We hope you come with an appetite! The dining and drinking scene here is constantly changing and improving. There are so many new places continually opening that it is hard (even for us) to keep up (but we still do our best)! This list includes many of our classic favorite spots (and some of these spots are also included in our walking tours), and most are centrally located. For the nicer restaurants we recommend making reservations in advance.
* The Roman numeral before addresses denotes the district number.
THE TASTING TABLE BUDAPEST
Before we hit you with a long list of recommendations, we’d like to invite you to come visit us at our headquarters! The Tasting Table is our shop and a tasting room centrally located (near the near the Astoria metro station and the National Museum) which focuses on unique wines from Hungary and Central Europe. Visit us to either purchase wine (we can ship wine all over Europe) or taste wine! Our sommeliers can pour more than a dozen wines by the glass (as well as wine flights) and you can sample local artisan cheese and charcuterie. We also offer tastings, tasting classes, and bi-weekly winemaker dinners. We hope to meet you here! If you have booked a Culinary Walk with us, you will finish the tour here with a wine tasting. If you have booked a Sweet & Coffeehouse Walk or a Grand Walk then the tour will begin here. And if you have booked a Jewish Cuisine & Culture Walk, then we will see you at the end of your tour for a glass of kosher pálinka!
VIII. Bródy Sándor utca 9
V. Sas utca 3, +36-1- 266-0835,
The name of this restaurant translates as “wine kitchen,” and it truly is one of the best place in town for a long, lazy dinner with lots of wine pairings. The kitchen focuses on modern Hungarian cuisine prepared from ultra-fresh ingredients, and the menu changes according to what’s available at the market. The extensive wine list features Hungary’s finest, including many from tiny estates. Even though Borkonyha is a Michelin-starred restaurant, we like that it is a casual and down-to-earth. Reservations are necessary!
VII. Erzsébet körút 43-49
Located inside of the Corinthia Hotel, this bistro is named for a Hungarian winemaker in the southern region of Villány and is manned by one of the country’s most charismatic chefs. The bistro prepares Hungarian classics (cold foie gras, veal pörkölt [stew], and chicken paprikás) reinterpreted in modern ways with offbeat flavors mixed in to surprise. Reservations are recommended!
VI. Andrássy utca 41
Owned by the Bortarsasag wine chain, Klássz has a nice (but brief) wine list and Hungarian/international menu. Located on Andrássy út, this is one of our perennial favorites, and the menu changes frequently. Reservations are not accepted, so on busy evenings you may have to wait with a glass of wine at the bar made of stacked wine boxes. A small wine shop in the back offers wine at take-away prices.
VI. Liszt Ferenc 2
This popular restaurant is retro in style, and is modeled after the idea of an old-style canteen, which so many Hungarians remember from the 1970s and 1980s. The menu is traditional Hungarian, and the huge patio right on Liszt Ferenc tér is a great place to dine when the weather is warm.
VI. Nagymező utca 14
The “Two Saracens” has an international menu, tapas, and great salads. Bors Gasztrobár VII. Kazinczy utca 10, facebook This tiny food-bar serves contemporary, creative sandwiches, soups, and pasta. Beware that at the height of lunchtime, the line can be intimidating!
V. Sas utca 17
This cozy restaurant, located near the Basilica, is a longtime local favorite and serves traditional Hungarian food in large portions. There is a long list of daily specials written on the wall. We can never resist ordering the steak tartare here, and the mixed “cold plate” appetizer is a great way to start a meal.
V. Vigyázó Ferenc utca 4
Mák specializes in contemporary Hungarian cuisine, and has a lovely selection of Hungarian wine.
IX. Csarnok tér 5,
This Hungarian restaurant (the name means “Court of Wine”) is located behind the Central Market Hall. It has a very long wine list, and a wine cellar-like basement area. KisPiac V. Hold utca 13, www.kispiac.eu This tiny restaurant specializes in fresh meat and produce sourced from the Hold Street Market next door.
