I want to write everything about food, drinks, restaurants in Budapest in this article. I think a big part of the travel experience is savouring the local food, drinks and the whole food culture. I was never a big foodie till I met my husband. Food is his passion and he loves experimenting with flavours, different ingredients and trying new cuisine. So whenever we travel, we spend some good amount of time researching about the local food, best restaurants to eat and so on. Here’s a write up about what we have discovered in Budapest w.r.t food.
A note here about food is that any place I suggest for food has plenty of vegetarian options as I am a complete vegetarian. I also suggest vegetarian or vegan restaurants. I eat eggs and milk products but strictly no meat and fish.
Budapest has so much variety to offer. If you are a foodie there are 2 streets you definitely have to visit. One is Kazinczy Utca and the other is Gozsdu Udvar. Both are located close to each other. Gozsdu Udvar is a narrow pedestrian street lined with restaurants and bars. I like the atmosphere and it can get crowded in the summer. There are also street events which are organized here. When we went, there was a fashion show by one of the local designers.
Kazinczy Utca (street) Highlights:
1. Bors Gastrobar – This is a must visit street food joint where they sell amazing sandwiches and very creative soups. Budapest has a nice soup culture and this place has amazing variety of soups. In Hungary they also have fruit soups which is worth a try. Even though it’s a small takeout place, you won’t miss it because of the long line of people waiting to order their hot soups. Service is pretty fast, so don’t worry, it won’t take long. The theme of the place is STAR WARS and it is awesome.
2. Szimpla Kert – If you have googled ruin pubs in Budapest, this one is first on the list and rightly so! This is a must visit pub. I recommend you to visit this place when there is daylight just to walk around the entire complex and appreciate the art created out of junk. Then visit it again in the night to drink and enjoy the place. The drinks are almost the same price as in Germany and just okay. The atmosphere here is awesome. It can get very crowded and in summer, you might end up waiting in the line.
3. Street Caravan – As the name suggests, there are lots of food trucks with a variety ofstreet food, from Italian, Hungarian, fast food like burgers etc. There is also a bar and there is a truck with popsicles of different flavours which I really liked. This place is closed in winter.
4. Ramenka – This place was exciting for me as I had read so much about ramen in the Japanese Manga that I simply had to try it! The Ramen is very simple, with fresh and good quality ingredients. The portion size is big. If you want healthy food, this is a good place.
5. Szimpla (Breakfast and food joint) – This place serves breafast and other food. The smoothies are good here.
Food and Restaurants in Budapest:
Budapest has plenty of cafes and amazing restaurants of different cuisine. Even though Hungarian food is dominated by meat, there are plenty of vegetarian options available as well. The Hungarians love deep frying, so the food may not be healthy but it will satisfy your taste buds for sure. They eat rice and add garlic, paprika which makes the food taste good. They also use smoked peppers for a lot of dishes which I love. Some typical must try Hungarian food:
- Langos: Langos is a deep fried bread (Note for Indians: exactly like the Batura) and it is normally topped with cream cheese and grated cheese. Or there are plenty of other toppings available. We ate this at the Christmas market and it was really tasty but extremely heavy as well.
Kurtos Kalacs: This is the funnel cake which is made from a soft dough of flour and other ingredients (don’t know which ones exactly :D) which is grilled directly on hot coal. They normally add cinnamon sugar on top or you could choose different toppings of chocolate, vanilla etc.
- Tocsni – This is a deep fried (yup again!) thin grated potato disk which has amazing flavors of garlic and other herbs. You can ask them to add toppings of chili, onion, cream cheese, grated cheese and meat options as well. It tasted really yum and I found this only in the Christmas markets.
- The Goulash Soup: Of course this is a typical Hungarian delicacy which is a must try but unfortunately it has meat in it. There are vegetarian options available but I was told they are not as good as the ones with meat.
- Lecso – This is a traditional Hungarian dish, which is all veggies!! It is a vegetarian stew with fresh tomatoes, paprika, onion. It tastes good and it is healthy! Sometimes they add meat (bacon as well), so vegetarians watch out!
