Hungarian food and Budapest food, where to eat
Local guide to the best Budapest restaurants, by category
You’ve just checked into your new Budapest room, charged your phone, and started wondering what to tick off your must-see list first. And then suddenly you remember: FOOD. I’m hungry. So where do I go to get a decent meal? And how do I know which restaurant to trust while I’m here?
The easiest-and-tastiest way to start out is to check out Fat Mama’s, Maverick’s very own restaurant right next to the City Lodge in Kazinczy utca. Breakfast is served here, and residents get a discount on the a la carte price. The best of burgers, steaks or fish are prepared in their signature charcoal oven called Bertha, and in a unique smoker. At noon you can explore the lunch menu (vegetarian options available) or stop by for dinner.
Now what if the next day you’d like to venture even further? Here’s our definitive list of places that will make you want to travel back to Budapest soon. Watch out, foods in Budapest may be affordable but they are also addictive! By the end of this post, you’ll know a lot more about why, and you’ll be able to find Europe’s fifth best burger place.
Traditional restaurants / best places for Hungarian food
Lucky you, the best places to try original, traditional Hungarian food are all nearby:
Gettó Gulyás (18 Wesselényi utca, 1077)
Did you know that pörkölt is just as vital in Hungarian cuisine as gulyás? High time you tried both – just around the corner from Maverick City Lodge, Gettó Gulyás offers great food at affordable prices. Their versions of traditional courses are faithful to the original Hungarian dish, but carry a unique creative tinge that’s impossible to miss. Especially recommended: veal paprikás or any pörkölt, with somemixed pickles (csalamádé) – so let your your hands get greasy and have a fröccs (wine spritzer) on the side! Ask for the lunch menu deal if you want to save some money for their krémes pastry (one of the best Hungarian desserts).
Fülemüle (5 Kőfaragó utca, 1085)
Hungarian, Central European and Jewish classics halfway between Astoria and Rákóczi tér. Try their lecsó with sausage (for light eaters), any one of their enormous cholent selection (Jewish cuisine connoisseurs – Budapest food has plenty for you to discover) or the chicken paprikás – you won’t be disappointed!
Kispiac (13 Hold utca, 1054)
The name translates as “Little market”, as this little but loveable restaurant takes full advantage of the vicinity of the District V market hall. Meat lovers looking for traditional Hungarian food: try brassói (with home-made pickles) or bélszín steak as local specialties.
Rosenstein (3 Mosonyi utca, 1087)
Famished for a great Hungarian meal outside the party district? This is a place you’ll never find on your own without an insider tip. The small street is off of Keleti railway station, and literally only known for this gem. The dishes are original Budapest food, traditional, and on the more expensive side – but worth every forint. Make sure you try the Hungarian desserts after your meal, and remember for the rest of your life that cucumber salad comes with paprika and sour cream! Full stop.
Fine dining in Budapest: great restaurants on the more expensive side
…because Budapest food can also be fancy (and cost a little more). Don’t worry, if you convert the prices into euros or dollars, these restaurants still won’t feel all that expensive! Compared to Western/Northern Europe or the US, Hungary is still an inexpensive destination, so allow yourself a little luxury:
Borkonyha (3 Sas utca, 1051)
“Wine kitchen” is across the street from Erzsebet tér (where the big Ferris wheel runs). If you’re looking for rabbit rilette or mangalica tenderloin, this is your best bet! Start with starters, which start over 3000 Forints (10 euros), but you won’t have regrets (that is unless you drink too much!)
Bock Bisztó (43-49 Erzsébet körút, 1073)
Their slogan goes, “Hungarian meals with tasteful twists”, and when you see goose foie gras sushi on the menu, you begin to believe it. Also recommended: chicken goulash soup (in the red pot, like in the olden days!) and cold goose liver by way of appetizer.
Fricska (56-58 Dob utca, 1073)
Every lunch is different at Fricska, where the chefs get their ingredients straight from the market. The place calls itself a gastropub for a reason (hint: have some wine), and one of their strongest points is their affordable lunch menu – which is probably the reason they received the Bib Gourmand label from the Michelin guide (for “exceptional food at moderate prices”) in 2017.
Konyha (8 Madách Imre út, 1075)
Another noteworthy lunch menu deal near Deák tér. Regular main courses cost 2500-3000 Forints – if you go for dinner, try the home-made crackling cream or the potato paprikash.
Fat Mama (24 Kazinczy utca, 1075)
With the help of a special charcoal oven that’s responsible for the signature garden party atmosphere, Fat Mama is the place to go if you like high-end BBQ. Enjoy the crispy and juicy treats inside the restaurant or on the terrace. If you live in Maverick City Lodge, all you have to do is shuffle down in your slippers! (If you embark on the ruin bar circuit afterwards, shoes and clothes other than your pajamas are highly recommended…)
Street food: a delicious quick bite on the go
Typical foods in Budapest don’t only mean traditional meals. If you’re looking for street food with a local taste, here’s a quick list with the best places to go:
Zing Burger (Gozsdu, Király utca and other locations)
Started out with the mission to give quality, tasty premium burgers for the masses. Accomplished.
Bamba Marha (2 Haris köz, 6 Október 6. utca, 3 Deák Ferenc tér or 46 Andrássy út)
Speaking of great burgers, “Booby Cow” was recently ranked 5th best in Europe!
Séf utcája (13 Hold utca)
Right inside the renovated Hold utca market hall with big portions of traditional Hungarian and Jewish food. They usually post photos of their lunch menu deals on their Facebook page.
Karaván (18 Kazinczy utca, 1075)
You know you have to try the lángos burger (a very traditional Hungarian food revamped) and the chimney cake made over embers (another of the great Hungarian desserts) when they call the place the “street food caravan”. A stone’s throw from Maverick City Lodge and Szimpla, this street food court is a long-time favorite with locals and visitors.
Bors GasztoBár (10 Kazinczy utca, 1075)
Quality street food with an original touch – great soups and sandwitches, also known for its inventive desserts.
And to include a non-downtown street food tip as a last random comment: if you ever get to visit Óbuda (Northern Buda) for the Roman ruins or any other reason, don’t miss the lángos in the underpass, next to the ruins of the ancient thermae!!
Enjoy your trip! Recommended accommodation: Maverick Hostel and City Lodge in downtown Budapest.
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