An Insiders Guide to Budapest’s 7th District
Located in the heart of the city, Budapest’s 7th District is a neighbourhood that is always buzzing with life. Known in Hungarian as Erzsébetváros, this area is a popular place where both tourists and locals head to in search of a good time. However, beyond the places packed full of tourists, there are some seriously scintillating local spots. From cool cafes, banging bars, rustic restaurants to superb street art, synagogues and much more. With the help of our 7th District dwelling local Willie Gevertz, we’ve compiled a list of the very best places you should check out next time you’re in town.
Three Bomb Diggity Breakfast Spots
The proprietors of London Coffee Society are a super friendly dutch couple that who will make you feel at home. They are usually bumping some clean, upbeat psychedelic trance beats which creates a zippy ambience inside the double-decker shop. As well as the great coffee, try their English breakfast which is as delicious as you would expect for a shop ‘Born in Hackney’.
For a taste of Portugal in Budapest, head to Lisboa Pastry & Bakery which is located on the cusp of the Gozsdu Udvar. This spot just opened up earlier this year to rave reviews. Local insider and championship football manager Joao Roque of Coimbra from Portugal tells us “this is the best pastel de nata in the city without a shadow of a doubt. Three espressos and a pastel de nata. Boom. The day started.”
The cat’s out of the bag on STIKA and for good reason. The star of the show here are the 11 “benny selections”, all twists on the age-old breakfast classic of eggs benedict. If you are a risk-taker try the Caviar Benny – a personal favourite of our local insider Willie Gevertz. Alternatively, you can try the thick and hearty breakfast burger. Be warned that they don’t take reservations for breakfast, and there’s usually a bit of a line which results in somewhat slow service. Totally worth the wait though.
Freyja: The Croissant Story does croissants and croissants only. Perfect, spine-tingling, otherworldly croissants. Of course, you can get a plain croissant, but why bother with that when there is a roster of daily specials on offer. Choose from duck liver paté, prosciutto with fig jam and a smorgasbord of constantly changing sweet inspirations such as banana and peanut butter chocolate (below). On the weekends you can sit down for their eggy brunch special.
Four Killer Coffee Spots
Dorado Cafe was opened in the 7th District last year by Mario and Emese, a Spanish and Hungarian couple who put so much love and attention to detail into their picture-perfect cafe. It’s an airy, modern space that has an ideal ambience for getting some work done as you slurp down your morning caffeine. They have a light food menu featuring mostly pastries with single-origin coffees from South America and Africa. This is one of the few places in Budapest that knows how to brew a decent cortado. They have lovely tea options as well and their pastries are out of this world. Make sure you try the pistachio cream croissant, which our local inside describes as “bloody divine”.
Magvető Café is one of the best places in the 7th District to get some work done. The airy ambience and minimalist. The geometric decor is inspiring and generates a collaborative, open-minded atmosphere. They serve delicious coffee, scrumptious open-faced sandwiches and have a smorgasbord of freshly made cakes on offer each day. There are even a handful of top-shelf liquors to sip if that is more your speed. The cafe is attached to Fókusz Könyváruház, a book shop that hosts regular events, with speakers on tap each week. So keep your eyes peeled for something good.
Massolit Books is a cafe and book shop on the whirlwind Nagy Diófa utca. One of the best places in the city to get some creative work done as there is ample inspiration on the shelves. This is primarily an English book store, a rarity in Budapest, with topics ranging from contemporary European history to classical poetry, translated Hungarian fiction and a consistent selection of popular international releases. A gem of a shop with fast wifi, an academic clientele, freshly baked sweet treats, savoury quiches (if you come early enough in the morning) plus plenty of coffee and tea to wash it all down. Judit, the owner, isn’t always in but will brighten up your day if she is.
The young, international clientele of The Goat Herder is mostly sourced from the veterinarian school across the street. They absolutely churn out coffees here during the morning and even if there is a line, the service is super quick. Great breakfast wraps and savoury croissant sandwiches – particularly the hummus based vegetarian option or the tuna fish wrap. They do a really nice fruit and veg juice with apple, carrot and orange mixed in. Their Breathtaking mural was painted by a local artist when she was only 17.
