Dining on the Danube, Restaurant Halászbástya
While on our honeymoon, we tried to book a special dinner in each destination throughout our European adventure. For the most part, we're not the fanciest of diners. We love a great meal, but for us, that great meal doesn't have to cost a fortune. Some of the best food I've ever had has been on the side of the road or off the back of a truck. But since it was our honeymoon, and we'd been gifted some money for a 'Dinner by the Danube' we went all out, and I booked us a table at Halaszbastya Restaurant.
Halaszbastya Restaurant is located in the Buda Castle District in Budapest. We walked over to the Castle District and wandered around the neighbourhood now that the sun had set and the lights of the buildings cast an orange glow on all the store fronts we had only seen in the daytime.
The restaurant itself is hidden inside the historic Fisherman's Bastion, one of the most important landmarks in Budapest. The current Bastion was built in the Romanesque Revival style between 1895 and 1902 by architect Frigyes Schulek. The seven towers atop of the Bastion represent the seven Magyar tribes that settled in the Carpathian Basin when this country was first founded.
The Bastion was used as a defensive fortress. It was built above the Fisherman's village. This was the place, in medieval times, where fisherman sold their catch of the day in the square next to Matthias Church. During periods of war, the bastion was protected by the fishermen's build, giving it its official name.
The restaurant's look and feel makes you feel like you're dining like a king or queen of Hungary. When you enter the wrought iron gates of the restaurant, you're greeted by a small band, playing string instruments. Their music plays quietly in the background throughout the entire restaurant giving the place a light ambient soundtrack. We were worried we wouldn't be well dressed enough, but no one seemed to mind. If we were to go back, I do think we would wear something a little fancier as you could get away with dressing up in a place like this.
From all the windows inside you have a spectacular view of the Danube and the Pest side of the city. You look directly at the parliament building, which was a spectacular sight as the sun went down and the city was all lit up.
We were sat on the upper level of the restaurant, where we had a private table in front of the windows, complete with a chandelier overhead and candelabra on the table. It was old world charm and the height of romance.
The service from start to finish was impeccable. I'm always worried, as a couple who have a slightly less conservative style, we won't be taken seriously at places like this, but it was completely the opposite. The servers were incredibly kind, and despite not being able to speak any Hungarian, they spoke perfect English and took us through the Hungarian Gourmet Menu. They also have an extensive Vegetarian Menu as they cater to lots of different dietary options.
We started the meal off with the Foie gras paté, with rhubarb, ground cherry and crispy crumb served with a brioche bun. It was so rich and creamy. It felt like such a decadent treat and something we would never order in our everyday life back home.
For my main, I chose the Angus tenderloin with truffle stuffed potatoes and tender vegetables. It was so juicy and tender and some of the best meat I've ever eaten.
Dan ordered the Mushroom Risotto with spinach cream and spring onion. Despite the meat being so fantastic, I was incredibly jealous of Dan's meal. It was phenomenal.
We shared a Chocolate cake with white chocolate mousse and coffee ice cream for dessert as we looked out over the water and sipped a cappuccino. In addition to the views out the window, there is also a higher observation terrace located above the restaurant.
Taking in the setting, atmosphere, decor and service, this meal should have cost upwards of $300 but ended up costing less than $100. Hungary was one of the places we visited where meals cost the least and tasted the best. Unlike Germany and the Czech Republic where the meals can be a bit bland, Hungarian fare was never bland and always seemed to impress. We left the restaurant full to the brim and completely satisfied. We slowly made out way down the hill back to out hotel. All the while admiring the stunning view of the Bastion as we went.