Budapest Food Guide: Best Traditional Hungarian & Street Food in Budapest
Heading to the Hungarian capital city? You have to read our Budapest food guide.
When visiting Budapest – a picturesque city loaded with stunning medieval architecture, markets, thermal baths, and vibrant culture – finding the best food isn’t always top of mind.
Top attractions like the jaw-dropping Hungarian Parliament Building, Castle Hill, and Millennium Monument are first on every traveler’s Budapest itinerary. But if you’re not taking the opportunity to explore the best food in Budapest during your visit — you’re missing out.
Next time you visit the Hungarian capital (or if it’s your first time), make some time to stroll through the Central Market Hall. Spend your time tasting local delights, from Hungarian goulash to chicken paprikash and sour cherry soup.
Budapest also boasts an array of ruin bars, cafes, and restaurants serving tasty Hungarian dishes. In this guide, we look at the most popular traditional Hungarian food, street fare, desserts, and beverages that you should try when you’re visiting Budapest and where you can find them.
Tip: Pair this ultimate Budapest food guide with a functional European packing list and a jam-packed itinerary, and you’ll be set for an unforgettable experience in Central Europe.
Budapest food guide: Best traditional Hungarian dishes & street food in Budapest
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Hungarian cuisine follows suit with its neighbors in Central and Eastern Europe by drawing culinary influences from surrounding cultures. Like many countries in Central Europe, Hungarian food boasts lots of meat, pastries, wild boar sausage, and plenty of other tasty food.
Historically speaking, traditional Hungarian cuisine finds its roots in the Magyar tribes’ nomadic lifestyle. They commonly consumed lots of poultry, sheep, pork, and beef – that’s why today, Hungarians love to eat meat.
While the country’s cuisine has modernized over the years, Hungarian dishes are still rich, spicy, and packed with flavors. The Budapest food scene features an exciting repertoire of Hungarian restaurants, the Central Market, and the best street food the country offers.
Where to eat in Budapest | Restaurants, cafes, ruin bars
If you embark on a two-week itinerary through Central and Eastern Europe, you’ll quickly notice that hotels and attractions tend to be cheaper in Budapest, Hungary. But the city’s budget-friendliness is not limited to accommodation and tours; the food in Budapest is also more affordable.
You’ll find plenty of delicacies to eat in Budapest. From fine-dining traditional restaurants to bars, street food vendors, and food tours, you’re sure to experience an unforgettable gastronomical adventure.
Here are our top recommendations for indulging in the best food in Budapest.
Best Budapest Restaurants
One thing we absolutely love about Budapest restaurants is that you can get a variety of good food from Michelin-star-rated chefs to local street food vendors. So during your culinary journey through the city, consider adding these eateries to your Budapest restaurant guide.
Menza Étterem és Kávéház
This retro-inspired eatery offers a unique grand cafe-restaurant service paired with traditional Hungarian food. Here you can eat goulash, hearty beef stews, chicken paprikash, and other Hungarian classics.
The restaurants also boast outdoor terrace seating, where you can enjoy some people-watching while you eat.
Address: Budapest, Liszt Ferenc tér 2, 1061 Hungary
Belvárosi Disznótoros – Király utca
Enjoy a wide range of meats, from classic bratwurst (Hungarian sausage) to roast pork and grilled chicken at Belvárosi Disznótoros. The eatery resembles a typical fast food joint, with over-the-counter service.
It has two locations in the city, but we suggest going to Király utca because it’s close to attractions like the Budapest Ferris Wheel and the Vörösmarty tér.
Address: Budapest, Király u. 1d, 1075 Hungary
If you’re looking for the best gourmet food in Budapest — Onyx is where you should go. This fine dining restaurant offers Michelin-star tasting menus paired with delicious Hungarian wine.
The restaurant also boasts a dining room fitted with modern regency chairs and a minimalist interior – this room is perfect for private parties and group dinners.
Address: Budapest, Vörösmarty tér 7-8, 1051 Hungary
Budapest has a longstanding cafe culture dating back to the 16th century. The city is dotted with specialty coffee houses with gilded ceilings and ornate interiors.
These cafes serve delicious caffeinated drinks and desserts, like the famous Hungarian sponge cake.
