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Amid all the top-flight Budapest cafés, there also exist some venues that give new meaning to the word “Strange.”
Strange Budapest Cafés #1: Dzsungel
If you’re travelling with children, this is the place for you. This unusual restaurant has four lavishly decorated rooms, each with a different theme: jungle, pirate ship, ocean and savannah.
And the food is as fun as the decor; dishes have names like Tasmanian Devil and Pirate Legend, and you won’t find many other places in Budapest that have steaks of ostrich, kangaroo and crocodile on their menus. For the less adventurous, there are tamer choices too, as well as a good range of beers and cocktails.
As you’d expect, there aren’t too many business men or pouting fashionistas in here. The décor includes plastic animals, faux rocks and vines, and you’ll eat to a soundtrack of howls and squawks. It’s good fun for the family.
It’s just inside the Teréz körút section of the Great Boulevard, not far from Nyugati tér, at Jókai utca 30. Prices average out at about 2,400 forints.
Strange Budapest Cafés #2: Cat Café
Like to interact with our furry friends while sipping a cup of coffee or tea? Have we got a place for you! Actually, the infamous Cat Café has two venues in Budapest: Révay utca 3 in the 6th District and Damjanich utca 28 in the 7th District.
The Révay utca location boasts a community of around 13 cats of all shapes and sizes. When they aren’t sleeping, they’re ready to inspect all newcomers for possible snacks and treats, which you can buy at the café and feed to the cats. The cats are friendly and inquisitive, like all felines, and are used to being the center of attention.
Children and cat fanciers of all ages will revel in the atmosphere of these cat havens. Come on down, have some coffee and cake, feed and stroke the cats and enjoy the ambiance of two of Budapest’s most unique cafes.
Strange Budapest Cafés #3: Zoo Café
If your animal tastes run to a wider variety than merely cats, check out the Zoo Café at Fejér György utca 3, a two-minute stroll from Egyetem Tér, near Kálvin Tér. In addition to the many dog-friendly places in town, and the above-mentioned Cat Cafes, the Zoo Café takes feasts with beasts to the next level. Food and drink are on offer, but what is really important is what’s going on in the three inner rooms. It is obvious at first glance that the whole place is arranged to make it comfortable for the animals. There are aquariums full of corals, fish and crabs, a hedgehog in a terrarium, a squirrel, a turtle, parrots frolicking in a bird playhouse, and a cockatoo. There is even a small snake around somewhere.
The headliner is the always-calm bearded dragon. He never seems bothered when people want to hold him or scratch his chin and talk to him; he mostly just hangs around royally while one of the cats plays with his tail. The dragon lives with two of his buddies in the café and likes to eat insects, but take note: he inflates his body when he does not like something.
The ever-present animal caretaker is happy to take any creature out of its protected places and hand them over to the enthusiastic guests, as long as they look out for each other’s safety. So it’s OK to replace your tie with a snake, just be sure you respect the animals in their environment.
Strange Budapest Cafés #4: Kék Ló
One of our favorites places, the Kék Ló Pub (Blue Horse Pub), has recently moved from its former home in Kazinczy utca to a new location at Víg utca 28, just behind Rákóczi tér.
The Kék Ló was always known as a unique art pub, but actually it’s a “dress pub”, where Virág Tóth’s designer dresses and accessories are elemental parts of the bar’s atmosphere. The new place gives you the same familiar, but relaxed, home feeling, just like you popped into your absent-minded friend’s flat.
The bar is small but roomy; there are blue horse figures on the walls and worn-out furniture all around. The colors are mainly blue, purple and gold, which gives the pub a bit of mystical far-east feeling, especially after dusk. With its brick-a-brack small lamps, the loft is a quietly intimate place to sit down for a chat. The beer and wine list is short but adequate and their pálinkas are a must-try.
Extra Special Strange Budapest Café Bonus: Sugar!
Like the name suggests, this is a sugar lover’s paradise. If you could walk into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory in real life, it would probably be similar to this venue; bright colours, candy everywhere you look, and yummy cakes to boot. Macaroons, sugary confections, mini-hamburger cookies and their very own mille-feuille recipe dominate the sweet landscape.
It’s a great place to grab some dessert and catch up with friends.
Sugar! has multiple locations around Budapest, so check their website for where to find them.