Castro Bisztró

Madách Imre tér [map]
Pest Centre, VII, Deák Ferenc tér (M1/2/3), 3 min

Rating: 9.1/10

Stashed away in the corner of Madach tér, Castro Bisztró is in no way Cuban or communist, so don't be fooled by the name. They probably called it that because it sounds cool. It is cool, knowingly so.

Behind the bar, film posters and postcards mingle with Andy Warhol's tomato soup like some hip student's bedroom. There's a photo-wall, which, when closely examined, isn't made up of real photos. The rest of the decor changes from time to time, with artwork from local artists: Hungarian pastries are somewhat tamer than the mischievous monkeys they replaced. Patterned tablecloths serve the dual purpose of disguising the aging tables and hinting at tradition.

The food has a Serbian angle and, in my personal experience, is a little unreliable. Think "eat-while-you're-there" rather than "go-there-to-eat". Try the csevapcsicsa (Balkan-style sausage meat) with pita and a bit of salad and you can't go wrong, although you might find your light-fingered friends diving in.

Indeed, Castro is conducive to groups rather than to meeting new people, even in the evening. Music is varied: the ubiquitous Depeche Mode relenting to some Turkish pipes and violins in the blink of an eye. From time to time, a live-act (usually free) occupies the far corner, making it even harder to find a table than usual - which can be problematic. The clientele is mixed, and you're as likely to hear English as Hungarian. The guy to my left, in his fifties, might look a little out-of-place, if not for his laptop. Free Wifi is always a bonus and Castro goes one better, with a couple of free terminals.

So do I like Castro or not? An old friend used to come here religiously every Sunday, sit at the bar and read the papers, and I can understand that. (Ironically, he used to describe himself as communist and, like Castro Bisztró, he blatantly wasn't.) It's relaxed and undaunting; foreigner-friendly, central but off the tourist radar. Castro might be a little under-staffed and a little over-engineered but nevertheless, it's got something that's hard to dislike.

Service: 7.5/10
Atmosphere: 9.0/10

Value for money: 8.5/10
What people we know think: 9.0/10

From Deák Ferenc tér, walk down Károly körút towards Astoria and you'll see a vast brick building on your left, which accommodates Madách Imre tér. Castro Bisztró is just to the right of the arch.
Castro's, Castros, Bisztro, Bistro, hub choice
Andy Sz.


  1. stanfairbank said...

    Castro is not my favorite bar in Budapest... it's got horrible feng shue (too small, no good corners) and the food is mediocre. But it does have a lot of everything in one spot, and can be a nice place to drink palinka or absinthe. Great location too - perfect for Déak Tér meetups.  


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