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ToLTo Paprika Chili Pork Sausage -Budapest Restaurants

Where to Eat in Budapest Hungary – The Best Budapest Restaurants, Cafes and Markets

In Food Travel Guides, Hungary by Daryl & Mindi HirschLeave a Comment

Wondering what and where to eat in Budapest Hungary? We spent a month eating our way through the sprawling Hungarian capital city. Check out our Budapest Food Guide with the best Budapest restaurants, cafes and markets.

Borkonyha Winekitchen Dessert - Budapest Restaurants

Four weeks of eating our way through Budapest was overwhelming. The Hungarian capital’s food scene, with its never-ending selection of restaurants, cafes and markets, kept us constantly on the go. But with the help of our Fitbit and lots of third wave coffee, we survived a month of hearty eating without sacrificing our sanity or waistlines. And, as a bonus, we explored one of Europe’s most beautiful cities at the same time. Sprawling over two sides of the Danube, Budapest is a true architectural treasure.

Why Visit Budapest?

Budapest Danube River Scene

The Danube River splits Buda and Pest, creating wonderful views from both sides of the river.

If you’re wondering if you should visit Budapest, you’re thought process is out of date. No longer a hidden gem or bargain destination, Budapest has reclaimed its position as a top tourist spot for both middle-aged European river cruise passengers and millennial backpackers. Budapest charms these eclectic travelers with classic architecture and cutting-edge culture. This is a city that has a lot to offer to visitors of all ages with its deep history and electric nightlife.

Gellert Spa in Budapest

Regardless of the weather, the water is always warm at the Gellert Spa in Budapest.

There’s no lack of things to do in Budapest – this is a city where travelers can visit royal palaces, drink at trendy ruin bars and soak in ornately decorated thermal spas and more.

What To Do in Budapest

Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest

The Hungarian Parliament Building, built in the late 19th century, is Budapest’s most iconic landmark.

Top Budapest attractions include the Dohány Street Synagogue (Europe’s largest synagogue) and the Hungarian Parliament Building, popular with both history buffs and students of architecture. Others travelers flock to the massive Central Market and Fisherman’s Bastion by the river.

Danube River in Budapest with Riverboat

The many bridges that connect Buda and Pest enable visitors to catch the best views of the city.

We spent much of our free time walking through the historic Jewish quarter and strolling over bridges that separate hilly Buda and urbane Pest, two separate cities that merged to form Budapest in 1873. These bridges offer epic views of the Danube during the day and romantic, sparkly views at night. While enjoying the views, we also burned extra calories from the food we ate and the wine we imbibed, a true win-win situation.

What to Eat in Budapest

Daryl Eats Goulash in Budapest - Budapest Restaurants

It’s easy to find Goulash, the Hungarian stew, in Budapest.

If you think that Hungarian cuisine is heavy, you are correct. Hungarian food staples like goulash and stropachka (a Hungarian version of spaetzle) stick to your ribs and leave you full for several hours. Then there’s lángos, the popular Budapest street food staple, that packs on the pounds with its trifecta of caloric ingredients – fried dough, shredded cheese and sour cream.

Langos Papa - Budapest Restaurants

Lángos may be the best street food in Budapest if not the world. The fried dough topped with sour cream and shredded cheese is deliciously addictive.

But if you think that traditional food is the only food available in Budapest, you are seriously behind the times. Budapest food is so much more than the age-old Hungarian classics!

Budapest Food Scene

Ruszwurm Cukraszda Cherry Strudel - Budapest Restaurants

The Sour Cherry Strudel at Ruszwurm Cukrászda is one of many desserts available at Budapest cafes.

Budapest has a vibrant food scene starting with Hungarian classics but spanning the globe all the way to Asia and beyond. Though many Hungarian Jews were killed during the Holocaust, Jewish cuisine is readily available in the city and not just in the Jewish quarter. Likewise, Budapest cake shops sprinkle the city, many offering French classics and modern concoctions in addition to old-line Hungarian offerings at the traditional dessert cafes. And, important to coffee snobs and digital nomads, the modern, third world coffee scene is alive in well on both sides of the Danube.

Check Budapest Hotel Rates

Budapest Restaurants

Rosenstein Bone Marrow Starter - Budapest Restaurants

The Budapest dining scene includes traditional Hungarian Jewish food like the spreadable bone marrow and accouterments that we ate at Rosenstein Restaurant.

The number of restaurants in Budapest is astounding to the point that it can be difficult to turn a corner in the city without bumping into one or more. The best restaurants in Budapest run the gamut from casual eateries to Michelin starred restaurants. And, while there are a plethora of restaurants serving traditional fare, eager eaters can find cuisine from every part of the earth when eating out in Budapest.

Hungarian Food

Kispiac Bisztro Chicken - Budapest Restaurants

This half chicken at Kispiac Bisztro is a prime example of the Hungarian food available in Budapest.

As descendants of Eastern European immigrants, we felt quite comfortable eating at some of the best Hungarian restaurants in Budapest. Dishes like chicken paprikash and beef stew took us back to holiday dinners lovingly cooked by our grandmothers, not to mention the cakes which reminded us of desserts we ate during those long-ago meals. It’s not difficult to find Hungarian food in Budapest at traditional restaurants all over town. These are our favorite traditional places to eat in Budapest:

Kispiac Biztro

Kispiac Bisztro - Budapest Restaurants

Kispiac Bisztro is a small but bustling bistro in Budapest.

With only 20 seats, Kispiac Biztro feels more like the inside of a house than a bustling bistro. Locals and tourists flock here thanks to the restaurant’s fair prices and generously sized portions. More importantly, the tiny bistro serves seriously good Hungarian fare that satisfies culinary purists as well as more adventurous diners.

Kispiac Bisztro Bean Soup - Budapest Restaurants

The Hungarian Bean Soup at Kispiac Bisztro offers a modern twist to the more typical goulash served at many Budapest restaurants. The smoked sausage in the soup is from a butchery at the Belvárosi Piac market down the street.

We couldn’t resist the house-made pickles and crunchy bread to start our meal, but the real winners were the Hungarian Bean Soup with a healthy dollop of sour cream and excellent smoked sausage as well as the Grilled Chicken served over locally grown vegetables.

