‘Arriving to a country and not knowing the people that live there, is like watching a documentary behind the screen of a television’
Here you can find the best places to eat in Budapest. One of the most delicious and authentic ways of getting to know a country is, literally, ‘getting into the kitchen’, that is to say trying the local cuisine of each place. I am not only referring to restaurants where there is a sign with a large menu saying: ‘Local Cuisine here’. I’m talking about the sites that only locals know. Like the bar that groups of friends frequent after leaving the office, or the typical takeaway that people will always go to ‘after a night out’. Obviously for a tourist, a traveller, or a nomad, it isn’t easy to find these kinds of places. Therefore, based on a series of 100% local Hungarian recommendations, we are counting down the top 6 places that you don’t want to miss in the Imperial city of Budapest:
Szimpla Kert is a district full of ‘ruinspubs’, or in English ‘ruins bars’, which are very popular in the city of Budapest, hosting some of the best places to eat in Budapest. These bars are characterised by their authorised access, found within the old factories of the former Jewish district. At first sight these bars look slightly seedy, worn-out and old (fairly unattractive to the visitor) but once inside the atmosphere becomes incredibly authentic as there are various terraces and live music to enjoy. This is where you will find locals enjoying a refreshing beer (for only 2 euros) or the typical Hungarian drink: fröccs. As it is a bar, pub, restaurant and grill there is something for all tastes. Now of course, if you go on Friday or Saturday you won’t be the only person in search of these cheap drinks….so expect to wait a minute before you enter one of the best places to eat in Budapest!
Looking for a quick and cheap breakfast but also the places to eat in Budapest? You can start your day in Budapest passing through the known avenues of ‘Ferenciek’, near the eastern train station or through the Plaza de Örs Vezér, next to the metro Örs vezér tere. There are only two reasons you must find these small stalls as they sell the typical sweet known as Kürtöskalács or chimney cakes. These typical Hungarian sweets are covered in sugar, chocolate, almonds, and/or coconut. So what exactly are Kürtöskalács? Imagine fine dough shaped like a cone, with a hole on the inside which is then filled with cinnamon, chocolate, or walnut. You can also find these delights in small cafes or restaurants where they also come with coffee and ice cream. My recommendation? A chocolate Kürtöskalács, raspberry ice cream and a hot chocolate. The perfect combination for this traditional dish!
Yes, in Mexico we may have chocolate shells but in Budapest they have the Donut Library: a place where they sell the best donuts in Budapest, perfect at any time of the day. I would recommend asking for an iced coffee which comes decorated with small donuts on top, so cute! Situated outside the main streets in Pozsonyi út, the Donut Library isn’t easy to find. It is a charming little shop so you might have to wait a while to find a seat. As it is close to Margarita Island on the Danubio River. You want my advice? Ask for a donut and coffee to go and enjoy the views that the Island has to offer. Although the Donut Library isn’t traditionally the most Hungarian, do not worry, as their donuts are something everyone will adore.
Gastland Bisztró Oktogon:
Only have one day in Budapest? Your best option is the restaurant ‘BUFFET!’ where you will find the famous “gulash” and the spicy dish known as Paprikás Csirke (did you know that paprika was born in Hungary?). One of the best places to eat in Budapest. Do not forget to accompany your meal with a delicious dessert and some garnishes. With its 100% Hungarian atmosphere you will feel like a local! For the small price of more or less 6 euros, no one can say no to an ‘all you can eat’ buffet. It is the perfect place for hungry groups with different tastes that do not want to wait for very long. You also can’t forget to visit the Gastland Bisztró Oktogon, located on one of the main streets the other side of the city of ‘Pest’, Teréz Krt. It is the perfect place to recharge your batteries before continuing to explore the city. With an excellent location, delicious and cheap food, and an incredible and authentic atmosphere, what more could you ask for?!
Lángos on “Kazinczy utca”:
Hungary’s version of fast food, ignore any lángos that you pass by, the best ones are on Kazinczy Street, filled with lots of cheese on a fried dough. The shop is somewhat vintage, with a garden where you can sit and enjoy your lángos beneath a sky full of stars but it really is places to eat in Budapest. There are various food stands to tempt you; for example the Berlin canteen, Le Crépe, Pasta station, and Zing Burger to name a few. Overall, it is a Sunday sin but how are we not going to sin? When we are travelling, every day is a Sunday!
Well, perhaps an ice cream parlour isn’t the most typical Budapestian restaurant but we could not make this list without mentioning Gelarto Rosa…their ice creams are shaped like roses! With a variety of flavours from lavender to white chocolate, even lemon and basil (try it before you judge!) and although there is sure to be a long queue, it is well worth the wait. I have never found ice cream like this in any other city and for that reason alone it can be considered a local speciality.
We already know that everyone has their own tastes…but if you are going to visit Budapest it is well worth taking this gastronomic advice. From big restaurants to small restaurants, luxury to cost-effective, eating or drinking (or even ice cream), in this city there is something for everyone. Hungary is an incredible country with a variety of impressive food and after trying a few of these recommendations, you will have experienced a little bit of Hungarian culture. So make the most of it!
Hungry for more? Check out our tours where you will find this precious city amongst other well-known European capitals:
Translated by Saskia Goff