Table of Contents
- Why Visit Budapest?
- What To Do in Budapest
- What to Eat in Budapest
- Budapest Food Scene
- Budapest Food Guide
- Traditional Hungarian Food in Budapest
- Jewish Restaurants in Budapest
- Top Budapest Restaurants
- Budapest Bistros
- Global Cuisine in Budapest
- Budapest Cheap Eats
- Budapest Desserts
- Budapest Markets
- Things To Do in Budapest
- Plan Your Budapest Stay
- Thirsty for More in Budapest?
- Pin It for Later
- About the Authors
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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. We never ran out of options in our search for the best places to eat in Budapest.
But with the help of our Fitbit and lots of third wave coffee, we survived a month of eating Budapest food favorites without sacrificing our sanity or waistlines. And, as a bonus, we explored one of Europe’s most beautiful cities at the same time we searched for the best food in Budapest. Spanning two sides of the Danube, Budapest is a true architectural treasure.
Why Visit Budapest?
If you’re wondering if you should visit Budapest, you’re thought process is out of date.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.
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
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. Other travelers flock to the massive Central Market and Fisherman’s Bastion by the river.
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
If you’re wondering what to eat in Hungary, you need to know that Hungarian cuisine is heavy. This should be no surprise with the country’s long history and cold winters. However, this is the kind of food you must eat in Budapest at least once.
Hungarian traditional 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.
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
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 traditional dessert cafes. And, important to coffee snobs and digital nomads, the modern, third world coffee scene is alive and well on both sides of the Danube.
Budapest Food Guide
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 cuisines from every part of the earth when eating out in Budapest. We’ve included our favorites in this Budapest restaurant guide.
Traditional Hungarian Food 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. Other popular Hungarian dishes include goulash and paprikás csirke (known around the world as chicken paprika).
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:
With only 20 seats, Kispiac Biztro feels more like the inside of a house than a bustling bistro. Locals and tourists dine here thanks to the restaurant’s fair prices and generously sized portions. More importantly, the tiny bistro serves seriously solid Hungarian fare that satisfies culinary purists as well as more adventurous diners.
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.
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.
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. 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) at the time of our visit.
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.
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.
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 carnivores who walk 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.
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.
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 other words, we got four meals for the price of one.
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
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.
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.
Located on the second floor of the famed Central Market, Fakanál Restaurant offers popular Hungarian traditional 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.
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 Restaurants in Budapest
The line between traditional Hungarian food and Jewish food in Hungary 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.
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.
While leading us through the district, weaving 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.
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:
Though technically located outside of the Jewish quarter, the restaurant Rosenstein is serving some of the 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.
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. Luxurious Bone Marrow served with pickled garlic and fresh paprika was a unique, fun and Hungarian way to begin our meal along with the soup.
As is 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.
Though our server recommended a seasonal tart to end our meal, we had a When Harry Met Sally moment when we couldn’t resist ordering what our neighbors were eating – a dessert of Shredded Crepes topped with Ground Poppy Seeds and Honey.
The Hungarians love poppy seeds – especially in their sweets. And guess what? Earthy poppy seeds and sweet honey make a wonderful combination. We also enjoyed poppy seed ice cream at Gelarto Rosa – see below.
Try the restaurant’s pálinka, the Hungarian version of plum brandy.
Rosenstein Restaurant is located at Budapest, Mosonyi u. 3, 1087 Hungary.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Top Budapest Restaurants
Not just a haven for those seeking traditional Hungary food options, Budapest has a burgeoning dining scene that hit the ground running several years ago and keeps going with a vengeance.
Budapest currently has six Michelin starred restaurants (Babel Budapest, Borkonyha Winekitchen, Costes Restaurant, Costes Downtown, Onyx and Stand Restaurant) along with a number of up and coming chef-driven restaurants.
These are our favorites:
One of Budapest’s six Michelin-starred restaurants, 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.
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) at the time of our meal.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Let’s face it, importing top quality beef from the USA (which KNRDY does) is an expensive endeavor – and KNRDY’s dinner menu 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.) Note, prices are subject to change.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 in Budapest
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 cuisines without visiting a specific restaurant more than once. We ate at restaurants serving all of these global cuisines during our month in Budapest, and these were our favorites:
Good Morning Vietnam
We didn’t expect to find excellent 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.
Opened by an industrious family who moved from Vietnam in the 1990s, Good Morning Vietnam’s friendly crew serves authentic Vietnam food 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.
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 combines two popular Budapest trends, Middle Eastern food and ruin bars, resulting in a great spot to enjoy a meal in 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 in Budapest.
