Havana’s La Bodeguita del Medio, the birthplace of the Mojito cocktail, is known as a wonderful gathering place that truly unites colonial past with our present time through its rum cocktails, cigars and local cuisine. Its franchise restaurants can be found in every corner of the world such as Mexico, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Lebanon, etc. After years of waiting for a really authentic Cuban restaurant, La Bodeguita del Medio finally arrived in Budapest in 2012 December and opened a Cuban bar and restaurant in the fully renovated building of the cultic Fészek Klub.
The original La Bodeguita del Medio was founded by Angel Martinez in Havana in 1942 and soon became extremely popular, especially among artists and bohemians. Beside the most famous regular guest, Ernest Hemingway (whose famous quote is: “My mojito in La Bodeguita del Medio, my daiquiri in El Floridita.”), the restaurant welcomed Pablo Neruda, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren and other Hollywood stars – as witnessed by many photographs on the restaurant walls.
In keeping with the tradition of the original La Bodeguita del Medio, traditional relics in the Budapest restaurant – autographs, photos and signatures from people all over the world, brought straight from Havana – include a chair turned upside down, which is devoted to the memory of a famous Cuban writer. Before heading off to World War II he asked his chair to be turned upside down until he returns from the battlefield. Unfortunately he never did, and since then in all La Bodeguita Del Medio restaurants they honor his memory by hanging a chair on the wall, upside down.
The overall bright atmosphere of Budapest’s La Bodeguita del Medio offers a unique and friendly, laidback and fun place to spend your evenings. This is a popular place spotted by Hungarian and foreign celebrities. One of my sweetest memories is when I bumped into Russel Crowe at the toilet in the beautiful patio. It was a crash like when you realize that there is an A-list movie star in front of you, but he looked like a little bit different than on the screen and you couldn’t believe your eyes and then you can just say hi. 🙂 Or the other one is when a nice young lady started a conversation with me asking about where to go out in Budapest. We spent the whole night chatting and drinking and dancing together and in the end it turned out that she was Ingrid Bolsø Berdal who spent months in Budapest filming the movie Hercules. 🙂
So why not spice up your ordinary weeknights with a unique selection of rums, or with the best La Bodeguita del Medio signature creations and spend a memorable night in a chic venue with professional and hot Cuban dancers! Fierce music brings Cuba a little closer to you, as music is provided by La Movida – the real experts in tempting Latin rhythms. Their musical styles include everything from salsa, cha cha, cumbia, bolero, bachata etc. The most danceable, highly versatile Salsa and Latin band around! On Fridays and Saturdays there are mixer shows and DJ plays Latin tunes beside the live Cuban music.
The authentic interior, cuisine, live music, cigars and cocktails provides the city with a real colorful and vibrant taste of life of Havana, without a doubt, and also provide the perfect background to celebrate your birthday. I celebrated my birthday here 3 years ago and it was one of my best birthday parties ever! My friends were truly impressed by the Cuban ambiance and the mouthwatering Cuban culinary specialties. La Movida played the “Happy Birthday” song in Hungarian when my birthday cake arrived at the table. It was also sooooo unique and unforgettable. I can highly recommend this place to anyone who is thinking on where to celebrate this significant day or just where to go out. It’s the perfect venue to experience the carnival atmosphere, as fiesta never ends in the Budapest La Bodeguita Del Medio!
Update: The restaurant owners changed its name from La Bodeguita del Medio to Havana Salsa Bar and Restaurant. Everything else remains the same.