V. Károlyi Mihály utca 17
In Budapest, many butchers traditionally serve a bit of hot food on the side, and have a few simple stand-up tables where customers can grab a simple and quick carnivorous lunch. This place is a modern take on that tradition, and serves wonderful meat-heavy Hungarian dishes (standing room only).
Four Seasons Gresham Palace
V. Széchenyi tér 5-6
One of Budapest’s finest art nouveau buildings, it’s worth popping into this hotel for a drink or a bite at the café, if not just to admire the architectural details.
VII. Alpár utca 5
Dining here is an experience (so be sure to allot several hours for it). Here’s the drill: the night’s ingredients are written on a chalkboard and you tell the waiter how many courses you would like….the rest will be a surprise!
VI. Zichy Jenő utca 33
Café Bouchon is a longtime favorite bistro. With lots of heavy, dark wood accents and furnishings, white tablecloths, and very serious (yet friendly) servers, it’s a good choice when you want a nice meal with all of the trappings. The menu is more-or-less traditional Hungarian, and there are many nice wines available even by the glass.
XIII. Pozsonyi út 12
Having a meal at Kiskakkuk will give you the perfect opportunity to explore this charming neighborhood, which is little visited by tourists (but loved with a passion by its residents). This section of the 13th district was once one of the city’s largest Jewish neighborhoods, and is now filled with cute cafés and shops. This traditional Hungarian restaurant has an old-school atmosphere, and a lengthy menu of classic dishes.
VIII. Kofarago utca 5
This cozy family-run Jewish restaurant is a great place to try sólet (cholent), goose leg, or brisket. Take a look around at all of the old mementos and signed souvenirs on the walls (and yes, those are statues of Stalin and Lenin in the cabinet).
VIII. Mosonyi utca 3
Owner/chef Tibor Rosenstein is one of Budapest’s most prestigious chefs, and despite its out-of-center location, Rosenstein has become a point of pilgrimage in Budapest. The place is especially known for its matzo ball soup and sólet.
VII. Klauzál tér 9
This traditional lunch-room (closed on Sundays and Mondays and only open until about 3pm) is where you can try dishes such as stuffed peppers, roasted goose leg, and cholent (only on Saturdays). The cuisine is Jewish-style, but features lots of pork!
VII. Dob utca 26
This modern Jewish bistro serves cholent every day. The goose burger is one of the signature dishes, and the Jewish Eggs are a nice way to start a meal.
The seventh district, and especially the Gozsdu Udvar area, is full of an ever-changing variety of bars. This area is also known as the home of the ruin bars. There are always new places opening (especially in the summer), and many have unmarked entrances).
VII. Kazinczy utca 14
This was the first ruin bar to open in Budapest, and is the largest. It’s signature is the roofless trabant-turned drinking booth in the center. It also has a Sunday farmer’s market, and a host of other activities and attractions make it worth visiting.
VII. Akácfa utca 47
This Jewish-themed ruin pub recently opened in an abandoned building. Centered around a courtyard, which holds tables, the bars, and the kitchen, Mazel Tov also offers a full menu of Israeli and Middle Eastern food.
VII. Akácfa utca 51
One of the many “ruin bars” in the neighborhood, this one is named for the buildings former occupant (a dentist office). Look for the giant set of teeth on the roof to guide the way.
VIII. Blaha Lujza tér 1-2
First, ruin bars were multiplying in Budapest. Next, it was rooftop bars. This rooftop bar, located on the top of the old Corvin Department Store, was the first and has wonderful views over the city. You can either walk up or take an elevator, and there are several different bars plus music.
Not far from the Margit Bridge on the Pest side, Drop Shop (V. Balassi Bálint utca 27) has knowledgeable staff pouring both Hungarian and international wines. Near the Basilica, Innio (V. Október 6. utca 9) and DiVino (V. Szent István tér 3) are worth checking out. DiVino specializes in the wines from a group known as JuniBor, which include many of the country’s top young winemakers.
