When Not Bathing in Budapest
What to do when not bathing in Budapest? The Habsburg influence left an elegant and enduring café culture to enjoy. Shoes are another thing you might consider. Budapester shoes to be precise. So that's cafés and shoes. You probably don't need more, but if you're hungry in Hungary you may wish to try Karpatia for a bit of old-school Austro-Hungarian charm.
Budapester Cafés and Noble Rot
The Gerbeaud café and confectioners (pictured above) in Vörösmarty tér, one of the main squares on the Pest side of Budapest, is an obvious choice of café. Always nice to order a slice of Esterházy torte and sit outside in the square.
I'd say you could enjoy a glass of Hungarian Tokaji wine with your cake, but we don't cover wine at The Tweed Pig. (We'd need to mention France too much.) Tokaji is a sweet wine made from grapes affected by 'noble rot' or botrytis. Eszencia being the sweetest of all. Royal Tokaji is an exemplar of this style of wine.
If you're intent on doing a café crawl in Budapest, you can make it easy and head to Liszt Ferenc tér in District 6. The square contains back-to-back cafés, all with outdoor seating supplied with blankets if it gets a bit nippy. The cafés are open for breakfast and late into the night.
A nice spot to read the wonderful Embers [Amazon]by one-time Budapest resident Sándor Márai (or Márai Sándor in Hungarian name order). You can reflect on the nature of friendship whilst stuffing your face with Dobos cake. The Brooks Brothers Ray-Ban sunglasses came in handy for this task.
Karpatia - Pub and Eating House since 1877
Have you ever been to Rules in London? A nice restaurant, the best steak and kidney pie. I remember reading a diner's comment in the guest book that read, "Food excellent. Service camp as ever." I'm always reminded of that comment when I eat at Karpatia at Ferenciek tere, Budapest.
We don't cover restaurants either. If we did, I'd recommend Karpatia. Actually, as it has a bar area it can sneak in as a pub recommendation. Karpatia's interior has a Gothic revival flavour about it. It's like dining in the Houses of Parliament.
The Karpatia restaurant, pub and brasserie is a Budapest institution since 1877. Good beer, excellent goulash and goose liver. The city may be changing around it, but Karpatia remains a welcome constant. Welcome constants are always covered in The Tweed Pig.
The traditional style of the Budapester shoe is a heavy-soled brogue with a high toe cap and open lacing. It's quite a hefty looking shoe.
The best Budapester shoes are handmade by the likes of Koronya in Banhida Utca or Vass in Haris Koz. That's a Vass Budapester above in black scotchgrain.
As Koronya and Vass make bespoke shoes, traditional or contemporary ideas may be incorporated into designs. They also make ready-to-wear shoe styles that bring in international influences. Although it seems right to go for a traditional Budapester in Budapest.