The Most Delicious Cheap Eats in Budapest

When we travel somewhere new, many of us are constantly looking for the most popular restaurants. It's even better when they're affordable! Finding great places to dine while traveling on a budget might be difficult sometimes, but believe it or not, the Hungarian capital's food scene is unprecedented.

While it's pretty easy to find delicious hummus and gyros from street vendors and small restaurants throughout Budapest, this list highlights primarily cheap, traditional Hungarian food, with the exception of one.

So, we've rounded up the best cheap eats Budapest for your next weekend getaway or European vacation. It's easy to find great food within walking distance from your hostel or vacation home rental, so to be sure, we've gathered up the best cheap eats from all over the city of Budapest.

The places listed below serve quality and budget-friendly foods in Budapest, whether self-service cafes, standing-only food stalls, or sit-down restaurants.

Belvárosi Disznótoros

If sausages are your thing, then Belvárosi Disznótoros in Király Utca is your go-to restaurant for one of the best cheap restaurants in Budapest. Anthony Bourdain was even a fan, so you know it's got to be good.

This sausage joint serves a bewildering selection of traditional meat dishes, ready-made and to-be-prepared. Paprika and blood sausage, marinated pork, and smoked mustard chicken breast are just a few examples.

There is no seating, only high-top tables and standing counters. A long line usually forms around midday, serving the local office workers. Thankfully, it moves fast, so any time is the right time to enjoy some schnitzel or bacon-wrapped catfish. Don't forget to ask about their special offers, too!

Retro Büfé

Retro Büfé serves up Làngos, a Hungarian "fried dough." I mean, who doesn't like fried dough?

The dough is rolled out into a flatbread and deep-fried. On top of that, a layer of sour cream is applied, followed by a layer of cheese and, if desired, other toppings, like bacon or red onions. Làngos are delectable. Just ask the locals. They eat them to fill their stomachs before a night out. Sounds like a pretty great plan to me.

Làngos also serves the traditional Hungarian pancakes, known as palacsinta. They're basically thin crepes rolled up and sprinkled with powdered sugar. When in Hungary, eat like the Hungarians do!

At those prices, this comfort fast food spot is not to be missed.


Located on the Buda side of Budapest is a cult-classic pizza shop with a pun-filled menu. Old communist posters and chicken wire adorn the walls. A popular choice among students on a tight budget, Marxim is the go-to for Italian food in Budapest.

The Snow White & The 7 Small Proliterians and the Pre-Election Promises pizzas come highly recommended, as does the draft beer.

Pro Tips: Be ready to cut your own pizzas and opt for the large if you're hungry as the personal size is pretty small.

Frici Papa

Frici Papa is a popular Hungarian restaurant in Budapest, where travelers and residents come for low-cost Hungarian cuisine and old-school ambiance. Even by local standards, the prices can't be beaten.

The two-story interior has cheap wood paneling, tablecloths covered in sticky plastic, and servers dressed as though they came from the 1980s.

There are Hungarian dishes abound on the menu, including beef stew with egg dumplings, stuffed cabbage, and chicken paprikash, most of which are honestly pretty forgettable.

On the other hand, the cottage cheese-based trós csusza noodle dish with pork fat, the mákos guba dessert with poppy seeds, and the Hungarian pancakes, palacsinta, are among the better selections.

This establishment is cash-only.

Palotai Pékség és Pizzéria

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Suppose you're looking for something to eat on the road that will keep you full. Most people will be tempted by kürtőskalács, or chimney cakes. While these are a delicious, sweet option, they won't leave you nearly as full or satisfied as something heartier will.

In that case, Budapest's Palotai Pékség és Pizzéria has many options, including their chicken burger. These sandwiches count as breakfast, and they're only 1100 HUF each, which is about $3.55. They also serve coffee and pastries.

Located on the Pest side of the Danube in the 7th district, arrive early if you want to take a seat. Unfortunately, their limited seating is frequently filled. However, it's a wonderful alternative for grabbing something on the run!

Kívánság Étkezde

It isn't easy to imagine a more authentic Budapest lunch experience than Kvánság Étkezde. The fact that this quick and inexpensive café, which first opened in 1985, is still open demonstrates that there is still a fondness for old-school family-run restaurants.

Unconcerned with the current food craze in Budapest, Kívánság Étkezde prefers to adhere to traditional Hungarian dishes, like mátrai borzaska, a fried pork cutlet with a potato-based crust with sour cream and grated cheese. Check out the daily specials on the menu as well.

The décor is a true throwback to a 1980s Hungarian eatery, complete with red-and-white checkered tablecloths, a sticky, faux leather-bound menu, and faded images of the owner's favorite soccer team.

Arrive by 12:30 p.m. to avoid being turned away. Only cash is accepted!

Öcsi étkezde

Öcsi étkezde is another teeny-tiny, lunch-only bistro in Budapest's outlying District 8, a little distance from the city center. Opened in 1981, Erzsi and Feri are the proprietors of this mom-and-pop restaurant. You know you're in an authentic spot when the owner knows over half of their patrons by name.

The handwritten menu changes daily and features low-cost, traditional Hungarian food. The specialties are mainly made-to-order meat dishes and divine vegetable stews.

If you want to get away from downtown and immerse yourself in a working-class, down-to-earth area while still enjoying delicious local food, it's hard to think of a better place than Öcsi étkezde.

Pinczi Hús-hentesáru Bolt

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Regardless of the time of day, many people in Budapest still start the day with a substantial roasted sausage. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better one than Pinczi Hús-hentesáru Bolt's. This iconic sausage shop is part butcher shop, part ready-to-eat meat heaven. Visitors don't realize that the butcher shop is where you'll find some of Budapest's best Hungarian street food.