VI. Paulay Ede utca 5
For a very long time there was no place to get a decent cocktail in Budapest. Boutiq’ Bar changed that, with its speakeasy atmosphere and cocktails made with top notch alcohols, artisan ingredients, and a lot of attention to detail by the bartenders who treat each drink as a work of art.
IX. Tűzoltó utca 22
If you can only visit one place to experience Budapest’s craft beer revolution, “Yeast” would be a good choice. There are 17 different craft beers on tap, mainly Hungarian, but a few international.
VI. Jókai utca 1
This busy pub has a small selection of craft beer, including tasting flights.
Kandalló Kézműves Pub
VII. Kertész utca 33
This pub focuses on all things artisanally produced in Hungary. In addition to beer you will find local wine and food created by small producers.
VII. Holló utca 12-14
The “Beer Cooler”, located in Gozsdu udvar, has six taps and a frequently changing lineup of craft beer, on tap and in bottles.
VII. Király utca 13
This slick “gastro pub” in Gozsdu udvar offers a full menu of food and beverages in its many dining/drinking areas.
Csak a Jó Sör
VII. Kertész utca 42-44
“Only the Good Beer” is the best beer shop in town (with a great selection of craft beer from around the world), and it also has a few beers on tap.
CAFES & SWEETS
V. Veres Pálné utca 31
Rachel Raj—otherwise known as Budapest’s flódni queen—serves her famous flódni here, as well as other Jewish and Hungarian sweets. This is also the headquarters of her cake design workshop, where she can custom-create whatever type of cake your heart desires.
VII. Wesselényi utca 13
Rachel Raj and her husband also own this kosher-style bakery in the Jewish Quarter, which serves the best flódni in town. Her mother owns the Judaica shop next store.
VII. Dob utca 22
This kosher bakery/cafe was once an important center of Jewish life in the district, and still attracts many visitors seeking to explore the city’s Jewish sights and history.
VI. Andrássy út 29
This traditional coffeehouse, located near the Opera House, serves great house-made desserts and coffee. Despite being updated a few years ago, the atmosphere is still reminiscent of turn-of-the-century Budapest.
V. Károlyi Mihály utca 9
This beautifully-restored traditional coffeehouse was once a favorite meeting place of Hungary’s literary elite. It now has been gorgeously restored after being closed for many years during Communism. In addition to offering wonderful desserts and coffee, the café has a nice full menu and a small wine list. A visit here is a must, whether for a full meal or just an espresso.
New York Café
VII. Erzsébet körút 9-11
This is the most opulent coffeehouse in Budapest, and it has played an enormous role in Hungarian literary history. It’s worth seeing, however it has lost much of its charm since becoming a part of the Boscolo Hotel (and coffee here is among the city’s priciest).
V. Múzeum körút 5
This tiny space across from the National Museum satisfies the need for a great shot of espresso (though beware that the service is not fast!)
V. Arany János utca 15
This lovely café serves some of the best coffee in town, as well as great French-style pastries.
VII. Rumbach Sebestyén utca 10
This design shop is a great place to pick up some local souvenirs, while sipping a coffee from their coffee counter.
My Little Melbourne
VII. Madách Imré út 3
This tiny, cute café takes its inspiration from Australian coffee culture.
V. Vörösmarty tér 7
Budapest’s grandest patisserie has a long history, and was once counted many members of the Habsburg family as regulars. It is elegant, historic, and expensive (and also filled with tourists), however the pastries and chocolates are top-notch.
VI. Paulay Ede utca 48
This contemporary patisserie has a modern line of desserts which changes themes every year.
XIII. Pozsonyi út 9
The flagship shop of Hungary’s oldest chocolate brand, which has been revived, features a great variety of their products in their iconic packaging.
V. Királyi Pál utca 6
This small handcrafted chocolate manufacturer, run by a husband/wife team, is one of our favorites (and is a regular stop on our Culinary Walk). They have bonbons in unusual flavors (as well as some very Hungarian flavors), and their packaging is gorgeous (as it should be, since one of the owners is a former designer).