One of the best parts about the 7th District is the immense amount of street art that can be found scattered around the district. For the big, bold and emphatic wall-length pieces, check out our 7th District Street Art Guide. To uncover the smaller, lesser-known hidden gems lurking in obscurity on every corner, check out our guide to the Hidden Street Art of the 7th District.
Two Tantalizing Temples
The breathtaking Dohány Synagogue complex is the largest synagogue in all of Europe and its design is all it’s own. Its German-born, Jewish architect Ludwig Förster based many of the structural elements on the Alhambra in Granada. A truly unique building that serves as a monument to the beautiful and tragic history of Jews in Budapest. If any building is the soul of the Budapest’s 7th District, it has to be this one. If you want to see more cracking shots of this and more magnificent buildings, check out our Visual Guide to Budapest’s Best architecture.
The Budapesti Árpád-házi Szent Erzsébet Plébániatemplom (yes, that’s the full name) is a building so often overlooked by tourists. The Neo-Gothic church is tucked away on Rózsák tere on the other end of Dohány utca from the Synagogue. Architect Imre Steindl also designed Parliament and this hidden gem is another example of his flair and dramatic design.
Three Splendid Speciality Shops
Head to Szputnyik on Dohány utca to pick up some fresh threads for a night out. The shop is packed with vintage and contemporary fashion, ranging from name brands to obscure local designers and thrift shop gear. Tons of cool accessories such as pins, watches, hats and glasses if you want to spruce up your look before hitting the town.
Plante. is a genuinely beautiful shop in Madách Square. You will see their hanging pots from down the street and be instantly attracted to this urban jungle. A great place to pick up a natural souvenir, or a quick present if you are staying at a friends place during your time in town. Also, be sure to check out Konyha downstairs for a great meal and coffee at any time of the day. Their duck liver and pear coffee is audacious.
Antik Bazár is on the edge of the district by Blaha Lujza tér, stuffed silly with old communist-era trinkets from around Hungary. There are plenty of similar shops around Budapest’s 7th District, but this is one of the best. It’s on a half street that is blocked up with construction so would be incredibly easy to miss. But please check it out if you want to pick up something one-of-a-kind before heading home.
An Old School Hungarian Lunch Joint
Kívánság Étkezde is truly a hole-in-the-wall. Only open on the weekdays for lunch between noon and four, the hyper-local establishment serves up all the classic Hungarian dishes such as gulyás and paprikás. A great place to get acquainted with authentic Hungarian cuisine in an unassuming environment. Soda water bottle on the table and bread with your meal. Jó étvágyat.
The Juiciest Burger in Budapest’s 7th District
Vaslap is the star of the show in the Budapest burger department and to tell you the truth its not even close. The one-man show is located just above the New York Cafe on Dohány utca, and each of the 8 burgers on offer here are orgasmic. Our favourites are the eponymous ‘Vaslap Burger’, with its juicy meat, tangy secret sauce and crunchy onions added for texture. Or you can’t miss with the Chicken burger – ask to add jalapeños for an extra kick.
Three Scintillating Sit Down Dinners
Kőleves aka the stone soup restaurant sports a stylish, eclectic interior and with shiny wooden tables and wine bottle chandeliers. The seasonal menu features a fantastic fusion of eastern European, Mediterranean and Jewish cuisine. The food is out of this world and the outdoor “Kert” (garden) teems with life during the spring and summer months. But no matter what season you come, make sure you have dinner here and try one of their duck dishes with a bottle of Hungarian wine (they have one of the most complex lists in town).
Fricska Gastropub has the most tender meat dishes in town. Farm-to-table veggies accompany every plate with homemade bread and plates of pasta. They’ve got the menu scrawled up in chalk since it changes each day, and one of the excellent waiters will walk you through the difficult to read Magyar script. It’s a little bit Italian, a little bit French, a little bit Hungarian and everything good. The wine cellar is hand-selected by the sommelier and co-owner Csaba.
