Travelers who’re interested in exploring the cultures and history in Europe should definitely think of visiting a stunning Hungarian capital, Budapest. The amazing fact is that the city was separated in two cities by Danube river – hilly Buda and modern Pest.
Is there any better way to explore Hungarian culture than trying their traditional Hungarian food? There are literally thousands of restaurants and food stands around Budapest, and it could be a bit tricky to find the best places to eat in Budapest. Don’t worry as we’re going to provide you with a detailed food guide to Budapest.
A Guest Post by Antonio of Vietnam Chronicles.
Budapest Food Guide
Where to Eat in Budapest Near Top Attractions
Buda Castle is a historical baroque building dating from 13th-century. It was a residence of the royal family for centuries. Like most castles, it lies on the hill and you can expect a nice hike to get there. We can’t think of a better way of exploring this gem than trying local food afterward!
Breakfast – Planning to do a castle tour during the morning? You should definitely check Baltazar Restaurant that serves delicious regional and traditional breakfast. The food is fresh, and many locals are eating there. Try their specialty called Eggs Atlantic which comes with eggs in combination with salmon or bacon, croissants and all kind of toping. The perfect way to kickstart your day!
Lunch/Dinner – Marvelosa restaurant is an excellent option if you’re craving for authentic Hungarian food. Try out their Goulash soup or Spinach soup followed by Poppyseed cake. You won’t regret and most importantly, you won’t feel hungry!
Alcohol/Happy Hours – If you’re a wine lover and would love to try an authentic experience, then head over to the cellar of Buda Castle. There is a small, but stunning decorated Faust Wine Cellar where you can choose between a massive choice of Hungarian wines that come with traditional cheese scones. Such a perfect combination to start your night right!
It’s hard to miss this breathtaking building that serves as a seat of National Assembly of Hungary. This iconic building finds their way to many postcards and souvenirs, so it’s one of the most attractive places to visit in Budapest.
Breakfast – Check out Budapest Bistro that serves breakfast till 12 am. Our advice is to try Eggs Benedict that comes with muffin, bacon and ham, a mix of delicious sauces and eggs. You will definitely love this blend of tastes!
Lunch/Dinner – If you’re looking for a meaty lunch, then you should check out Pesti Diszno Bistro – the place that does wonders with meat.
Try out their delicious and popular pork burger for filling your day with energy!
Alcohol/Happy Hours – Are you a wine lover? Check out D.O.C Vino Bar with an excellent choice of Italian wine and staff that knows a lot about wines. The highlight of this bar is their cozy terrace perfect for drinking wine and chilling with friends.
This iconic and huge square is the major square in Budapest featuring a statue complex with important Hungarian people from history. Parks, castle, and spa are around this square so the ideal situation would be to make sure that you ate well before further exploration!
Breakfast – The best place to start your day off right is Paprika Vendegla that is authentically decorated for experiencing the Hungarian spirit. The breakfast ends at 12 am, and you can’t miss with a good portion of fruits combined with cereals. It’s important to mention this place is one of the most visited by locals!
Lunch/Dinner – Looking for a tasty local lunch? Don’t forget to try local cuisine at a family-run restaurant called Bagolyvar. When you’re there, don’t miss their delicious started Goose liver and the main dish recommendation is their paprikash or goulash.
For young travelers who’re looking for amazing nightlife and various options when it comes to food and drinks, there is literally no better place than Jewish District!
Breakfast – Head over to the Goat Herder, a casual place where delicious breakfast and coffee are served on a daily basis. We recommend you to go with cereals and wraps combined with one of their coffee. It’s a perfect way to fill yourself with the energy before starting with an exploration of the city.
Lunch/Dinner – Macesz Bistro is the restaurant with an amazingly decorated interior that is visited by locals. The great time to eat there is before drinking, so having lunch or dinner there is ideal. Their specialty is lamb goulash and that’s a dish you must try!
Alcohol/Happy Hours – When it comes to Jewish District, it was tough to pick one particular bar to recommend, so we decided to go with Szimpla Kert. It’s their most famous ruin pub with many bars in the complex. It’s easy to get lost in thoughts when you first arrive at this place! Try to get there a bit earlier as this place is usually filled with locals and tourists after 6 pm.
This suspension bridge connects two sides of the Hungarian capital, Buda, and Pest. Walking across the bridge gives you stunning views, especially during the night!