New York Cafe
Hailed as the most beautiful cafe in the world, this grandiose establishment boasts regal interiors with opulent furniture, frescoed ceilings, marble pillars, and glass chandeliers.
You can enjoy a cup of coffee with sponge cake while admiring the ornate details. The cafe also serves dinner, but you must have a reservation.
Address: Budapest, Erzsébet krt. 9-11, 1073 Hungary
Are you an animal lover and a coffee enthusiast? Get the best of both worlds at Zoo Cafe. This laidback cafe adds an exotic twist to its cappuccinos and sponge cake, with live animals crawling about and eager to meet you.
Zoo Cafe also hosts private parties and has zookeepers on standby, ready to answer all your questions.
Address: Budapest, Fejér György u. 3, 1053 Hungary
Cafe Gerbeaud is another one of Budapest’s grand cafeterias. Dotted with high-ceiling chandeliers, luxe drapery, and floor-to-ceiling windows, the cafe offers tasty desserts paired with elegant decor.
Their menu also boasts traditional cafe cakes, snacks, and pastries.
Address: Budapest, Vörösmarty tér 7-8, 1051 Hungary
Budapest Ruin Bars
Eating at a ruin bar is one of the most idyllic things to do in Budapest. Taking its name from the dilapidated building or unused outdoor space it’s set in, a ruin bar is a watering hole for people with a thirst for Hungarian drinks and shallow pockets.
Here are some of the best Budapest ruin bars to visit:
Dotted with lots of mismatched items, colorful lights, and graffiti walls, Szimpla Kert is one of the most popular bars in Budapest. It’s the oldest ruin bar in the city, which pioneered the city’s affordable food and drinks spots with a buzzing nightlife.
Szimpla Kert hosts a range of immersive activities, including record fairs, food, and flea markets. You’ll also find live music concerts and folk dance shows hosted here.
Address: Budapest, Kazinczy u. 14, 1075 Hungary
Ruin Bars Budapest
Located right next to Szimpla Kert, Ruin Bars Budapest is a collection of pubs in a shabby building dotted with graffiti, indoor plants, and quirky decor.
This beer garden is one of the most popular in Budapest, serving traditional Hungarian food and delicious cocktails.
Address: Budapest, Kazinczy u., 1075 Hungary
Pro tip: Book this experience!
Go on a pub crawl and taste various Hungarian drinks, meet locals, and dance the night away while reveling in Budapest’s buzzing nightlife.
If you’re looking for an epic night out, Instant-Fogas has you covered. With 18 bars and seven dance floors, you won’t have to wait too long for a drink, and you’ll have enough space to show your moves.
Instant-Forgas also has two gardens for those who love partying while surrounded by nature.
Address: Budapest, Akácfa u. 51, 1073 Hungary
Budapest Central Market Hall
The Budapest Central Market Hall, also known as the Great Market Hall, is the biggest and most beautiful in Budapest. Built in 1897, this bustling market is where locals and tourists alike come to enjoy a wide range of local delicacies and Hungarian wine.
It also helps that the market is only five minutes from the city center.
The market is held every day, Mondays to Saturdays, from 6 am, and it’s closed on Sundays. It is located in a grand indoor venue — a rehabilitated Neo-Gothic building with high industrial ceilings.
You’ll also be happy to know that the Central Market boasts numerous vendors across its three floors, selling fruits, veggies, fresh fish, and souvenirs.
And you’ll find all the best Hungarian food, like Langos and egg noodle dumplings, on the upper floor.
Address: Budapest, Vámház krt. 1-3, 1093 Hungary
Budapest Street Food
With so much to see and do in one of the most beautiful places in Hungary, you might need to eat while you stroll around the city’s attractions. That’s where street food comes in.
While Budapest’s street food has less variety compared to places like New York, the city has several iconic street food dishes that will leave you wanting more.
Here are a few of the most popular spots to enjoy the best Budapest street food:
Street Food Karavan
The Street Food Karavan is one of the best places to eat in Budapest. This vibrant food court is buzzing with food trucks lined along an alley on the famous Kazinczy street.
It’s dotted with burger joints and food stalls selling the most delicious traditional Hungarian food.
The food court also boasts plenty of benches where you can sit and eat, as well as cocktail tables and open spaces where you can eat food standing up.
