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 stew, Moroccoan chicken tangine, and traditional khachapuri Adjaruli. Enough said.

#1 Darband Persian restaurant

Many Iranian residents in Budapest would tell you that Darband is the city's best Persian restaurant. The nondescript entrance and the below-ground, modest space belie the wonderful dishes that come out of the restaurant's kitchen. The dining booths that line Darband's rather drab interior are each named after an old Tehran street. More importantly, both the restaurant's owner and its head chef are Iranian natives.

#2 Byblos Budapest

Byblos is an elegant Middle Eastern restaurant perched 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, and the other usual suspects of Levantine cuisine.

#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. Due to its geographic location, 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.

#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, dimly lit interior — complete with vintage furnishings and hardwood floors — will make you want to enter.

#6 Al Amir Arabic Restaurant

Unhurried groups of elderly Arab regulars tend to socialize at Al-Amir, 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; note that hookahs aren't allowed in the summer for business reasons.)

#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 a chic interior complete with lush greenery and sleek wood paneling.

#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 central parts of the city. The menu consists of an eclectic mix of Mediterranean dishes spanning from Middle Eastern (mezes like hummus, labneh, and baba ganoush) to Spanish (cerdo con salsa de Jerez), and even Georgian (grilled eggplant) items.

#9 Falafel Bar

If you’re looking for quick and affordable Middle Eastern fare in Budapest's party district, Falafel Bar is your best bet. This unfussy place, with both takeout and sit-down options, serves hearty portions of shawarma, sabich, kebab, and various hummus plates. The must-have dish here is the namesake falafel plate (€6), where the deep-fried chickpea balls are exactly as they should be: crunchy on the outside, creamy inside. They’re the best I’ve had in Budapest.

#10 San Da Vinci

Before long, all visitors to Budapest will notice the countless, painfully overlit gyro vendors swarming the city, hawking cheap chicken and lamb gyros to drunk bachelor party tourists. At first, San Da Vinci, located along the highway-like Rákóczi Road near the city center, looks like just another gyro joint, but it turns out to be a lot worthier venue.

#11 Leila's Authentic Lebanese Cuisine

Opened by a Lebanese-Estonian couple in 2018, Leila’s Authentic Lebanese Cuisine is tucked away on a quiet 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, crammed 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.

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.