Budapest: On the Town
Looking at the pictures above, it is easy to see how Budapest is a very likely scene for romance. It's unbelievably gorgeous and has just enough Eastern Influence to feel a little exotic to an American. It's clean, the people are by and large, friendly, and MY GOD LOOK AT THAT ARCHITECTURE.
That being said, we had a wonderful time at the restaurants and wine tastings and night time strolls through the city. There was a lot of hand-holding and smooching, and A LOT of walking through public spaces and seeing the locals drinking. They drank on the church steps and in the park, through plazas and on benches and basically looked to be having a wonderful night every night. Groups of friends getting together and drinking a bottle of wine near the fountain, or really, anywhere. There was an aspect of community and spending time outside on the streets that trumps anything else I'd seen in Europe. The locals were out en force, and seemed to be making the most of the newly (1991) reclaimed city, spending time in the streets, unafraid and jubilant. It was heady, and definitely smile-inducing. A real joie de vivre, for certain.
Favorite Night-Out on the Town Events & Places:
Costes Restaurant- Michelin Starred. 'Nuff Said.
Parisi 6- we ate here twice. It was just this small, lovely little place with attentive staff and wonderful food. The paprikash was everything I ever wanted.
Zeller Bistro- Family owned, delicious restaurant with a lot of homemade wines. The father of the two owners has a farm up near Lake Balaton and that is where all their recipes + much of their produce and wine hails from.
Danube Wine Cruise Yes, this is everything you hoped for. 7 wines, 1.5 hours of cruising down the Danube and seeing the sunset and the twinkle of the night lights winking on. The food cruise is supposed to be sub-par, but you can never go wrong with wine.
So, go. Budapest is exquisite and gorgeous and romantic and inexpensive and lovely. And right now, there are VERY few Americans there.