Want to find the best restaurants in Budapest? Try these!
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Budapest is such a fantastic destination. It’s one of those cities that’s big enough to keep you entertained, but small enough to not feel overwhelming I’ve already shared my guide to the city, but now let’s talk about the best restaurants in Budapest!
Hungarian Dishes to try
Although I probably couldn’t tell you what made up Hungarian food before visiting, I can now say with confidence that I love it! Here are a few dishes to look out for:
Goulash is probably the Hungarian dish you most know. Local to central Europe, the Hungarian version is the most well known. It’s a hearty stew full of paprika, onions, beef and potatoes.
Fisherman’s soup is another classic dish, known for being bright red from the huge amount of paprika. It’s savory, filling, and delicious, with plenty of regional variations.
Langos are fried dough with toppings! It’s a bit like a savory elephant ear and created as a street food or quick meal. The most traditional toppings are sour cream and cheese, but you can find plenty of options!
Kürtöskalács, or chimney cakes, are a must-eat dessert! Especially popular at the Christmas markets, you can find them year-round. It’s made of dough wrapped around a metal cylinder, coated in sugar, and cooked over hot coals. You get a crispy edge with a soft inside, and it’s heavenly. Traditionally it’s coated in cinnamon after baking, but you can find other options too!
Another dessert you should order is a Dobos torte. It’s a cake made with thin layers of cake and chocolate frosting, then topped with a layer of crunchy caramel. It’s easy to see why this is the national cake of Hungary!
The Best Restaurants in Budapest for Lunch & Dinner
My favorite meal was hands down at Kispiac! Great homestyle food with a good mix of traditional dishes and a few mixing it up. I ate one of the best duck dishes I’ve ever tasted. The best seats in the house are along the open kitchen lining the back wall. They also have a great Hungarian wine list!
Hungarikum Bisztró is a Buadpest institution. Definitely a place to make a reservation in advance – you can online if you’re not looking for same-day. They have great classic Hungarian food and there’s often live music.
If you want a fine dining experience in Budapest, head to Borkonyha Winekitchen. This Michelin-starred restaurant serves a mix of Hungarian and French food with a huge selection of Hungarian wine! Again, make a reservation if you want to get in.
If you want to try langos at a sit-down restaurant, head here! Retro Langos have dozens of topping combinations, ranging from classic to experimental. It’s also a good place to head if you don’t have a reservation and are starting to hangry for a quick, filling meal!
Since travel always means getting to eat other types of foods, take a break from Hungarian cuisine and grab some ramen at Ramenka! The servings are huge for reasonable prices. You’ll leave full, satisfied, and warmed up from the inside.
The Best Restaurants in Budapest for Breakfast
New York Cafe
I include New York Cafe mostly out of obligation. It’s truly gorgeous and consistently rated as one of the most beautiful cafes in the world. In person, it lives up to the hype. But the prices match the popularity, so be prepared to pay a pretty penny for your visit. If you’re mostly here for the food, I can recommend better stops.
If you want the glamorous feel of New York Cafe without the overpriced part, my vote is for Central Cafe. Equally good for breakfast/brunch or evening cocktails, it’s pure old-world elegance. Their desserts are also fantastic, so save room!
Pöttyös Bögre Bisztró
A small locally run cafe known for its breakfast sandwiches! Pöttyös Bögre Bisztró is perfect for a quick delicious breakfast. They also offer eggs, but the specialty is bagel sandwiches with toppings fresh from the farmer’s market.
Espresso Embassy was my favorite modern coffee bar. It’s just a few blocks from St. Stephen’s Basilica and offers great coffee drinks and pastries. It also makes for a great coworking space if you need a few hours of work time.
The Best Wine & Cocktail Bars in Budapest
Leo Rooftop Restaurant
Leo is a really cool rooftop bar on the Buda side of the city, meaning you get great views of Hungarian Parliament, the Chain Bridge, and the whole Pest skyline. It’s clearly intended as a nightlife place, but it’s equally cool during the day. I almost hesitate to categorize it under bars, because the food is fantastic as well! I had some of the best wings I’ve eaten in years, and the generous serving of sweet potato fries was delicious and perfectly paired with enjoying a cocktail or two.
DiVino Wine Bar
If you love wine and want to learn a little (or a lot), head for DiVino! They have a massive selection of Hungarian wine available by the glass or bottle. Their staff is all incredibly knowledgeable (and graciously speak English) and will gladly find you something you love! You can also buy a bottle to take home and enjoy in your accommodation if you’d rather not sit in the bar. They have multiple locations, but the biggest one is just outside St. Stephen’s Bazilika.
What sets them apart is that their signature cocktails are described without naming the spirit inside. This allows patrons to choose their drink based on flavor profile, not preferred type of liquor. Modeled after the geography of Hungary, it’s a fun and delicious way to learn a little about the country. Of the two drinks we had, both were delicious and neither was the liquor we guessed! Which makes their point, right?
Reservations are pretty much mandatory, but you can make them online.
Budapest’s Ruin Bars
One unique part of Budapest culture is ruin bars. They’re bars opened inside dilapidated/abandoned buildings, and they feel like something out of a movie! Definitely grab a drink in one.
Budapest’s ruin bars started in the early 2000s when an abandoned factory facing demolition was converted into a bar and club. The concept caught on and Budapest’s ruin bar culture was born!
They range from clubs perfect for dancing the night away to chill spots for an evening with friends. Whatever vibe you like, the common thread is reclaimed spaces with inexpensive drinks!
Szimpla Kert is the original ruin bar, and iconic for good reason! The former stove factory is a massive two-story complex with at least 4 bars scattered within. Feels like something from an alternate universe.
Cool ruin bar in a former coffeehouse! Still a cafe by day. Csendes Létterem is a more chill atmosphere than some of the others, with a good Hungarian wine selection. Had the best whiskey sour I’ve ever tasted here, and the wine list is good.
I have all these along with a bunch more suggestions for the best bars & restaurants in Budapest over on Thatch! Everything here is also there in an easy-to-use interactive map format. It’s how I plan my own travels too!