Where To Find Traditional Hungarian Food In Budapest
From shopping culinary souvenirs to the loveliest lángos in town, here’s where to savour the city’s finest traditional foods
Hearty, humble and consistently comforting, Hungarian cuisine is the definitive soul food. Whether it’s a meaty, paprika-infused goulash or cheese-laden lángos, these dishes are as warming as they are satisfying. Those seeking out authentic Hungarian food in Budapest are spoilt for choice. Join us on a culinary tour around its most charming markets, street food haunts and low-key restaurants.
A cavernous covered market on the Pest side of Liberty Bridge, Central Market Hall is where locals pick up their daily groceries. It’s a wonderland of prime Hungarian produce; crimson strings of paprika hang from one beam, batons of téliszalámi salami from another. Wander through the 19th-century hall’s endless stalls to discover freshly baked pogácsa (potato-stuffed pastries), home-jarred pickles and mountains of seasonal fruit and vegetables. Don’t leave without picking up a souvenir bottle of lethal local tipple pálinka.
Budapest’s ruin bars are legendary; once abandoned buildings transformed into ultra-hip party spots. In the wake of its weekend revellers, the city’s first and most famous ruin bar, Szimpla Kert, sets up a farmers’ market on Sunday morning. Local producers flock here to sell wares such as hand-harvested honey, hot-from-the-oven pastries, organic seasonal fruit and, of course, freshly brewed coffee for a swift wake-up.
Stews and savoury soups are the order of the day at Gulyás Tunkoló Büfé. This down-to-earth, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it joint in the Jewish Quarter serves up some of the best—and most authentic—Hungarian food in Budapest. From rich goulash to tripe with knuckle stew, every bowl comes with a hunk of fresh sourdough bread and pickles on the side. Open until 2am at weekends, Gulyás Tunkoló Büfé is a great spot for a late-night goulash hit.
A hip Magyar hangout, Karaván is a collective of street food trucks popular among the city’s cool set. It’s here you’ll find the best lángos in Budapest. Akin to a deep-fried pizza, this iconic Hungarian street snack is an indulgent disc of dough, fried until it’s golden, then slathered in sour cream and cheese. At Karaván, lángos come sprinkled with paprika and are best washed down with a cold pint of Borsodi.
Cafés & Restaurants
“Take your cue from the locals” is a fail-safe philosophy when choosing where to dine out abroad, and Regős Tavern is very much Magyar-approved. Occupying a former coal cellar, the family-run restaurant serves up exceptional regional Hungarian dishes. Favourites include pork fillet with dumplings from Bakonyi and a meaty pork knuckle finished in the oven Pékné-style. The paprika-spiced mushrooms will satisfy vegetarians. We suggest pairing your meal with a rich Hungarian Tokaji.
With its timbered ceiling, eclectic artwork and retro floor tiles, Fülemüle Étterem’s vibe is homely and intimate. Located on a narrow side street off the bustling Grand Boulevard, it’s a favourite of locals and in-the-know visitors. Testament to the enduring appeal of its authentically Jewish-Hungarian food, the menu hasn’t changed for decades. Goose and duck dishes are Fülemüle’s specialty as well as sólet, a classic Jewish stew of meat, beans and potatoes.