If you’re wondering what you should try, Zing has the juiciest burgers, while Las Vegan serves the best vegan alternative meals. You can also find international cuisine at Vespa Rossa and MexKitchen.
Address: Budapest, Kazinczy u. 18, 1075 Hungary
Note: The Street Food Karavan is closed during the winter and opens in March.
Bors Gastro Bar
This hip and trendy bistro is also located on Kazinczy street in the Jewish Quarter, serving carefully curated street food, not fast food!
You can enjoy an assortment of Hungarian food, from Langos topped with sour cream to jokai bean soup, goulash, and chimney cake.
Bors Gastro Bar prides itself on serving gourmet street food, so along with their specialty soups, you can get mind-blowing baguette sandwiches, salads, and stews.
Keep in mind that this is one of the busiest Budapest restaurants and often has long queues, but they move quite speedily.
Address: Budapest, Kazinczy u. 10, 1075 Hungary
Street Food 13 ker
If you’re more of a fast food-loving foodie, Street Food 13 Ker is where you need to go. This quaint, quirky, and funky Hungarian restaurant serves hearty smash burgers, wraps, and wings.
Their portions are quite large, so don’t come here unless you’re planning to share. And another fantastic thing about this fast-food Hungarian restaurant is the retro decor and unbelievable atmosphere.
Address: Budapest, Csanády u. 4b, 1132 Hungary
Budapest Food Tours
There’s no better way to learn and indulge in the gastronomy of Budapest than experiencing it with a local. That’s why food tours are a winner!
Like many of the beautiful cities in Europe, Budapest is sprawling with local and international restaurants, bars, and pubs serving good food, delicious drinks, and a vibrant atmosphere.
Take a look at these walking food tours in Budapest:
Budapest: Hungarian Cuisine Tasting Experience
If you’re in the mood for a classic Hungarian dish beyond just goulash, this is the tour for you. This 80-minute culinary experience gives you an intimate look into the history of Hungarian cuisine. You’ll also get to visit the bustling Central Market Hall.
Budapest With Locals: Private Food Tour
Want to skip the crowded tourist traps? Then consider taking this three-hour private walking tour and discover Budapest’s culinary highlights through a personalized experience.
You’ll get to stroll through the Central Market Hall and the inner region of Budapest’s District 7, also known as the Jewish Quarter.
You can also customize your own itinerary and include top Budapest highlights like the picturesque Liberty Bridge and the best ruin bar in the city – Szimpla Kert.
➤ Book this three-hour private walking tour
Budapest’s Vegan / Pescetarian Food Tasting Tour
A lot of the food in Budapest is mainly meat-based, but what if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, or perhaps you’ve just had your fill of heavy Hungarian dishes? This three-hour tasting tour takes you through vegan versions of traditional food in Hungary.
You’ll enjoy the best sour cream Langos and delicious fruit brandy at the biggest fruit market in Budapest.
This tour also takes you to Vegan Love Street Food, a cozy vegan spot just a three-minute walk away from Gellért Thermal Bath.
➤ Book this three hour vegan tour
Secret Food Tours Budapest
For a wholesome experience of the best food in Budapest, take this three-hour Secret Food Tour and visit the top dining hotspots while learning more about traditional Hungarian food and its influences from countries like France and Turkey.
You’ll kick off your tour at a local cafe for a tasty Hungarian strudel and an espresso. Followed by some classic Langos at a street food stand.
Finally, you’ll get to enjoy a hearty meal featuring vegetables, sausages, and local cheese paired with a glass of Hungarian wine.
And for dessert, you’ll taste one of the best Dobos torte — Hungarian sponge cake.
Tip: This tour accommodates a maximum of 12 people, making it an ideal activity if you’re traveling through Europe as a group.
You may like this tour: Hungarian Cooking Class with a Local Chef
Traditional Hungarian food in Budapest
As the capital city of Hungary — one of the best countries to visit in Central Europe, the food in Budapest has influences from cuisine in neighboring nations. So it may be a bit challenging to find authentic traditional food on every street corner.
But what would a Budapest food guide be without an array of options dotted across the city?
Best Hungarian Restaurants in Budapest for traditional food
There are plenty of restaurants where you can enjoy authentic Hungarian food in Budapest. These bars, pubs, and eateries offer local cuisine for an array of prices, from budget-friendly meals to upscale dining establishments.
