How does "Downtown Highway" sound to you? This is how local people often refer on Rákóczi road which is a 4+2 lane main road (2 for the buses) in the core of the city that connects also three important metropolitan stations and crosses the Grand Boulevard and the Small Boulevard as well.
Some may are too picky to give also a busy road a chance to find good gastronomical venues there too but I can assure you this central road has some impressive locals to offer. The track of it can be a good area to have your apartment around because from here you can get very easy to basically every point of the central Budapest and of course you don’t have to suffer from the lack of any infrastructure, pubs and bars neither.
In this post let’s explore what we can find on the right side of Rákóczi road, between Astoria and Blaha Lujza tér stops of Metropolitan line 2. It is a short etap that you can leave behind within 10 minutes. On this side, on the front road you won’t find as many bars as on the other side but the onces here are definitely worth the visit. Lets get familiar with two bars and one not exactly bar.
Neked Csak Dezső - The greatest draught beer selection of Hungary in 2018
Neked csak Dezső could be one of the newest craft beer places of Budapest if it wouldn’t be one of the older, already popular craft beer places in a new location? This makes it not a bit less important of course."Dezső" already have had a big fan base when it moved further just a few hundred meters but still from the Party quarter to the calmer side of the road.
The new unit is a record breaker with its 32 different beer taps which makes it suitable for many beer premiers, tap takeovers from different breweries, even foreign ones. They have an own bottle shop, where you can find initially every beer type that counts. This features are not hard to explain to the public, they speak for themselves. The unstopable beer lovers invaded quickly the 450 squaremeters of the new unit.
The big and illuminated shopping windows always show you what is happening inside. Nothing to be ashamed of: from late afternoon till closing hours there is a representive crowd all the time. It is easy to spot it from its big label and the lights, almost in the Uránia bus stop where also night buses stop.
At first after entering the design seems to be a trend follower semi-industrial but only for the first sight. As you go further you can catch some unique details and you will find more homey colors and furnitures.
You surley will notice the big pig-shaped motive on the wall. He is Dezső from the name of the pub: a pig from a Hungarian cult movie, the Tanú (Whitness). Poor thing was eaten…
Here you can eat some version of the signeature pork meat too (Pork Knuckle or Fried Pork Shoulder for example) but besides there is a pleasant selection from reformed snack and starters, traditional Hungarian soups and dishes or extravagant international combinations.
About the prices: there are no economical beer snacks, only gourmet ones. And the price level of the starters beats the level of the main courses but in return a few main courses doesn’t count as expensive at all (from 1590-2490 HUF you have good options)
Others things like the burger are on highest price level in the genre (3190 HUF).
The beers are to catch in 2dl or 4dl formats. There is a great diversity of the prices. 2cl can cost 330-550 HUF when it is about quite common beers. The special gourmet ones can reach the point of 690-850 Forints and the very rare import gems even 1200 HUF standard. Pay attention: The 4dl is sometimes a better deal!
There are no pub sports or any other activities here but 32 different beers give you something to talk about with your company doesn’t matter if you are a beer geek or a new explorer. And do you want a real sport? Try them all after each other. I am courious about the face of a champion.
Recommended for: crazy many beers, variable selection bottleshop to take beers home, gourmet food menu
Not recommended for: cheap beer snacks, pub sports
Hrabal - A Checz-like brasserie in the simulated analog era
I don’t know how popular Checz beer and Bohumil Hrabal writer is in your country but they have a dedicated, fascinated fanbase in Hungary. Naming a brasserie after Hrabal is something to call a bull's eye. Hrabal Söröző (=Brasserie) is in the same line with Neked Csak Dezső but closer to Astoria Metroline station.
Its welcoming classic appearance can remind one really on a Checz beer hospoda. It is a clear obvious concept and it works: The dark wooden furniture and the simply white walls with the portraits of Hrabal and black and white scenes from movie adaptations of his novels.
The place is alway packed with cheerful guests, as young companies after uni as old fashioned gentleman by themselves picking the beer mug as company. No wonder, Czech people brought the best out of the climate of simply brasseries: you don’t need complicated things to everyday happinessis. Neither in the Hungarian capital. Few minutes away from the overcomplicated colorful zone of the ruin bars, a place like this runs with full house at a Monday early evening.
What could be the winning recipt beyond dedicating a place to an eternal spirit to make guests feel it was worth it: they have 8 different beer taps (4 Postřižinské and 4 guests) and more beers in the fridge - mostly but not only Checz one (also some Belgian fruit beers) - The liquors and spirits are also and only Czech (R.Jelinek and Becherovka). Despite it is a brasserie, they serve wine too but only in bottles, not glass by glass. They have also the typical Checz refresher, the cola-like Kofola on menu.
