Le Bourbon Restaurant: French Cuisine in Budapest Le Meridien Hotel

Le Bourbon Restaurant located in downtown Budapest Le Meridien Hotel, one of the five-star luxury hotels in the capital of Hungary, serves high-end French cuisine. The restaurant has been picked by Chew, the Hungarian food blog amongst its ever-changing Top-33 list, which helps tourists to find the best restaurants in Budapest, Hungary. Le Bourbon boasts about being “the only restaurant in Budapest to offer a cheese trolley with 10 varieties of fine French cheese delivered weekly from the famous market halls of Paris.” Le Bourbon’s executive chef, Laurent Vandenameele is French and although the menu is French too, there is a ‘Hungarian Night’ on Fridays from 7pm (accompanied by a folk dance show).

Le Bourbon Restaurant: French Cuisine in Budapest Le Meridien Hotel

Address: Erzsébet tér 9-10., Budapest, 1051
Phone: 00-36-1-429-5770
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 12:00 – 22:30
Note: the restaurant is within the luxury hotel Le Meridien, in the very heart of the city. Attire: elegant. One of the best Sunday brunches in Budapest (12 pm – 3 pm).
Getting here: metro (all lines) Deák tér station

See the location of Le Bourbon Restaurant on the Budapest Tourist Map (check the yellow house map icon in the middle, and click on the knife and fork icons for further great restaurants or to learn more about the neighboring places of interest. You can also click on the View Larger Map blue link under the map). Notice that Le Bourbon Restaurant is very close to Váci utca shopping street, Roosevelt square with the Chain Bridge & the Gresham Palace as well as St Stephen’s Basilica, which is also ideal for taking panoramic photos of Budapest.


View Larger Map

Read more about the Best Restaurants in Budapest.

Segal Restaurant (Segal Étterem) in Budapest

Segal Restaurant (Segal Étterem) located in City Home Concierge Residential Hotel Budapest has fusion kitchen of the highest quality (including the food and drinks, the interior design, the cutlery, etc.). “More striking is the way Victor & Co. are able to execute complex “concept” dishes while not losing sight of the fact that great food can be quite simple. In most Budapest restaurants, a dish like calamari sautéed in pistachio and cilantro pesto with fresh mango (above, Ft 2,800) would be a recipe for over-wrought disaster. Here, it seemed natural.” (Chew, the Hungarian food and culinary blog).

Segal Restaurant (Segal Étterem) in Budapest in Concierge Hotel

Address: Ó utca 43-49., Budapest 6th district (VI. ker.) 1066
Phone: 00-36-1-354-7888
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 7 am – 12 am
Getting here:

  • underground (yellow metro line), Opera station
  • trams/ streetcars: number 4 or 6

Note: the restaurant is accessible for those who have limited mobility, there’s a parking lot, and it’s a pet-friendly eatery. Segal is the family name of Victor Segal previously in Baraka Restaurant of luxurious Andrassy Boutique Hotel.
See the location of Segal Restaurant on the Budapest Tourist Map (check the knife and fork map icon in the middle, and click on the icons to learn more about the neighboring places of interest or click on the View Larger Map blue link under the map). Notice that Segal Restaurant is very close to the Opera House as well as the Operetta Theater, the House of Photography, and the House of Terror museum on Andrassy út.


View Larger Map

Read more about the Best Restaurants in Budapest.

The Discreet Luxury of Páva Restaurant in Gresham Palace, Budapest

Páva Restaurant (Pava Étterem) in Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest was closed down. Sorry.

Formerly it was not only luxury with its food, service and the architecture of the Art Deco Gresham Palace, but quite extraordinarily, with its views too. The panoramic-view windows of Páva are overlooking the Chain Bridge spanning over the River Danube, leading the eyes to the Royal Palace, the green forests of the Buda hills making you feel at home. As Fodor’s travel guide puts it: “The hotel’s premier restaurant is everything you’d expect from the Four Seasons chain: discreet luxury in a unique and historic building. The international menu hardly let’s you know you’re in Hungary, but the food is so expertly prepared you’re willing to settle for the breathtaking views of the Chain Bridge and Budapest Castle as a reminder. Service is friendly but white-glove all the way.”Frommer’s refers to this ‘friendly but’ factor as “While the atmosphere here is a tad stiff, the dining experience is memorable.