Here are a few spots to check out:
Hungarikum Bisztró is the most recommended Hungarian restaurant for an authentic gastronomical adventure through Budapest. This charming bistro has a homely feel, with red and white checkered tablecloths and rustic furniture.
They serve classic dishes like Langos and Hungarian goulash.
Tip: Hungarikum Bisztró is quite popular among locals and tourists, so it would be good to make a reservation beforehand.
Address: Budapest, Steindl Imre u. 13, 1051 Hungary
Gulyás or goulash is a Hungarian national dish, so you can find it almost anywhere around the city. However, some restaurants make it better than others. Gettó Gulyás is one of the best places to eat goulash in the Jewish Quarter.
Their cozy industrial interior is welcoming, and their expansive glass windows allow you to eat while catching glimpses of every day in Budapest.
On the menu, you’ll find more than just goulash, from veal and chicken paprikash to a variety of vegetable stews and soups.
Address: Budapest, Wesselényi u. 18, 1077 Hungary
Strudel House Budapest
Located in an 1812 building, Strudel House is a charming spot with high ceilings and rustic decor. As the name suggests, Strudel House serves some of the best Hungarian strudels in Budapest.
But that’s not all you’ll find on the menu. This traditional cafe also offers an a la carte menu featuring other Hungarian dishes, as well as German, French, and Italian cuisine.
Address: Október 6. u. 22, 1051 Hungary
If you’d like an upscale meal but don’t want to break the bank, look no further than Stand25 Bistro. Its sister restaurant, Stand Étterem, is one of Budapest’s Michelin star-rated eateries, meaning you’ll get quality food at affordable prices.
While it’s not as fancy as its sister restaurants, Stand25 Bistro is a modern eatery boasting an elegant and trendy decor, with indoor plants and hanging pendant lights.
In addition to the classy decor, you’ll get an a la carte menu with varieties of meat dishes, goulash, and classic Hungarian desserts.
Address: Budapest, Attila út 10, 1013 Hungary
Hungarian Desserts and Pastries in Budapest
Similar to the cuisine, Hungarian desserts, and pastries are a fusion of preserved medieval recipes, and some get their origins from the Ottoman Turkish empire.
You’ll also find that the layered cakes are made using French cake-making techniques that came into the country through neighboring Austria.
Here are a few of the best desserts and pastries in Budapest and where you can find them:
Hungarian strudel (rétés)
While strudel is often more associated with Austrian cuisine, it’s actually a traditional pastry indigenous to the former Austro-Hungarian Empire.
So even though you’re sure to run into some strudel while exploring some of the most beautiful places in Austria, there’s something special about Hungarian strudel.
The strudel gets its roots from baklava, which Hungarians picked up from Ottoman Turks when they ruled the country between the 16th and 17th centuries.
But the strudel in Hungary is a little different from what you’ll find across Central Europe, and it’s all in the stuffing.
In Hungary, your strudel filling can be either sweet or savory, so you can enjoy layers of thin pastry stuffed with cottage cheese, sour cherry, or apple. And if you’d like something salty, try a strudel stuffed with meat, cabbage, or pumpkin.
Some great eateries where you can taste unique strudel in Budapest are:
Strudel Hugó – Situated at the far end of the Jewish Quarter. Their broccoli, bacon, and cream cheese strudel is a must-try.
Buda Rétesvár-strudel – Although they serve pizza and tapas, you’ll find delicious apple strudels, ice cream, and the best of Hungary’s traditional food.
Strudel Shop Anno 1926 – Opened in 1926, this cozy rétés cafe on Lehel Street serves homemade strudels in 17 different flavors.
Chimney cake (kürtőskalács)
Although the chimney cake originates in Transylvania, you won’t have a hard time finding it all over downtown Budapest. It is considered a true Hungarian delicacy and one of the most popular street foods in Budapest.
A chimney cake is made by wrapping sweet yeast dough around a cone-shaped baking spit and then roasting it over charcoal.
The dough is then rolled in cinnamon, cocoa, nuts, and other toppings. This tasty dessert also goes down excellently when stuffed with ice cream.
