Recommendations

BUDAPEST

Lodging:

Bell Hostel, http://www.bellhostel.com – Gábor is a great landlord, readily accessible and very knowledgeable.  The location of the hostel/apartment is just off the Danube, north of Parliament on the Pest side; it’s central enough to get almost anywhere on foot, but if you need to travel beyond, there’s a Metro station a couple blocks away.

Food:

Lugás Étterem, http://lugas-etterem.hu – Our landlord recommended this place, and so I pass on the recommendation.  The prices are very reasonable and the food is high-quality home cooking.  Order the non-vegetarian stuffed cabbage, but be very hungry when you do.

Hummus Bar, http://www.hummusbar.hu/cms/index.php?lang=en – This place was so good we went twice.  Upon your arrival, they present you with a tiny glass of hot mint tea, which was a pleasant surprise when we walked in the first time.  For 600 Ft (roughly US $3) you can get a falafel sandwich that is crammed with cabbage, yoghurt, pickles, hot sauce, and the best falafel in the city (and we tried several different places in order to be able to make that claim).  There’s an extensive menu that goes beyond hummus and falafel as well; the labane was great, and the tabule was pleasant, if a little watery.

Marxim Pizzeria, http://www.marximpub.hu – For the specifics on why this place is so amazingly great, see Fun With Sarah.

Punjab Tandoori Indian Restaurant, http://indiaietterem.hupont.hu – We stumbled upon this place on one of our first days in town, and it was so freaking good that I wanted to go back.  Sadly, a second trip wasn’t in the cards, but I highly recommend it to anyone in Budapest who also likes Indian food.  Whatever you order, get the garlic naan to go with.  You won’t regret it (though you may stuff yourself silly).

Most Bistro, http://visitbudapest.travel/budapest-restaurants/most-bistro – For more about why we loved Most, see Szia Budapest.

PRAGUE

Food:

Pod Slavínem, http://www.pod-slavinem.cz – This place was right across the street from our Cupcake Palace, and serves Czech comfort food in intimidating portions.  Definitely the place to go after a few too many pilsners.

Cartello Alto, http://cartello.wgz.cz – Another neighborhood eatery.  This one serves pretty bomb pizza and pasta, and the carpaccio is fantastic as well.  Pop music videos play continuously overhead.

Maitrea, http://www.maitrea.cz/restaurace  & Lehká Hlava, http://www.lehkahlava.cz/en_novinky.htm – Sister vegetarian restaurants, both of them a welcome respite from the onslaught of traditional Czech fare.  Ambience is soothing and the food is top-notch.

El Paisa, http://www.expats.cz/prague/czech/mexican-restaurants/tacos-el-paisa – This was a wonderful restaurant to stumble upon after a walk around Vyšehrad Castle.  Tacos are solid, the nachos are formidable, and the cilantro soup is to die for.

Krok, http://www.aa.cz/vinarna/index2.htm – We stumbled upon this place one night, and it was fantastic.  The restaurant is cozy and the food is well-prepared (note: if you order cheese as an appetizer for 3 people, and the waiter asks if you’d like 2 portions, politely decline; one is more than enough).  My notes on this place are shabby, though; I have it written as Krok but the website says U Kroku.

Things to do:

Vyšehrad Castle – Wayyyy calmer than its northern counterpart, Prague Castle, and far less commercialized.  Contains within the compound the oldest building in all of Prague (St. Martin Rotunda) which dates back to the 11th century.  Buy the 50Kč museum ticket and learn about the history of the area.

Jazz No Problem – Of course, if you’re in Prague, you’re going to walk across the Charles Bridge.  Stop and give a listen to a group of guys playing jazz tunes à la Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five.  Definitely worth the crowds.

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