Pro Tip:  Stop by the nearby Belvárosi Piac market after your lunch at Kispiac Biztro. See below for details about this market.

Kispiac Biztro is located at Budapest, Hold u. 13, 1054 Hungary.

Most

Most - Budapest Restaurants

Less is more at Most. This Budapest ruin bar’s lunch special is a fantastic deal.

We didn’t expect to eat great Hungarian food at a ruin bar, but that’s exactly what we ate at Most in the 6th district. The lunch specials at sunlit Most can’t be beat, with two courses priced at 1,390 Ft (approximately $5 US) and three courses at 1,590 Ft (approximately $6 US).

Most Lunch - Budapest Restaurants

We weren’t sure how much we loved the Chicken Paprikas at Most so we returned and ate it again. FYI, we liked it a lot.

During our first visit, we started our meals with Duck Patée and Goulash Soup and continued with Chicken Paprikas and a bowl of Stropachka. We liked our choices so much that we ate the exact same thing during our second visit despite the menu’s other tempting choices.

Pro Tip:  Though the lunch special at Most may be the best deal in town, the restaurant is also popular for its boozy brunch served on weekends and holidays.

Most is located at Budapest, Zichy Jenő u. 17, 1066 Hungary.

Belvárosi Disznótoros

Belvarosi Disznotoros - Budapest Restaurants

Blood sausage is just one of many proteins available at Belvárosi Disznótoros in Budapest.

A favorite with locals and frequented by the likes of Anthony Bourdain, Belvárosi Disznótoros is a cafeteria style restaurant that serves enough meat to satisfy any carnivore who walks through its doors – including us. After standing in line at the counter, we placed our order for blood sausage and schnitzel and then added on pickles and fried potatoes. Let’s face it, even the 2foodtrippers cannot live on meat alone.

Pro Tip:  Pick your pickles with care. Similar to salad bars in the United States, the Belvárosi Disznótoros pickle bar is priced based on weight.

Belvárosi Disznótoros is located at Budapest, Király u. 1d, 1075 Hungary.

Pléhcsárda

Plehcsarda Schnitzel - Budapest Restaurants

This schnitzel at Pléhcsárda was too big to eat in one serving, not that we’re complaining. Note the silverware for scale.

If you like big food for small prices, then out-of-the-way Pléhcsárda is the place for you. The food stand is far from fancy and orders are placed at the counter (think roadside shack). The one person staff speaks limited English, but the food is as traditional and hardy as it gets. During our meal, we ate a schnitzel as big as a head and enough potatoes for an army. We ate the leftovers the next day (enough for two.) In others words, we got four meals for the price of one.

Pro Tip:  Be prepared to take a metro and tram to get to Pléhcsárda. Or, if pressed for time, you can take an Uber instead.

Pléhcsárda is located at Budapest, Kolozsvár u. 48, 1155 Hungary.

Lecsó Magyaros Gyorsétterem

Lecso Magyaros Gyorsetterem - Budapest Restaurants

Make sure you like drumsticks if you order the Chicken Paprikas at Lecsó Magyaros Gyorsétterem.

This cafeteria-style restaurant morphs into a sit-down restaurant at night. Despite the change in atmosphere, the restaurant serves traditional Hungarian dishes like goulash and chicken paprikas for both lunch and dinner. The restaurant is open until midnight Sunday through Thursday and until 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays, making Lecsó Magyaros Gyorsétterem a great spot for a bite after a night at the ruin bars.

Pista - Budapest Restaurants

Pista is the perfect hot sauce for traditional Hungarian food.

Pro Tip:  Be sure to ask for Pista, the local hot sauce chock full of minced hot paprika and salt, which makes the tasty food even tastier. We liken it to a Hungarian version of Thai Sambal.

Lecsó Magyaros Gyorsétterem is located at Budapest, Szent István krt. 10, 1137 Hungary.

Fakanál Restaurant

Fakanal Restaurant Goulash - Budapest Restaurants

Fakanál Restaurant serves traditional Hungarian food like this Goulash at the city’s large Central Market.

Located on the second floor of the famed Central Market, Fakanál Restaurant offers all of the classic Hungarian dishes from Goulash to Beef Stew. On the upside, the self-service restaurant’s atmosphere is cheerful and festive with its red checkerboard tablecloths and roaming musicians. However, compared to the other traditional Budapest restaurants, we found the prices high and our watery goulash lackluster.

Pro Tip:  Unless you are limited in time before your riverboat departs for its next destination, go to one of the other restaurants listed in this article for traditional Hungarian food in Budapest.

Fakanál Restaurant is located at Budapest, Vámház krt. 1-3., 1093 Hungary.

Jewish Food

Rosenstein Matzoh Ball Soup - Budapest Restaurants

Matzoh Ball Soup is not just a holiday treat in Budapest. This savory starter is available at the many Jewish restaurants in the city.

The line between traditional Hungarian food and Jewish food in Budapest is fuzzy at best. Perhaps this similarity is because the Jews, who represented nearly 25% of Budapest’s population before World War II, were a vital part of the city’s culture and helped define the soul of Hungarian cuisine. Sadly, Jewish food in Budapest almost disappeared after the devastating war and genocide as well as during the restrictive Communist era. The synagogues in the Jewish quarter remained as historical remnants of a once vital neighborhood during these dark periods, but the Jewish community and its food culture practically vanished.

Rosenstein Garlic Steak - Budapest Restaurants

Can you tell the difference between traditional Hungarian food and Hungarian Jewish food? Sometimes neither can we.

As we learned during our fascinating Jewish Cuisine and Culture Walk in the 7th district with Taste Hungary, things are looking up for the Jewish people and their food in Budapest. As we walked through the district, weaving our way through the district’s narrow streets, our knowledgeable Budapest guide showed us remnants of the city’s Jewish history intermingled with the neighborhood’s trendy art galleries and even trendier ruin bars. More importantly, we tasted a variety of Jewish food during the tour that excited us and left us wanting more.

Mazel Tov Shakshuka - Budapest Restaurants

Hummus is a popular Budapest food staple at Israeli and Middle Eastern restaurants in the city.