Here are a few spots to get the best chimney cake in town:
Molnár’s kürtőskalács – Indulge in a variety of traditional kürtőskalács, coffee, and locally made Italian ice cream. They have nine special flavors, including almond, walnut, poppy seed, and raspberry.
Édes Mackó – Stop by and enjoy a classic chimney cake topped with shredded coconut, cocoa, or almonds with a fresh lemonade or fruit cocktail. The cafe also offers gluten-free kürtőskalács.
Kató Néni Finomságai Downtown – See your chimney cake being made right in front of you at this wholesome cafe. Using the owner’s grandmother’s traditional recipes, the cafe offers five flavors and a lactose-free special.
Sponge cake (Dobos torte)
A torte is a multilayered cake filled with chocolate buttercream, jam, and whipped cream, which replaces the sugar, eggs, butter, and flour that you’d find in a normal cake.
In Hungary, breadcrumbs and ground nuts are often used as the base of sponge cakes instead of flour. But one feature characteristic of sponge cakes that you won’t miss is the signature shiny and brittle caramel topping.
The sponge cake was first created in 1884 by a Hungaria confectioner József Dobos. And after multiple pastry chefs tried (and failed) to reinvent his creation, he made the recipe public, and the delicacy has been part of Budapest’s food culture ever since.
Here are some of the best places to get yourself a five or six-layer sponge cake in Budapest:
Daubner Confectionery – One of the oldest and most popular patisseries in Budapest, Daubner boasts an expansive menu featuring cakes, Dobos torte, macarons, and other sweet treats.
Ruszwurm Confectionery – Popular for its homemade strudel, antique furniture, and 200-year-old cherry-wood counter, this family-owned cafe offers an array of cakes and coffee.
Kemenes Cukrászda és Bisztró Vámház krt. – Pairing pastry with modern decor, open terrace seating, and a captivating sunroof ceiling, Kemenes serves a sophisticated range of cake slices, biscuits, and full cakes (on order).
Szilvás gombóc (plum dumplings)
Budapest is one of the best autumn destinations in Europe. During this time, you’ll find several food, wine, and craft beer festivals — and tasty Szilvás gombóc on every corner.
Hungarian plum dumplings are a sweet treat Budapest serves between late summer and fall when the plum harvest season is in full swing. This dessert is made by stuffing a full prune plum in potato dough, boiling it, and then rolling it over buttery breadcrumbs.
The dumplings are then topped off with a generous sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.
Here are a few great spots to get this sweet autumn treat:
Pest-Buda Bistro – Located in a boutique hotel that first opened in 1696, Pest-Buda is one of the oldest restaurants in Budapest, serving delicious homemade recipes and desserts, like Gundel pancakes, apple strudel, and plum dumplings.
Szamos Gourmet Ház – Boasting an elegant interior with chestnut furniture and gilded ornate ceilings, this regal cafe serves a myriad of cakes, cookies, and pastries. Some of the most popular desserts in Budapest, like cheese scones, plum slippers, and chimney cakes, are all on the menu.
Halászbástya Étterem – Located in the dazzling Buda Castle, this Hungarian restaurant boasts a remarkable interior paired with upscale cuisine, tasty desserts, and stunning views of the Castle District.
Kakaós csiga (cocoa snail)
A cocoa snail, commonly known as a chocolate roll, is a staple pastry in every Hungarian household. It’s made by rolling buttery puff pastry lined with cocoa into a snail-like swirl.
These chocolate snails have similar flakiness as that found in croissants but are more flavorful. You can enjoy a roll lined with walnut or hazelnut, but chocolate is still the best.
And the best thing about this tasty treat is that it’s not just dessert. You can have cocoa snails for breakfast or as a snack during the day. They are also great street food as you can enjoy them while walking around.
Take a look at these top restaurants in Budapest for the most delicious cocoa snails:
Butter Brothers Bakery & Bistro – This artisanal bakery has been serving quality pastries for the last 10 years. Their menu boasts an array of cinnamon, chocolate, and walnut rolls, as well as various soups and sandwiches.
Artizán Bakery – Enjoy a range of artisanal bread and pastries in this laidback cafe beaming with light-colored walls, expansive glass windows, and wooden furniture. They specialize in sourdough bread, sandwiches, and freshly brewed coffee.
