Your ultimate guide to the best restaurants in Budapest through 9 traditional Hungarian food. Divided by the Danube River, Buda and Pest provide the best of both worlds for any sort of traveller.
Originally two cities, which developed separately, visit Buda for the city’s imperial past. Pest, the younger and more populated counterpart is the city centre for bustling nightlife and gourmet restaurants. Together, Budapest charms and delights its wanderers.
View of Budapest’s parliament building from the Danube river at night.
Best Restaurants in Budapest by Dish
The city has a good range of eateries at different price points to suit everyone. For gourmet lovers, Michelin restaurants in Budapest are spread across the city. Meanwhile, for the budget traveller, it is relatively cheap to eat out.
The Hungarian diet of seasonal vegetables, baked bread and dairy products combined with bold use of spices creates hearty meals that will surprise even the most seasoned palates. Not to mention, Budapest has a good selection of vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants as well as delicious crustaceans thanks to the connecting rivers, which flow through the city.
Through these 9 traditional Hungarian food; discover the best restaurants in Budapest by their most well-known dishes.
Chicken Paprikash (Paprikás Csirke)
A classic Hungarian dish that makes full use of the nation’s favourite spice, paprika. Made with sour cream and peppers, tender pieces of chicken are covered in a fragrant paprika sauce.
This dish makes the perfect comfort food and is commonly paired with Hungarian dumplings, Nokedli. Made from egg noodles, Nokedli is an interesting substitute for pasta and rice.
Chicken Paprikash, one of the must-try Hungarian dishes.
Where should I go to eat Chicken Paprikash?
Head to 21 Hungarian Restaurant for Budapest’s popular dish, Chicken Paprika. Located in Buda, upon castle hill, the restaurant is a good place to eat around Castle District, Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Church and Buda Castle.
More so, the restaurant serves traditional Hungarian dishes with a modern creative twist. With both an outside area to enjoy the summer sun and cosy dark wood interior for colder nights the restaurant is conveniently located for anyone exploring the Budapest’s imperial past.
Best Chicken Paprikash in Budapest
21 Hungarian Restaurant
Magyar Vendéglő, Fortuna u. 21, 1014 Hungary
Beef Stew (Goulash)
Goulash is a staple food across the best restaurants in Budapest. Almost every food guide on Budapest will mention this Hungarian national dish.
The hearty soup is commonly made with chunky cuts of beef that are cooked in onions, paprika, tomatoes as well as peppers. It’s the perfect soul-warming meal during the colder months.
Traditional Goulash from Stand25, one of the best places to eat in Budapest.
Where should I go to eat Goulash?
The national dish can be enjoyed in almost every restaurant across the city but Stand25 has a strong reputation for having the best goulash in Budapest. A must-try Hungarian dish at the eatery!
Best Goulash in Budapest
Hold u. 13, 1054 Hungary
Hungarian Fried Bread (Langos)
Hungary’s deep-fried flatbread is any carb lovers dream come true. Made with warm mashed potatoes and fried in a large skillet, Langos is the city’s favourite street food. It is definitely one of the must-try Hungarian dishes when in Budapest.
Traditionally, the flatbread is topped with sour cream and shredded cheese. However, there are other creative toppings such as hot dogs and spicy minced pork. The dish is also known as the Hungarian Pizza and is a popular hangover cure for locals.
Langos, Hungarian Fried Bread with cheese and sour cream. A must-try Hungarian street snack.
Where should I go to eat Langos?
A good place to eat near St Stephen’s Basilica and the Great Synagogue Church is Langosh. Conveniently located on the main boulevard towards St Stephen’s Basilica, prepare to queue (for a short while) for one of the most delicious vegetarian foods in Budapest. Visit before 12pm to avoid the lunch rush.
Best for vegetarian street food in Budapest
Király u. 7, 1075 Hungary
Head to Central Market Hall to sample a wide selection of cured sausages on the first floor from the local butchers. Many of them will offer you tasters and explain the different types of Hungarian sausages.
For more delicious local food, head to the food stalls on the second floor. Walk past the clothing and leather bag stalls and you’ll find a section filled with food stalls! Here's a typical platter with different types of Hungarian meats.
Other than Hungarian sausages, these small stalls also sell other popular Hungarian street food. However, there’s not a lot of space to manoeuvre in during busy lunch hours. In addition, the market closes at 5pm every day.
Best for shopping and street food in Budapest
Central Market Hall
Vámház krt. 1-3, 1093 Hungary
Seared Duck Breast (Rose Kacsamell)
With a centuries-old tradition of breeding duck, Rose Kacsamell is one of the country’s most loved dishes. Pan-seared, Rose Kacsamell, when done correctly, is tender with a slightly pink interior, succulent and sweet.
Pan-seared duck breast from Petrus, one of Budapest’s Michelin restaurants.
Where should I go to eat Rose Kacsamell?
