Finding the top places where to eat in Budapest might not be as easy and straightforward as it seems. Especially if it’s your first time and you are mainly in the city centre for sightseeing.
During our trip, we tried several places and now we want to share our own picks of some the best restaurants in Budapest for first-time visitors. Why for first-timers? Because when it’s your first trip to a city or a country, you are mainly in the touristy areas, where it’s more difficult to find good eateries and good prices, and because very likely here you will want to try Hungarian traditional food.
READ MORE: First time in Hungary? Check out our tips for planning a perfect trip to Budapest.
Eating out in Budapest. Our food guide to the best restaurants in Budapest
- Getto Gulyas, great Hungarian cuisine in Budapest
- Menza Restaurant, top traditional restaurant in Budapest
- Mazel Tov, a cool eatery in Budapest’s Jewish Quarter
- Zoska, great breakfast place in the city centre
- Karavan, some of Budapest best street food
- Hold Street Market for international street food
- Szamos Cafe, some of the best desserts in Budapest
Getto Gulyas, one of the best Hungarian restaurants in Budapest
For our first dinner in Budapest, we went to Getto Gulyas in the Jewish District. We had read they served great traditional Hungarian dishes so it was the perfect introduction to the local food. And we were not wrong.
The whole menu pays tribute to the Hungarian tradition, dishes are greatly prepared and prices are very affordable, making Getto Gulyas one of the best cheap restaurants in Budapest.
We ordered three starters, roasted bone marrow, bread dipped on meat with red sauce and veggie pancakes stuffed with eggplants. As main courses my husband ordered beef cheeks with egg pasta and I had a delicious stew of cabbage leaves stuffed with eggplant and rice.
The whole meal cost us 9730 HUF (34 USD/32 euro), service not included so tips are appreciated.
The place is not too small, they have seats both inside and outside during the nice season, but booking is highly recommended especially for dinner as it’s pretty much always packed. During the week, a day in advance is enough while on weekends 2 days in advance is better. If you are looking for top Budapest traditional restaurants, definitely give Getto Gulyas a try.
Address: Wesselenyi utca 18, 1075 Budapest. Website.
Opening hours: Daily 12-11 pm.
READ MORE: Check out some of the best things to do in Budapest for first-time visitors.
Menza, one of the best local restaurants in Budapest
Another great Hungarian restaurant in Budapest, Menza is pretty big, and although booking is a good idea, we didn’t find it strictly necessary. You just show up and they will give you a table.
The restaurant itself is elegant and comfortable, the menu pretty wide and the food really well-prepared. If you are wondering what to eat in Budapest to try the traditional flavours, Menza is a great place to start.
Here, we ordered two soups, one typical Hungarian goulash soup and a garlic cream soup served with traditional langosh, fried bread topped with cheese and sour cream. That alone would have sufficed, but we wanted to try more Budapest traditional food so we ordered also two main dishes.
As the main course, I had a tuna steak on roasted tomatoes and sweet potatoes while my husband ordered lamb ribs with Lebanese spices and tabouleh salad. I’m a big fan of fermented veggies so we ordered also a side of delicious homemade fermented cucumbers to better digest our rich dinner.
The whole meal cost us 18.579 HUF (65 USD/57 euro), so not the cheapest restaurant in Budapest but worth it for at least one meal. If you are looking for the best Hungarian food in Budapest, Menza is definitely a place to try.
Address: Liszt Ferenc tér 2, Budapest 1061. Website.
Opening hours: Daily 11 am-12 am.
READ MORE: Budapest Card: How to use it, pros and cons
Mazel Tov, where to eat in Budapest for a trendy night out
Our Budapest food guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Mazel Tov. Founded as a ruin pub, the entrance doesn’t look too appealing. But once you are inside, the large courtyard-like restaurant full of plants and greenery welcomes its guests in a friendly, cosy atmosphere.
Mazel Tov is a restaurant in Budapest city centre located in the Jewish quarter, area famous also for its night life. Serving some Middle Eastern, Israeli fusion dishes, the place is pretty popular, so booking is highly recommended. We didn’t book and we waited some half an hour for a table.
At Mazel Tov, we had spicy sweet potato wedges with green pesto tahini and hummus with pita bread. As main courses, I tucked into a veggie burger made of sweet potato bun, red cheddar, falafel balls, fresh salad and green pesto. My husband had parsley beef kebab roasted on lamb fat with seasoned with their own preparations and herbs.