Interestingly enough the official website tells you that the menu is Italian, Frommer’s guide says it’s Italian (“serves really great Italian cuisine: this is a 3-hour, six-course meal,“) but several other reviews dub the kitchen international.

Pava Restaurant (Pava Étterem) in Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest

Address: Roosevelt tér 5-6, 1051 Budapest
Phone: 00-36-1-268-5100
Opening hours: (dinner hours) Mon – Sat 18:00 – 22:30
Getting here
:

  • metro (blue line) Deák tér station,
  • tram/streetcar: number 2 or 2A
  • bus number 15, 16, 105

Note: Book a table in advance (closed on Sundays). Expect the experience to be pricey & memorable. Attire: business casual. Pava restaurant seats 78 people, while the private dining room 14. Páva means peacock in Hungarian (see the motif on the gate)
See the location of Páva Restaurant in Gresham Palace on the Budapest Tourist Map (check the knife and fork map icon in the middle, and click on the icons to learn more about the neighboring places of interest or click on the View Larger Map blue link under the map). Notice that Páva Restaurant in Gresham Palace is very close to the Parliament, the Basilica and Roosevelt square with the Chain Bridge, plus there’s the Funicular Railway on the other side of the bridge (5-10 min walk).


View Larger Map

Read more about the Best Restaurants in Budapest.

Baraka Restaurant in Andrassy Boutique Hotel, Budapest

Baraka Restaurant (Baraka étterem) is in Andrassy Boutique Hotel, on the fascinating Andrassy avenue in Budapest. The interior design of the restaurant is art deco (simple, elegant, and a bit darkish). Rich flavors, different fishes, seafood, beef, lamb and vegetarian dishes. Baraka has been chosen in the list of Top 33 restaurants in Budapest made by Chew.hu Hungarian food blog. Fodor’s travel guide writes: “The new digs for this celebrated Budapest restaurant couldn’t be more inviting. The leafy outside terrace looks onto majestic Andrássy út and Heroes Square; the spacious interior dining room is all grown-up big-city glamour. Dimmed crystal chandeliers, sleek black tables, and massive vases filled with calla lillies suggest a sophisticated evening in store. Expect innovative seasonal dishes … Prices match the ambition of the place, but there’s a reasonable two-course lunch special daily.”

Address: Andrássy út 111, 1062 Budapest
Phone: 00-36-1-483-1355
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 12-15 and 18-23 (closed on Sundays)
Note: Between 1945 and 1989, Hotel Andrassy accommodated many a famous foreign statesmen: communist Heads of State like Brezhnev, Gorbatschev, Honecker, or the first man in space, Gagarin. Closed on Sundays. It’s worth reserving a table in advance.
Getting here
: metro (yellow underground line) at Bajza utca station

Baraka Restaurant in Andrassy Boutique Hotel Budapest

See the location of Baraka Restaurant on the Budapest Tourist Map (check the knife and fork map icon in the middle, and click on the icons to learn more about the neighboring places of interest or click on the View Larger Map blue link under the map). Notice that Baraka Restaurant is close to the House of Horror museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Hall of Arts and the Millennial Monument on Heroes’ Square.


View Larger Map

Read more about the Best Restaurants in Budapest.

Cafe New York in New York Palace Hotel, Budapest

Café New York (New York kávéház) is in the recently renovated opulent five-star hotel, in the New York Palace, in a busy part of Budapest (easily reached by the red line metro at Blaha tér, or the trams 4 and 6).

It was a historical venue where the big names of Hungarian literature and movie making used to get together, but today it’s a luxury coffee house and bar – one of the oldest grand cafés of the fin de siecle Budapest. Both smoking and non-smoking parts. For your coffee, I suggest trying the Tiramisu in real Italian style, or just sipping a glass of Tokaj aszú – according to totally unscientific studies it helps to feel the grandeur of the café.

New York Cafe in Budapest New York Palace Boscolo Hotel

Opening hours: from 9am to 1am
Address: Erzsébet körút 9-11., Budapest district VII. 1073
Phone: 00-36-1-886-6111
Wifi: yes

See its location on the Budapest tourist map Check the yellow House icon in the middle standing for the New York Palace and Cafe, and click on Cup icons to get further info on good /Best Cafes in Budapest or the knife and fork icon for good / Best Restaurants in Budapest.