We added shawarma to the Hummus and merguez sausage to the Shakshuka. The resulting, meal was both tasty and filling.
Mazel Tov translates to 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.
Make an advance reservation. This Israeli-themed ruin bar has become a popular dining destination for both locals and food travelers.
Mazel Tov is located at Budapest, Akácfa u. 47, 1072 Hungary.
Komachi Japan Bisztro
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.
Komachi’s 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.
Bring cash. Komachi Japan Biztro did not accept credit cards at the time of our visit.
Komachi Japan Bisztro is located at Budapest, Kertész u. 33, 1073 Hungary.
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. We didn’t want to miss a bite.
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
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. This is a great choice if you’re looking for vegan restaurants in Budapest or if you’re just curious about Hungarian vegetarian food.
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.
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.
Budapest Cheap Eats
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 spots for cheap food in Budapest:
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 our 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.
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.
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 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?
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 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 for this must eat food in Budapest.
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.
Lifting the classic lángos from the street, Lángos Papa is a great spot to eat a basic lángos with cheese or topped with a number of proteins including paprika chicken, beef stew or even foie gras.
The restaurant serves sweet lángos options including a tempting one with Nutella and banana. More importantly, the restaurant serves Hungarian wine, a perfect lángos accompaniment.
Bring a big appetite for the restaurant’s three-course menu. At the time of our visit, a starter, lángos and dessert cost a total of 3,000 FT (approximately $11 US) for diners who chose the multi-course option.
Lángos Papa is located at Budapest, Andrássy út 38, 1061 Hungary.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
The Budapest cake scene is on fire. But cake is just part of the Budapest dessert story.
We made a point fo visit the best cafes in Budapest during our extended visit. When you visit Budapest for yourself, these cafes get our votes for the best dessert cafes in Budapest:
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 assessment is that Cake Shop is a great place to hang with a coffee and dessert in one of Budapest’s most accessible locations.
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.
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 hungry crowds who tour Buda’s nearby castle district.
A trip to Ruszwurum Budapest is a must during any expedition to Buda. We visited Buda’s most 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.
Ruszwurm Cukraszda provides free wifi for customers. The password is printed on the menu.
Ruszwurm Cukraszda is located at Budapest, Szentháromság u. 7, 1014 Hungary.
A rainbow exploded in Budapest and created the dessert cafe known as Sugar!
This vivid cafe has a candy wall on the first floor as well as a counter stacked with the most tempting desserts you can imagine. Just one flight up, the cafe has plenty of seating where guests can eat their desserts after taking photos to post on Instagram.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hummingbirds decorate the walls at Chez Dodo, the preciously decorated cafe on the same block as Borkonyha Winekitchen and KNRDY (both featured above). These hummingbirds and 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.
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
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.
Be prepared for high prices at New York Cafe. As an example, a cappuccino cost us 2,100 Ft (approximately $8 US) which was 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.
Budapest’s best bread bakery, Artizán Bakery, sells wonderful pastries in addition to great bread. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Weather permitting, enjoy your flódni on Café Noé’s delightful terrace.
Café Noé is located at Budapest, Wesselényi u. 13, 1077 Hungary.
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.
Stop by Gelarto Rosa before or after a visit to nearby St. Stephen’s Basilica, one of Budapest’s most iconic churches.
Gelarto Rosa is located at Budapest, Szent István tér 3, 1051 Hungary.
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.
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)
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 the style of this Budapest market is similar to the other Budapest markets, it is the city’s biggest indoor market. Plus, the location is right on the Danube near Fisherman’s Bastion.
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
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.
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.
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
Though smaller and less auspicious than the grander Central Market, Hunyadi Square Market, located near the Octagon, has all of the food you would ever need to cook a meal or just snacks to munch on 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. If you’re hungry, join the queues and have a snack.
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 here.
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 restaurants on the market’s second floor.
Take a culinary 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.
French cheese is difficult to find in Budapest since 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.
Don’t be afraid to ask for samples at Fromage. The generous staff will likely give you tastes and nibbles to help you decide what to purchase.
Fromage is located at Budapest, Pozsonyi út 7, 1137 Hungary.
Things To Do in Budapest
We never got bored during our month in Budapest. When you visit, the following activities will surely keep you busy:
- Visit Dohanyi Synagogue, Europe’s grandest synagogue.
- Skip the line at the Szechenyi Spa for a day of decadent relaxation.
- See the top Budapest attractions via a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus.
- Tour the epic Parliament Building.
- Cruise the Danube on a Night Cruise.
Plan Your Budapest Stay
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.