V. Kossuth Lajos utca 14-16
The Auguszt family has patisseries in three locations (the other two are in Buda). This is Budapest’s oldest family-run cukrászda, and perhaps the best! We especially love their krémes, Dobos torta, and Eszterházy torta. Be sure to poke around the rest of the building, as there are many contemporary artists and designers with shops inside, which are well worth a visit.
VII. Károly körút 3
With a wide range of rotating flavors, this ice cream shop keeps us coming back again and again when Budapest is steaming hot.
Central Market Hall
V. Vámház körút 1-3
The city’s largest covered food market, built at the end of the 19th century.
Hunyadi téri Piac
VI. Hunyadi tér
Smaller than the Central Market, this one is a local favorite, with a band of supporters who have prevented several planned reconstructions which would have damaged its character. There’s a great lángos stand inside, and a farmer’s market outside on Saturdays and on a few weekdays.
V. Hold utca 13
This market, a short walk from the lovely Szabadság tér (Liberty Square) has recently been renewed, and upgraded. It is well on its way to becoming a new culinary center in Budapest.
I. Krisztina tér 3
On the opposite side of the Buda Caste, Déryné is located inside of what used to be Buda’s grandest patisserie, before it was nationalized during Communism. Now, the restaurant attracts lots of prominent business people and local celebrities. It serves great food (including breakfast), and the house bakery makes wonderful bread and pastries.
Magyar 21 Étterem
I. Fortuna utca 21
Located in the Castle, this Hungarian restaurant serves updated versions of classic Hungarian dishes.
I. Országház u. 31
Located inside the Baltazár Boutique Hotel, this restaurant has quirky décor, a great location up in the Castle, and a nice wine list. The focus of the menu is grilled foods, and the kitchen has a fancy grill which nicely accomplishes this goal.
I. Buda Castle, Halászbástya Northern Tower
Located in the Fisherman’s Bastion, you cannot ask for a better view than this. This place is a good choice for a special occasion, or a splurge.
XII. Városmajor utca 75
Most travelers (as well as Pest-side residents) tend to neglect Buda. True, there are less restaurants on the Buda side of the river, but there are plenty of reasons to get out of Pest for a bit. This charming little restaurant is one of them. Wine lovers will appreciate the well-thought wine list which has many unique wines from small producers. The menu features ingredients from artisan producers around the country, and changes frequently.
I. Csalogány utca 26
Csalogány 26 is named for its address. The best way to do a dinner here is to settle in and order one of the four or eight course tasting menus, which are a mix of Hungarian dishes with international influences. To keep you entertained, there is a television screen in the dining room on which you can see what is cooking on the stove in the kitchen.
II. Ganz utca 6
Off the beaten track (behind the Király bath house), this tiny no-frills bar has a long list of Hungarian and international craft beers.
XI. Szent Gellért tér 3
The “Bottle” wine bar is a friendly place to head on the Buda side to sample a good selection of Hungarian wine. There are frequent tasting events, and acoustic musical performances.
II. Frankel Leó út 2-4
We don’t recommend Bambi for its culinary merits, but rather for the fact that it is like a relic from the 1960s, where nothing seems to have changed. Almost like visiting a museum.
II. Frankel Leó út 11,
This charming café, located on the Buda side of Margaret Bridge, is a favorite of neighborhood locals, for breakfast, light snacks, coffee, and ice cream (during the summer).
II. Pusztaszeri utca 50
This busy bakery is out-of-center in Óbuda, but it is a Budapest institution, with the long lines on weekends to prove it. The selection is huge, and there is a wide variety of whole cakes available as well. In the summer, Daubner’s ice cream is reason alone to travel across town.
Fény utcai Piac
II. Lövőház utca 12
This market hall on the Buda side holds several excellent butchers, including one that specializes in Mangalica (on the upper level).