09 Jan Great Hungarian food in Budapest
We’d be aghast to hear that you came all the way to Budapest and left without the chance to sample some of Hungary’s finest foods. Hungarians are staunch meat and dairy lovers, thanks in part to the country’s strong farmland roots. The classics have changed very little over the years, and while the city has become increasingly international, and a new generation of chefs have worked hard to evolve what you’ll find on the table of a modern Hungarian restaurant – there are still plenty of places celebrating the food of old.
If you’re keen to find some of these places, here are our favourites:
Gettó Gulyás is a newer addition to Budapest’s restaurant scene, but celebrates the non-fussy ‘sit down and eat’ style that Hungarians were previously used to. The interior is elegant but simple and the menu is focussed around pörkölt – a stew made with boneless meat, paprika, and vegetables. There are many varieties of this dish, all the favourites of different regions in Hungary, and the versatility of the dish is clear, given that it can be made from any type of meat, be it beef, lamb, chicken, pork, or even game.
The chef grew up in the countryside, where food would often be made by grandma from anything that could be scavenged from the yard, and this ethos has been retained in Gettó Gulyás – which means ghetto goulash (the famous Hungarian stew) – leading to thoroughly unpretentious fair.
Location: Gettó Gulyás, 7 th district, Wesselényi street 18.
The ultimate is Hungary is finding a restaurant which makes you feel like you’re eating a home-cooked meal at grandma’s house. Kádár Étkezde is one such place. Picture a place with chequered tablecloths and family-like photos on the wall. Take your eyes off the surroundings for a moment and you’ll see the food being served is traditional, fresh, and cooked with passion by chef Katika.
One thing you’ll learn here is that the older generation of Hungarian’s don’t tend to speak English nor will you find the menu on offer any much more helpful. Your options, of course, are to learn a few food related words in Hungarian before you arrive, or rely on the very effective ‘point and enjoy’ method.
Location: Kádár Étkezde, 7 th district, Klauzál street 9.
Eat & Meet Hungarian
If you want the real home-cooked experience, it might be a good idea to actually go to someone’s home to eat. But, if you don’t know anyone here, don’t worry – you won’t need to be knocking on random people’s door thanks to the efforts of Suzie and her parents who welcome you to their home every evening for the best local food drink, eaten in a homely environment.
Seating capacity is expectedly limited, which helps to create an intimate atmosphere in which you can make new friends and learn all about Hungarian cuisine and culture. They cook traditional dishes based on years old family recipes and use only fresh local ingredients. Hungarian wine is also served.
Location: Eat & Meet Hungary, 13 th district, Danubius street 14.
Kantin is the hippest place on this list, located along the trendy Andrássy Avenue and serving up a fine selection of Hungary’s favourite dishes in a spacious modern environment. Duck, goulash, cabbage – you’ll find it all here alongside plenty of great wines and pálinkas if you’re feeling so inclined.
Want a hot tip? Head over during the day and try their daily menu. A 3-course meal served for a fraction of the cost of what you’ll find at dinner time. Popular at restaurants all over the city, this is how generations of Hungarian workers have stayed fed during the day.
Location: Kantin Budapest, 5 th district, Andrássy avenue 44.