Három Tarka Macska – Boasting a bold brick facade with black accents, this quaint bakery serves a range of crispy pastries like French croissants, chocolate snails, and braided cakes. You’ll also find lunch options, including sandwiches, quiches, and freshly pressed juice.
Hungarian Street Food in Budapest
Street fare is a cherished delicacy in Budapest. Both locals and tourists love strolling through the city’s medieval streets while enjoying a tasty treat in the meantime.
These street dishes make great on-the-go snacks when you’re tackling a busy itinerary.
And the best part? Finding quality street food in Budapest is an easy task. But first, you’ll have to know where all the best restaurants, food stalls, or trucks are located.
Have a look at some of the best street grub in Budapest and where you can find them:
When it comes to Budapest’s famous food, langos are the most popular. This deep-fried potato-based dough is often topped with sour cream sauce, garlic, and lots of cheese.
Langos are a go-to beach food for locals and curious tourists. They are also widely available in most restaurants and food vendors throughout the city.
Some excellent spots to get yourself this classic Hungarian dish include:
Retró Lángos Budapest – This walk-up cafe serves well-sized Hungarian langos with a generous amount of toppings. Sit at one of the outdoor seating spots and enjoy your langos with people-watching and taking in the surrounding architecture.
Lángos Land – This fast food joint located in Mammut Shopping Mall is a great place to get langos on the go. It’s small, quirky, and a go-to spot for freshly made langos topped with cheese and veggies.
Lángos Burger – Located along the popular Street Food Karavan alley, this food truck serves delicious chicken, beef, and pork burgers as well as langos flavors; classic, green, and red.
Hungarian goulash is a price choice for a hearty meal in many of Budapest’s restaurants and food trucks. This beef soup (or stew) is a classic Hungarian dish made with beef, vegetable, paprika, and other savory spices.
Goulash is a fantastic winter treat. It’s the go-to snack in many households, but it gets more popular around Christmas in Europe because it’s a great way to keep warm while strolling through the markets.
You can find goulash in most restaurants, cafes, and street vendors in Budapest. Here are a few best places:
Drum Cafe Budapest – Situated just a two-minute walk from the towering Dohány Street Synagogue, Drum Cafe offers a unique blend of Hungarian food, from classic langos to goulash, and desserts like poppy seed cake and ice cream.
Lecso Hungarian Fast Food – Enjoy homemade recipes at this budget-friendly Hungarian restaurant. Boasting elements of a traditional cafe, like high chairs and over-the-counter ordering, this cafe serves lunch and dinner specials with vegetarian options.
Tüköry Étterem – Take a step back into time at this charming Budapest cafe with red and white checkered tablecloths, wooden benches, and Impressionist paintings dotted on the wall. Their menu offers traditional food like goulash, chicken paprikash, and strudel.
Kolbász and Hurka sausages
Meat is a staple in Hungarian cuisine, and these two sausages, kolbász, and hurka are the most popular meat-based street food across Budapest.
The kolbász is a spicy sausage made with ground beef, pork, or lamb with paprika, garlic, and pepper. The hurka, on the other hand, is a more sophisticated treat.
It comes in two versions; májas, which is a liver sausage, and véres, a blood sausage.
These sausages are a favorite in Budapest as they go well with most dishes, whether it’s with rice, veggies, or just as a snack; you must try these when visiting the city.
Here are some places you can find kolbász and hurka sausages:
Belvárosi Disznótoros – Károlyi utca – Choose your pick of sausages at this traditional side-street cafe serving an array of grilled food, salads, and tasty beverages.
Hús-hentesáru – This side-street butcher shop offers the freshest sausages in Budapest. Stop by for a meal or to purchase something to take home. Regardless, you’ll find plenty of options to pick from, including prepared and raw sausages and other meat products.
Kacsa Étterem – If you want to enjoy your kolbász and hurka in a quaint cafe with rustic decor and classical music playing in the background, consider eating at this charming cafe.
Other than the popular Hungarian fare, Budapest is also home to cafes, and restaurants offering international cuisines. Some of the favorites include – Gelarto Rosa located in Szent istván tér (known for rose-shaped ice creams/gelato), and Mazel Tov for its open-air concept serving light snacks and Mediterranean delights.