Czech beer is also an economical choice: here you can buy in gastronomical enviroment a great selection for maximum 720 Ft/0,5 liter.
About the food: The Checz nation can be generally prouder on the standards of their beer snacks than the Hungarians. Their national treasures, the utopenec (marinated saveloy) and the hermelin (marinated camambert like cheese) are served in Hrabal either.
The main courses menu is a short one but includes also some non fading Checz hits: like “csülök” (=pork knuckle) in a more people portion, knédli (boiled flat dumpling), bramborak cheese with smoked meat.
The only sad feature on the whole picture is that they are not compatible with the digitial era at all. No public wi-fi, no sockets at no table. So if you feel like working from your notbook for several hours in the Hrabal Söröző, you have the wrong idea.
It is a good advice to book for bigger companies. If you go alone and only for your beer time you will be guided to the side tables to sit on high chairs at the wall. If all the single chairs are full they use the Czech system and they offer you place at the table of someone else. Most of the Hungarian seem to adapt it easily. According to the management sometimes friendships or relationships were created this way and the former strangers returned together later.
There is also an upper room that they open only when they really have no more resorts downstairs. Maybe as their popularity grows and grows they will have to look for a bigger unit as they have already done once with their previous smaller store.
Black Cab Burger – English Cab Driver lunch Budapest
As already said this side of the wide Rákóczi road is not so fully packed of actual pubs on the front (there are more venues in the smaller crossing streets) but you don’t have to hold on only on Dezső and Hrabal. Because there is still an additional hidden option also to drink, a popular burger joint, the Black Cab Burger which is open till 00:00 and comes with English beer and cider.
This is the second installment of an already popular gastro-trademark from the 9th District. This is even more downtown version you can find right next to the beautiful classy building of our historical cinema, the Uránia.
Black Cab as the name foreshadows was built on English thematic. The wall graphics and scripts, the logo all refer to London related icons: the London Eye, the Tower Bridge, etc.
This is true for the alcoholic drink selection too: they have beers that you can also drink in the UK, mostly from Fuller’s Selection. (8 type of beer and 2 types of cider) The London Pride you also have on the tap, alongside with Gaymer’s Cider. This portfolio is not common in Hungary at all - and as you may know it from other posts of the blog, only the newest wave of Hungarian pubs and bars have decent food to offer next to the beers. It’s an ever growing number and this area is compelling from this perspective but we are still not at the point of not caring about a quality place that has also a list of rarer import beers.
About the food: There are four size of burger. Regular / Large & Double / Double Large. The favorites are on a regular menu but you can always combine them with extra toppings. As side dishes you can have them with locally made quality chips. Their Cabby Burger is the top guest favorite but they won a championship on Helmann’s cup with the Big Smokey Burger.
Additional food hits are the hot-dogs and the salads which I haven’t tried yet but I saw people having them. Don’t think in their case on the boring leaf-only, powerless, as good as nothing salads. They seemed to be full of munition.
The Black Cab Burger Background story: I had the luck of meeting the owner, József and asking him about the origin of the place.
He used to live in many countries abroad, worked always in the gastronomy: US, Australia, and of course also in London. There he worked in high class restaurants but he often had a glimpse of a small wooden shed from the corner of his eyes by travelling and it caught his attention. It was selling hot-dogs and burgers. He always saw a long queue of traditional British black cabs around this spot, while the drivers had their lunch there, at the Chelsea Bridge. Five years after returning while teaching English the idea of opening an own good burger place started to grow in his mind. During his travels he collected a lot of experience to know how a good burger must be. So he opened his first Burger Joint in 2011 among the first ones at the beginning of the Budapest Burger Revolution.
Few months after the start he the chance to buy some importer beer from a new neighbor pub and he went after the English beer to match the profile. In this second place they put extra attention on the environment proof: using power saving led spots, selective garbage management, no plastic bottles.
Their ingredient management also sounds compelling: The meat, the vegetables and the potato is bought freshly every morning. Generally they don’t fry in oil, only use the grill plate. And only for the potato the solution is the peanut. It is an interesting side story that the grill sausages come accidentally from an English butcher. The next mission is for József to find a good source for the English of Frankfurter. He has proven already twice how good he is at fulfilling dreams. We keep the fingers crossed for him to the next step.
Recommended for: English Beers and Ciders and Quality Street Food together
Not recommended for: Local drinks and using it for a Stock Party Spot
The above mentioned bars and burger joint are also present on the Apartments of Budapest feat. Pubtourist map: