For those of you who wonder how is food in Budapest, let me tell you: Hungarians take their food very seriously, so finding good food in Budapest it’s not a problem. There are countless eateries, cafés, and bistros, all bragging about the excellent food they serve. However, finding quality traditional Hungarian restaurants in Budapest that are also a good value is not that easy.
12 Best Traditional Hungarian Restaurants in Budapest
With such a plethora of choices, it’s easy to get confused and fall into a tourist trap. Especially in the city center, or in the Old Town area. We know that from our own experience. With that in mind, I decided to put together a list of the best Hungarian restaurants in Budapest which we tried ourselves on many occasions.
Best Fine Dining Hungarian Restaurants in Budapest
If you are looking for a fine dining experience and not just having a meal, the following three restaurants are a great choice for memorable dinner in Budapest:
Gundel is Budapest’s most famous Hungarian restaurant: Hungarian cuisine at its finest! The restaurant serves the best and most authentic Hungarian food. It is also one of the oldest restaurants in Budapest, with an outstanding dining room.
The restaurant has been standing proud at its current location for over 150 years. Gundel has an old culinary tradition and serves some of the most delicious Hungarian dishes that I have ever tasted. You can order à la carte, or a prix fixe menu (with up to eight courses). Each corse is paired up with the wine that best compliments the food.
The restaurant also has a gypsy band that plays a wide variety of music, from old Hungarian folk songs, to waltzes and modern hits. Excellent food, good service, nice atmosphere, but very high prices. A dinner for two may cost anywhere from $450-$600, depending on the kind of wine you order.
On the downside, the food portions are rather small, so you are more or less forced to order more courses if you don’t want to leave with an empty stomach. But I guess you don’t go to Gundel to eat, you go for a culinary experience. Dress code is high end casual. Don’t show up without a blazer!
Address: 14th district, Gundel Károly street 4, Budapest
Halászbástya Étterem (Fishermen’s Bastion Restaurant)
If you want to dine Budapest Old Town, you should give the Fishermen’s Bastion Restaurant a try. Perched high up on the wall of the Fisherman’s Bastion, Halászbástya Étterem is one of the fanciest Hungarian restaurants in Budapest, enjoying a royal interior and the best location in town. Great panoramic city views and live gypsy music.
In summer you can enjoy a drink on the terrace. The central section of the restaurant features the Knight Hall, with a round expandable table that can accommodate a party up to 25 guests.
Food is good (but not excellent), the atmosphere is nice and romantic, but prices are high. This is the ideal place if you want to impress your date, or if you want to propose.
Address: Fisherman’s Bastion, North Tower, Buda Castle
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This bistro style restaurant is very popular among the locals and almost totally unknown to the visitors. Located in a residential neighborhood in Buda, Csalogány 26 is so well hidden that you can easily miss it.
Don’t be fooled by its unassuming appearance and non-ceative name (named after the address). Csalogány 26 is one of Budapest top ten restaurants, despite its remote location.
The food they serve is absolutely divine! They have a great selection of wines. You can choose from an à la carte menu or a prix fixe menu with several courses paired up with wine.
Prices are high, but the portions are reasonable. I ordered a single entree from the à la carte menu and didn’t leave feeling hungry. The restaurant is small and intimate, with a very cozy atmosphere. Service is great too.
Address: Csalogany utca 26, Budapest 1015, Hungary (District I / Buda)
Best Moderately Priced Hungarian Restaurants in Budapest
Hungarian food is one of the reasons we keep going back to Budapest almost every year. But we can’t always afford the fancy Gundel! The good news is that you don’t have to burn a hole in your pocket to have a good meal in this city. There are quite a few reasonably priced Hungarian restaurants in Budapest where even (where even the locals eat), which will satisfy both your taste buds and lust for luxury.
Bagolyvár Restaurant (The Owl’s Castle)
The Owl’s Castle is a cheaper version of Gundel (has the same owner and shares a kitchen with the much more expensive establishment). The restaurant which is exclusively run by women, is located just a stone throw away from Gundel, in a reproduction of a Transylvanian house from the 19th century.
The restaurant serves both lunch and dinner and also has a patio that is opened during the summer months.
For dinner the restaurant has live piano music, alternated with short appearances of the the gypsy orchestra from Gundel. The food is wonderful, reasonably priced, and the service is good too. This is a better alternative for Gundel if you are looking for a great place to eat.
Address: Allatkerti ut 2, Budapest 1146
Mátyás Pince (Matthias Cellar)
Matthias Cellar is one of the oldest and most traditional restaurants in Budapest. The restaurant was named after Matthias Corvinus, one of the most beloved Hungarian kings.
The restaurant is located in a former brewery, very close to pedestrian Vaci utca right next to the Danube. Although very touristy, the restaurant preserved its atmospheric authenticity.
They serve good, traditional Hungarian food. A Gypsy band plays here every night, from 7 PM to midnight. Prices are a little high, but the restaurant is still a good value. It also serves lunch on week-ends.
Address: H-1056 Budapest, Március 15. tér 7
Note: Mátyás Pince restaurant is temporarily closed due to renovation.
Best Inexpensive Hungarian Restaurants in Budapest
While it’s so easy to overspend on fancy restaurants, it’s a little harder to find cheap places to eat that are also a good value. But if you know where to go, you don’t have to compromise on your dining experience. So let me give you a couple of suggestions for good and inexpensive Hungarian restaurants in Budapest.
This little tavern located close to the Nagy Vasarcsarnok (Central Market Hall) is one of our favorite pubs in Budapest. Rakoczi Restaurant is cosy place nice good service, decent Hungarian food, and excellent prices.
Try their goulash or the crispy veal schnitzel (€9). I also love their túrós palacsinta (crepes filled with sweet-tart cottage cheese).
The locale is totally unpretentious, but very atmospheric and is frequented mainly by the locals. If all you want is a tasty, hearty meal after a day of sightseeing, you won’t be disappointed here.
Address: Budapest, Rákóczi tér 9, 1084 Hungary
Frici Papa Kifözdéje (Papa Frank’s Canteen)
Frici Papa is favored by visitors and locals alike for its low-priced Hungarian dishes. The prices are truly rock-bottom, even by local standards, but the food is not bad at all! The restaurant has an old-school vibe, with waiters dressed like they were dropped here from the 80s.
This no-nonsense place certainly won’t win any awards for class, but if it’s cheap, no-frills food you’re after, Frici Papa fits the bill.
Address: Budapest, Király u. 55, 1077 Hungary
If you are looking for a cozy restaurant that serves traditional Hungarian dishes at very reasonable prices, Retek Bistro in Budapest is your place. This is a family-business traditional Hungarian restaurant with typical home style meals and friendly service.
They serve the traditional gulas soup, stuffed sour cabbage, crispy duck leg and many other Hungarian delights.
Address: Merleg utca 10., Budapest 1051 Hungary
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Famous Cafés in Budapest
Located at Vörösmarty Square (at one end of the pedestrian Vaci street), Café Gerbeaud is one of Budapest’s landmarks.
Today the legendary Gerbeaud tries hard to hang on to its old glory. Unfortunately, what was once Budapest’s finest café and the meeting place of the city’s elite, became a very touristy and overpriced café.
Still, if you want to see one of the most traditional coffee houses in Europe, you should stop here for a Sisi cave (Sisi coffee). The grandeur of its chandelier-lit rooms covered with red velvet may justify your money.
Address: Budapest, Vörösmarty tér 7-8, 1051 Hungary
Café New York
Another historic café in Budapest that was the gathering place of famous artist figures is Café New York. Built at the end of the 19th century, this architectural gem went through some bizarre transformations over the years.
During the Communist era, the place became a sporting goods store (of all things!) In 1954 it reopened as a restaurant and was renamed Hungaria. In 1989 it finally became a café again and reopened under its current name.
Café New York is located on the ground floor of the New York Palace Hotel. Its rich and opulent decor is stunning. Everywhere you turn you see marble, bronze, silk, crystal, and velvet. The café still maintains the old time tradition of serving coffee on silver trays.
Prices are very high (around 980 HUF/$4 for a regular coffee and 2000 HUF/$8 for a slice of cake). Even so, this place is worth seeing, at least for the sake of enjoying the ambiance of a great coffee house.
Address: Budapest, Erzsébet krt. 9-11, 1073
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The 200-year old family-run café is the oldest existing pastry shop in the city. Their delicious pastries and coffee make your mouth water.
Located in the Castle District, the tiny café still operates with great success. Ruszwurm is owned by the Szamos family, a famous confectionary dynasty.
Prices are moderate to high, service is good. Due to its fame and location, it is always a challenge to find a table here.
Address: Budapest, Szentháromság u. 7, 1014
Europa Café is another famous coffee house in Budapest, serving a big selection of pastries and sweets. The café has both inside and outside sitting and is very popular among the locals.
Europe Café is located on Szent Istvan körut, opposite one of Budapest’s most famous venues –the Comedy Theater. The atmosphere is reminiscent of the small Parisian cafés where the old timers meet to catch up with each other.
Prices are moderate, service is good and the atmosphere is very pleasant. Because of its proximity to our apartment in Budapest, we visit the café quite often when we are in town. But even if you don’t stay in the area this place is definitely worth a visit.
Address: Budapest, Váci u. 45, 1056
And while you are in Budapest, check out their famous Ruin Pubs, a series of quirky bars and nightclubs opened in abandoned buildings.
Headed to Budapest? You may find these helpful:
Budapest Practical Information for First Time Visitors
Buda or Pest? Where to Stay in Budapest as a Tourist
10 Interesting Facts About Budapest
How to Spend a Magical Holiday in Budapest in Winter
Prague vs. Budapest: How to Decide Which One to Visit?
Mr. Prakash Chandra Devkota
So, if I ever travel to Budapest, I will have no trouble finding somewhere to dine. I appreciate you sharing your wealth of expertise on this. I’ll keep this article in my travel folder for when I eventually visit this lovely-looking city.
Glad my article gave you some good suggestions. Budapest is indeed a wonderful city to visit with hundreds of good eateries. Hope you’ll visit it sometimes.
I stayed in Budapest for almost 4 days some 5-6 years ago. Even though I live pretty near (just cross the border to Romania), I explored Budapest only once. But I remember how much I enjoyed the food scene and tasting a variety of local dishes for the daily menu (napi menu). My plan is to go again to Budapest and explore more of the capital and then I will certainly try the restaurants you shared here. Europa Cafe looks fabulous – I’d like to have my cup of coffee there watching people passing by.
Hope you will get to see the Europa Café, Iuliana. It has delicious cakes.
I found your article very educational. I’m headed to Budapest and I’ll try to eat in some of these restaurants.
As a local, none of these are places locals eat. They are almost 100% tourist…and many overpriced and overrated
I agree, Chris, some of them are a little overrated but still worth visiting. When you are a visitor to a city like Budapest, you are not looking for the hole-in-the-wall-good-food restaurant, but rather to a place where you can enjoy some authentic food and a good atmosphere. My relatives in Budapest took me to some of the locals’ favorites, but I haven’t enjoyed them as much. Besides, we had to travel far outside the center of the city to get to them.
Whilst I’m not sure I could pronounce the names of most of these restaurants, they all look great! I’d like to visit Mattias Cellar as it looks so cosy
Ha,ha,ha, I hear you Suze. These Hungarian names are really hard to pronounce, but the food they serve is so tasty!
Saving this list, Anda. I have not been to Budapest (or Hungary) but it is high on my list (and I know about the spas:)
Yea, their spas are great indeed, Victoria. But the food is even better.
Looks like some really classy places here! I can’t wait to get to Budapest and chow down on some of these amazing eats.
I believe you won’t be disappointed, Kevin.
Everything about your experience in Budapest is magical. Looks interesting. Further photos are really beautiful. Hope you have a great fun!