We also ordered a side dish of mixed salad consisting of quinoa tabouleh, smoky eggplant, beetroot and matbucha, which is a cooked salad of roasted bell pepper, tomato, garlic and olive oil.
The whole meal, inclusive of drinks, cost us 13870 HUF (49 USD/44 euro). We enjoyed both the food and the ambience, should we make another trip, this will be one of our Budapest food places.
We haven’t been in the morning, but we read that every day from 9 am to 12 pm they serve an Israeli breakfast.
Address: Akafca utca 49, 1073 Budapest. Website.
Opening hours: Daily 9 am-1 am, Friday and Saturday until 2 am.
Zoska, one of the best breakfast places in Budapest city centre
After reading about several cafes, our first breakfast in Budapest took place in Zoska which, thankfully, was close to our apartment.
This was one delicious, fulfilling way to kick off the day. I had a delicious plate of scrambled eggs with pear and goat cheese and a cappuccino with almond milk. My husband ordered scrambled eggs with spinach and basil, also cappuccino and an apple frocs, which is basically sparkling water with fresh apple juice.
The whole breakfast cost us around 3000 HUF (10.5 USD/9 euro).
The cafe itself is nice and cosy. Laid out on a ground floor and a semi-elevated first floor, it’s furnished in a rustic style with white tables, blue wooden chairs and red couches.
Located very close to the Hungarian National Museum, it has mainly a young clientele and serves everyday breakfast and brunch.
Address: Ferenczy István u. 28, 1053 Budapest. Website.
Opening hours: Daily 7 am-6 pm, closed on Sunday.
Karavan for some of the best street food in Budapest
Karavan Street Food is just this, a closed enclave in Budapest’s Jewish District that serves a wide range of street food.
If you are looking for cheap eats in Budapest without straying too far from your sightseeing, this is a great place. From sweets to smoothies, from burgers to vegan options, Karavan can make everyone happy.
The place is a long courtyard and features both sitting areas and standing places.
Here, we had two delicious smoothies at Las Vegan’s stall, Berry Fresh and Sunshine. They were packed with fresh fruit and on a hot day it was exactly what we needed. Our smoothies cost us 1290 HUF each (4.5 USD/4 euro).
Address: Kazinczy utca 18, 1075 Budapest. Website.
Opening hours: Daily 11.30 am-11 pm, Thur-Sat until 1 am.
Hold Street Market for international street food in Budapest
Also called Downtown Market, here you can have some of the best street food in Budapest for a quick casual lunch choosing from different international cuisines.
The ground floor is devoted to market stalls and some eateries, especially for sweets. Upstairs is a round sequence of street food places from different countries serving Asian dishes, Russian delicacies, American-style burgers and pizza alongside Hungarian food.
Here, we stopped at the Russian stall called Moszkvatér Bistro. I ordered delicious prawn dumplings served on a herb cream while my husband ordered chicken breast stuffed with cheese and herbs. The meal plus a bottle of water cost us 5680 HUF (19 USD/20 euro).
You can order from different places and then pick the table you want. You can also order your food in one place and the drinks from another eatery.
Address: Hold utca 13, 1054 Budapest. Website.
Opening hours: Daily 6 am-6 pm, Monday until 5 pm, Saturday until 3 pm. Sunday closed.
Szamos Cafe for some of the best desserts in Budapest
There are mainly two reasons for visiting Szamos Cafe. Found in the city centre very close to the Parliament, it’s below the lovely and little-known Chocolate Museum.
Once we visited the small museum, a display of old tools used in the past to make the beloved sweet treat, we couldn’t resist from tucking into some of the finest desserts in Budapest city centre. They are produced right there in the factory still operative and visible from the cafe.
I had a delicious small Sacher (500 HUF, less than 2 USD) and my husband ordered a cute minion made of marzipan (390 HUF, a little more than 1 USD). Marzipan is one of the local specialities and totally one of the things to eat in Budapest.
This is really a lovely place to get your sugar up after a hot sightseeing day. They serve also savoury foods and all types of drinks. We ordered two nice orange juices.
Address: Kossuth Lajos tér 10, 1055 Budapest. Website.
Opening hours: Daily 7.30 am-7 pm, on weekends from 9 am.
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