The 4 Best Indian Restaurants In Budapest

Budapest's Indian restaurants aren't about to set the food world on fire but this isn't surprising: the city has a small Indian expat community, and few locals seek out Indian food (though tourism from India is rising). The restaurants below 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 delicate copper tureens, there are Indian art pieces on the walls, and, somewhat bizarrely, the Hungarian waitresses wear saris in an effort to fill the high-ceilinged room with Indian vibes.

#2 Indigo Indian Restaurant

Many Indian expats in Budapest would tell you that their go-to restaurant is Indigo — an Indian restaurant hardly needs a better endorsement than that. Indigo, which opened in 2005 and also has a sister location in Buda, is a casually elegant sit-down venue not far from downtown in District 6.

#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 aren't a stickler for design and don't mind a place 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 uninviting waiting area of Punjab Tandoori restaurant in Budapest’s Újlipótváros neighborhood, a bit away from the city center. But you shouldn’t. Instead, climb the steep stairs leading 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 (the pretense-free service is direct to the point of rudeness but somehow also well-meaning).

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 donation.