The low-cost, no-frills lunch spot began in 1991 and specializes in meat dishes that have long been popular among Hungarians. The marinated roasted pork belly is the best of the bunch; crispy on the exterior, with a coating of soft fat surrendering to tender meat as you bite into it.

Either eat standing up at the high-top tables or take a seat outside on the busy street with an unimpeded view of the Nyugati Railway Terminal.

He He Kínai Étterem

He He Kínai Étterem is one of your best bets in Budapest if you're in the mood for yummy and budget-friendly Chinese food. This restaurant serves various great meals inspired by different places in China, but Sichuan is the main focus.

About 25 minutes by public transportation from the city center, you'll find this unassuming restaurant in Chinatown's Monori Center.

Most of the dishes are spicy, so consider this fair warning. The menu includes Szechuan-style beef, pork, poultry, fish, and vegetarian dishes grilled on an iron skillet, served with homemade noodles, or boiled into a spicy soup. The dishes are ready in no time. Wash it all down with bottled jasmine tea or a cool aloe vera drink.

Recognized by American Eater Magazine as one of Budapest's best, He He is one of the few Chinese restaurants in the region that also serves breakfast. Chinese Monori Center employees come here for cheap deep-fried dough sticks (youtiao), steamed buns, pickled veggies, hard-boiled duck eggs, and warm soy milk early in the mornings.

Don't miss out on the Lanzhou-style hand-pulled and shaved beef noodle soups as these are He He's other claim to fame.

Kürtös Ételbár

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Don't come to Budapest and miss out on eating at Kürtös Ételbár.

This tiny hole-in-the-wall take-out joint (they do, however, have a handful of tables if you want to eat in the restaurant) sits adjacent to Rosenstein, one of Budapest's fine dining restaurants. In fact, they share a kitchen.

In reality, Rosenstein developed out of this small area in 1989 before transforming into a sophisticated sit-down restaurant.

That is to say, you can get the identical goulash soup and marhapörkölt, which is a beef stew for a price that will make your bank account very happy.

The daily-changing menu comprises a couple of soups, veggie stews, and the Hungarian pancakes, palacsinta.

Most customers, who are mostly daily visitors from the area, order their meals to go. After the lunchtime rush, around 1 p.m., things calm down a little.

Városház Snack

Cheap eats, homestyle Hungarian meals, a simple décor, no English menu, let alone much social media presence, are all evidence that you've discovered a true local eatery.

Városház Snack, established in 1985, is popular among the Mayor's Office employees across the street. This shoebox-sized counter-service restaurant in Budapest's downtown boasts delicacies, like mákos tészta, a sweet spaghetti place covered in poppy seeds.

The daily-changing menu is handwritten on plastic whiteboards fastened to the walls. It's advisable to get there before 1 p.m. so as not to miss out on their daily soup or other dishes that tend to sell out very quickly once the lunchtime crowd rushes in.

Bors Gasztrobar

Most adore this tiny eatery not only for its hearty, inventive soups but also for its equally great grilled baguettes. If you and your travel buddy can't decide on what to eat for lunch, Bors Gasztrobar is a good spot to go where you each eat what you please and leave equally satisfied.

Try the "Bors Dog" (spicy sausage and cheese) or their pulled pork. It's not a sit-down restaurant; most people eat on the sidewalk outside.

JóKrisz Lángos Sütöde

Make your way to this bare-bones food stall in District 8's less-touristy Rákóczi Market Hall. JóKrisz Lángos Sütöde, a mom-and-pop standing-only eatery specializes in lángos, that typical Hungarian deep-fried flatbread, and it's noteworthy.

The lángos are precisely as they should be: crispy on the exterior, golden brown on the inside, and deliciously doughy and chewy. If you're undecided on which to order, go for the classic sajtos tejfolos làngos, but be sure to specify how you want your eggs done.

JóKrisz Lángos Sütöde also serves palacsinta (Hungarian pancakes), and some of the best ones are filled with jam, cinnamon sugar, and Nutella. Of course, one can't go wrong with Nutella!


This fast-food eatery located in Budapest's Jewish Quarter serves appetizing sandwiches, soups, and salads that won't break the bank. Rapaz is a classic lunch option.

Opt for the Franzoa, which is served with French dressing, crispy fried chicken breast strips, and sweet potato chips. Add a side of homemade French fries to make it a really filling meal. If you're exceptionally hungry, they have "Rapaz Boxes." The 4 Formaggi Box is popular with fried cheeses, Red Cheddar coleslaw, mayonnaise, and French fries.

Szimpla Kert

This ruin bar located in the Jewish Quarter of the 7th district is Budapest's first of its kind. The abandoned factory-turned ruin bar was established in 2002 has numerous levels.

The décor, which includes a kangaroo statue, a Trabant car, and a bathtub ripped open on one side to serve as a couch, is a mishmash of stuff. Graffiti adorns the walls, and the exposed brick hides nothing of the structure's inner workings. Upturned chairs and disco balls hang from the ceiling, and plants sprout in the open-air garden.

Szimpla Kert hosts a Sunday Farmer's Market in addition to its Sunday brunch.

Central Market Hall

Also known as the Great Market Hall, the historic area of Central Market Hall was built in 1897. If you enjoy fresh Hungarian foods, people watching, shopping, photo opportunities, guided tours with tastings, or simply sightseeing in spectacular areas. Rain or shine, the Central Market Hall is a great option.

According to many Budapest travel guides, it's one of the top Budapest attractions.

You can buy everything from fruits and vegetables to dairy products, fantastic salamis, pickles, fresh fish, Hungarian paprika, Tokaj wines, souvenirs, accessories, clothes, and Hungarian street food, like lángos on the upper floor food stalls and eateries.