Breakfast – Our advice is to start off your exploration from Pest to Buda part of the city in the morning. The best way to succeed in a whole day of walking in to get yourself a tasty treat with delicious and hearty breakfast. Try their scrambled eggs with sausages and their fresh bread. The plates are literally huge and there is a chance you won’t be able to clear the plate! It’s an awesome deal for a price!
Lunch/Dinner – The best way to explore delicious local food is to eat where locals eat. Ildiko’s Kitchen is such a restaurant that isn’t fancy but offers a huge local daily menu. Try out their Goulash with dumplings and you won’t be disappointed nor hungry!
Alcohol/Happy Hours – After you’re done with dinner, it’s not a bad idea to check out Chain Bridge Brasserie for a cozy atmosphere and good beer. The pub is located near the Danube on Buda side. The amazing dish on their menu is their famous hungover soup with tomato, so if you feel a bit hungover, you should definitely try this one!
Where to Try Street Food in Budapest
When it comes to the culinary experience, locals and tourists in Budapest prefer eating in restaurants, so the street food scene isn’t the best, but there are still many options. For example, if you’ve ever visited any country in the SEA and you automatically think of street food like in Thailand, then you may be disappointed!
Depending on your eating preferences, we believe you can’t go wrong with authentic Italian pizza, right? Skip all the stands on the road and head over to Nagymezo Utca in a street food restaurant called Pizzica. It’s run by an Italian who knows his business. All of the pizza slices are made with fresh ingredients and you will enjoy each bite of Italian pizza. You can’t go wrong with any pizza slice you choose as these come straight from the oven!
Are you a sandwich lover, but you don’t want to try just another regular sandwich? Well, we believe we find the perfect place for you! It’s called Meat & Sauce and it’s located on the same street as Pizzica (Nagymezo Utca).
The sandwiches are literally huge cuts of bread filled with meat that using sous vide method and with the combination of different sauces, you get the perfect taste! It’s worth to try sandwiches there!
Late Night Eats in Budapest
Budapest is known for a lively nightlife, so it’s not a strange thing that you may crave for some food during your night out. Luckily, Budapest is filled with restaurants/street food that cooks delicious food during the night. Let’s check few of them in case you’ll find yourself in a situation when you’re craving for food during the night.
Langos is a traditional Hungarian snack which is basically a deep-fried dough topped with cheese and sour cream.
You can order and eat delicious langos at Retro Langos on Sunday to Tuesday until 2 am, Wednesday to Thursday until 4 am and until 6 am during Friday and Saturday.
El Rapido is a street food restaurant that offers Mexican food like tacos, burritos or nachos with many sauce options. This small restaurant looks unique as it has some street art on the walls. It works until 2 am on Sunday, 3:30 am from Monday to Thursday and until 4 am on Friday and Saturday. You can find this small street restaurant in Kazinczy Utca.
Must-Try Food in Budapest
Well, you probably know that exploring the culture and tradition comes handy with trying delicious food. There are some dishes and specialties Hungarians are proud of and you should definitely try them during your stay in Budapest.
Goulash – You probably read it a few times already through the article, but it is as it is! Goulash is a traditional Hungarian dish and you can’t miss it in Budapest. It’s a mixture of soup and stew, meat (usually beef, but pork and ham are good too), all kind of spices, vegetables and paprika. Goulash has an interesting way of preparing cooking in a kettle over the open fire for long hours. Hungarians are very proud of this specialty and they’re trying experimenting with different methods of cooking and ingredients to make this dish worth dying for!
Langos – What’s the visit to Budapest without trying their favorite Langos? It’s a deep-fried bread topped with cheese, meat and all kind of different ingredients. This dish has a long history and people usually fall in love with it as it gives you the freedom to choose between many topping combinations, so it’s hard to eat it once. Just be careful with Langos if you’re on a diet!
Somloi Galuska – Do you enjoy trying new deserts? Well, this one serves as one of the favorite cakes of locals, so you probably can’t miss it! Wait to talk about ingredients. It’s a cake layered with chocolate and topped with walnuts, rum, and cream. Today, there are so many variations of this cake, so you can basically combine sweet ingredients you crave the most!
