Traditional Hungarian food is a reflection of the country’s climate and its regional influences. Dishes like stuffed cabbage (Ottoman) and schnitzel (Austrian) are as much a part of the national gastronomic pantheon as goulash, chicken paprikash, and kürtöskalács. Never mind the food revolution taking place in Budapest, these plates are still dear to the hearts of Hungarians, and at the restaurants/eateries below you get to taste the most delicious ones.
With a quaint atmosphere that evokes the bourgeois pre-war restaurant scenery of Budapest, Café Kör serves classic Hungarian dishes that bring out the best of traditional Hungarian cuisine. Look out for the daily specials written on the large piece of cardboard paper. The gigantic and beautifully juicy veal schnitzel alone is worth the visit, but the beef tenderloin "goulash style", and the Rossini beef tenderloin topped with foie gras will also make you want to return here every week. Do enjoy the courteous waitstaff - unfortunately it isn't something you will see much of in Budapest.Read more
Rosenstein is the most prominent restaurant in Budapest that features the Central European Jewish cultural traditions. Opened in 1996, this family-run restaurant has many endearing qualities. One of them is the way they prepare cholent, the signature Sabbath lunch dish with characteristic, rich flavors thanks to hours of slow-cooking. The baked beans are topped with three types of beef here: sausage, brisket, and tongue.Read more
One of those rare places that sustain their quality even after becoming popular with tourists. Let’s see how long it'll last, but as of this writing this bustling self-service type eatery (standing only at the counters along the wall) offers a dizzying array of fully-prepared and to-be-prepared selection of traditional meat-heavy dishes. Wild boar stew, blood sausage, grilled pork chops, and chicken cutlet with a range of side options from french fries to marinated vegetables, just to name a few. "A field of dreams, a landscape of braised, and fried, and cured delights", as Anthony Bourdain described the meat on display when he visited Belvárosi Disznótoros in 2015.Read more
In retrospect, it's strange that it took so long for someone to finally open a classic Hungarian restaurant in the party district (Jewish Quarter). After all, most tourists are after local dishes before they hit the neighborhood bars. The name of the restaurant (Gettó Gulyás) makes its culinary priorities clear - the short menu features the heart of Magyar cuisine with staples like goulash, chicken paprikash, and beef stew. These Hungarian classics are updated with a small twist, like the baked curd cheese noodles rolled in bacon, that accompany the veal stew.Read more
Same owner/chef and same location as the Séf Utcája, on the upper deck of the newly refurbished pre-war market hall dotted with self-service type eateries. Make sure you come hungry otherwise the odds of you finishing these oversized pork schnitzels with a side of cold potato salad are not in your favor. The meat, about the size of an adult's forearm, is crispy on the outside and beautifully juicy on the inside. For the fullest experience, make sure to sit at the long communal table at the entrance, next to local office workers who constitute the core clientele (and who somehow think these feasts are appropriate for a workday lunch).Read more
A leading Hungarian chef, Lajos Bíró, has ventured out on his own and diners should all celebrate that decision. At "Chef's Street" one will find traditional Hungarian dishes prepared with a twist, which in this case means better-than-average ingredients and an attention to the visual aesthetics. The flavors of these reconfigured Hungarian staples play in a different league than grandmas' cooking. .Read more
At some point in the early 2000s, Liszt Ferenc Square was a buzzing hangout for locals. Then, as often happens, the excitement tapered off. Today, you will find signs prominently advertising "Hungarian cuisine" and "tourist menus", and it’s also here that Hungary's lone Hooters operated. You don't need me to tell you: proceed with caution.However, against the odds, you can find one of the best-run restaurants in the city here: Menza.Read more
Börze is a 2017 offshoot of Menza’s owners. (Menza is a well-oiled restaurant machine in Budapest, whose no-frills, classic Hungarian dishes attract large crowds every night to Liszt Ferenc Square.) Börze’s name pays homage to the enormous 1907 building across the street that used to be the Budapest Stock and Commodity Exchange. The sleek, bistro-designed café/restaurant serves uncomplicated Hungarian classics from early morning until midnight, seven days a week. Favorites include the Debrecener pork sausage for breakfast (that's right), the cordon bleu (pork schnitzel with a melted cheese filling), and the confit pork neck topped with a whisper-thin slice of bacon and slow-cooked garlic spread with baked potatoes and a hearty brown sauce.Read more
The recently renovated market hall at Klauzál Square is a far cry from the gastro-paradise of its sister location in Hold Street. Amid closed storefronts and bland grocery store chains, however, you'll find an eatery/butcher shop that makes it worth popping in here.Mangalica Mennyország (Mangalica Heaven) sells various cuts of the premium breed of Hungarian domestic mangalica pig, known for its long, curly coat and beautifully juicy fat. The Kobe beef of pork, as some call it. Naturally, the lunch prix-fixe, which should be the purpose of your trip, is composed of dishes with mangalica.Read more
Rankings are based on a combination of food/drink, atmosphere, service, and price.