The 4 Best Indian Restaurants In Budapest

Budapest's Indian restaurants aren't about to set the food world on fire, but this shouldn't surprise you: the city has a small Indian expat community, and few locals seek out Indian food (though tourism from India is rising). The below restaurants serve the usual suspects of northern Indian fare, including reliably prepared tandoori chicken, korma dishes, butter chicken, biryani, saag paneer, and dal makhani.

#1 Taj Mahal

Located a bit outside the city center in District 6, Taj Mahal is one of, if not the best Indian restaurants in Budapest, specializing in north Indian fare. They serve food from pretty copper tureens, there are Indian art pieces on the walls, and, somewhat bizarrely, the Hungarian waitresses wear saris to fill the high-ceilinged room with Indian vibes.

#2 Indigo Indian Restaurant

Many local Indian expats would tell you that their go-to Indian restaurant in Budapest is Indigo, and an Indian restaurant hardly needs better points of reference. Indigo is toward the higher end of the narrow range of Indian restaurants in Budapest, although now there are many more places than in 2005 when Indigo opened (a few years ago Indigo launched a sister location on the Buda side).

#3 Shalimar Indian Restaurant

If there was a competition for the least inviting restaurant interior, Shalimar would be a serious contender, but it turns out that this decor-deprived space, which is one of the oldest Indian restaurants in Budapest, serves delicious northern Indian (Mughlai) fare. So, if you don't mind a bare-bones space that's rarely more than half-full, go right ahead, and good things will come your way.

#4 Punjab Tandoori Indian Restaurant

Your first impulse might be to turn around as soon as you step inside the modest waiting area of Punjab Tandoori restaurant in Budapest’s Újlipótváros neighborhood, a bit away from the center city. But you shouldn’t. Instead, climb the steep stairs that lead to the low-ceilinged, cluttered dining room, where you'll sit elbow-to-elbow with fellow diners. Somehow this humble and sweltering space manages to be cozy, almost intimate. This isn't the best Indian restaurant in Budapest, but it's definitely the quirkiest.

Rankings are based on a combination of food/drink, atmosphere, service, and price. The author visits all restaurants incognito and pays for his own meals and drinks.