- Deep fried breaded EVERYTHING (mushrooms, cheese (normally Camembert), Zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower): I would esp. recommend trying the deep fried breaded mushrooms. They are delicious. It can sometimes be ordered as main course with a serving of rice and sauce or some restaurants offer them as a starter.
Restaurants in Budapest: You are spoilt for choice here with the restaurants in Budapest. Of course I have mentioned all the street food offered in Kazincy Utca but there are plenty more.
- Napfenyes Etterem (‘Etterem’ is Restaurant in Hungarian): I highly recommend this place for all vegetarians and vegans. This is a veggie lovers paradise with so much variety! Definitely try the veggie bean goulash soup. It is yum! There is a whole list of Hungarian cuisine if you want to try the local cuisine. I recommend to order the vitamin cocktail as well. Everything is very reasonably priced.
- Vegan Love: This is a tiny fast food joint with seating for a few, located very close to Gellert. This place sells burgers(Vegan), hot dogs (Vegan), and smoothies. The burgers are really amazing. My fav. Is the Mexican burger. I am not a big fan of soy hot dogs, so never tried it.
- Jamie’s Italian: This is a Jamie Oliver restaurant located close to fisherman’s bastion. They have plenty of veg. Options. I love the chilli pizza for it’s hotness and the breaded mushrooms are simply yum! The food is a little expensive but not as expensive as I thought it would be. The ambience is nice and when you are here, please visit the loo. 😀 They are quite creative!
- Hummus Bar: This is an amazing place for fallfels and all things Mediterranean. They have really good laffa breads (naan in indian cuisine) and I love the shashlik which they make. They have plenty of branches in the city but I generally go to one close to the St.Stephen’s Basilica.
- Lecso Magyaros Etterem: This is a Hungarian restaurant which serves great local food, the quantities are big and yet very cheap. I recommend trying the breaded mushrooms with rice here. It is yum. The ambience is nothing great. It is a small place. The drinks are really cheap and strong. I had a mojito which cost less than 3 EUR!
Cafes and Pubs:
- New York Cafe: This cafe is unlike anything I have ever seen. It is so grand with
chandeliers, built in Italian Renaissance style architecture. This cafe has a lot of history and was restored recently in 2006. They offer buffet breakfast, and have traditional Hungarian food. I went there for the cakes, desserts and drinks.The food is pricey but not as expensive as I expected it to be. When you go here, make sure you dress up a little, because I went there is shorts and t-shirt and felt so out of place. I wish I had worn something more fancy! 😉
- Anna Cafe: This is in Vaci Utca and I want to try the coffee and ice cream here. I haven’t been here yet.
- Gerbeaud Cafe: Located at the beginning of Vaci Utca, this is another posh and famous cafe of Budapest.
- Szamos Parlament Cafe: This is located right opposite the Parliament and has a tiny chocolate museum on the first floor. I did not go to the choc. museum as I have seen the Lindt museum in Cologne which is one of the best. But I did try the pastries and they were good.
- Gelarto Rosa Ice cream parlor: This is a unique ice cream place with all the ice creams beautifully shaped like roses. They also offer unique, rich flavors, one of my favourites being basil lemon.
- Instant Pub: It was recently renovated and one of the most popular ruin pubs with dance floors. It is on my list of places to go.
- Extra Pub: This is another ruin pub but it also looks modern at the same time. Nevertheless I really liked the open area and I love the cocktails here.
Indian Restaurants in Budapest: Of course, living here for a long term and not going to any Indian restaurants would just not be possible! I highly recommend the Taj Mahal Restaurant, for good authentic North Indian food. I love the ambience and it made me feel that I was back in India. They also serve a few chats which is a bonus. The Alu chaat is amazing here. Another restaurant which is generally recommended is the Curry House. But I was very disappointed with their slow service and the food was just okay. Another good restaurant is Indigo. All the restaurants are on the pest side of the city.