Traditional food in Budapest is some of the best I have ever tasted! I just can’t get enough chicken paprikash, goulash, beef stew and sweet and savoury pancakes.
And if you are travelling solo to Budapest and want food suggestions, you are at the right place. I put together a Budapest food guide for anyone who wants to try all the traditional Hungarian food in Budapest. From street food to Hungary’s national dishes and what to drink in Budapest – I got it all!
If you are wondering what is the food like in Budapest, then keep reading. Go on a culinary journey in Budapest by following my food guide and find out exactly what to eat in Budapest and where you can find these local specialties.
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Tips for eating the best food in Budapest
Before trying some of the best food in Budapest, check out my post on Budapest solo travel guide especially if this is your first time in the city.
Here are a few additional tips for trying some of the best Budapest must eat:
- Bring your credit card as many places accept credit cards only.
- Bring cash as a handful of cafes and bakeries only accept cash.
- Tip about 10% of your bill or more if the service is good. Tip with cash if you are paying with a credit card.
- There are a lot of meat options in traditional Hungarian food in Budapest. Most starters and main dishes have different types of meat protein.
- But there are a few vegetarian options as well. Some soups, sides and main dishes are made with vegetables only. Check the restaurant menu before you go.
What to eat in Budapest: 26 best food in Budapest
See the summary of the best food to try in Budapest below. This is a quick guide for you when searching for what to eat in Budapest.
And when you scroll down further, I include a more detailed explanation and photos for each Budapest food and where you can find the local specialty.
Here is a quick summary of the 26 best food in Bucharest:
- Kakaós Csiga – Hungarian chocolate roll
- Kürtőskalács – aka “Chimney Cake”
Budapest street food and starters
- Gulyás – Hungarian goulash: Hungary’s national dish
- Lángos – Hungarian fried bread
- Hortobágyi Palacsinta – Hungarian meat pancake
- Kolbász – Hungarian traditional sausage
Budapest traditional food
- Paprikás Csirke – chicken paprikash
- Pörkölt – Hungarian beef stew
- Lecsó – Hungarian tomato pepper stew
- Töltött Káposzta – Hungarian stuffed cabbage rolls
- Dobos Torta – Hungarian’s famous sponge cake with chocolate cream and caramel
- Esterházy Torta – Hungarian layered cream cake
- Ruszwurm cream cake – egg cream cake exclusively sold at Cafe Ruszwurm
- Flódni – traditional Hungarian Jewish cake
- Palascinta – Hungarian sweet pancake
- Gundel Palacsinta – Hungarian pancake a la Gundel
- Somlói Galuska – Hungarian sponge cake
- Túrógombóc – Hungarian cottage cheese dumplings
- Rétes – Hungarian strudel
- Gelato – Italian-styled ice cream
- Lemonade – fresh Hungarian lemonade
- Sör – Hungarian beer
- Tokaji wine – wine from Hungary’s best wine region
- Fröccs – or spritzer (wine and soda water)
- Pálinka – fruit brandy
- Unicum – Hungarian herbal liquor
Where to eat in Budapest: 22 best places to eat
Below is a list of the best places to eat in Budapest. And you can find all the Budapest traditional food mentioned above in all of these food outlets and restaurants in Budapest.
To find the address for each location, click on the restaurant name, which will bring you to the location on Google Maps.
Budapest cafes and confectioneries
- Artizán Bakery – a popular bakery cafe that bakes various pastries daily.
- Molnár’s Kürtőskalács – specializes in kürtőskalács.
- Ruszwurm Confectionery – founded in 1827, is one of Budapest’s oldest cafes.
- Auguszt Cukrászda Belváros – a traditional Hungarian cafe serving many types of cakes.
- Kemenes Cukrászda és Bisztró Vámház – a confectionary that has many cakes.
- Gelarto Rosa – popular handmade artisanal ice cream store in Budapest.
Budapest fast food
- Street Food Karavan Budapest – modern food stalls serving Budapest cuisine in an open passage.
