Among the many charming cities surrounding the Hungarian capital, it is no question that Szentendre, Visegrád and Esztergom are the most famous, and visited by Hungarian and international tourists. There are more and more visitors who adjust their itinerary and programs to the culinary delights of a region.
Wether you are a real gourmet basing a journey primarily on gastro experiences or a visitor just wishing to get better acquainted with the best places for a snack or a dinner and some of the typical products of the region, this article will help you to discover these lovely small towns near the Hungarian capital!
After leaving Budapest, the first important tourist destination is the Mediterranean small town of Szentendre. It is a popular site, not by chance: its ambiance, cobbled stone streets, numerous historical buildings and the amazing number of artists (ceramists, painters, handcraft artisans) it is a truly attracting place all year round. On this website you will find a detailed description of its major sights, so let's now have a look at where and what to eat and drink in Szentendre.
Alike Budapest, Szentendre offers a stunning variety of up-to-date restaurants and cafés. Although it does not have any special food product, typical drink or local recipe, it is a melting pot of places serving international and Hungarian cuisine. These are concentrated on a relatively small area, the old town, which results that this part of Szentendre becomes really fizzy and lively on summer nights.
Would you rather wish to choose from places offering traditional Hungarian dishes, there is a range of reputed and cosy restaurants: a meal at Rab Ráby Restaurant will be a museum visit at the same time, Aranysárkány (meaning Golden Dragon) has also a long a successful history, while Művész ("Artist" in Hungarian) represents well the newer generation of eateries.
One more place not to miss... if you haven't heard of the "lángos" yet (a kind of fried flat bread with cream and cheese), you definitely shouldn't miss the opportunity. You can taste a brilliantly prepared version in Szentendre, close to the main square (Fő tér), hidden in a narrow alleyway leading up towards the temple hill.
Sweet-toothed visitors won't get disappointed, neither. Szamos is one of the most famous names when it comes to desserts. Their well-known product is the marzipan, today produced in every possible size, shape and colour. Szentendre also boasts a Szamos Museum, where breathtaking masterpieces are presented – all made of marzipan, obviously. After the visit drop by at the Szamos Café, a confectionary offering a myriad of Szamos delights.
A smaller but frequently visited place is Dolce Vita, a special sugar-free confectionary, the only in the Danube Bend where you do not have to count calories when having a tasty slice of cake.
And last but not at least, a small chocolate and candy shop is also worth mentioning: Édeni Csokizó (Heavenly Chocolate Shop), where sweets from all over the world are being offered, among them many bio products.
If we had to describe with one word the gastronomy of Szentendre, it would be without question medieval Visegrád, home of Hungarian kings has so many monuments to visit, programs to experience that one should definitely start by reading why Visegrád is such an attractive tourist spot here.
Between two man-made attractions created hundreds of years ago, it is truly worth trying a man-made attraction of the present days: a medieval feast at Renaissance Restaurant, for instance. Favourite roasts of King Mathias served on platter will surely surpass all expectations. If you rather had a quick lunch, you might wish to opt for the "Palotaház" situated next to the main road nr. 11, open on weekdays in the summer season. Not only is it a tourist information point and a food court, but it is a court of crafts, too, where you will have the chance to admire traditional craftsmen prepare medieval souvenirs, typical for this destination.
When it comes to drinks, be sure to include into the program a visit at the Pálinka (Brandy) Museum of Visegrád, called "Zugfőzde". You can taste here a dozen of spirits made exlusively of Hungarian fruit by the owner.
For those wishing to enjoy breathtaking views on the Citadel of Visegrád while having dinner, the perfect choice will be Nagyvillám Restaurant.
One more insider tip: not far from the center of the small town, trout likes hide in the woods, where you can put to the test your fishing skills (even fishing rod will be provided). After having caught a pair of trout head for the forest restaurant called "Ördögmalom" where they will prepare the fresh trout according to your taste.
The cradle of Hungarian Catholicism has a dozen of tourist attractions, some related to gastronomy. After having visited the largest basilica of Hungary and the castle, you just have to take just a few more steps to arrive to the Prímás Cellar Visitor Centre. If you are looking for a gorgeous place where all the 22 wine regions of the country are presented and where many dozens of wines can be tasted from a certain wine producing region (altogether more than 300!), you are at the right place. Prímás Cellar has great cuisine, quality Hungarian wines and a matchless ambiance thanks to the renovated, grandiose cellar system. Be sure not to miss it, when you are in Esztergom!
Múzeumkert (Museum Garden in Hungarian) is a cosy small restaurant in the centre, an ideal choice, just like Padlizsán (Aubergine) Restaurant under the Basilica hill.
Esztergom also has a couple of restaurants offering traditional Hungarian dishes. One of these got its name of a Hungarian specialty: knuckle of pork. Csülök Csárda is this place, where the first word means exactly the latter (pig's feet), while csárda is a word describing an authentically furnished restaurant serving typical Hungarian dishes. The other is Szalma Csárda on the Danube embankment, boasting a scenic beehive oven.