You’ll see a lot of stuff about Mazel Tov, but Dobrumba is another top-notch spot for Mediterranean and middle eastern food in Budapest’s 7th District. An airy ambience, delicious mezze plates and well-balanced cocktails. The wait staff is excellent here and will walk you through the flavourful menu. Honestly, the only thing wrong with Dobrumba is that dinner is often booked weeks in advance so make sure you call ahead.
Two Spots for Wicked Wines
Doblo Wine & Bar is a low key wine and cheese spot with upholstered chairs and a long wooden bar. Striking images of beautiful women line the walls here and they have any number of Magyar wines to choose from. Go on a wine tour of the famed Hungarian vineyard regions in stylish surroundings with comfortable chairs.
Veritas Borkereskedés is the place to pick up a nice bottle of Hungarian wine if you are in the mood for a warm drinking session back at your flat. They have a well-lit space to show off a diverse collection of Hungarian reds and whites. The knowledgable and friendly staff will teach you how to tell your Kadarkas from your Egri bikavérs. White wine lovers please make sure you try some delicious Furmint from Tokaj.
A Classy Custom Cocktail Nest
Barside is a narrow corridor of a cocktail bar with a ceiling-high stack of premium liquors from around the corners of the globe. A skilled technician in floral overalls, the bartender will make you a drink based on what flavour preferences you mention – i.e. sweet, sour, fruity, bold, and whatever type of alcohol you want in the drink.
The Best Kept Craft Beer Secret
Grand Guri Serház is well removed from the furore of the lower half of Budapest’s 7th District, on Rottenbiller utca. As a consequence, there are almost no tourists here at all. The brewhouse is unassuming, but behind its doors are three floors to sip away their mixed up specialities. Everything from Belgian tripels to pale ales and fruit beers. If you are hungry, they’ve also got some delicious Magyar specialities cooking away in the open kitchen. If you are a football fan, then head here to catch the game which they’ll have on their solitary screen. A comfy place to watch the match and try some local brews.
Five Poppin’ Pubs
Dzzs looks like they took a ruin bar, placed it inside of a shrink ray and shook all the stag-dos away like loose change. What is left behind is a hodgepodge of quirky furniture, graffiti walls, and local art pieces. Great, low lit ambience, simple seating with some comfortable couches in the back for big groups. Chock full on the weekend’s thanks to a steady selection of obscure liquors and local beer. Sometimes a bit too full, but that’s subjective isn’t it?
Try out Kisüzem for a pint and a little bit of grub. It’s a brightly lit, plant-filled place with upbeat vibes. This spot becomes particularly packed in the winter with loads of warm bodies huddled together, sipping from an unrivalled list of rums and swilling ale. They have a nice, small kitchen as well with awesome sandwiches.
Fekete Kutya means Black Dog in Hungarian. They’ve always got at least 5-6 craft beers on tap and most of them are local. Try one of them or go for something more unique like Tubi. This spectacular sip is a herbal, lemony Israeli liquor and goes down smooth, even better on ice. It’s a small bar with about 11 tables in a boxy shaped U of a room. It’s not a place for a fancy cocktail but they have plenty of interesting drinks and arguably the best food of any pub in the city.
Freshly renovated boozer-by-night-cafe-by-day, Központ is a haven for locals and ex-pats alike. On the weekends the spillover from this bar is absolutely immense, creating a festive, party-like atmosphere in the Madách tér, even during the colder months. A great place to do work in the AM and meet new friends at night. Spanking new dance floor downstairs, custom-built for late-night spin sessions with some of the best DJs in town.
As we covered in our Ultimate Budapest Ruin Bar Guide, the city is packed with ruin pubs, alot of which can be found in Budapest’s 7th District. However, Ellátó Kert is one of the few ruin bars in town that still has a bit of authentic soul. Sure it is packed with pub crawls and noise on the weekends. However, if you go between 7 and 11 during the week you’ll find a great place for conversation. They also have some genuinely killer Mexican food in the back corner pool room.
Now if you’re in town and find yourself in Budapest’s 7th District, you shouldn’t have any problems finding things to do. If you fancy seeing more of what this spectacular neighbourhood has to offer, be sure to do download the Like Locals app to see what other secret spots await. Available now for free on iOS and Android devices.