With great food goes a crisp bottle of Hungarian wine. But that’s not all you have to quench your thirst in Budapest. Hungary has a wide range of local beverages, including craft beers, fruit brandies, and dessert wines.
These are some of the most loved beverages in Budapest, Hungary, and where you can find them:
This is a Hungarian herb liqueur or bitter, often served at room temperature as an apéritif or digestif before or after a meal.
The drink was created in 1790, but today it’s mostly produced by one company, Zwack, or imported from neighboring countries.
You can find unicum in many restaurants and wine bars, and the liqueur has a bittersweet taste which makes it a perfect dessert wine.
Hungarian pálinka is a fruit brandy made with fermented fruits like apricots, cherries, and plums.
Interestingly, the pálinka is a protected drink under European Union law and can only be produced in Hungary and from specific fruits grown locally. This beverage also goes well with many desserts, but most locals will tell you it works for everything, including hangovers.
Commonly known as the “Bull’s Blood”, Egri Bikavér is the most popular red wine in Hungary. This red blend boasts notes of ripe raspberries and cherries with subtle tannins.
You can find Bull’s Blood in all the wine bars in Budapest, and if you’re going across the country, Hungary has 22 wine regions offering Egri Bikavér varieties like Kadarka.
The beer culture in Hungary may not be as famous as that of Belgium or Germany, but the county boasts a wide range of beers, from the cheapest to the most expensive craft beers.
Dreher and Soproni are the best cheap beers in terms of taste, especially the IPAs.
If you have a more sophisticated palate and want something a little fancier, try the craft beers at FIRST Craft Beer & BBQ or Hops Beer Bar.
Note: The legal drinking age in Budapest, Hungary, is 18 years.
Tips for Eating the Best Food in Budapest
Navigating your way around the city and finding the best places to eat in Budapest can be a bit of a challenge, especially if it’s your first time.
Here are some top tips and tricks to make your trip a little easier while exploring your Budapest itinerary:
- Restaurants in Budapest’s city center, also known as District 5, are often visited by expats and tourists and hence can be a little pricey. For affordable meals, head over to Districts 7, 8, 9, and 13.
- Unless you’re at an upscale restaurant, you won’t find a host that greets you at the door. Most cafes and ruin bars offer over-the-counter service and use the first-come, first-serve policy.
- They rarely serve free filtered water or refills at Hungarian restaurants in Budapest, you can specifically ask for tap water, but you may get an annoyed response or look.
- Restaurants in Budapest often close on Sundays, and some even close for the whole weekend. So make sure you call ahead or book a reservation.
- Hungary uses its own currency (the forint), despite being part of the European Union. Due to the weakness of the forint, prices often run into the thousands or tens of thousands, so make sure you check the zeros before making a payment.
- Bring your credit card and a reasonable amount of cash, as many female establishments like restaurants only accept card payments, while cafes and food trucks will often only accept cash.
- The standard tipping amount is 10% of your bill, but you can pay more if you really love the service. If you’re paying for your food using a card, try to pay the tip in cash.
- If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, always ask if there’s meat in a dish before you order. This is because most food in Budapest is meat-based, and sometimes that’s not explicitly stated on the menu.
- Since 2012, smoking has been banned in all public and commercial spaces, like bars and restaurants, especially indoors. You may be allowed to smoke outside, but ask the staff first to ensure you’re not breaking any rules.
- The culinary culture in Budapest is one of the best in Europe, so take a Budapest culinary and wine walk and immerse yourself in the best local food in the city.
Note: Please refrain from booking multiple tables at different restaurants at the same time. The financial cost of having an empty table or a no-show has been detrimental to many of Budapest’s small restaurants and cafes.
Budapest Food Guide | Wrapped up
After reading this Budapest food guide, hopefully, you’ll start realizing that there’s more to Hungarian food than what meets the eye.
Years of influence from power empires like the Ottoman Turks and the Austro-Hungarians have yielded a fusion of cultures and cuisines across Europe, and Budapest is no different.
As the capital city Budapest boasts a wider variety of restaurants, cafes, and vars serving both local and international cuisine.
Budapest food ranges from classic Hungarian dishes like goulash, stuffed cabbage, and chicken paprikash to desserts like strudel and langos, the most popular street fare.
So, which of these traditional and modernized Hungarian dishes are you most excited to try?
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