View Larger Map

The History of New York Cafe Budapest

The four-floor New York Palace was built in 1894 in eclectic style by a New York-based life insurance company: of course, not as a palace but as an elegant office complex. It re-opened as New York Palace Boscolo Budapest Hotel, a five star hotel of the Italian Boscolo group managed by Antonio Delpin, in May 2006. Its café, the New York, or rather, The New York in Budapest lingo (opened by Sándor Steuer a member of a famous coffee-family in 1894)

New York Cafe, Literature and Film art

The cafe became one of the most popular iconic cafés of fin-de-siécle Budapest, especially amongst Budapest literati: writers frequented the café for its inspirational atmosphere and company as well as for good coffees and meals. Waiters treated authors with due respect, even providing ink, paper, or aspirin for them. Special discount Writers’ Plates with generous portions of ham, cheese and rolls were given to artists just for a few cents (writing rarely has been a lucrative living). Writers of the first professional mainstream periodical of Hungarian progressive literature called Nyugat (West) were regularly coming together in New York Café. The managers (Harsányi brothers) loved the talented authors who aimed to elevate Hungarian literature to international standards – with great success. Can you imagine that there were 400 different journals and papers in the café to read at the turn of the 20th century? According to Noémi Saly, a Budapest café expert, in addition to Hungarian dailies and periodicals, Czech, Spanish, French and English journals were on display.

Moreover, in the 1910’s theatrical and movie intellectuals found their home in the café. “Indeed, this is where Sir Alexander Korda – director of films such as The Private Life of Henry VIII & The Thief of Baghdad – started out for his world award winning career, just as Michael Curtis, Oscar winning director of Casablanca did too,” according to the hotel’s official website. Yes, the café is undoubtedly deeply rooted in Hungarian cultural history.

In 1920 Vilmos Tarján put together his capital (half a million gained through gambling as District VII local government’s website points out) and took over the management of the café, which became the center of Budapest night life up until 1936. Once it was even visited by a circus seal to the amazement of the audience.

New York Cafe as a Warehouse?

In 1945 the palace was bombarded, the café had to close down in 1947 and was turned into a warehouse. What a beautiful warehouse it must have been…. It opened again in 1954 renamed as ‘Hungaria’ (New York was too capitalist for the then communist Hungary, and it was not a café any more just a buffet and restaurant). Two years later, the 1956 revolution left its marks on the building. After World War II there were plans to turn the palace into a fashionable mall, then in the communist era it functioned as the headquarters of a national publishing group (Pallas).

New York Cafe in the Modern era

After the change of regime in 1989, there were several bidders for the palace who wished to transform the property into a shopping center, and some suggested it as the venue for the new national theater.

But in 2001, Boscolo Hotels, the Italian hotel chain, purchased New York Palace from the Hungarian government with the promise of a full restoration of the famous New York Café. The café indeed got back its former pomp and the magical mixture of styles. “What will be done to bring back the poets and the painters?” posed the question Eve M. Kahn in the New York Times to Gilles Stellardo, the marketing director for Boscolo in North America. And the answer is elusive ”We will do something special for the writers and artists; we’re figuring that out right now.” Well, even if you don’t meet artists (there are no discount artist rates any more), you will surely enjoy the painstakingly restored café with rich marbles, friezes and gilt, the Murano glass chandeliers as well as high quality Italian coffees.

New York Cafe – Interior Design

The opulent splendor of New York Palace is characterized by the heavy influence of Italian renaissance with elegant but lavishly furnished interiors in marble, gilt, velvet, crystal, silk, bronze, enlivened by mythological figures, vigorous fresco scenes, baroque ornaments, bright red and blue chandeliers, and a likewise marvelous facade with carved statues, marble spires, wrought iron balconies. To mention but a few, there are 16 winged and horned devilish fauns dramatizing the windows of the café, several nude female statues and figurines to hint at lust, and in the royal suite there is a bronze horse with its leg sunken into the furniture as if it got trapped.

The New York Palace Boscolo is literally eclectic and full of aesthetic surprises to the eye. Tom Otley on Business Traveller compares the design to Kubrick’s film interiors: “Inside the New York Palace it is a strange mix. There is the extremely fashionable and good-looking design: both the breakfast room and the VIP room are some of the most attractive modern designs I’ve seen, a kind of Stanley Kubrick version of the future (a cross between the Milk Bar in A Clockwork Orange and something from 2001: A Space Odyssey). Then there is the carefully renovated grand, turn-of-the-(last)-century style of the café, one of Budapest’s most famous, with its marble, bronze, frescoes and Murano chandeliers. Finally there are the frankly odd touches, like the presidential suite with its turquoise Murano chandelier.”

