The 6 Best Pizza Shops in Budapest

Like other big cities, Budapest has plenty of pizza joints that churn out cheap but not especially good slices. Apart fom these, there are a handful of dedicated shops that have mastered the art of pizza-making, using longer fermentations and natural leavenings. Some specialize in Naples or Roman-style pies, others simply put out delicious pizza without devotion to a particular region. Here, the best pizzerias in Budapest.

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 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 and a charred underbelly. 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 perfectly enough. There’s a wooden bench outside and a few tables upstairs where Hungarian artworks adorn the walls, but most people usually just take their pizzas to go in Roman fashion.

Digó puts out some of the best Naples-style pizza in Budapest out of a polished sit-down venue on Kazinczy Street, right in the heart of the Party District. As other upscale pizza shops around the world, Digó uses a wood-burning oven, extra fine “double-zero” flour, and a long, two-step dough fermentation to enhance flavor.

The pizzas are tasty and aromatic, exhibiting beautifully inflated crusts speckled with spots of char. I enjoyed the bianca with pungent Italian sausage, but the undisputed highlight is the mother of all Naples pizzas, the margherita DOP, using tomatoes from the San Marzano region and buffalo mozzarella.

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, packing paprika-laced crispy sausage, bacon, tomato, and green peppers. Another standout is Tükör, coated in a creamy poached egg atop a base of tomato sauce, prosciutto, bacon, and mozzarella. The only letdown was the distractingly salty Della. 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. A couple of local craft beers are available to help pass the time.

Step into Little Italy and an oversized image of Naples and the Mount Vesuvius face 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 pizzeria hides in a Budapest neighborhood a bit outside the city center.

Little Italy isn’t the type of place that draws a trendy crowd, but it is the type of a place that 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 somewhere between the Naples and the Roman styles. On weekends, Italian soccer plays on the TV calcio fans tend to appear. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays!

MANU+ is the second location of Pizza Manufaktura, a wildly popular pizza joint not far from here. It doesn't usually get as crowded as the original space, meaning that you won't have to wait longer than a few minutes before devouring a Naples-style pizza, which is what MANU+ specializes in. Instead of the traditional wood-burning method, they use a gas-fired oven but the result is all the same: airy crusts speckled with leopard spots and a soft center strewn with a few flavorful ingrendients. Try the classic margherita, or pizzicare, which tops the margherita base with spicy salami and cherry tomatoes.

There's also a time-travel element to visiting MANU+: The pizzeria is hidden inside the spooky courtyard of an 1852 building laid with wood blocks. Miklós Ybl designed the building, the same 19th-century starchitect who spearheaded the Hungarian State Opera and parts of the Buda Castle.

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 and a smoky flavor. The Naples variety is known for its airy crust with splotches of char and a soupy center.

For the fullest experience, go for the margherita DOP whose excellence lies in its simplicity: the only toppings are 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 pricer end and that the service here can be grouchy, especially during peak hours when a 30-minute wait isn't unusual.