Jewish restaurants are popping up with a vengeance in Budapest especially if you count the restaurants serving hummus and other Israeli treats. With a month in Budapest, we had enough time to scratch our itch for Jewish food and these were our favorite spots:

Rosenstein Restaurant

Though technically located outside of the Jewish quarter, the restaurant Rosenstein is serving some of the city’s most satisfying Jewish food in Budapest. Owner/Chef Tibor Rosenstein has been cooking traditional Hungarian Jewish food at his self-named restaurant since 1996. Rosenstein’s son Robert is now also involved, stewarding the restaurant confidently into the 21st century while preserving traditional dishes that fill its comprehensive menu. The restaurant’s white tablecloths provide an air of formality, but the service and food are both warm and familiar.

Rosenstein Starters - Budapest Restaurants

The starters at Rosenstein Restaurant are served with fresh paprika. We approve.

It was a no-brainer for us to start our meal at Rosenstein Restaurant with a bowl of Matzoh Ball Soup, a staple of Jewish food around the world. Unlike the matzo ball soups of our youth, this version featured a beef broth along with its fluffy matzoh pillow. The luxurious Bone Marrow with pickled garlic and fresh paprika, was a unique, fun and Hungarian way to begin our meal along with the soup.

As is in the case with many Jewish restaurants in Budapest, Rosenstein’s menu is not kosher. We took advantage of this situation by ordering the Garlicky Mangalitza Pork with Potato Pasta as well as a plate topped with Veal Paprika and Egg Spaetzle. Both dishes honor the city’s culinary past with a touch of modernity.

Rosenstein Dessert - Budapest Restaurants

The Shredded Pancakes topped with Ground Poppy Seeds and Honey dessert at Rosenstein Restaurant was weird and wonderful at the same time.

Though our server recommended a seasonal tart to end our meal, we had a When Harry Met Sally moment when we couldn’t resist having what our neighbors were having – a dessert of Shredded Crepes topped with Ground Poppy Seeds and Honey. The Hungarians love poppy seed – especially in their sweets and, we have to admit, earthy poppy seeds and sweet honey makes a wonderful combination. (We even enjoyed poppy seed ice cream at Gelarto Rosa – see below.)

Pro Tip:  Try the restaurant’s pálinka, the Hungarian version of plum brandy.

Rosenstein Restaurant is located at Budapest, Mosonyi u. 3, 1087 Hungary.

Kőleves Vendéglő

Koleves Vendeglo Matzoh Ball Soup - Budapest Restaurants

Not every Matzoh Ball Soup is the same in Budapest. The chefs at Kőleves Vendéglő prepared this version with savory goose broth.

With its funky design and innovative menu, Kőleves Vendéglő is a modern Jewish restaurant situated in the heart of the Jewish quarter. Dishes here honor the city’s Jewish cuisine history but also embrace the current trend of global food in the city.

Unlike Rosenstein, Kőleves Vendéglő serves their matzo balls in a goose broth. We started our meal with a bowl of deeply flavorful Matzoh Ball Soup as well as a Bean Goulash with Smoked Brisket.

Koleves Vendeglo Cholent - Budapest Restaurants

We thoroughly enjoyed this plate of Cholent, the perfect Jewish comfort food, at Kőleves Vendéglő in Budapest.

As a nod to the restaurant’s Jewish history, Daryl ordered the Cholent, a baked bean stew with goose leg that is not so different from French cassoulet with the addition of barley. Mindi broke the trend by ordering Wok Fried Duck with Ginger and Egg Noodles. We came together by sharing a bottle of the house wine, a reasonably priced Cabernet Franc from Villány that paired perfectly with both dishes.

Pro Tip: Although located in a former kosher butcher shop, Kőleves Vendéglő is not a kosher restaurant.

Kőleves Vendéglő is located at Budapest, Kazinczy u. 41, 1075 Hungary.

Fülemüle Étterem

Less than a kilometer from Kőleves Vendéglő but a world away in terms of style and design, Fülemüle Étterem is a more traditional Hungarian Jewish restaurant that specializes in Cholent. The restaurant’s decor feels older than its age (circa 2000), but there’s nothing stodgy about the food that comes out of the kitchen – especially the Cholent.

Fulemule Etterem Cholent - Budapest Restaurants

The Cholent at Fülemüle Étterem is a show stopper.

Cooked overnight and served in a sizzling skillet, our generous portion of Cholent was a tasty combination of stewed beans and succulent goose. With a name that translates to Nightingale Restaurant, Fülemüle Étterem sings when it serves this dish.

Pro Tip:  If you want to try something different, order Fülemüle Étterem’s Mexican Cholent with Chili.

Fülemüle Étterem is located at Budapest, Kőfaragó u. 5, 1085 Hungary.

Fine Dining

KNRDY Dessert - Budapest Restaurants

The modern food in Budapest rivals sophisticated food around the world.

Not just a haven for those seeking traditional food, Budapest has a burgeoning dining scene that hit the ground running several years ago. Budapest sports four Michelin starred restaurants (Borkonyha Winekitchen, Costes, Costes Downtown and Onyx) along with a number of up and coming chefs.

Borkonyha Winekitchen

Borkonyha Winekitchen Foie Gras - Budapest Restaurants

The generous portion of Foie Gras starter at Borkonyha Winekitchen provided a beautiful start to our lunch.

One of those four Michelin-starred restaurants in Budapest, Borkonyha Winekitchen is open for both lunch and dinner. Not surprising for a restaurant with this pedigree, Chef Ákos Sárközi and his team pull all of the stops embracing both the beauty of the food as well as the quality of the ingredients, delivering each dish with both a sensory and visual wow factor.

Borkonyha Winekitchen Poultry Soup - Budapest Restaurants

The culinary team at Borkonyha Winekitchen makes Poultry Soup pretty.

We started our meal with a delicate, flower-topped Poultry Soup and what may be the most beautifully plated Foie Gras we have ever eaten. With its quenelle shaped carrot puree and colorful swirls, this generous portion of goose liver was a veritable bargain at 4,550 Ft (equivalent to $17 US). Main courses were a bit of a let down after the starters, particularly the Green Farm Chicken with its extreme homage to its namesake color. The Mangalica Tenderloin with Sour Tomatoes and Breaded Potatoes was the better of the two in both appearance and taste.

