My husband and I spent our honeymoon traveling around Central Europe, and Budapest was one of our favorite cities! Below I will detail some of our favorite and not-so-favorite places to eat in Budapest. Be sure to also check out my article on 13 Things to Make you Fall Madly in Love with Budapest. (The article also contains a table of how much money we spent in five days in Budapest.) Our food expenditures were $319 USD in five days, or $64 USD per day for two of us.
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Notable Eateries in Budapest
I found this place by recommendation of another travel & food blogger, and it did not disappoint! Dobrumba serves Mediterranean, Israeli and Middle Eastern cuisine, and it was so delicious we almost came back a second time. Each dish bursts with intense flavor, and the drinks are made with real fruit and herbs rather than sugary syrups. Reservations are highly recommended as they are constantly turning people away because they’re full, even on a weekday.
What we ordered: Ginger lemonade (freshly squeezed and with real ginger), 1 shot of Palinka (a brandy made from fruits), 1 appetizer, 3 mains, and dessert (sour cherry cardamom rice pudding with pistachios and pomegranate seeds)
What we spent: 20,300 Forint ($72 USD) – definitely the most amount of money we spent on a meal in Budapest. We went a little crazy because everything on the menu looked SO good! It was worth it!
This biological (organic) cafe serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and coffee. Try their English breakfast if you’re feeling really hungry (it’s a huge portion and consists of the following: baked beans, sautéed mushrooms, bacon, sausage, eggs and a roasted tomato). Their chai rice pudding was outstanding.
What we ordered: 2 English breakfasts, 1 coffee, 1 orange juice, and 1 chai rice pudding
What we spent: 6,450 Forint ($23 USD)
I know we’re American, but we probably eat a hamburger maybe four times a year. Since we had just come from Greece, we were craving a good chunk of meet, and we stumbled across Goodbar Burger. It had good reviews on TripAdvisor so we thought, why not?
TIP: In Europe, when meat is cooked “medium”, it’s the American equivalent of “medium-well”.
What we ordered: 1 burger, 1 bottle sparkling water
What we spent: 3,685 Forint ($16.50 USD)
Good for when that sweet craving hits. You’ll feel like you’ve just entered Alice in Wonderland’s tea party with the dainty furniture and green pastel colors.
What we ordered: 1 chocolate caramel torte
What we spent: $3 USD
This tidy chocolatier serves high quality hand-made chocolates. Buy a bar, bag or box of your favorite selections. We nearly got through our entire bag of truffles when I realized I had forgotten to take a photo for the blog. Good thing I didn’t eat this all in one bite, otherwise we would have had to go in to buy more…twist my arm!
What we ordered: 9 truffles
What we spent: 3,885 Forint ($14 USD)
This casual joint serves sandwich sausage works of art, and has been voted “best street food in Budapest” by several local publications. Order and pay at the counter and take it to go or sit at one of two indoor tables or one of four outdoor tables on the street. The weather was brilliant, so we sat outside and people-watched. Always a great pastime of ours whilst traveling.
What we ordered: Wild boar sausage with shiitake, paprika chicken sausage (2 sandwiches)
What we spent: 3,180 Forint ($11 USD)
This gelato has been turned into a work of art; watch as slices of gelato are carefully arranged to resemble a rose; it tastes just as delicious as it looks!
What we ordered: 1 small cup of chocolate and salted caramel gelato
What we spent: 700 Forint ($2.50 USD)
This was another recommendation from a fellow travel & food blogger. This hip cafe serves everything from a flat white to a mocha, and the service was friendly and outgoing. I love a good chai tea latte, and I appreciated that this place served real chai spices brewed with soy milk. Be sure to also try their delicious salted caramel chocolate torte.
What we ordered: 1 flat white, 1 chai tea latte, 1 chocolate salted caramel torte
What we spent: 3,900 Forint ($13.85 USD)
There are a few locations, but this one is located right across from Espresso Embassy so you can get your coffee and brekkie all in one location!
This Boulangerie serves pastries and French-Hungarian fusion breakfast items.
What we ordered: (breakfast): fried eggs, sausage and vegetable ratatouille
What we spent: 2,590 Forint ($9.20 USD)
A cutely decorated cafe and shop all in one!
Friendly service and good quality coffee.
What we ordered: 1 double espresso
What we spent: 650 Forint ($2.30 USD)
There is a sign inside that says “Street food does not equal fast food”. The concept of good quality street food is quickly catching on in Budapest. This sandwich and soup shop is run by a bunch of young, hot men who sing out the orders in unison with each transaction. (sorry, I failed to snap a photo of the hot men.) There was a line out the door when we arrived, which we took to be a good sign! There were also lots of locals in queue – also a good sign! The queue moved quickly and the growing anticipation from the wait made the sandwiches that much more tasty!
What we ordered: 2 cups of the Thai chicken soup (we started with 1 but it was so tasty we went back for a second!), The French Lady sandwich, Pulled Pork sandwich
What we spent: 3,600 Forint ($13 USD)
Located inside Buda Castle, Panoramico is expensive because it caters 100% to tourists and capitalizes on the fact that not much else is around for food, but the view is worth it. We just ordered a bottle of sparkling water here and took some time to rest our feet from all the walking and to sit in the comfortable swinging chairs in the sunshine.
NOTE: They do NOT have a toilet. You must pay coins to use the public toilets in the castle.
PLACES TO AVOID
I admit that these were our own mistakes, having ventured into restaurants that are clearly geared towards tourists rather than locals. Even if a restaurant receives high ratings on TripAdvisor, this doesn’t mean it’s a sure bet for good food. Two things you should always take note of when finding restaurants whilst traveling are:
- The prices – locals don’t typically pay high prices, so if it’s expensive, it’s likely a tourist trap
- The clientele in the restaurant – don’t hear much Hungarian spoken amongst the diners? Move on
Their goulash was good for lunch, but supper was sub-par (located in the Jewish district)
What we ordered: 1 Goulash soup, 1 lamb, 1 salad, 1 bottle of sparkling water, and 2 shots of Unicum
What we spent: 11,620 Forint ($41.25 USD)
We sat at the bar since the restaurant was full, and received poor service from the bartender. The food was also sub-par and the goulash was disappointing. The meat was grisly and the broth was flavorless.
What we ordered: 1 goulash soup, 1 beef stew with red wine and homemade egg barley, and 2 shots of Unicum
What we spent: 5,635 Forint ($23.35 USD)
We visited this cafe solely based on our tour guide informing us that “no trip to Budapest was complete without trying the famous Flodni Cake“. This was the first misguidance from a guide that we have ever received in our years of taking free walking tours. I can confirm that yes indeed, a trip to Budapest IS complete WITHOUT having ever tried the Flodni Cake.
What we ordered: 1 Flodni cake, 1 espresso
What we spent: 2,500 Forint ($9 USD)
This was obviously a major tourist trap and rip-off. We should have listened to our gut. Anything with four layers of such different ingredients (with perhaps the exception of lasagne and moussaka) is not typically something tasty. Do yourself a solid and go for a chocolate instead.
Overall we found the food to be quite tasty in Budapest. Hungarian food is relatively simple but flavorful, especially with their main ingredient of paprika. Due to the influence of other nearby countries, ethnic foods were abound. We found the Jewish Quarter to have the most delicious options out of the other areas in the city.
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