So as you can see, eclecticism is clear. Be prepared to gape at its blended beauty.
The second phase of the hotel development on Osvát street is scheduled to be finished by 2009.

Chinese Lantern Festival at Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal Budapest

Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal Budapest is having Chinese Lantern Festival days from Feb 8 to 27, 2008. Booking with the Budapest Times means a 20% reduction for you. The Chinese Lantern Festival is a three-week celebration of the year of the Rat. The highly praised Rickshaw & Sushi Bar Restaurant of the five star hotel will now offer special menu selections prepared for the New Year celebrations.

Chinese Lantern Festival in Grand Hotel Royal Budapest illustration

Price: 10,000 HUF
Rickshaw & Sushi Bar Restaurant
Open daily: 6 pm – 12 pm (except Monday)
Reservations: 00-36-1479-4855
Location (the yellow house sign indicates luxury hotels in Budapest, Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal is the mid one):


View Larger Map

The Menu is as follows:

San Si Tang
Glass noodle soup
with chicken and bamboo
***
Zheng Jiao
Dim sum Chinese style
***
Song Shu Yu
Deep fried seabass with sweet sauce
***
Ba Bao La Jiang
Chiken, beef and pork meat mix
Chinese style with vegetables
***
Chao Nian Gao
Wok fried rice noodles
***
Ba Si Ju Zi
Caramelized orange fritters
with sesame seeds
***
Fortune cookies
Coffee or green tea
San Si Tang
Glass noodle soup
with chicken and bamboo
Zheng Jiao
Dim sum Chinese style
Song Shu Yu
Deep fried seabass with sweet sauce
Ba Bao La Jiang
Chiken, beef and pork meat mix
Chinese style with vegetables
Chao Nian Gao
Wok fried rice noodles
Ba Si Ju Zi
Caramelized orange fritters
with sesame seeds
***
Fortune cookies
Coffee or green tea

(photo from readysetglow.com)

Gellért Spa Bath in Budapest: Merry Healing in Art Deco Environment

Gellert Bath in Budapest/ Gellért Fürdő (say: Gal-ay-rt Fur-dur ) is one of the most frequented spa baths in Budapest by locals and tourists alike. Gellert Spa Bath is located in Hotel Gellert (Danubius Hotel Gellert), but the thermal spa bath is open for the general public (there is a separate entrance for non-hotel guests). Both the hotel and the spa bath are in a fascinating Art Nouveau – Art Deco building (including Hungarian folk art motifs, phenomenal colorful lead glasses and painted eosin mosaics).

The quality of the thermal water is superb (already in use in the 15th century!). In addition, Gellert Furdo has 13 baths including a wave bath and a children’s pool, so it is not only recreational but it’s fun. Needless to say, there are pampering massages, treatments, drinking cures, etc. Gellert Spa Bath – as part of Hotel Gellert Budapest was built in 1918. There are 13 baths 20-38 °C (68-100 degrees Fahrenheit).

See the Frequently Asked Questions about Gellert Bath and the Video at the bottom!

Gellert Spa Bath Budapest Hungary Gellert Furdo montage

The thermal water is recommended for:
damaged joints (e.g. worn hip and knee joints), degenerative diseases, arthritis, Ankylosing spondylitis or Bechterew’s disease, low back pain or lumbago, after accidents as a post therapy.
Address: Kelenhegyi út 4, Budapest, H-1118, check its location on the Budapest Tourist map (blue waves indicate major spa baths)
Location: Gellert Spa Bath is on the Buda side, almost at the foot of Liberty Bridge Budapest (Szabadsághíd), next to Gellert Hill, which is a great green area with the Statue of Liberty and a superb panoramic view of the Pest side of Budapest with the Parliament, Chain Bridge, Basilica, Gresham Palace, etc.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 6am to 8pm
Phone: 00-36-1-466-6166
Getting there: Trams/ Streetcars: 18,19, 47, 49, Buses: 7 (green normal, not the red express!), 86
Prices: general admission with cabin HUF 5,300. There are all kinds of massages available, which can be booked online in advance for your convenience.