Borkonyha Winekitchen Mangalica Tenderloin - Budapest Restaurants

At Borkonyha Winekitchen, the Mangalica Tenderloin with Sour Tomatoes and Breaded Potatoes is a modern take on traditional meat and potatoes.

However, the quality and beauty of our dessert rivaled the starters. (See the photo at the top of this article.) Simply called Spiced Sour Cherry with Coffee, this dessert was a melange of flavors, textures and design.

Pro Tip:  Borkonyha Winekitchen has a more lively vibe in the evening when diners are more relaxed and drink more wine. After all, Borkonyha is a wine kitchen.

Borkonyha Winekitchen is located at Budapest, 1051, Sas u. 3, 1051 Hungary.

KNRDY

KNRDY Steak - Budapest Restaurants

KNRDY proudly displays the meat that it imports from the United States.

Zoltán Konrády, the owner of KNRDY, takes pride in his American style steakhouse located in the toniest part of Budapest. Who can blame him? The restaurant’s space is impressive with its cavernous, industrial chic style and a cooler filled with big slabs of marbled meat more typically found in New York or Los Angeles.

KNRDY Duck Rillette - Budapest Restaurants

Despite the season, this Duck Rillette starter at KNRDY is like a blast of fresh spring air.

Let’s face it, importing top quality beef from the USA (which KNRDY does) is an expensive endeavor – and KNRDY’s menu dinner pricing reflects this. However, in one of the best values in town, KNRDY offers a chef-driven “business” lunch special sans the imported steak priced at 4200 FT (approximately $16) for three courses or 3640  for two courses (approximately $14.)

KNRDY Seat Trout - Budapest Restaurants

Although it’s a steakhouse, KNRDY served us Sea Trout during our three-course lunch.

Featuring beautiful, meticulously prepared food, lunch at KNRDY is a great deal even without the big cuts of steak. We dined on dishes that featured duck rillette, sea trout, beef rump and tofu. Though we couldn’t keep our eyes off the big cuts of beef in the restaurant’s nearby locker, lunch was a great deal.

Pro Tip:  KNRDY’s bar serves a well-curated selection of Hungarian wine that will satisfy even the most discerning wine critics.

KNRDY is located at Budapest, Október 6. u. 15, 1052 Hungary.

Bistros

Straddling between fine dining and casual eateries, Budapest bistros are great for dinner or brunch with friends. We especially enjoyed our meals at the following bistros:

Déryné Bistro

Deryne Bistro - Budapest Restaurants

The dining room at Déryné Bistro buzzes with activity.

Unlike many of the better restaurants in Budapest, Déryné Bistro is located on the Buda side of the Danube. Accessible via a combination of public transportation and foot power, this bistro is worth the extra effort for its food, atmosphere and live music. Open for over a century, Déryné conveys a freshness with its menu while preserving design elements from its colorful past as one of the oldest Buda restaurants.

Deryne Bistro Poached Eggs - Budapest Restaurants

The Poached Eggs at Déryné Bistro pops with its candy-like salmon addition.

A classy trio of jazz musicians greeted us at Déryné Bistro as we arrived for our Sunday brunch. Though tempted by the restaurant’s massive meringues, we ordered elevated brunch food instead of dessert. Highlights included Poached Eggs over rye bread and topped with juicy, beet cured, smoked salmon cubes and Duck Liver Benedict. Both dishes were inspired takes on classic brunch dishes.

Deryne Bistro Musicians - Budapest Restaurants

This musical trio acted as our official welcoming committee at Déryné Bistro.

The same musicians serenaded us as we departed Déryné Bistro. We were full from our meal but determined to return to Déryné during our next visit to Budapest. Though one thing will be different. Next time, we’re ordering a meringue.

Deryne Bistro Meringues - Budapest Restaurants

The meringues at Déryné Bistro are ginormous.

Pro Tip:  Why not visit the world-famous Gellert Spa after your meal at Déryné Bistro? The half-hour hour walk along the Danube is as scenic as it gets in Budapest. See the photo at the top of the article for a glimpse inside the historic bathhouse.

Déryné Bistro is located at Budapest, Krisztina tér 3, 1013 Hungary.

Pesti Disznó

Pesti Diszno Burger - Budapest Restaurants

This loaded, juicy Mangalitsa Pork Burger at Pesti Disznoó is not your grandmother’s burger.

This stylish bistro in the center of Budapest serves a diverse menu that transcends a name that literally translates to Pest Pig. Without a doubt and living up to the restaurant’s piggy name, the Crispy Pork Knuckle with Roasted Sour Cabbage and Mashed Potatoes is a signature dish. But other dishes like the Mangalitsa Pork Burger are equally impressive with their generous toppings and sides. Despite its name, the restaurant serves more than just pork. Other proteins include chicken, duck, fish and beef. Vegetarian options are more limited to soups and salads.

Pro Tip:  If weather permits, dine al fresco and enjoy one of the city’s best people watching opportunities.

Pesti Disznó is located at Budapest, Nagymező u. 19, 1063 Hungary.

Global Cuisine

Ramenka Please Surp - Budapest Restaurants

Follow these instructions in Budapest. They will lead you to good food.

The similarities between New York City, from the hectic traffic to the architecture, struck us at every turn, leaving us to assume that Hungarian immigrants made a notable impact on the Big Apple back in the day. Fast forward to the present, and Budapest is the city benefitting from outside influences. These influences impact the city’s shopping, its internet and the food. Though we don’t recommend it, a traveler could spend a week in Budapest and never once eat Hungarian food, opting instead for Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Turkish, Indian and Israeli cuisine without visiting a specific restaurant more than once. We ate at restaurants serving all of these global cuisines during our week in Budapest, and these were our favorites:

Good Morning Vietnam

We didn’t expect to find excellent Hanoi Pho in Budapest, but that’s exactly what we found when we stumbled into the nondescript Good Morning Vietnam just blocks away from our favorite Budapest bread bakery. We liked the affordably priced pho at this tiny shop, located just across from the ridiculously gorgeous Postal Savings Bank building designed by Ödön Lechner, almost as much as the pho we enjoyed for breakfast in Hanoi.