- Retró Lángos Budapest – restaurant specializes in langos with outdoor seating.
- Belvárosi Disznótoros – a fast food joint serving many types of grilled meats.
- Central Market Hall – an indoor market on the ground floor and fast food vendors on the upper floor.
Best Hungarian restaurants in Budapest
- Gettó Gulyás – my favourite Hungarian restaurant in Budapest. Everything on the menu is excellent.
- Retek Bisztro – a cute Hungarian bistro, but you may want to call ahead first.
- Pörc & Prézli Étterem – cozy Hungarian restaurant with live music.
- Kisharang Étkezde – a small restaurant serving homemade Hungarian food.
- Hungarikum Bisztró – a bit touristy but they serve several Hungarian classics.
- Ildikó Konyhája – a small restaurant on the Buda side serving delicious homemade classic Hungarian dishes.
- Korhely Faloda & Daloda – try different Hungarian dishes at this large alfresco dining restaurant.
- Róma Ételbár – a local Hungarian restaurant on the Buda side with daily specials.
- Strudel House Budapest – besides making different types of strudel, they also serve other Hungarian dishes.
- Kiskakukk Restaurant – a traditional restaurant that has been around since 1913.
- Frici Papa – a cheap Hungarian restaurant frequented by locals.
- Terv Bisztró – a hip cafe with cool vibes and good Hungarian food.
1. Kakaós Csiga
What is Kakaós Csiga: Hungarian chocolate roll. It is made with buttery puff pastry with cocoa cream rolled into a shape of a snail (it is literally called “cocoa snail”). It has the flakiness of a croissant and tastes divine. There are other flavours like hazelnut and walnut, but the chocolate one has to be the best! Eat this as breakfast or as a snack.
Where to eat Kakaós Csiga: Artizán Bakery and other bakeries
What is Kürtőskalács: aka “Chimney Cake”. It starts with sweet yeast dough wrapped in a cone-shaped baking spit and cooked over charcoal. Then various toppings are added to the sweet bread. Try cinnamon powder as it is the most popular topping or have it with soft-serve ice cream. This sweet treat originated in Transylvania, but you can find it anywhere in Budapest.
Where to eat Kürtőskalács: Molnár’s Kürtőskalács and other chimney cake food stalls around the city
Budapest street food and starters
What is Gulyás: Hungarian goulash. This Hungary’s national dish is a thick soup or stew made with beef, potato, and carrots, and seasoned with paprika and other spices. If there is only one dish you must try in Budapest, this is it! Every Hungarian restaurant in Budapest serves this local specialty. Eat it with bread and some additional spice if you dare (it’s super spicy!)
Where to eat Gulyás: Karaván Street Food, Central market Hall, Gettó Gulyás, Retek Bisztro, Pörc & Prézli Étterem, Kisharang Étkezde, Hungarikum Bisztró, Ildikó Konyhája, Korhely Faloda & Daloda, Kispiac Bisztró, Róma Ételbár, Studel House, Kiskakukk Restaurant, Frici Papa, Terv Bisztró
What is Lángos: Hungarian fried bread. This Budapest street food is typically topped with sour cream and cheese. But many food vendors and restaurants in Budapest serve langos in a variety of ways including flatbread with different toppings or using two smaller langos to make a burger.
Where to eat Lángos: Karaván Street Food, Retró Lángos Budapest, Central Market Hall, Retek Bisztro, Korhely Faloda & Daloda and other fast food places
3. Hortobágyi Palacsinta
What is Hortobágyi Palacsinta: Hungarian meat pancake. This savoury pancake starts with paprikash stewed meat (usually chicken or veal), wrapped in a thin crepe while a paprika sour cream sauce is poured on top. It is an excellent appetizer or a small meal if you are not too hungry.
Where to eat Hortobágyi Palacsinta: Retek Bisztro, Pörc & Prézli Étterem, Kisharang Étkezde, Hungarikum Bisztró, Studel House, Kiskakukk Restaurant, Terv Bisztró
What is Kolbász: Hungarian traditional sausage made with ground pork, beef, lamb, bacon, paprika, garlic, pepper, nutmeg and local spices. Whether baked, boiled, dried or smoked, the Hungarian sausage goes really well with mustard and bread, which is usually how it is eaten in Budapest.