More  in depth info about Budapest Baths


View Larger Map

Miscellaneous: Saint Gellert (also known as St Gerard) was a Hungarian bishop who came from Italy to spread Christianity and educate the son of the first Hungarian king, St Stephen in the 11th century. Pagans threw him off the Gellert Hill. Unfortunately, Gellert Furdo is slightly worn down and will need some reconstruction to get back its truly five-star beauty.

Gellert Furdo FAQ

Are the baths inside or outside?
Baths are both outside and inside.
Is Gellert Spa Bath closed in winter?
No, it is open all year, on weekdays from 6am to 7pm, and at weekends from 6am to 5pm (except for some public holidays).
When is it the best time to go to Gellért Fürdő?
Well, that’s a good question. Although Gellert Furdo has 13 baths, weekends tend to be crowded, so it is worth going there a bit earlier.
Do you need anything else than yourself, a swim gear and money?
A towel, flip-flops or rubber shoes (for general hygienic and preventive reasons too), and water-resistant purse for the buffet or for massages & treatments will come in handy (although you can hire some of them for a nominal price). If you want to swim laps in the pool, besides using the thermal baths, you will need a swim cap too.
Can you book massages in advance?
No, unfortunately, massages cannot be pre-arranged. Gellert Spa Bath is operated on a first come first served basis.
Is Gellert Furdo good for children?
Yes, Gellért Spa Bath is a family-friendly place. For instance, there is an outside bath whose thermal water starts to wave periodically: its gradient depth ranges from 0.4m/1.30 feet to 2.75m/ 9 feet) . Then there’s a separate children’s spa bath (30 degrees Celsius/ 86 degrees Fahrenheit and 0.4 m/ 1.31 feet deep). Nevertheless, the spa bath is still a calm thermal bath and not a water amusement park (no big and complex slides, spring boards, etc.).
Shall I go to Gellért or Széchenyi Spa Bath?
Ideally, you should try both baths to discover which suits better your tastes. Both are located in a beautiful building (Szechenyi is neo-baroque, Gellert is fabulous art-deco). Both have world-renowned healing properties and good massages. Gellert Spa Bath might be a bit more touristy as it’s located in Hotel Gellert, while Szechenyi Furdo is an individual spa bath (note: contracted with several Budapest hotels). In addition, Szechenyi Spa Bath is slightly less expensive than Gellert Spa Bath (e.g. admission with cabin: 2,800 HUF vs. 3,100 HUF). Gellert might be a better choice for families with kids though, but several travelers suggest Szechenyi for children. Good question. Let me know what you found out: add your comments, please.

Do you know of the best Spa Hotels in Budapest?

We think that Hotel Gellert is really great, but may seem a bit outdated, if you want something high-end, upscale, and are willing to splurge. Here is a good list of the best Budapest spa hotels, and if you ask us, we recommend Corinthia Hotel Budapest.
How do you get from Keleti railway station to Gellért Spa Bath?
The easiest and quickest way is to take the red line Metro at Keleti pu. until Astoria. At Astoria, get off and take the green number 7 bus, which will take you over the Elisabeth Bridge to the Buda side. About 3 stops. See the Gellert Hill and the nice Hotel? There you are!

Watch Gellert Spa Bath Budapest on this video made with Michael Palin (comedian, writer, Monty Python member, as well as maker and presenter of several BBC travel documentaries). Hey, one of my favorite comedians!

Welcome to Luxury Hotels Budapest

Welcome to our blog focusing on Budapest tips, reviews and events. Even if you are not a luxury traveller, we hope that you will find valuable information in our comprehensive five-star guide, the Luxury Hotels Budapest site and it’s continuously updated informal journal, the Budapest Blog.

Budapest Luxury Hotels decision making

We will try to bring you the best about Budapest life, and share balanced feedback from fellow travellers as well as locals (both native and expat views). Please feel free and encouraged to share your impressions on your Budapest stay too, or point to your Budapest videos, photos, blogposts, etc.

These days we are making the final touches on the site, and Anna, our Anna-of-all-trade, is getting fresh Dec 2007 videos in Budapest about hotels, landmarks, cafes, etc. – slightly slowed down by the great family parties, and wonderful dishes, not to mention the coming New Year’s Eve Party.

We hope you can bear with us, and wish you the best of 2008: love, health, bread, milk, and, of course, a fabulous Budapest stay.