Good Morning Vietnam Pho Noodles - Budapest Restaurants

The Pho at Good Morning Vietnam is the real deal.

Opened by an industrious family who moved from Vietnam in the 1990s, Good Morning Vietnam’s friendly crew serves authentic Vietnam fare including spring rolls, summer rolls, mango salad and a range of main dishes that include Bun Cha. The pho is the real star here, especially a unique version with toasted beef and garlic, a Hungarian twist to a soup that is pure Vietnam. And, if you like Vietnamese coffee, they have that too.

Pro Tip:  Good Morning Vietnam makes a vegetarian pho for our friends who don’t eat meat.

Good Morning Vietnam is located at Budapest, Nagysándor József u. 1, 1054 Hungary.

Mazel Tov

Mazel Tov Dining Room - Budapest Restaurants

The dining room at Mazel Tov is a stunner with its flowing greenery and modern design.

Mazel Tov combines two popular Budapest trends, Middle Eastern food and ruin bars, resulting in a great spot to enjoy a meal the city. If you’ve never eaten Israeli cuisine in a stylish courtyard within a reclaimed building, then this is the place for you.

The food at Mazel Tov emulates Tel Aviv with its sampling of street food favorites and shareable plates. We selected creamy Hummus and a colorful Shakshuka for our Israeli themed lunch. We added shawarma to the Hummus and merguez sausage to the Shakshuka, creating a meal that was both tasty and filling.

Mazel Tov Shakshuka - Budapest Restaurants

The Shakshuka at Mazel Tov is even better with merguez sausage.

Mazel Tov means Good Luck in Hebrew. Luckily for visitors to Budapest, you don’t need any luck to eat at this ruin bar. A reservation will suffice.

Pro Tip:  Feeling parched? The fruity lemonades at Mazel Tov will quench your thirst and tickle your taste buds.

Mazel Tov is located at Budapest, Akácfa u. 47, 1072 Hungary.

Komachi Japan Bisztro

Komachi Japan Bisztro - Budapest Restaurants

The Udon and Gyozas at Komachi Japan Bisztro provide a taste of Japan in Budapest.

Proving that you don’t need to visit Japan to enjoy dishes like Ramen, Udon, Curry and Donburi, Komachi Japan Bizstro serves all of these dishes plus more in a space that is more reminiscent of an izakaya in Osaka than a Japanese restaurant in Budapest. The menu is part of the fun thanks to its colorful illustrations and detailed descriptions. Japanese drinks like beer, sake and cocktails add the rest of the fun at this popular spot.

Pro Tip:  Bring cash. Komachi Japan Biztro does not accept credit cards.

Komachi Japan Bisztro is located at Budapest, Kertész u. 33, 1073 Hungary.

Ramenka

Ramenka - Budapest Restaurants

Slurping is a group activity at Ramenka in Budapest.

The world phenomenon known as ramen is alive and well in Budapest as we confirmed during our soupy meal at Ramenka. We waxed poetically about the ramen we ate in Tokyo and Osaka as we slurped down big bowls of Ramenka’s signature tonkatsu broth. After using big wooden spoons to eat the pork broth, we used our chopsticks to grab every bite of the noodles, chashu, egg and veggies.

Pro Tip:  Feeling extra hungry? Ramenka also offers side dishes like gyoza and dim sum.

Ramenka is located at Budapest, Kazinczy u. 9, 1075 Hungary.

Napfenyes Restaurant and Pastry Shop

Napfenyes Restaurant Vegan Stuffed Cabbage - Budapest Restaurants

Napfenyes Restaurant serves vegan versions of Hungarian classics like this Stuffed Cabbage dish.

Serving food to hungry vegans in Budapest, Napfenyes Restaurant (also known as Sunshine in English) has a full menu that includes traditional Hungarian food and pizza. Though we’re not vegans (or even vegetarians), we enjoyed the restaurant’s take on both Stuffed Cabbage and Fried Asian Rice Noodles. Though the meal didn’t convert us to veganism, it was a fun diversion into the global food movement.

Pro Tip:  Our vegan friends love the pizza at Napfenyes Restaurant. If you’re vegan, give it a try!

Napfenyes Restaurant and Pastry Shop is located at Budapest, Ferenciek tere 2, 1053 Hungary.

Casual Eateries

Mexican Buddies Burger - Budapest Restaurants

Budapest has lots of cheap eats options including hamburgers like this Mexican Buddy at Buddies Burger.

Budapest can be relatively inexpensive for food on the go compared to many other European capitals. We fully embraced the Budapest cheap eats scene for a month, and these were our favorite low-cost food options in Budapest:

Bors GastroBár

Bors Gastro Bar Baguette - Budapest Restaurants

Oh baby! This French Baby baguette at Bors GastroBár tasted good.

Customers spill on the sidewalk at Bors GastroBár and for good reason. Sure, Bors GastroBár has limited seating, but that’s not the reason. Crowds flock to the tiny restaurant to eat some of the best soups and sandwiches in the city. Soup flavors are posted in Hungarian on the blackboard. We’re still not exactly sure what was in the BBQ soup, but we happily scraped every bit from its paper cup holder. We also enjoyed the French Baby baguette with chicken breast, edamer cheese and raspberry onion jam.

Bors Gastro Bar - Budapest Restaurants

Do you see Darth Vader? Like us, he’s a fan of Bors GastroBár.

Pro Tip:  Star Wars fans will feel at home at Bors GastroBár due to the large amount of movie memorabilia (including Darth Vader using a baguette as a light saber) in the small space.

Bors GastroBár is located at Budapest, Kazinczy u. 10, 1075 Hungary.

Buddies Burger

Buddies Burger - Budapest Restaurants

Admit it. You want to eat this this burger and onion rings from Buddies Burger.