Petrus is a good restaurant to eat around the Leonardo Hotel in District 9. Although it is slightly out of the way from the main city centre, Petrus is reputable as one of the very best vegetarian-friendly restaurant in Budapest.
Budapest’s Michelin Guide has featured the eatery for several years in a row. Petrus in Budapest serves dishes with a contemporary twist between French and Hungarian cuisine.
Best for Vegetarians and Rose Kacsamell
Berzenczey u., 1094 Hungary
Stuffed Cabbage (Toltott Kaposzta)
There is no other dish in Hungary that better represents the country’s history and influence from its neighbouring Slavic, Turkic and Asiatic regions than Toltott Kaposzta.
Traditionally, this dish is made from spiced ground pork and rice that is wrapped in cabbage leaves. Then, the wraps are put into a pot of flavourful broth to simmer. Many places will often serve this dish with sauerkraut, smoked bacon and Hungarian sausage.
Stuffed Cabbage served with sauerkraut, smoked bacon and Hungarian sausage.
Where should I go to eat stuffed cabbage (Toltott Kaposzta)?
Head to Dubarry Restaurant for the signature Hungarian dish. Dubarry is a good place to eat around Danube River, Chain Bridge and Duna-Korzo. If you choose to sit outside, you can enjoy an exceptional view of Buda Castle and Gellert Hill. The restaurant is located in close proximity to major Danube river cruise and boat tours such as Duna Corso, Legenda and Silverline.
Best Stuffed Cabbage in Budapest
Wekerle Sándor utca 1, 1051 Hungary
Hungarian Savoury Pancakes (Hortobágyi Palacsinta)
Some restaurants will also translate Hortobágyi Palacsinta as salty pancakes. Hungarian style pancakes are a thin layer of pancakes that are filled with creamed meats. Juicy bite-size chicken is usually the preferred meat filling in most places but the filling can vary from beef to vegetables.
Interestingly, this particular dish was originally created to make use of leftovers from meat stews. Savoury pancakes make for a good starter, quick snacks and even as a main course!
Savoury pancakes in the Eastern European city.
Where should I go to eat pancakes in Hungary?
Head to Steaks and Snacks for a generous serving of authentic Hungarian Savoury Pancakes. Froccsterasz or Snack and Steaks is a good place to eat around Budapest Eye, Erzsébet Square and Deak Ferenc Ter. Located at the end of the Deak Ferenc Ter Market, the restaurant serves cheap Hungarian drinks, delicious street food and is open till late.
Best Pancakes in Budapest
Froccsterasz, Snacks and Steaks
1051 Erzsébet tér 11-13, Hungary
Chimney Cake (Kürtőskalács)
Chimney cake isn’t a unique street food to Hungary but locals love the sweet snack. You can find this must-try Hungarian snack in metro stations and around some tourist attractions.
Vanilla and cinnamon are traditional flavours. In addition, newer flavours include chocolate, oreo, and bounty.
Find this sweet treat in Hungarian Christmas Markets in Budapest as well as in most major metro stations.
Chimney Cake, a sweet Hungarian treat at Matthias Church.
Hungarian Coffee (Magyar Kávé)
This chilli flavoured coffee is one of the most memorable drinks from Budapest other than the delicious selection of sweet dessert wine that the city has to offer.
The coffee is a blend of strong brewed Arabica coffee with a dash of chilli and a shot of palinka, Hungarian alcohol. Topped with cream, every sip of coffee carries the scent of the sour cherry brandy along with a punch of heat at the back of the throat. However, we’d say this is probably not for those with a low spice tolerance.
Hungarian coffee from the world’s most beautiful café.
Where should I go to try Hungarian Coffee?
New York Café, reputable as the world’s most beautiful café. The live music flows from both ends and plays continuously throughout the busy lunch hours. To avoid waiting in the queue for at least two hours, we advise booking ahead of time.
Furthermore, there is no deposit required for booking ahead of time at the world’s most beautiful café. So sit back and enjoy live music from both corners of the cafe including the classical twists or soothing Mozart pieces.
Best Hungarian Coffee in Budapest
New York Cafe
Erzsébet krt. 9-11, 1073 Hungary
Summary of the Best Restaurants in Budapest
In conclusion, here are the best restaurants in Budapest we recommend visiting for some of the must-try Hungarian dishes:
- 21 Hungarian
- Froccsterasz, Snacks and Steaks
- New York Cafe
- Central Market Hall (for a wide a mixture of must-try dishes from the food stalls)
- Major Metro Stations (to try the city’s local Hungarian snacks)
Whether it’s the awe-inspiring gothic architecture, warming hospitality or the must-try Hungarian dishes, Budapest is most definitely, one of the most charming and romantic cities in Europe.
For many years, Budapest has been a destination that is looked past compared to other cities. But hopefully, the country’s traditional Eastern European cuisine and this list of Budapest’s best restaurants will now inspire more gourmet lovers to visit.