Budapest Food Guide: What To Eat in Budapest

breakfast dish and coffee

Budapest, the vibrant capital of Hungary, is not only famous for its stunning architecture and rich history but also for its diverse and delicious culinary scene. With a wide array of restaurants, cafes, and street food options, choosing where to eat in Budapest can be both exciting and overwhelming. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you on a gastronomic journey through Budapest, highlighting the must-try dishes and the best places to satisfy your cravings.

Exploring Hungarian Flavors

Hungarian cuisine is known for its bold and flavorful dishes, with paprika playing a starring role in many traditional recipes. From rich stews to hearty soups, Hungarian flavors are sure to tantalize your taste buds.

Hungarian soups, such as Gulash and Halaszl, are a staple of the country’s culinary heritage. Gulash, a hearty beef stew seasoned with paprika, is a must-try dish that showcases the depth of Hungarian flavors. Halaszl, on the other hand, is a fisherman’s soup made with meat, vegetables, or fish, offering a unique taste experience.

To complement your meal, don’t forget to sample some of Hungary’s famous wines. The country boasts excellent vineyards that produce a variety of high-quality wines. From crisp whites to full-bodied reds, there’s a Hungarian wine to suit every palate.

List of Budapest’s Traditional dishes

Budapest has a rich culinary tradition, and there are many delicious traditional dishes to try when visiting the city. Here are some popular traditional dishes in Budapest:

  1. Goulash – Goulash is Hungary’s national dish and is a hearty stew made with beef, potatoes, onions, and paprika. It is often served with bread or noodles.
  2. Lángos – Lángos is a popular street food in Hungary that consists of deep-fried dough topped with sour cream and grated cheese. It is a delicious and filling snack.
  3. Chimney Cake – Chimney Cake, or Kürtőskalács, is a sweet pastry that is rolled in sugar and cinnamon and baked on a spit. It is a popular dessert in Budapest and is often sold at street fairs and markets.
  4. Töltött Káposzta – Töltött Káposzta is a traditional Hungarian dish that consists of cabbage leaves stuffed with a mixture of ground pork, rice, and sauerkraut. It is often served with sour cream.
  5. Székely Gulyás – Székely Gulyás is a variation of goulash that is made with sauerkraut and pork. It is a hearty and flavorful dish that is popular in Hungary.
  6. Hortobágyi Palacsinta – Hortobágyi Palacsinta is a savory crepe that is filled with meat and served with a rich paprika sauce. It is a popular dish in Budapest and is often served as a main course.
  7. Dobos Torte – Dobos Torte is a famous Hungarian cake that consists of multiple layers of sponge cake and chocolate buttercream. It is often topped with caramel and is a popular dessert in Budapest.

Street Food Delights

Budapest’s street food scene is a must-try for any food enthusiast. One of the iconic street food dishes you shouldn’t miss is Toltott Kaposzta, also known as stuffed cabbage leaves. Similar to dolma in Turkey and sarmale in Romania, these fermented cabbage leaves are filled with a flavorful mixture of pork and paprika, creating a delicious and comforting dish.

Another street food favorite is Langos, a deep-fried delicacy that cheese lovers will adore. Often referred to as “Hungarian pizzas,” Langos is made from fried dough topped with sour cream and cheese. You can find variations with different toppings such as sausage, meat, and veggies. For a truly mouthwatering experience, head to Langos Papa, a popular spot that serves some of the best Langos in Budapest. Their €10 set meal offers a langos main course, along with your choice of starter and dessert.

Traditional Hungarian Fare

When it comes to traditional Hungarian cuisine, there are a few dishes that are absolute must-tries. One of them is Nokedli, fresh pasta dumplings that are similar to spatzle in Germany and Switzerland. These dumplings are served as a side dish to many Hungarian classics, such as goulash and chicken paprikash. Their soft and chewy texture adds a delightful touch to any meal.

Speaking of chicken paprikash, it is a quintessential Hungarian dish that you should definitely sample during your time in Budapest. This hearty and flavorful dish features tender chicken cooked in a rich sauce made with butter, onion, stock, sour cream, and, of course, paprika. It is often served with a side of nokedli dumplings, creating a perfect combination of flavors.

If you’re looking for a traditional Hungarian dining experience, be sure to visit Barack and Szilva Restaurant. This cozy spot, run by a local husband and wife, specializes in hearty Hungarian cuisine. Their menu features classic dishes like chicken paprikash, goulash, and other regional specialties.

Best Restaurants in Budapest by Districts

Restaurants in District I (Castle District)

  1. Pierrot: This restaurant offers Hungarian and French cuisine in a 13th-century bakery house setting.
  2. 21 Hungarian Kitchen: Serves traditional Hungarian food with a contemporary twist.

Restaurants in District V (Inner City)

  1. Onyx: The first restaurant in Hungary to receive two Michelin stars, Onyx serves Hungarian food with a modern touch.
  2. Comme Chez Soi: An intimate restaurant known for its Italian and Hungarian dishes.

Restaurants in District VI (Terézváros)

  1. Kollázs – Brasserie & Bar: Located in the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, it serves Hungarian and French dishes.

  2. Menza: Offers traditional Hungarian dishes in a retro-styled restaurant.

Restaurants in District VII (Erzsébetváros, including the Jewish Quarter)

  1. Mazel Tov: A trendy Middle Eastern restaurant located in the heart of the Jewish Quarter.

  2. Gettó Gulyás: Known for serving hearty Hungarian goulash and other traditional dishes.

Restaurants in District VIII (Józsefváros)

  1. A Séf utcája: Known for its creative and delicious gourmet street food.

  2. Zeller Bistro: A family-run bistro serving Hungarian dishes using ingredients from their own farm.

Restaurants in District IX (Ferencváros)

  1. Borsso Bistro: Serves a fusion of French and Hungarian cuisine.
  2. Costes: The first restaurant in Hungary to receive a Michelin star, Costes offers a gourmet dining experience with a focus on Hungarian and international cuisine.

Restaurants in District XI (Újbuda)

  1. Kéhli: One of the oldest restaurants in Budapest, serving traditional Hungarian cuisine.

  2. Napfényes Restaurant and Pastry Shop: Offers a range of vegan dishes and pastries.

Restaurants in District XIII

  1. Kiskakukk: This restaurant has been serving traditional Hungarian cuisine since 1913.

  2. Soul Food: A popular spot for American-style comfort food with a Hungarian twist.