Budapest is one of the most-visited cities in Europe, with an average of over four million tourists coming to the city every year. With so many people from around the world, restaurants in the area need to accommodate a wide array of travelers.
Fortunately, it's not hard to find some delicious food in Budapest. We've compiled a list of the top 19 restaurants in the city, which offer everything from Hungarian dishes (i.e., chicken paprikash) to French, Italian, and Chinese. Here's what we discovered.
The rough translation of the name of this eatery is the Downtown Pigsty. As a butcher shop and restaurant, you can get some fresh meat prepared in various ways, although sausage is the foremost option.
This place is perfect for a quick lunch, particularly because there isn't a place to sit and enjoy your meal. Usually, there's a line of office workers at midday, so plan your visit accordingly.
As we mentioned, sausage is the main specialty, which you can get as a brat, mixed with paprika, or blood sausage. The place also serves the traditional cevapi, a case-less, hand-rolled sausage. You can also feast on other meats like duck legs and pork tenderloin.
As you'll notice, Hungarian diners love their meats, as evidenced by the vast selection at restaurants like Belvarosi and Bestia. This place is akin to a steakhouse since you can buy dishes like tomahawk, ribeye, and t-bone steaks. However, you can also dabble in traditional Hungarian cuisine with options like goulash, baba ganoush, grilled chicken, or a giant Pest sausage.
The other reason to visit Bestia is that it's close to St. Stephen's Basilica, so if you're planning on visiting the church already, why not stop in for a meaty bite? The atmosphere is modern and trendy, complete with loud music and industrial-chic decor.
For those who love fine dining, they'll appreciate the fact that Borkonyha is one of the only Michelin-starred restaurants in the city. The menu is relatively limited, but as the name suggests, Borkonyha has an extensive selection of over 200 Hungarian wines.
Everything from the appetizers to the dessert is delightful and decadent, so plan to spend a bit more for a meal here than you would elsewhere. Some notable dishes include a duck liver and smoked eel quince, a lamb neck dinner, and Iberico pork loin. There are only five main courses, but they're all expertly crafted and well-deserving of Michelin pride.
When you visit the wine kitchen, you'll notice that the vibe is more laid-back than you might expect for a fancy restaurant. This is by design, as the owners want the place to feel welcoming and casual.
Opening in 1995, Cafe Kor has become a Budapest installation since its inception. Nestled in the heart of downtown, you can find a vast assortment of diners, from Hungarian businesspeople to tourists. Because of its iconic status and proximity to the Basilica, the cafe is often busy throughout the day, but especially at dinnertime. You'll need to make a reservation well in advance if you hope to get a seat. Also, the daily specials often run out before dinner, so you might have to plan for an early bird meal.
The main attraction here is soup and stew, as the chefs craft different varieties every day. You can find traditional Hungarian favorites like goulash and potato stew, alongside gourmet options like roasted duck leg, breaded mushroom with rice, and roasted pike fillets. The menu changes daily, so you'll want to check on the restaurant's Facebook page to see what they have to offer.
If you want a break from Hungarian cuisine, you can check out Divin Porcello, a delicious Italian ristorante located next to the Danube River. If you're expecting plates of spaghetti and meatballs, you'll be sorely mistaken. Divin serves high-class Italian dishes that will make your jaw drop (and then close because you'll be scarfing them down).
Some samples from the menu include Viennese pork, grilled goose liver, spice-crusted butterfish fillet, and beef steak with dumplings. As far as more "traditional" Italian fare, you can find gnocchi, risotto, and lasagna too.
Divin also has a ham bar if you want to buy cuts of dried and salted pork to go. You can even sample the various hams and cheeses by ordering a fancy charcuterie plate.
You might not think of Chinese food when visiting central or Eastern Europe, but the Hungarian capital has one of the largest Chinese populations in the region. So, it makes sense that there would be some incredible Asian restaurants and eateries within the city. One such place is He He Kinai Etterem, which is in the heart of Budapest's Chinatown.
He He is the place for Szechuan-style noodles, as the chef hails from Lauzhon, which is well-known for its noodle-making. You can also sample other traditional favorites like boiled fish, spicy beef, and fried rice. The dumplings are also excellent and prepared fresh daily.
Although this is an Asian restaurant, it's located in the center of Budapest's Jewish Quarter. Sao is an excellent place to try traditional Vietnamese street food, and the locals seem to agree. The eatery is pretty packed most nights, serving dishes like pho, dumplings, fried rice, and curry.
The owners of Sao are Vietnamese, but the restaurant serves all kinds of Asian food from China, Thailand, and Japan. So, visitors can sample the entire region from within one restaurant.
If you like a side of history with your meal, then come down to Koleves. This eatery is also in the Jewish Quarter, but it wears that as a badge of honor. The building in which the restaurant resides used to be a Kosher meat factory dating back to 1851. The owners even incorporated some of the old factory into the decor, including machinery and copies of the Talmud.
Koleves also caters to vegetarians and vegans, and the menu shows various dietary elements like gluten, dairy, and soy. Some vegan dishes include wild mushroom risotto and zucchini-chickpea fritters.
