7 of My Favorite Pizza Shops in Budapest

In the past decade, Budapest has experienced a pizza revolution: Many dedicated pizza shops have mastered the art of pizza-making, using longer fermentations, natural leavenings, and choice ingredients from Italy. The deliciously pliant Naples-style – charred and puffy crust, moist center – is especially popular currently. Here, the best pizzerias in Budapest.

Pizza Manufaktura is a hip pizza shop in Budapest’s District 9 near the city center. The place makes no secret about its coolness: hipster twentysomethings scurry behind the counter while loud music blares from the speakers. Their pizzas, made with an electric oven, fall between the Roman and the Neapolitan style – the crust is soft and doughy with some air pockets and charred spots, but the texture is firm enough to hold the slice in your hand.

I enjoyed most the Paprika János, named after an outlandish puppet figure, layering paprika-laced crispy sausage, bacon, spicy green peppers, and onions. Another standout is Tükör, coated in a creamy poached egg atop a base of tomato sauce, prosciutto, bacon, and mozzarella. Thanks to wallet-friendly price points, students from the nearby Corvinus University tend to fill the space to capacity so expect some wait at midday (local craft beers are available to help pass the time).

Pizzica is a small pizza shop in Budapest specializing in pizza al taglio the Roman rectangular-shaped slices that are cut with a scissor and usually taken to-go. The de Bartolomeo brothers, natives from Southern Italy, run this tiny and beloved takeout joint in District 6; on most days you'll find them sliding cast-iron pans in and out of an electric oven.

Pizzica uses a moist, high-gluten dough, which, after a long fermentation, rises into a chewy, focaccia-like texture interspersed with air pockets and boasting a crispy crust. The ever-changing toppings might include tomato sauce, mortadella, arugula, sausage, mushrooms, and truffles. They go for about €2 apiece, and two or three slices are all you need. There’s a wooden bench outside, a few tables upstairs where local artworks adorn the walls, but most people take theirs to go in Roman fashion.

Moto is a lively pizza shop smack in the middle of Budapest’s fashionable Jewish Quarter on Madách tér (with two additional locations in the city). Order at the bar, then try to snag a table by the floor-to-ceiling windows made for people-watching the busy sidewalk. A dozen or so pizzas are available, all of them the pliant, puffy, soupy, and completely delicious Neapolitan style, prepared within minutes in a domed wood-burning pizza oven.

Let me draw your attention to the namesake “Moto,” topped with piquant sausage (kolbász), chili pepper, and red onions in addition to the tomato-basil-mozzarella base. One with a local angle and my go-to. The pizzas run €8-10, and Peroni, Fritz-kola, and Club-Mate are available for pairing. There’s a small jungle upstairs – a crowded plant shop – if you don't want to leave empty-handed.

MANU+ is the sister location of Pizza Manufaktura, a wildly popular pizza joint just a few blocks away. The conceit is similar: serve delicious pizza from a space that feels emphatically cool and irreverent (dialed-up music, pizzaiolos bantering). The toppings, too, might be familiar – Paprika János appears, for example, named after the quirky puppet figure – but the focus here is Naples-style pizza.

The wood-burning oven imparts an airy crust speckled with leopard spots while a few flavorful ingredients sit in the moist and thin center. The classic margherita has never disappointed, but neither has anything else. If you'd like a local angle, opt for the Paprika János mentioned above, packing paprika sausage, hot green pepper, bacon, and onions. That's right.

Digó is a polished (and pricey) pizza restaurant in the heart of Budapest's Party District. Thanks to the extra fine “double-zero” flour and the long, two-step dough fermentation, what come out of Digó's wood-burning oven are aromatic pies exhibiting beautifully inflated crusts speckled with spots of char (Naples-style). I enjoyed the bianca topped with pungent Italian sausage, but I usually find the margherita DOP hard to resist: this mother of all Naples pizzas is simple and delicious, layered with San Marzano tomatoes, basil, and buffalo mozzarella.

Step into Little Italy and an oversized image of Naples and the Mount Vesuvius faces you from the opposite wall. Around it hang blue-and-white soccer scarves emblazoned with “solo Napoli” slogans and nearly all servers are Italian natives. But instead of being on the Tyrrhenian coast, this lively neighborhood pizzeria hides near Budapest's city center.

Little Italy doesn't draw the city's most fashion-forward crowd, but the place gets mobbed by people who come for delicious and affordable pizzas made with lightning speed by the Hungarian owner-chef, who spent years working in Naples. I've yet to try most of the 42 types, but I can vouch for the Casagrande (prosciutto, Italian salami, bacon, chili), the simple and flavorful Bufala, and the namesake Little Italy (mozzarella, Italian sausage, cherry tomatoes). The pies fall between the Naples and the Roman styles. On the weekends, Italian soccer plays on TV and calcio fans appear. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays!

As Neapolitans like to say, “when it comes to clothes and pizza, it’s always Naples over Rome." This proverb is taken to heart at Igen, a spacious sit-down pizza shop on the Buda side of the city. Here, the pizzaiolos churn out Naples-style pies all day long using a wood-burning oven fueled by logs of beech to achieve high heat, a smoky flavor, and the coveted airy crust with splotches of char and a soupy center.

For the fullest experience, try the margherita DOP whose excellence lies in its simplicity: toppings limited to San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella from the Campania region, and fresh basil. Tiramisu, as well as beers and wine are also served. Note that Igen's pizzas are on the pricier end and that the service can be grouchy, especially during peak hours when a 30-minute wait isn't unusual.