The 9 Best Bakeries in Budapest

For every handmade sourdough loaf and pillowy chocolate pastry, there are dozens of dreadful alternatives at Budapest's bland bakery chains. But a small group of bakers, many of them recently returned from abroad, are committed to changing the status quo using top ingredients and updated recipes. Be it a local favorite like the cottage cheese-filled túrós batyu or a cardamom bun, you're unlikely to be disappointed by the bakeries below.

#1 Arán Bakery

Arán, which means "bread" in Old Irish, is a pricey craft bakery in Budapest's hip Jewish Quarter run by Kinga and Attila Pécsi. The couple spent a decade living in Ireland and it was there that Kinga mastered her baking skills. Arán lives up to its moniker: the whole wheat, rye, and white breads are all wonderful, imparting the signature, slightly sour taste of long-fermented sourdough. On Fridays, they also make kalács, a sweet roll similar to a challah.

#2 Artizán Bakery

Specializing in sourdough breads and morning pastries, Artizán is one of the top craft bakeries in Budapest. Under the helm of Gergő Fekete, who honed his skills in countries across Western Europe, in 2015 Artizán has brought a new level of expertise to a city where dreary bakery chains and bland croissants are still the standard.

#3 Pékműhely Bartók

Pékműhely's motto — "all you need for a good bread is excellent flour, water, salt, sourdough, and a pinch of love" — neatly encapsulates the candid spirit of this unassuming Budapest bakery, which has two additional locations apart from this one. Unlike other craft bakeries with on-trend minimalist design, here the focus is purely on the treasures of the oven.

#4 Vaj

Vaj, which translates to "butter," is a spacious all-day bakery located a bit outside the city center by Rákóczi tér. The sprawling glass display is crowded with flaky, steaming, and aromatic breakfast pastries, breads, and bagels just come out of the oven. Some people claim that Vaj serves Budapest's best túrós táska, a traditional Hungarian pastry filled with sweet-tart túró. I wouldn't go that far (more stuffing please!), but it's very good, as is pretty much everything else here: the pain au chocolat, the pistachio croissant, the apple and vanilla-topped danish, the plum and pecan-sprinkled roll. The only downside is the prices, which are so high that most locals in Budapest can't afford to come here.

#5 nor/ma

Nor/ma is a hip craft bakery in Budapest serving the usual suspects of contemporary international bakery staples like cardamom buns and filled croissants. And sourdoughs of course: If you glance behind the counter, you can watch as beautifully crusted loaves of rye, oat, and whole wheat breads emerge from the electric oven.

#6 Három Tarka Macska Bakery

Három Tarka Macska is a fashionable bakery located in the heart of Újlipótváros, a well-off residential area near the Danube. Step inside, and a paradise of aromatic and still-steaming sourdough, whole wheat, and rye breads, brioches, and rolls in all shapes and sizes await you. The two must-try local favorites are the túrós batyu (a sweet-tart cottage cheese-filled laminated pastry) and the kakaós csiga (a snail-shaped chocolate pastry roll).

#7 Freyja - the croissant story

A hipster paradise, Freyja bakery brings a pocket of East Williamsburg to Budapest complete with tattooed bakers, bearded baristas, and minimalist design elements. And, unfortunately, prices too. Freyja specializes in croissants, which are among the best you'll find in Budapest: rich and flaky and buttery. Every three months, they rotate the fillings, but you'll usually find pistachio cream, marzipan, and raspberry jam among the options (some savory stuffings are also available). There's new-wave coffee and enough space to linger.

#8 Butter Brothers

Opened in 2012, Butter Brothers has been putting out sourdough breads and expertly made croissants for longer than most Budapest bakeries. Today, you can still get a tasty whole wheat loaf or kakaós csiga (chocolate roll) here, but not all pastries stand up to the ambitious new bakeries around town.

#9 Jacques Liszt

In 2012, Mihály Juhász decided to leave his cushy corporate job as a lawyer and instead try his hand at baking. This bold move seems to have paid off as Mr. Juhász's tiny craft bakery, Jacques Liszt, hiding on a downtown backstreet, has become a popular destination for bread aficionados in Budapest.

Rankings are based on a combination of food/drink, atmosphere, service, and price. To remain unbiased, I visit all places incognito and pay for my own meals and drinks. I also never accept money in exchange for coverage. But this means I must rely on readers to support my work. If you've enjoyed this article, please consider making a one-time payment (PayPal) or becoming an Offbeat Patron.