We couldn’t make a weekend in Tokaj work, so instead, we visited a handful of Budapest wine bars to get a sampling of what Hungary had to offer. A lot of the places we went only featured Hungarian wines so with the help of friendly staff we were able to try lots of different varietals and regions. Also worth noting is the affordable price for a glass of wine – rarely did we pay over $3 per glass.
DiVino — Our first wine bar of the trip and probably our favorite. Situated right at the base of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, this bar was absolutely packed at night, with well over 100 people spilling onto the fountain steps drinking wine until late evening. During both of our 4pm visits it was relatively quiet, so we were able to grab an outdoor table and people-watch.
Innio — Around the corner from DiVino, we stopped in here after dinner on Friday for a nightcap. This is more of a regular bar than a wine bar with fewer selections available by the glass. It was also (by far) the most expensive of the five places we tried.
Kadarka — This modern wine bar was located just two blocks from our hotel which made it a great spot for a quick drink (or two). We also ate dinner here one evening, where Eric discovered the wonders of tokmagkrem piritossal (pumpkin seed butter) on toast and we learned about a new type of wine called ‘siller,’ a deep rosé. Kadarka offers half pours of any of their wines for around $1-3, so sampling several types was easy.
enjoying a Hungarian rosé
Borbíróság — Located just behind the Central Market, this seemed like a good place to have lunch. We skipped food due to a large breakfast, but Eric tried the only Hungarian beer of the trip and I sampled yet another rosé. The outdoor patio was shady and a good spot for people watching. In fact, that blue van in the photo below parallel parked while we sitting on the sidewalk!
Doblo — This cozy bar is located in the Jewish Quarter on a quiet street. It definitely had a more local vibe and the old building lent a lot of charm. There is a good selection of wines by the glass and we came back our last night to try some cherry palinka, a traditional fruit brandy.
We also did a little wine shopping at both supermarkets and shops to bring home a few favorites and two bottles of Tokaj. On the whole Eric liked the Juhfark varietal, but was not impressed by most of the Furmints. The Apatsagi wines were amongst our favorite, as we found them to have more acidity than many of the other bottles.
Since we didn’t find much craft beer on menus, we also stopped in at Csak a Jó Sör to pick up a few Hungarian beers to try at home – one cherry beer was far too sweet, but the other, Hammurapi +21, a doppelbock, was interesting. However, wine is definitely the better option out and about in Budapest.