You know I love to eat so, I enjoy reading about places to eat in different cities. We found the food in Budapest absolutely delicious. We liked everything we ate there. We had several Hungarian dishes at several restaurants and we bought food at the Great Market Hall. #TheWeeklyPostcard
Yum, many of those sound really delicious, do you have a favorite? Will have to keep this list in mind whenever we get to Budapest!
Wow, what beautiful restaurants! I’m hoping to visit within the next year, I’ll have to keep this in mind! Thanks so much for the great reviews.
I loved the food in Budapest but I can’t remember the restaurants we went to.
Hmmm…. you probably didn’t go to any memorable ones then.
I loved exploring Budapest’s food scene. Looks like I need to go back and eat some more.
I can’t imagine Café New York as a sporting goods store but I guess the communists could. I like the opulence of many of the restaurants. Thanks for honest opinions on the quality and value of the food options in Budapest. This information is invaluable to the traveller.
Thank you Rhonda. I’m glad you appreciate my honesty about that. I like to tell people what they can expect when they go to a place a recommend.
Oh, boy! This is perfect or my upcoming trip to Budapest! Pinning and studying (mouth watering!).
Haven’t been to all of these, but I agree with you on Gerbeaud. It used to be our favorite place to eat and especially have some traditional Hungarian pastries and perfect coffee… but the last few times we visited, it felt different, it lost something. The old “call something paradise, kiss it goodbye”; it became too well-known, too touristy. Your list is great, thanks for putting it together.
Thanks, Emese. I am with you on that. Google became a little touristy too. This is partly because of the huge prices they charge for food. Locals can’t afford to come there anymore, unless is a business meeting and the employer pays. Pretty sad.
They all look enticing -and interesting! I think I’d have to be wary of eating too much, especially the sweets. And I think I’d definitely love the place with the gypsy band.
Now I want to dress up in my best 1920s-style dress and have a meal at Gundel! It looks like the dining room is straight out of the old world and you’d totally feel like you were in another time if you visited.
Hahaha, you are right. Gundel feels like that kind of place.
This is a great resource for visiting Budapest! I think Mátyás Pince is at the top of my must-visit list with the gypsy music and folk dances! And then Ruszwurm, of course! Good coffee and pastries? Count me in!
Yea, I hear you. I’m the same way: I love sweets.
I’m not much of a foodie, but I’d eat at any of these places! I am like you..the sweets get me every time. Great list! Thanks!
I have a friend who lives in Budapest and she said you did a wonderful job on this list! There are a few places that you mentioned that she had already added to our list of things to do when I visit. This one goes in the travel folder!
Thank you, Mia. I hope you’ll enjoy some of these place on your next visit to Budapest.
Have been to Budapest before but never really was on the look out for restaurants & cafes. It is however one of the cities that I’d love to go & visit again for a longer period so this should be handy! Definitely won’t be going for a USD500 dinner though, even if it’s for two ?
I absolutely love the food in Budapest – I couldn’t live there because i’d eat all of the delicious cakes all of the time. I remember going to Café Gerbeaud and our hotel was next to Cafe New York.
Well I am definitely set for places to eat when I visit Budapest someday. Thanks for sharing your expert knowledge on this Anda. I’ll be saving this post in my travel file for when I one day get to this beautiful looking city.
Hope you’ll get to visit Budapest, Jen, and eat in some of these fine places.
These look amazing. I will mark this for when I go to Budapest. I think Szlovák Söröző will be my first stop.
Budapest is definitely on my bucket list! This list looks great and I love the architecture of every place.
Definitely bookmarking! I haven’t been to Budapest yet so this is a great list on places we should check out. Love that these are less touristy places.
I’m terrible. Even though I lived there for a couple years I never made it to any of these. I went to a networking even at the New York Hotel which had food so I sort of ate there but not really. I’ve heard of most of them though. Great list!
You should try to visit one of these restaurants if you go back to Budapest.
What a great list of restaurants! I love the ceiling decor in Mátyás Pince. I’ll have to make sure to go try some these when I travel to Budapest.
Excellent pictures! I love how you really bring out the character of the sites you photograph.