Where to Eat in Budapest

Budapest is a foodie’s delight with an enormous choice of both international and Hungarian cuisine. Not only is the food excellent in Budapest, it’s also very affordable especially when compared with other European cities.

Whether you’re looking to eat in a bar, restaurant, cafe or even a ruin, I’ve got a (tried and tested) Budapest recommendation for you!

For classic Hungarian food – Gheto Gulyas

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Located in the heart of the Jewish Quarter, at this cosy restaurant you’ll find classic Hungarian cuisine at reasonable prices. The restaurant gets it’s name Getto from what the neighbourhood became in it’s darkest winter in 1944 and Gulyas meaning goulash. The menu is small but perfectly formed and packed with stewy staples like goulash and paprikash as well as a special chef’s menu.

photo credit: Getto Gulyas Facebook

The restaurant is super popular, particularly with visitors and although there is some space for walk-ins, reservations are highly recommended because this place is always busy. We start with the Hungarian “Hortobagyi” Pancakes and some Goulash soup – both were delicious.

I can’t go past the Chicken Paprikash with Hungarian egg noodles – I can’t wait to recreate this at home – while David goes for the venison stew with juniper, mushrooms and bread dumplings. Don’t judge us for passing on the rooster testicle stew! Although the menu is very meat heavy, there are some decent vegan and vegetarian options.

Portions are generous, so much so that to our eternal regret we have to pass on dessert so no cottage cheese dumplings or walnut filled crepes for us. Wah! Service is efficient but friendly and prices are reasonable – we pay less than 20,000 HUF for our 2 course dinner with a bottle of fabulous Hungarian wine, a variety called Juhfark pronounced “you-fark.” Try ordering that with a straight face!

Mazel Tov – For Middle Eastern ‘garden’ dining indoors

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Mazel Tov is a ruin bar on the outside and a beautiful garden on the inside. Here in the heart of the Jewish Quarter you’ll find a green, dog friendly space with amazing service, cool vibes and delicious Middle Eastern food.

We thank our past selves for booking ahead (and I highly recommend you do too) because whenever we pass Mazel Tov (and we pass it quite a few times during our stay) whether it is day or night, there is always a queue.

Mazel Tov doesn’t just deliver on the service and the surroundings, the menu is top notch too. First, let’s start with the drinks… It’s not every day you get to have a decanter of Negroni. The bar is very well stocked here and there’s an excellent choice of both non alcoholic and alcoholic drinks.

Now onto the food. We start with a mezze plate – hummus, labne, baba ganoush, olives and pita – choosing a favourite dip on this plate is like asking someone to choose their favourite child. It’s just not possible!

Moving onto mains, we decide to share the falafel sandwich – grilled pita filled with hummus, Israeli salad, cabbage and crispy falafel – served with a side of chips and some tahini. Our other pick is the chicken shawarma grill plate – chicken grilled in secret spices and served with fresh pita, beetroot salad, matbucha and tahini.

We rarely manage three courses but we have to make space for the Jerusalem Cheesecake – it would be rude not to. We share this generous serve although even after extensive googling I still don’t know exactly what makes a Jerusalem Cheesecake. However, I do know that it’s outrageously light, creamy and delicious.

Oh and let’s not forget the live music and the wonderful jazz trio that accompany our meal. At 34.200 HUF this is easily our most expensive meal in Budapest but reasonably priced considering we have 3 courses and a jug of cocktail – it was more than just great food, it was a wonderful experience.

For Beer Food – First Craft Beer and BBQ

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If you’re hungry, thirsty and you love beer, head here to First Craft Beer and BBQ. There’s a cracking selection of craft beer on tap (up to 20 different brews) and there’s even some beer cocktails! The bar is fully stocked so if beer is not your jam, you won’t go thirsty.

The menu has a choice of starters, sides, soups, sandwiches and mains with an emphasis on yes, you guessed it BBQ with some traditional Hungarian options too. We keep it simple with some BBQ chicken wings, coleslaw and some wedges – the perfect accompaniment to our beers.

As craft beer goes in Budapest, this place isn’t the cheapest and we felt it catered more to a tourist/international crowd. However, we loved the choice of beers on tap and the fun, relaxing atmosphere in a cool space. Like so many places in Budapest, First Craft Beer gets super busy so if you want to save yourself a spot, be sure to make a reservation or wing it and score yourself a seat at the bar!

For Chimney Cake of Champions – Kato Nenin Finomsagai

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Chimney cake vendors are ten a penny in Budapest but if you’re looking for somewhere cosy and comfortable to enjoy your chimney cake, head to the downtown store of  Kato Neni Finomsagai (Deliciousness of Auntie Kato)

Here you’ll find an extensive menu of both sweet and savoury chimney cakes. Unfortunately on the day we visit, they only have sweet offerings which is a shame because The Chimney Dog (sausage, salad, ketchup, mayo, mustard in a mini chimney cake with cheese,) has my name all over it.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can create your own stuffed chimeny cake by choosing a cream filling but we settle for a classic Walnut Chimney Cake. We love the cosy little booths – if it looks busy, there’s more seating upstairs – and the coffee is decent too!

For Scrumptious Strudel – Strudel Hugo

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It’s worth seeking out this little independent strudel shop because the strudel is delicious, authentic and affordable. Stepping inside the shop is like taking a step back in time, it’s cosy, homely and has just the right amount of kitsch. We make a quick pit stop just before we head to the airport so we can’t comment on the coffee or the tea but I can tell you about the strudel!

There are sweet and savoury options and even some that are sugar free! Fillings are rich and generous and the pastry is ultra thin and melts in your mouth – the cherry is my favourite – packed full of fat, juicy cherries! Prices are super reasonable – we pay 1300 HUF (about £2.95) for two pieces! And bonus points, I hear that dogs are welcome too!

For Typical and Tasty Langos – Retro Langos

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You cannot leave Budapest without trying langos and Retro Langos is the perfect place to get your langos fix.

In years gone by, langos was made with the last bits of the bread dough, baked at the front of the brick or clay oven and was served hot for the breakfast of the bread baking day. These days it’s evolved into a deep fried flatbread typically served topped with sour cream and grated cheese. It’s all kinds of delicious.

photo credit: Retro Langos Facebook

Retro Langos has plenty of seating inside and out but it can get very busy although turnover is fast. Simply order at the counter, grab yourselves a seat, wait for your number to be called and go get your langos!

There’s an extensive menu with something for everyone – including some vegan offerings, sweet options and some lactose free toppings too. With so many options it’s hard to choose but in the end we settle on the Hungarian – sour cream, grated cheese, bacon and red onion. It’s totally delish – think warm and crispy and crispy dough, topped with sour cream, grated cheese and bacon bits. It’s hearty, delicious and at 3000 HUF, it’s bang on budget!

So that’s our Budapest food fest round up. Which of these places would be top of your list to try? Have you been to Budapest and if so, do you have any places to add to the list?

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