5+1 Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Budapest, ranked and explained
Believe it or not, once upon a time it was hard to find quality vegetarian food in Hungary. Even a few years back vegetarian visitors used to have a hard time – the good news is, not anymore! As Budapest is becoming a hip destination, local food culture is changing and healthy food options, including no meat/dairy, grow like mushrooms, and vegetarian / vegan friendly places are quickly becoming the favorites of locals and tourists.
You like eating organic and healthy, and we like explaining Budapest. Here’s our top vegetarian restaurant choices:
#1 First vegan pasta place of Budapest: Madal Food
You’re strolling around the magnificent Parliament building thinking to yourself, it would be so nice to crown this day with a decent Italian vegan pasta nearby. And there you have it: it’s modern, cozy, stylish and super healthy! Madal cafés are well known in the city, but next to their Alkotmány utca location, they opened a very good vegan pasta/quesadilla bar. You pick the pasta sauce (they offer 4 different variations each day) which they add to their gluten free pasta. No flavor enhancers or artificial additives, only plant-based ingredients. They go by the motto “Good food, good karma” – and all this in a very nice atmosphere. A normal size pasta (1390 Ft = 4.3 eur) is enough if you’re not super hungry, but they have a big size option (1690 Ft = 5.3 eur) if you’re dying of hunger.
Their pasta sauces lactose free and gluten free, but they are still tasty with fresh vegetables and oil seeds. Their plant based cheese is really nice, and combines really well with the roasted seeds, the fresh tomato and basil. The quesadilla is also very nice (might be a little blend unless you ask them to make it spicier), with the vegan cheese, smoked tofu, broccoli, corn and the like – it comes with a vegan cheese dip and tortilla chips. The quesadilla costs 1490 ft (4.7 eur), soups go for 690 Ft (2.2 eur), and you should also try the café right next to the eatery (the entrance is the same, you’ll find the café on the left and the pasta place on the right).
Where: 4/b Alkotmány utca (near the Parliament)
#2 Upscale look with great vegan food: Napfényes Restaurant
Located in the same block as Maverick Hostel, this place has been very popular with local gourmands from the start. It’s the kind of restaurant that really makes an effort to create dishes with an original touch that you won’t forget. One of their specialties is thinking up and making the vegan versions of Hungarian traditional cuisine – yes, it sounds like a contradiction at first but they just nail them. They also make vegan cakes, puddings and smoothies. They don’t serve alcohol, but you’ll find plenty of bars/pubs in the area if you’re down for a beer afterwards.
Where: 2 Ferenciek tere, same block as Maverick Hostel, also close to Astoria and Elisabeth Bridge
#3 A quick bite with a Mediterranean ambience: Hummus bar
Hummus may be relatively novel to the average Hungarian omnivore, but there’s a really likeable chain that’s doing a great job of popularizing it. Not all their locations are 100% vegetarian, but there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options in all of them. Their selection can differ slightly, but all their restaurants would offer quick pita/laffa wraps, delicious falafels, or whole plates of hummus with variations around shakshouka, couscous, sabich and the like. If you like a bigger, more filling meal, take a main dish with 2 sides (hummus and salad or fries perhaps) - their hummus plates (loads of hummus with a little topping) are really, really for hummus lovers. Also: great takeaway options, plus nice salads, with a touch of tahini and coriander!
Where: 9 Október 6 utca (biggest selection); 6 Hollán Ernő utca (only vegetarian), and many more locations
#4 A pleasant Indian surprise: Govinda
When I took my visiting Indian friend here on his first night, he almost burst into tears saying this is just like at home! Their basement looks a little sketchy, so the great food will be a very pleasant surprise. They only serve vegetarian food, following certain principles of the Krishna faith, and Bengali vegetarian cooking with it.
Where: 4 Vigyázó Ferenc utca (close to the Chain Bridge and Parliament)
#5 Best daily menu option: Napos Oldal
Creamy celery soup plus battered seitan with jasmine rice & tzatziki. Carrot soup with apple, followed by Hungarian stuffed cabbage with polenta. Sounds delicious, right? Napos Oldal ("Sunny Side") charges 1700 Ft (5.5 eur) for its lunch menu deal, which is different every day. Their a la carte is also convincing - their salad selection is fresh and delicious, and so are the home-made cakes and juices. Dinner is also an option, but most of the fans go for the daily menu at noon.
Where: 7 Jókai utca (close to Oktogon, Opera and Nyugati)
#+1: Napfényes Bakery and Pastry Store
They open at 7:30 in the morning so you can pick up your breakfast delicacies just in time. It's a vegan place which uses its Facebook page to introduce the different kinds of super healthy bread and pastries they make. You can also get their best pastries as desserts in the Napfényes Restaurant, but if you’re just looking for a quick healthy takeaway, you might as well come here!
Where: 65 Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út (by Nyugati)