This hole-in-the-wall burger joint serves the best burgers in Budapest. The friendly staff grills loaded burgers to order and is not afraid to cook them with a juicy red center, which is not always the case in this part of Europe. After eating at Buddies multiple times, our favorite burgers were the Mexican Buddy and the Italian Buddy. Other solid burger options include the Best Buddy, the Spicy Buddy and the American Buddy.

Pro Tip:  Ask for a side of chili mayo sauce to go with your fries or onion rings.

Buddies Burger is located at Budapest, Magyar u. 52, 1053 Hungary.

Pizzica

Pizzica - Budapest Restaurants

This square slice of pizza from Pizzica is as close as you can get to Italian pizza without actually eating pizza in Italy.

Pizzica serves real-deal al taglio style Italian pizza by the slice. Pies are rectangular. Prices are reasonable. They serve craft beer. Need we say more?

Pro Tip: If the half-dozen seats are filled at the tiny pizzeria, go upstairs where you will find additional seating.

Pizzica is located at Budapest, Nagymező u. 21, 1065 Hungary.

Retro Büfé

Retro Bufe Langos

This traditional Lángos at Retro Büfé was more than big enough to share.

Retro Büfé serves lángos, the ultimate Budapest street food, in a kiosk just upstairs from the metro station at Arany János utca. The prices at Retro Büfé are cheap and servings are huge – a winning combination. Though their traditional lángos comes with sour cream and shredded cheese, additional toppings like bacon, chopped onion and Hungarian sausage are also available. Garlic is optional but recommended.

Pro Tip:  Retro Büfé is open late should you crave a lángos after a night out on the town.

Retro Büfé is located at Budapest, Kis Salétrom u. 2, 1085 Hungary.

Lángos Papa

Langos Papa with Beef Stew - Budapest Restaurants

Lángos Papa takes lángos to the next level by topping the popular Budapest street food with beef stew.

Lifting the classic lángos from the street, Lángos Papa is a great spot to eat a basic lángos with cheese or with a number of proteins including paprika chicken, beef stew or even foie gras. The restaurant also serves sweet lángos options including a tempting one with Nutella and banana. More importantly, the restaurant also serves Hungarian wine, a perfect meat lángos accompaniment.

Pro Tip:  Bring a big appetite for the three-course menu. You can select a starter, lángos and dessert for a total of 3,000 FT (approximately $11 US) if you choose the multi-course option.

Lángos Papa is located at Budapest, Andrássy út 38, 1061 Hungary.

TöLTő

ToLTo Paprika Chili Pork Sausage -Budapest Restaurants

The Paprika Chili Pork Sausage at TöLTő is a true work of art.

Move over Germany, TöLTő in Budapest serves a sausage that rivals versions we’ve previously eaten in Nuremberg and Munich. The thimble-sized restaurant serves just three things – sausage sandwiches, soup and dessert, but that’s enough. If you only try one thing, make it the Paprika-Chili Pork Sausage with paprika sauce, tomato jelly and kumquats. It’s almost too pretty to eat, but you will find a way.

Pro Tip: Don’t miss the house-made lemonade with either Thai basil or Mexican tarragon.

TöLTő is located at Budapest, Wesselényi u. 31, 1077 Hungary.

Budapest Bagel

Budapest Bagel - Budapest Restaurants

The bagel and lox at Budapest Bagel is a great lunch option in the city.

Bagels may have been invented in Poland and perfected in cities like London and New York, but Budapest has joined the party with a slew of shops selling bagels to the hungry masses. Budapest Bagel is our favorite spot for bagels and lox in the Hungarian capital. The shop adds spinach greens to its sandwiches, providing a colorful twist to the classic deli favorite.

Pro Tip:  Although Budapest Bagel doesn’t have any seating, customers can eat outside on a door repurposed into a table.

Budapest Bagel is located at Budapest, 1085, Baross u. 4, 1085 Hungary.

Street Food Karavan

Street Food Karavan - Budapest Restaurants

Good things hide beyond the entrance at Street Food Karavan in Budapest.

Drinking at Budapest ruin bars takes a lot of energy, resulting in a hunger that cannot be denied. That’s where Street Food Karavan comes into play. This courtyard features food stalls that serve all of the best Budapest street food including lángos, burgers and even lángos burgers.

Pro Tip:  You can eat a chimney cake or ice cream at Karavan if you’re in the mood for something sweet.

Street Food Karavan is located at Budapest, Kazinczy u. 18, 1075 Hungary.

Dessert Cafes

Chouchou Apple Tart - Budapest Restaurants

The people in Budapest eat a lof of desserts. With tarts like this one at Chouchou, who can blame them?

The Budapest cake scene is on fire. But cake is just part of the Budapest dessert story. When you visit Budapest, these cafes get our votes for the best dessert cafes in Budapest:

Cake Shop

Cake Shop - Budapest Restaurants

We taste tested several cakes at Cake Shop. This caramel cake met our approval.

If you’re looking for a classic, old-style Budapest cafe, then Cake Shop is not for you. However, if you’re looking for a cute, cozy spot with colorful cakes, cookies and meringues, then Cake Shop fits the bill. We originally discovered Cake Shop when we walked by and noticed several sweet treats in the window. Our ogling soon turned to tasting. To be sure of the quality, we returned several times and tasted a variety of desserts. Our informed assesssment is that Cake Shop is a great place to hang with a coffee and dessert in one of Budapest’s most accessible locations.

Pro Tip:  Cake Shop has gluten-free cake options for dessert lovers with dietary restrictions.

Cake Shop is located at Budapest, József Attila u. 12, 1051 Hungary.

Ruszwurm Cukraszda

Ruszwurm Cukraszda - Budapest Restaurants

Crowds flock to Ruszwurm Cukrászda, a traditional cafe in Buda.

Dating back to 1827, Ruszwurm Cukraszda has a long and storied past filled with various owners and many desserts. The Szamos family now owns the cafe and serves a sweet selection of cakes and strudels to the hungry crowds who tour Buda’s nearby castle district.

Ruszwurm Cukraszda Budapest Cake - Budapest Restaurants

This Dobos Tort at Ruszwurm Cukrászda had ten layers until we ate it.

