In Budapest last year we were lucky enough to meet some great fans and one of them, Brigi Boros, has described some of her favourite places for us, and we've added a few other tips too.
Starting with Restaurants, Brigi goes straight to the top of the list. Costes Restaurant is the most expensive restaurant in Budapest and is the first restaurant in Hungary to be awarded a Michelin Star. Brigi admits she hasn't been, but has heard excellent reports.
Continuing with the top end, the Gundel Restaurant is probably the most famous restaurant in Hungary. It's a beautiful, well-located restaurant with a luxurious interior, the Hungarian cuisine is good, but you do end up paying for the Gundel name. http://www.gundel.hu/
Our very own @tweetMeF1stuff also came up with one of the places on Brigi's list: Pomo d'oro, one of the best Italian restaurants in Hungary, again not cheap, but worth the price. @TweetMeF1stuff particularly likes the pasta cooked in a big round cheese which melts and coats the pasta. Delicious, but makes a bit of a mess of the inside of the cheese! http://www.pomodorobudapest.com/
For something more traditional, our guide recommends the Szent Jupát Restaurant: it’s a traditional restaurant and pub, the portions are big; delicious, home-made dishes in a friendly, comfortable environment and it's good value. http://www.stjupat.hu/
Her personal favourite is Cafe Pausa - an amazing place, the waiters are nice and attentive, and the food is great. http://www.cafepausa.hu/
The Manna Lounge is the place to go for more modern food but it's the environment that makes the difference. The cheese platter, wine selection and desserts are allegedly fantastic. They have their own DJ, who plays great lounge music. http://www.mannalounge.com/
If you feel like a bit of sightseeing, both Brigi and @SzaboZsuzsi came up with a whole host of places. Here are the ones to visit on the Buda side:
Gellért Square, situated at the foot of Gellert Hill on the Danube bank on Buda side. There's the famous Hotel Gellért and Gellért Thermal Bath, you can also enjoy great views over the Danube, Szabadság Bridge and the Statue of Liberty on top of Gellért Hill.
Buda Castle District: Here you'll find the Royal Palace, the Labyrinth in Buda Castle, the Fishermen’s Bastion, Matthias Church and there are many museums, cafes and great restaurants. Everything in one place! Besides the monuments you also get a fantastic panorama of the Danube with the Chain Bridge and the Pest side of the river.
On the Pest Side, there's also a wide choice:
Deák Square is Hungarian public transport’s main station, from here you can get to Váci Street-the popular shopping street- easily on foot. At Vörösmarty Square you can find lots of restaurants, shops and the famous Café Gerbeaud.
The Heroes’ square is a millenial monument and situated in front of the beautiful City Park, at the end of the Andrássy Avenue, one of the most important streets of Budapest. The other sides you can see the representative building of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Art Gallery.
The Hungarian Parliament is the largest buliding in Hungary and represents an architectural style known as Gothic Revival. If you walk down to the river bank you can see the amazing Gresham Palace and the Saitn Stephen's Basilica. Look over the Danube you’ll see the Castle District and Gellért Hill. @SzaboZsuzsi also points out that when you're walking round the city, be sure to look up and check out the beautiful sculptures on the walls of the buildings.
The Budapest Zoo http://www.zoobudapest.com/ is great fun and if the weather is sunny and hot the Aquaréna in Mogyoród is a great choice too. http://www.aquarena.hu/ And last but not least, Budapest is a city of spas, so the popular Széchenyi Spa has to be mentioned. It's the first thermal bath on the Pest side and is great if you have time to kill or just want to relax. http://www.szechenyibath.com
Once you've relaxed and are looking for somewhere to party, maybe after the race, then Symbol Budapest is worth checking out. It hosts the official Formula 1 Afterparty, which this year features none other than a certain DJ Yamamoto. http://www.symbolbudapest.hu/ Or you could try Rio. It's Hungary’s most famous party place, everybody has heard of it and after the race you can usually see some drivers there. http://www.rio.hu/ For more alternative music, Brigi says Instant (http://www.instant.co.hu/hu) is the place to be, and although we might not get round to checking out all of her recommendations, we're certainly very grateful for her help.
Thanks Brigi, see you there!