Where to eat Kolbász: Belvárosi Disznótoros, Central market Hall, Terv Bisztró
Budapest traditional food
1. Paprikás Csirke
What is Paprikás Csirke: Chicken Paprikash is a classic Hungarian main dish that you can find anywhere in Budapest. It is made with stewed chicken, and lots of paprika and served with nokedli or spätzle (Hungarian dumplings) and sour cream. There are variations of paprikash like veal and even catfish. But the chicken is the classic. Simple dish but super flavourful.
Where to eat Paprikás Csirke: Central market Hall, Gettó Gulyás, Retek Bisztro, Pörc & Prézli Étterem, Ildikó Konyhája, Frici Papa, Terv Bisztró
What is Pörkölt: Hungarian beef stew with vegetables and sweet paprika. Beef is the most popular ingredient, but some restaurants make the stew with duck, pork, or other gamey meat. Like chicken paprikash, this beef stew dish is served with nokedli or spätzle (Hungarian dumplings).
Where to eat Pörkölt: Central market Hall, Retek Bisztro, Kisharang Étkezde, Hungarikum Bisztró, Ildikó Konyhája, Róma Ételbár, Terv Bisztró
What is Lecsó: Hungarian tomato pepper stew made with wholesome vegetables (peppers, tomato, onion) and of course, paprika. It is typically a vegetarian dish, but some restaurants in Budapest might add kolbász and/or eggs. Add some homemade bread, and you got yourself a solid meal.
Where to eat Lecsó: Gettó Gulyás, Retek Bisztro, Korhely Faloda & Daloda, Róma Ételbár
4. Töltött Káposzta
What is Töltött Káposzta: Hungarian stuffed cabbage rolls start with minced pork, beef, egg, rice and paprika and everything is wrapped in sauerkraut cabbage and baked to perfection. This is a traditional dish for Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Hungary, but you can find it in some restaurants in Budapest throughout the year.
Where to eat Töltött Káposzta: Central market Hall, Retek Bisztro, Hungarikum Bisztró, Kiskakukk Restaurant
1, 2, 3 & 4. Hungarian cakes: Dobos Torta, Esterhazy Torte, Ruszwurm cream cake, Flodni
What is Dobos Torta: or Dobosh, Hungary’s famous six-layer sponge cake with five layers of chocolate cream and a hard caramel top. There’s a hint of hazelnut flavour and it is a must-try in Budapest.
What is Esterházy Torta: Hungarian layered cream cake with cognac or vanilla buttercream and layers of almond or walnut sponge cake, covered with white fondant glaze and chocolate.
What is Ruszwurm cream cake: Hungarian egg cream cake with thin layers of pastry on top and bottom. Exclusively sold at Cafe Ruszwurm.
What is Flódni: traditional Hungarian Jewish cake. There are four layers of flavours: plum jam, walnut, apple, and poppy seed. Each flavour is separated by a layer of sweet pastry.
Where to eat Hungarian cakes: Ruszwurm Confectionery, Auguszt Cukrászda Belváros, Kemenes Cukrászda és Bisztró Vámház and other traditional cafes
5 & 6. Hungarian pancakes: Palascinta and Gundel Palacsinta
What is Palacsinta: Hungarian sweet pancakes with cocoa, apricot or strawberry jam, cottage cheese, or poppy seed. The filling is placed on a thin crepe, rolled and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
What is Gundel Palacsinta: Hungarian pancakes a la Gundel is a sweet crepe filled with ground walnuts, raisins and rum in chocolate sauce. Then it is covered with a dark chocolate sauce.