We visited the popular cafe twice so that we could sample a variety of cakes and coffee drinks. Our favorite desserts were the Sour Cherry Strudel (pictured above) and the Dobos Torte, a Hungarian sponge cake with chocolate buttercream and caramel. As for coffee, we loved the Melange with its layers of steamed milk, espresso and golden honey.

Pro tip:  Ruszwurm Cukraszda provide free wifi for customers. The password is printed on the menu.

Ruszwurm Cukraszda is located at Budapest, Szentháromság u. 7, 1014 Hungary.

Sugar!

Sugar Macarons - Budapest Restaurants

Sugar! in Budapest may be the world’s most colorful dessert cafe.

Spoiler Alert: A rainbow exploded in Budapest and created the dessert cafe known as Sugar! This vivid bomb of a cafe has a candy wall on the first floor as well as a counter stacked with the most tempting desserts you can imagine. The upstairs cafe has plenty of seating where guests can eat their desserts after taking photos to post on Instagram.

Sugar Cafe - Budapest Restaurants

The view of Sugar! from upstairs provides a glimpse of the cafe’s fanciful decor.

While at Sugar!, we enjoyed two desserts. Daryl chose the Caramel Mille Feuille with housemade vanilla flavored caramel cream, caramelized puff pastry layers with salty caramel sauce and vanilla whipped cream. Mindi chose the Deluxe Tart with crispy peanut, salty caramel, cream cheese and 60% Valrhona dark chocolate cream meringue on top of a buttery chocolate crust. Both were divine.

Pro tip:  Make sure you visit the washroom at Sugar! Willy Wonka would approve of the crazy decor and so will you.

Sugar! is located at Budapest, Paulay Ede u. 48, 1061 Hungary.

Chouchou

Chouchou - Budapest Restaurants

Kinga Szász is the owner and baker at Chouchou, a tiny Budapest bakery with big flavors.

We first noticed Kinga Szász’s incredible chocolate chip cookies at our favorite Budapest coffee shop, Espresso Embassy. In fact, we loved them enough to take a special trip to Szász’s pastry shop, Chouchou in Újlipótváros to try more of her baked goods.

Chouchou Cookie - Budapest Restaurants

This chocolate chip cookie inspired our trek to Chouchou.

While at Chouhou, we had to order a Chocolate Chip Cookie, the dessert that inspired our trip, and it was as good as we expected – big and dense with large chocolate chips with a good amount of salt (something lesser chocolate chip cookies always seem to be missing). We also tried the Mariachi Chocolate Mousse, a sensory surprise with a shiny exterior and silky mousse center. Szász gifted us with a lemon macaron as a reward for making the short journey to her cafe, an unnecessary but much-appreciated gesture.

Pro tip:  Visit Chouhou after a trip to Margaret Island. The cafe is just a hop, skip and a jump from the popular Budapest attraction.

Chouchou is located at Budapest, Hegedűs Gyula u. 23, 1136 Hungary.

Chez Dodo

Chez Dodo Macaron - Budapest Restaurants

We ate this Red Wine Macaron at Chez Dodo in Budapest.

Hummingbirds decorate the walls at Chez Dodo, the preciously decorated cafe on the same block as both Borkonyha Winekitchen and KNRDY (both featured above). These hummingbirds and the bakers at Chez Dodo pulled us into the tiny shop like a moth to the flame. Who were we to say no?

Overwhelmed by the brilliant array of macarons, we eventually ordered two to share – a milk chocolate butter caramel flavored Renée and a lemon curd flavored Sophie. Since we couldn’t pick a favorite between the two, we ordered a third – a Red Wine macaron with red wine, goat cheese and fig. The extra macaron did not make a decision any easier. Perhaps we should have ordered a fourth.

Pro tip:  You can buy gift boxes filled with macarons at Chez Dodo. However, they may not make it to your friends and family since they taste so good.

Chez Dodo is located at Budapest, Sas u. 7, 1051 Hungary.

New York Café

New York Cafe - Budapest Restaurants

New York Café’s ornate dining room is a popular tourist destination in Budapest.

Located on the ground floor of the Boscolo Budapest Hotel, the New York Cafe is a major tourist destination due to its ornate decor. Truly one of a kind, the self-proclaimed “most beautiful cafe in the world” has marble columns, Venetian chandeliers and ceiling frescoes. The cafe’s leather menu includes both sweet and savory dishes. High tea is a great option if you have the time and money to indulge in the luxurious afternoon experience.

Pro tip:  Be prepared for high prices at New York Cafe. As an example, a cappuccino costs 2,100 Ft (approximately $8 US) which is four times the price of cappuccinos in the city’s best third wave coffee shops.

New York Café is located at Budapest, Erzsébet krt. 9-11, 1073 Hungary.

Artizán Bakery

Artizan Bakery - Budapest Restaurants

In addition to baking the best bread in Budapest. Artizaán Bakery also bakes tempting pastries.

Budapest’s best bread bakery, Artizán Bakery, also sells wonderful pastries. We originally discovered the bakery because of its bread, but we were hooked once we tasted the pastries. Our favorite pastry is Artizán’s take on the Finnish Korvipusti or Swedish Bulle, though we also enjoyed both the chocolate cherry pastry and the sweet cottage cheese pastry. In other words, we loved every pastry we ate at Artizán Bakery.

Pro tip:  Go early to Artizán Bakery before they sell out of their best breads and pastries.

Artizán Bakery is located at Budapest, Hold u. 3, 1054 Hungary.

Café Gerbeaud

Cafe Gerbeaud - Budapest Restaurants

Despite its age, Café Gerbeaud continues to attract a multi-generational crowd.

A living icon of Budapest’s original cafe culture, Café Gerbeaud stands proudly on Vörösmarty Square where it has stood since 1870. This historic European cafe serves traditional desserts and coffee as well as a menu of savory food. We visited Café Gerbeaud to step into Budapest’s past but balked at the outrageous prices inside the cafe’s pastry case.

Pro Tip:  Similar to New York Cafe, the menu at Café Gerbeaud is not value priced.

Café Gerbeaud is located at Budapest, Vörösmarty tér 7-8, 1051 Hungary.

