This is part five of my trip to Paris and Budapest. For the remainder of the series, please see below.
Paris – Hotel Esprit Saint Germain
Paris – The Marais, Le Bon Marche, Le Comptoir du Relais
Paris – St. Germain, Hermes, L’Avant Comptoir
Budapest – Four Seasons Gresham Palace
Budapest – Andrassy Avenue, Onyx
Budapest – Taste Hungary
Budapest- Christmas Markets, Bock Bistro
For my next few posts on Budapest, I’ll be taking you through our days there, exploring and eating our way through the city. Today, I’ll be sharing from day to evening our local exploration of the area right around our hotel, as well as one of the most famous boulevards in Budapest.
Each morning and afternoon, we’d walk right outside our hotel and be greeted by lovely weather (yes we were lucky with the weather while there), the lawn right outside the Gresham, and Chain Bridge.
Like Paris, Budapest is a walking city – if we had the time, we would have walked almost everywhere. Unfortunately, our schedule was fairly packed during our short visit there, so we often took the metro. The stations in Budapest were very clean and charming (though I will say that I found the system for buying and using tickets confusing and quite manual).
Just a short metro ride away was Andrassy Avenue – one of the most famous boulevards in Budapest. This street is a UNESCO World Heritage site and had some beautiful buildings along it, including the famous Hungarian Opera House.
There was also the newly opened Il Bacio Di Stile – the first luxury department store in Budapest. We took a brief tour around and it was lovely inside, albeit with very few people actually purchasing. Prices were higher than in Italy and Paris…the shop reminded me a bit of TSUM in Moscow.
One shop that we did spend quite a bit of time in was Alexandra Bookshop. I love, love bookshops and so always try to visit them wherever I go (even if I can’t understand a word of the written language). Alexandra was one of the grandest and most beautiful bookstores I had ever seen!
The second floor had a huge, grand cafe with beautiful ceilings and decor. I thought that the locals were very fortunate to have this type of cafe as just a regular place to have drinks – I saw many on laptops, just surfing the web just like at my local Starbucks!
After spending some time at Alexandra, we ended up back on Andrassy and checked out a few more local shops. One was a brand that some of you may have heard of – Omorovicza.
Omorovicza is a top luxury skincare brand in Hungary and I had seen it many times at my local Neiman’s. The flagship store was beautiful inside – I would recommend any spa lover visiting Hungary to either get a facial here or at the Gresham, where they use Omorovicza products.
My favorite that I tested was the BB cream – I was told it was a bestseller.
After an afternoon spent wandering around Andrassy Avenue, we returned to the hotel for a brief siesta. After a little nap, we woke up refreshed and also – hungry! Which was good, as we were going to dinner nearby at one of the more well known dining destinations in Budapest- Onyx.
Onyx is one of two single star Michelin restaurants in Budapest (there are no two or three, yet), and probably the more formal one. The restaurant was a very short walk from our hotel and soon we were inside the beautiful dining room.
I am the world’s worst food writer so unfortunately my description of many of the upcoming photos are lacking. But I can assure you that they were all very good to absolutely fantastic. Our first morsel was an amuse bouche.
Followed by the bread course. Here were the spreads were were presented for the bread – a butter, a pork rillette, and a cheese/paprika spread. My favorite was the latter.
The bread cart was probably one of them most spectacular I have ever seen – it reminded me of the amazing carts at Joel Robuchon.
Mr. Feather and I at this point knew we were done for and decided to go all out and have a carb fest. This was our bread bowl, which was refilled twice during the evening….Mr. Feather was looking at the wine list.
After the bread, our meal started. We each ordered the tasting menu – I opted for the vegetarian version so we could try more items. Some highlights from our meals.
Goose liver prepared two ways – my favorite was the spread.
Wild mushroom soup.
A beautiful goulash soup. I love soups so ate this and the mushroom!
Grilled beef shoulder with vegetables.
A light little palate cleanser…
..and then dessert.
This was Mr. Feather’s favorite – a Somlo sponge cake. The restaurant accidentally brought over two of these when I had ordered something else, so he got to devour both. It was an impressive feat of eating!
After our three (!) desserts, the sweets brigade wasn’t over. There was of course, a cart of petit fours rolled past. At this point we were feeling super full but knew we would regret not trying everything, so had one of each.
And after some tea and espresso, we were finally done with our meal. It was about three hours but felt shorter. While we were eating, we actually eralized that it was Thanksgiving back in the U.S. – so this was our Thanksgiving feast!
Before we left, the lovely staff presented us with our “next day” presents – a box each of their sweets, and an individual poppy and walnut sweet spiral loaf for each of us (called beigli in Hungarian).
Overall, I would highly recommend Onyx as a restaurant stop in Budapest – especially if you are someone who loves food. This was a spectacular meal – the food was incredibly high quality, and there was a great selection of local wines. We were told that this was probably the most expensive restaurant in Budapest – and though it was expensive, it was also very reasonably priced especially compared to its Western counterparts. A tasting menu for each of us, along with a full wine pairing for each, ended up being somewhere around $400. Basically the cost of a meal for one at French Laundry, with maybe a single drink.
Thank you as always for reading about my trip to Budapest. On my next post, I’ll be covering some more of the above – food!