For the meat-eaters, they can choose from goat, duck, goose, or chicken. Some menu items are Jewish, such as the Cream of Jerusalem artichoke soup and the Jewish baked beans with a hard-boiled egg.
Although Mak is a Hungarian restaurant, it takes a more modern approach to its cuisine. While most places in Budapest focus on traditional stews and meats, Mak likes to craft meals from lighter fare, including locally-sourced fruits and vegetables when they're in season. So, if you're a vegetarian (or just a veggie lover), Mak is one of the best restaurants in Budapest.
Some of the greenery you can find on the revolving menu include beetroot, squash, blackberries, smoked carrots, cucumber, cabbage, and fresh tomatoes. If you have to indulge in meat, you can choose from foie gras, sirloin tartare, or the famous Mangalica tenderloin. The menu is limited, but the flavors are immense.
We're back in the Jewish Quarter for this Middle Eastern restaurant that offers upscale dining with an industrial vibe. Since this is a bar and restaurant, you can sample high-end cocktails while you're munching on your lunch or dinner.
When it comes to Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes, Mazel Tov doesn't hold back. You can select options like Moroccan grilled paprika salad, fresh falafel, tabouleh, shawarma, and, of course, hummus. They even serve a communal meat plate with sausages, shawarma, and kebabs.
Since this place is in the Jewish Quarter, it also features an Israeli fusion kitchen, complete with one of the best pastrami sandwiches you can get anywhere in Hungary.
We've seen quite a few Hungarian restaurants on this list, but Menza is probably one of the best if you want some traditional Hungarian cuisine. Located in District 6, the restaurant is in the heart of tourist country. However, Menza still holds onto its old-world, Eastern European roots. Even the locals have to admit that the food here is practically as good as grandma makes (practically).
For the traditionalists, you should get the goulash soup, a Hungarian chicken crepe, and the oven-baked Mangalica pork chop. If you want something a bit more modern, we recommend starting with the Menza beef stew (or house salad), then following it with a duck liver pate and a blonde steak and eggs.
Menza also has an extensive vegan menu with highlights like vegan hunter's stew (with all veggies), brown rice pasta, and a vegan version of bourguignon.
While Menza offers traditional dishes in a swanky locale, Rosenstein is a bit more authentic, so purists may prefer this restaurant. If you're planning on getting some chicken paprikash while you're in Budapest (and you should), it's hard to beat Rosenstein's version. As a tourist, you'll appreciate the flavors because you won't be comparing them to your family's recipe.
You should also sample the stews here, including roasted tripe, seasonal vegetable stew, and sour lung stew. The soup of the day rotates per week, so plan your visit accordingly.
Back in 1914, Café Déryné first opened its doors in the neighborhood of Buda. Since then, it's been a staple for the community for visitors and locals alike. This cafe is chic and trendy and attracts a wide range of clientele wanting to grab a bite at Budapest’s most famous spots.
Stop by any day of the week or, for something extra special, visit them on Sunday for their iconic Sunday Brunch that’s sure to leave happy and full.
Makos Guba is one of the best places to go for traditional Hungarian food. From traditional home cooked Hungarian meals to European staples, this is a spot you need to visit if you’re interested in what real, hearty Hungarian food is like.
Makos Guba is actually a popular Christmas time dessert made with bread pudding and poppy seeds. Don’t let this name fool you though, this restaurant isn’t a bakery or a dessert shop, but is open for lunch and dinner.
Becsi Szelet Vendeglo caters to patrons looking for Viennese food, specializing on their traditional sliced bread. They’ve long been making Budapest locals and visitors happy, having first opened their doors in 1993.
Their restaurant has an unassuming atmosphere and is the perfect place for a relaxing lunch or a quick dinner.
If you’re hungry and ready to dive right in, look no further than Trofea Grill. With multiple locations throughout the city, you’ll never be too far away from Budapest’s most famous buffet. This is your best chance to try a plethora of Hungarian dishes and indulge in a few international delights you might miss from other countries on your travels.
Come hungry and you’re certain to leave full and satisfied at Trofea Grill!
You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time when you walk into the doors at Tabani Gosser Sorozo. It’s quaint and cozy and exactly what you might be looking for if you want to try traditional Hungarian cuisine in a traditional setting. For a bit of variety, they also offer a few German dishes as well.
Tabani Kakas Vendeglo is another exceptional restaurant for Hungarian cuisine. This restaurant typically receives great reviews from tourists and locals looking to indulge in traditional cuisine and great wines.
When you walk through the doors, don’t expect anything trendy or chic. Instead, expect delicious food without any frills.
Pierrot Cafe is the place to go for gourmet food anytime of the day. Treat yourself to delicious baked goods in the morning along with a piping hot coffee to take back to your vacation rental or instead opt to dine in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
The location is prime and on a nice day, you’ll love sitting outside and people watching as you enjoy your meal. This place is certainly a staple of Budapest, with people like Anthony Boudain even dining here while visiting the city.