Where to eat Hungarian pancakes: Kisharang Étkezde, Hungarikum Bisztró, Ildikó Konyhája, Frici Papa, Terv Bisztró
7. Somloi Galuska
What is Somlói Galuska: Hungarian sponge cake. Three flavoured (walnut, cocoa, and plain) sponge cakes, custard cream, and raisins soaked in rum are scooped into a bowl. Then it is topped with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Think of it as a Hungarian trifle.
Where to eat Somlói Galuska: Ruszwurm Confectionery, Gettó Gulyás, Pörc & Prézli Étterem, Hungarikum Bisztró, Ildikó Konyhája, Kiskakukk Restaurant, Terv Bisztró
What is Túrógombóc: Hungarian cottage cheese dumplings. They are made with cottage cheese shaped into a ball and boiled in water. Then the dumplings are covered with breadcrumbs, powdered sugar and sour cream sauce.
Where to eat Túrógombóc: Gettó Gulyás, Kisharang Étkezde, Róma Ételbár, Studel House, Kiskakukk Restaurant
What is Rétes: Hungarian strudel, a layered pastry filled with sweet or savoury fillings. Choose sweet flavours like sour cherry, apricot, plum, poppy seed, walnut or savoury flavours like cabbage, pumpkin or meat. If it is your first time trying, go for the apple strudel, a classic strudel.
Where to eat Rétes: Ruszwurm Confectionery, Pörc & Prézli Étterem, Studel House, and some cafes in Budapest
What is Gelato: Italian-styled ice cream that is popular not just in Budapest but all the world. I include gelato in this food guide because at Gelarto Rosa, each ice cream cone is shaped into a beautiful rose. I mean, look at the photo below! Also, they have unique flavours like lavender, white chocolate, strawberry-elderflower, basil lemon, sour cherry soup, and poppy.
Where to eat Gelato: Gelarto Rosa
What is Lemonade: Lemonade made with fresh lemons, soda, and water. The final concoction is infused with different flavours like strawberry, blueberry, lemongrass, orange, lime, mint, etc. Best non-alcoholic drink in Budapest.
Where to drink Lemonade: most Hungarian cafes and restaurants
What is Sör: Hungarian beer. Even though Hungary is not known for beer, but they have many varieties including everyday beers like Soproni or Dreher. Or find fancy Hungary craft beers at bars and restaurants. And try these special Hungarian beers like Szilvás (plum), Meggysör (cherry), and Málinás búzasör (raspberry).
Where to drink Sör: Hungarian cafes, restaurants, and bars and can be purchased from supermarkets and convenience stores
3 & 4. Hungarian wine: Tokaji Wine and Fröccs
What is Tokaji wine: Tokaji is Hungary’s most renowned wine region. The region produces white wine and dessert wine made from furmint grapes.
What is Fröccs: or spritzer is a mixture of white or rosé wine and soda water. It is typically a summer drink, but you can find it anytime in Budapest. There are different types of fröccs. The most common ones are small fröccs (1 wine: 1 soda ratio) and big fröccs (2 wine: 1 soda ratio).
Where to drink Hungarian wine: most Hungarian cafes and restaurants
5 & 6. Spirits and liqueurs: Pálinka and Unicum
What is Pálinka: strong fruit brandy distilled from various fermented fruits such as ágyas szilva (plum), kajszibarack (apricot) or meggypálinka (sour cherry). Sip it slowly as an aperitif or digestif.
What is Unicum: Hungarian herbal liquor made with 40 types of herbs and spices. The final blend is herbal and bittersweet in flavour. Sip it as an aperitif or digestif.
Where to drink spirits and liqueurs: most Hungarian cafes and restaurants and they can be purchased at supermarkets and convenience stores
Budapest food guide: which traditional food are you interested in trying?
There are so many things to eat in Budapest! If you are travelling solo to Budapest for a few days, you can easily try many of these Budapest local food, especially when you combine a few in one meal.
And when you follow my Budapest food guide, you can quickly find which Budapest famous food you want to try and select the restaurant you want to go to. I ate at every one of these places and highly recommend them all.
So the big question is – which must eat Budapest food are you interested in trying? Let me know in the comments.
Thank you for reading my Budapest food post
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