lovely street isn’t along the normal party route, you’re unlikely to have come across it on your nighttime expeditions. In fact, it’s more of a “road less traveled” in regards to backpackers, often overlooked in favor of the larger roads, such as Andrássy or Erzsébet, or the ruin pub hotspots, such as Kazinczy or Király. Thankfully, this means that you can avoid the crowds of tourists and are much more likely to come across Hungarian locals, rather than groups of stag do’s, with just as sore heads as yourself, as you meander down this way, due to the high volume of universities and dorms in the area. We’ll help you with all you need to know for a quieter day complete with a DIY food tour. Prepare to eat until your stomach can handle no more, as this street has become famous for its restaurants and cafes in recent years.
No guide to Ráday Utca could be complete without giving at least a brief mention of the one Michelin star restaurant, Costes. The original location, with a sister restaurant downtown, this high-end eatery is, in a word, lush. To be sure, you will get your money’s worth in this indulgent place, with its modern decor and decadent dishes, but at €40 just for a main, it’s not the most traveller-on-a-budget friendly place. Instead, in this restaurant heavy area, we prefer to stick to the locales where one item won’t cost us more than an all-you-can-drink boat party.
For the earth lovers out there, Púder (Powder) Bar Theatre and Gallery is a restaurant/bar/event space that discourages the use of plastic straws and serves up some delicious meals with mains running around €10 - with a vegetarian option available in each course to boot. Check out the program online before you go to see if you might catch some live music or perhaps a literary event. The indoor seating is in a spacious, funky room, while the outdoor seating gives you that breath of fresh air with a hint of privacy. The beautiful food presentation and range of teas, lemonades, and, of course, beers, ciders, and wines, makes this place a great stop for some refreshments before continuing on your way.
For a twist on the sweet treat of Central Europe, the chimney cake, check out Hoppacska. For anywhere between €1-€3, you can get sugar free sweet or savory filled chimney cake with daily changing options that are charmingly hand written on their blackboard. This cozy little shop, opened by two local friends, is a standing-only joint that is making an effort to reduce their waste, offering you wooden utensils instead of plastic. They also welcome pets, so you just might happen upon a fun and friendly four-legged creature to play with while you wait for your food!
A quick pit stop for an ice cream should not be missed - you’ll dance it all off tonight in the club after the pub crawl anyways, right? Pop into the small ice cream parlour, Fragola, meaning “strawberry” in Italian. They offer quirky, ever changing flavors, such as buckthorn or cashew turmeric. There are also the more classic picks, such as hazelnut chocolate, vanilla, or pistachio if you aren’t feeling so adventurous. Finally, ever inclusive, Fragola serves fruity, sugar free vegan options! Settle in and be proud of yourself for giving your body a break from all the damage you did to your liver on the Bingo Bar Crawl last night.
Looking for a bit of social activity and fun? Head on over to the Rombusz Terrace for a lively atmosphere, particularly in the evenings. If there’s one thing Budapest does well, apart from hectic partying, it’s beer gardens. Rhombusz Terrace, in particular, incorporates into their courtyard table tennis and cheap eats and drinks. And yes, they do happen to have a delicious veggie burger for those of you who are trying to #savetheanimals.
A bit further down the street, you’ll find less restaurants as the road goes back to its more suburban state, but dig into your curious traveller spirit and continue on, because you’ll still happen along things to do and hidden gems, such as the church Assisi Szent Ferenc Plébánia. This church boasts an inviting plaza lined with trees and benches. Close to the end of the street, you’ll find the Jedermann Café, a cozy cafe popular with locals and for students of the Goethe Institute, a German language institute located next door. With reasonable prices, a daily menu, and live music events, this cafe is a must for a real taste of local culture.
In case all of this food and relaxation puts you back in the mood for some history or art related activities, the Ferencvaros History Collection, with its three exhibition halls, can give you more insight into the background of the surrounding district. Additionally, you can stop by the 2B Gallery, a space with thematic exhibitions featuring local artists or student work. From photography to installations to events, you never know what you might discover here.
End your wander through this undiscovered part of the city the right way - with a beer to ease your way into the evening partying you’re sure to partake in. We simply couldn’t complete a guide to one of our favorite streets in Budapest without mentioning at least one of the bars you can sit in for a cheeky pint or two. As you head to the metro at Kalvin Ter, just a two minutes away from the square, near the beginning of Raday Utca, you’ll find Steam Pub. This bar offers beers at reasonable prices, the perfect finish to a day of food, drinks, and people watching, before you once again enter the world of Budapest’s infamous nightlife.