Having spent time in Budapest just five years ago it was a bit of a shock seeing the recent changes. On our last visit we were amazed by the “most beautiful McDonalds in the world” (HERE) and the city seemed to have a McDonalds every few blocks. There were also a few Burger Kings here and there but we couldn’t find much in the way of independent hamburger places. Classic gyros seemed to be the more popular lunch back then but how things have changed.
On our first night in town we found Buddies Burgers only a few blocks from our hotel and located in a ruin bar* courtyard. Young crowd, good music and a really good burger (the onion rings were great too).
A few of the restaurants from five years ago are gone but once you start looking it seems that independent hamburger places are everywhere now.
Before we left Budapest we also found a really good burger at the popular Meatology with the slaw and pickles also noteworthy. Their fries were also good with a mix of regular and sweet potato fries.
On this recent trip we also spent about a week in Prague and it seems as if they have become as fond of burgers as the Hungarians. Checking an online map we found almost two dozen hamburger places in the central city and that’s not counting the McDonalds and Burger Kings of which there are many. On our first night in town we found the Black Dog Cantina just two blocks from our hotel calling themselves an American restaurant.
The Black Dog Cantina was modern, the staff friendly and the burgers were large. Great burgers, good french fries and cold beer!
A word of caution – in both Hungary and the Czech Republic don’t just assume that everyone takes credit cards. We discovered a surprising number of places that were cash only, so ask before you order.
*About Ruin Bars – Today there are dozens and dozens of ruin bars around Budapest. These pop-up clubs started in 2004, when a local named Ábel Zsendovits and a friend opened a bar/cafe in a condemned building on Kazinczy street in Budapest. That club, Szimpla opened in an abandoned building and offered affordable drinks to the young crowd in Budapest. Szimpla was decorated by local artists and graffiti and was outfitted with mismatched furniture. It was an immediate success and soon featured local talent in a free form atmosphere that has turned it into one of the world’s most famous bars.
It didn’t take long for ruin bars to became part of the nightlife culture of this city, where people would come to Budapest just drink and party in these crumbling buildings. More ruin bars opened, like Instant and Fogas Ház. Over the years there has been a split from the counter cultural clubs where some venues changed and expanded and upgraded to cater to the international party crowd. Today Instant, has added surreal decor and now occupies an entire apartment block where the party goes on through the whole night.