The 12 Best Middle Eastern Restaurants in Budapest

We've compiled Budapest's best Middle Eastern, Northern African, Persian, and Georgian restaurants, so you can gorge yourself on creamy hummus, crunchy falafel, fresh fattoush salad, herby ghormeh sabzi, Moroccoan chicken tagine, and traditional khachapuri Adjaruli. 'Nuff said!

#1 Darband Persian restaurant

Iranian residents in Budapest would tell you that among the half a dozen options, Darband is the city's top Persian restaurant. The nondescript entrance and the modest below-ground space belie some of the wonderful dishes that come out of the restaurant's kitchen, whose head chef is an Iranian native.

#2 Byblos Budapest

Byblos is an elegant Middle Eastern restaurant tucked away on a quite side street just minutes from the heart of downtown Budapest. Syrian natives Osama and Mohamad Kutaini, brothers who previously worked at a nearby five star hotel restaurant, oversee the operations. The extensive menu features cold and hot mezze, salads, grilled meats, desserts, and there's also water pipes for hookah fans on the upstairs level (Byblos does serve alcohol, too).

#3 Aragvi Restaurant

If you’re looking to dip your toe into the varied cuisine of Georgia in Budapest, Aragvi, named after a Georgian river, is a good place to start. Georgian cuisine reflects Persian, Turkish, and Levantine influences, so brace yourself for a sea of herbs (parsley, coriander, tarragon, dill, mint), vegetables (eggplants, spinach, beets), walnut paste, and pomegranate seeds that somehow manage to be almost unfailingly tasty. Note that Aragvi is occasionally home to traditional Georgian supra festivities so don't be surprised if you find yourself in the middle of a lively dinner banquet celebration with copious amounts of food and alcohol. The restaurant is located in Buda, reachable from downtown Pest by public transport within 20 minutes.

#4 DOBRUMBA

When I want to impress my friends that Budapest has restaurants as hip as those in New York's East Village, I take them out to DOBRUMBA. With a chic crowd, effortlessly cool design, and a Middle Eastern menu, DOBRUMBA is a wildly popular restaurant inside Budapest's buzzing Jewish Quarter. The place is especially enjoyable in the warmer months when the oversized windows swing open and ear-catching electronic music wafts into the street.

#5 Babka Budapest

Babka is a Middle-Eastern restaurant in Budapest named after the Ashkenazi Jewish bready cake originating in Eastern Europe. Perhaps the restaurant's moniker is a hat-tip to the neighborhood, which is home to much of Budapest’s middle-class Jewish residents. The snug, dim interior complete with vintage furnishings and hardwood floors is very inviting.

#6 Al Amir Arabic Restaurant

Unhurried groups of elderly Arab regulars tend to socialize at Al-Amir, surely a good sign for a Syrian restaurant in downtown Budapest. Al-Amir marries a counter-service with a sit-down restaurant (most upscale is the downstairs section, usually taken up by hookah-smokers during the cold months; hookahs aren't allowed in the summer).

#7 Mazel Tov Budapest

Head to Mazel Tov if you like the ruin bar concept in theory but prefer things more upscale. This Middle Eastern restaurant inside Budapest's buzzing Jewish Quarter does have a disintegrating facade like other ruin bars, but the inside is a different story: Cheap drinks have been upgraded to cocktails, ham & cheese sandwiches to mezze plates, self-service to hostesses, and weathered furnishings to modern fittings with lush greenery.

#8 Vas Manci

Vas Manci is a teeny-tiny neighborhood restaurant tucked away on a side street near Budapest's Palace Quarter. This vegetable-forward restaurant is far enough from downtown to avoid the throngs of tourists and sky-high prices, but easily within walking distance from the city center. The small, dim space with cozy nooks makes it a great date spot. The menu consists of Mediterranean dishes spanning Middle Eastern, Spanish, and Georgian dishes.

#9 Falafel Bar

Falafel Bar is your best bet for quick and affordable Middle Eastern fare in Budapest's party district. This unfussy place, which does both takeout and sit-down, serves hearty portions of shawarma, sabich, kebab, and various hummus plates. The must-have dish here is the namesake falafel platter (€6) sporting deep-fried chickpea balls that are crunchy on the outside and creamy inside. For a quick snack, I usually order the sabich (€3), an Israeli vegetarian pita packing fried eggplants, vegetables, tahini sauce, and a hard-boiled egg.

#10 San Da Vinci

Before long, all visitors to Budapest will notice the countless, painfully overlit gyro vendors swarming the city and hawking low-priced sandwiches of mediocre quality. At first glance, San Da Vinci, located along the highway-like Rákóczi út near the city center, looks like one of those but it turns out to be a lot worthier venue.

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're enjoying this article, please consider making a donation.

#11 Leila's Authentic Lebanese Cuisine

Opened by a Lebanese-Estonian couple in 2018, Leila’s restaurant is tucked away on a quiet Budapest backstreet in District 6, near downtown. With Lebanese and Syrian cooks in the kitchen, Leila’s is indeed an authentic restaurant, using traditional recipes and spices — most plates are abundantly dressed in parsley, sumac, thyme, and lemon juice.

#12 TLV Eatery

I don’t know why, but it’s the Middle Eastern restaurants in Budapest that seem to get it right — following the spectacular successes of Mazel Tov and Dobrumba, now TLV, which is also located in the old Jewish Quarter, managed to create the type of buzzy and approachably hip restuarant that's so easy to like. You know, with dim lighting, booming music, cramped tables, and a fashionable service staff. Unfortunately, I also have some serious warnings for you, but let's start with the positive: the open-fire grill. Because the best things at TLV are the smoke-kissed dishes arriving straight from the charcoal grill. For example, the crunchy cauliflower (€8), first cooked tender then coated in splotches of char over fire. Also good, though undersized, are the spicy grilled vegetables (€4) — zucchini, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms — and the chicken thigh skewers (€6).

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.