Café Noé

Cafe Noe Flodni - Budapest Restaurants

Café Noé is THE bakery in Budapest for trying Flódni, a layered Jewish cake.

A bakery in the heart of Budapest’s Jewish quarter, Café Noé is a great spot to try Jewish pastries like the  flódni, a special layered cake in which every layer symbolizes an important part of Jewish life – poppy seeds for big families, walnuts for prosperity, apple slices for health and plum jam for intelligence. Chef Ráchel Raj serves other Jewish treats like hamantaschen and apple matzo cake as well as Hungarian desserts like sour cherry strudel.

Pro tip:  Weather permitting, enjoy your flódni on Café Noé’s delightful terrace.

Café Noé is located at Budapest, Wesselényi u. 13, 1077 Hungary.

Gelarto Rosa

Gelarto Rosa Server - Budapest Restaurants

Servers artistically create gelato roses at Gelarto Rosa in Budapest.

Gelarto Rosa serves some of the best desserts in Budapest on cones instead of plates. The gelateria’s skilled employees top these cones with Italian-style homemade gelato shaped into roses. Customers choose from unique flavors like poppyseed as well as traditional flavors like pistachio and salted caramel. We consider the ice cream at Gelarto Rosa to be among the best we’ve eaten in cities like Bologna, Girona and Cincinnati.

Pro tip:  Stop by Gelarto Rosa before or after a visit to the nearby St. Stephen’s Basilica, one of Budapest’s most iconic churches.

Gelarto Rosa is located at Budapest, Szent István tér 3, 1051 Hungary.

Budapest Markets

Budapest Market Vendors

The Budapest markets sell fresh produce to both locals and tourists.

Whether you visit Budapest for a day like many riverboat cruisers or for a month like us or somewhere in between, shopping at Budapest markets is a must. Farmers and artisans bring their best products to these markets where they sell their wares at reasonable prices, catering to both locals and tourist with fresh meats, cheese, fruits, vegetables and prepared foods.

Budapest Market Bounty

Cured meat, pickled vegetable and paprika are just a few fresh, seasonal foods available in abundance at the Budapest markets.

Some vendors sell pickled cucumbers and tomatoes for ridiculously low prices while others sell cured meats made from some of the world’s best pigs. Tourists can buy food to cook in Airbnb apartments with kitchens and return later to purchase food souvenirs like paprika and palinka.

Central Market (Great Market Hall)

Budapest Central Market

The view from the second floor provides scope of the Central Market’s grandeur.

Open since the end of the 19th century, the epic design of the Great Market Hall would be reason enough to visit Budapest’s Central Market. Though this style’s market is similar to the other Budapest markets, it is city’s biggest indoor market. Plus, the location is right on the Danube.

Pro tip: Be sure to go upstairs to check out the additional vendors, grab a bite to eat and view the market’s full scope from above.

Central Market is located at Budapest, Vámház krt. 1-3, 1093 Hungary.

Szimpla Kert Sunday Farmer’s Market

Szimpla Kert Cheesemonger

Shoppers can buy locally produced cheese at the Szimpla Kert Sunday Farmer’s Market.

Ironically, Budapest’s best market is only open one day a week and doesn’t have a dedicated building. This market, the Szimpla Kert Sunday Farmer’s Market, occurs every Sunday morning in the iconic Budapest ruin bar Szimpla Kert.

Szimpla Kert Meat Vendor

Vendors sell their wares amongst the ruin bar’s kitsch at the Szimtpla Kert Sunday Farmer’s Market.

Crowds flock to this market to sample and buy local products from artisan vendors selling meats, cheese, pastries, honey and much more. Prices are comparable to those in Budapest’s other markets, but the experience is one of a kind.

Szimpla Kert Produce Vendor

The venue may be different, but the quality is high at the Szimtpla Kert Sunday Farmer’s Market.

Pro tip: Plan to eat a meal while shopping at the Szimpla Kert Sunday Farmer’s Market. You can enjoy a huge all-you-can-eat brunch upstairs for a fixed price or you can eat a less expensive lunch downstairs. Both options feature products from the market.

Szimpla Sunday Farmer’s Market is located at Budapest, Kazinczy u. 14, 1075 Hungary.

Hunyadi Square Market

Budapest Hunyadi Market

Shopping at the Hunyadi Square Market is a low key experience compared to the more epic Central Market.

Though smaller and less auspicious than the grander Central Market, Hunyadi Square Market, near the Octagon, has all of the food you would ever need to cook a meal or just snack for a week. Vendors sell pickles that are easily the best you will ever eat plus a selection of salami that would make an Italian butcher salivate. Locals line up to buy freshly fried lángos and sausages, giving this market a true neighborhood vibe.

Pro tip:  Shop at Hunyadi Square Market on Friday or Saturday when vendors set up additional stands to sell local produce and food specialties.

Hunyadi Square Market is located at Budapest, Hunyadi tér 4, 1067 Hungary.

Belvárosi Piac (Hold Utca Food Market)

The building architecture of Belvárosi Piac resembles the other large markets in Budapest, but the culinary experience is different at this market due to the number of upscale eateries in the market. This market caters both to locals and tourists with its mix of stalls selling produce, meat, cheese and prepared foods along with a number of prepared food stands on the market’s second floor.

Pro tip:  Take a trip around the world at Belvárosi Piac. Upstairs you will find food from Hungary, Vietnam, Russia and Japan.

Hold Utca Food Market is located at Budapest, Hold u. 13, 1054 Hungary.

Fromage

Budapest Fromage

Cheese, Glorious Cheese at Fromage in Budapest

French cheese is difficult to find in Budapest since the locals prefer soft local cheeses similar to cottage cheese and ricotta. So, needless to say, we were ecstatic to bump into Fromage, a tiny store chock full of glorious cheese as well as cured meat, bread, wine, chocolate and anything else you might want for your picnic or cocktail party. The staff welcomed us warmly and filled our bellies with wonderfully stinky cheese. Our only regret is that we didn’t discover Fromage sooner.

Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to ask for samples at Fromage.

Fromage is located at Budapest, Pozsonyi út 7, 1137 Hungary.


Thirsty for more? Check out our articles about Budapest coffee and Budapest ruin bars.


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