Best Restaurants in Budapest for Vegans
Hungarians are proud of their goulash and paprikash that is filled with hearty meat and that isn’t the option for vegans. Hungarian cuisine isn’t vegan-friendly, but there are many restaurants around Budapest where vegans could enjoy delicious meals.
Kozmosz Vegan Etterem – This restaurant is impressive for vegans as it’s a full-vegan restaurant which means on vegan dishes on the menu. It’s such a paradise for vegans and there are many options to eat.
We recommend you to try their vegan gyros or hamburger! You won’t get disappointed nor hungry!
VeganLove – This restaurant is located on the Buda side near the Danube and you can easily reach it. It’s often filled with people as it’s serving really delicious food. It’s basically a vegan fast food restaurant that has a huge variety of dishes to pick, but we advise you to go with their hamburger combined with salad bar. You won’t regret that choice! Also, the staff is very knowledgeable about the menu, so feel free to ask them any questions related to food.
Best Pubs in Budapest
We covered a lot of food during this guide and after all that tasty food, we bet you’re becoming thirsty, right? Well, you’re lucky as Budapest is a great destination filled with many pubs. Sometimes it’s hard to pick the best ones as there are so many unique pubs and places to enjoy yourself.
Szimpla Kert is the most famous ruin pub located in the Jewish District. It’s a unique place that is known for uncommon interior design. Basically, it’s a walking place where many favorite pubs find their home, so if you don’t like the menu in one, you can easily explore the rest!
There is a huge selection of beer and wines but arrive there before 6 pm as you may have a harsh time finding a seat afterward.
Another amazing ruin pub is called Kuplung and it’s located in a former car shop. The interior is fascinating as there are many street arts around the walls and simplicity breaths around the place.
Also, it’s usual that this pub hosts bands, so prepare for live music sometimes. They have a massive selection of beers, cocktails and drinking snacks.
Budapest Restaurants with Amazing Views
People who’re looking for a lovely culinary experience should definitely look for restaurants that have an amazing view of the city. Imagine yourself eating a delicious traditional dinner, sipping tasty red wine and overlooking the city at night. I believe there is hardly something that can outrank that situation. Budapest is a historic city with many attractions and even more lights during the night. It’s worth to try out eating in the restaurant with an amazing view!
Have a fantastic dining experience in ICON Restaurant that is located on the Buda side of Fisherman’s Bastion. Eating there provide you with outstanding views on Fisherman’s Bastion, Danube, and Parliament. Definitely an experience worth trying. Just remember it’s hard for walk-ins to get a free table, so be sure to take your reservation day in advance. The restaurant’s menu offers international dishes as well as traditional ones like goulash, goose liver and rack of lamb. You won’t miss with a hearty goulash prepared with many spices and meat.
One of the most stunning attractions in Budapest is absolutely Chain Bridge that is connecting two sides of the city. Is there a better way to enjoy a dining experience than sharing a lovely dinner with close friends while overlooking Chain Bridge and Buda Castle? If that sounds attractive, then head over Andante Wine Pharmacy!
Don’t leave without trying their specialty, a goose liver! Also, they have a huge selection of red wines. The glass of tasty wine comes great with a cheese plate and astonishing views.
Budapest Food Markets
What could be a better way to dip yourself in the Hungarian culture than trying their culinary ingredients and traditional dishes? The best way to have that experience is simply visiting their food market where locals go grocery shopping. The most popular one is called Great Market Hall which is located on a Pest side near the Danube. It’s a vast hall filled with food traders on the ground floor, and the first floor is reserved for souvenirs. It’s a stunning place with vegetables, mainly their famous paprika, Langos, sausages, wine and much more. The place radiates with the culture! It’s really worth going there, getting ingredients and cook some traditional meal yourself.
Another interesting choice when it comes to food markets is Szimpla Farmers’ Market that finds its place beside Szimpla Kert ruin pub. It’s opened every Sunday and you can find many traditional foods like honey, vegetables (again, mainly paprika), spices and brewed coffee.
Insider Foodie Tip
Well, always respect the rule of eating where locals eat. That way, you can be sure that you’ll try the most amazing local specialties and lowest prices. The food in Budapest isn’t expensive in these restaurants, but if you’re looking for fancy restaurants, be prepared to pay more for small portions.
Have you visited Budapest and experience their culture through your belly? What’s the most amazing and delicious food you’ve tried? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
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