Budapest‘s 7th District, a lovely compact little neighbourhood characterized by narrow streets that give home to many of the city’s hidden gems, is the neighbourhood for the foodie on a quest for delicious dishes. This area, bound in by the Andrassy Avenue, Rákóczi Street, Small and Great Ring Road is otherwise known as the old Jewish Quarter, formerly being the Jewish ghetto. Today it has become an exciting culturally diverse district with not only countless options for dining, but for cultural events and even a hot spot for fashion and design. Let’s focus on the food for now.
Cram-packed with the city’s Jewish culture, it’s kosher restaurants and shops galore. The Blue Rose – a restaurant with traditional Hungarian and Jewish cuisine – is located just behind the Dohány Street Synagogue. The Hannah, another traditional Jewish restaurant not far from the Blue Rose, is known for not only its affordable prices, but its charm and delicious kosher cuisine. Like most such restaurants of the district, it is attached to a small synagogue and school building.
The narrow streets of the Jewish Quarter oozing eclectic charm are also house numerous kifőzdes, where home cooked style Hungarian dishes can be had at real Hungarian prices. The Kádár Étkezde is a renowned example of its kind, winning several awards, all hung on the walls alongside retro pictures and articles cut out from old newspapers. It also serves traditional Hungarian and kosher dishes.
The cukrászda (coffee house) culture of Budapest thrives in the neighbourhood on a whole different level. Unlike the glamorous cukrászdas along the Andrassy Avenue, Great Ring Road or Vörösmarty Square with luxurious furnishing in spacious renovated turn of the century buildings, the coffee houses and patisseries of the 7th District are smaller and more romantic, a fine example of which is the Café Noé. Walking in from the Ring Road towards the heart of the district along Wesselényi Road, one will past this tiny gem. Its homey atmosphere and delicious home-made cakes has secured a base of regular local customers as well as catering to the occasional visitor whose fancy it catches on a stroll through the neighbourhood.
There’s more. A Japanese sushi bar, Sushi Sei, has recently opened to further extend the district’s repertoire. Sushi and sake in a stylish modern restaurant amongst 19th century facades – a real experience! El Rapido, also a fairly new addition to the dining scene of the 7th District, is a small Mexican restaurant with an alternative design, which not only serves Mexican foods from an open kitchen, but also has a wall full of import delicacies such as spices, sweets and drinks.