29 Apr Alternative Food Guide of Budapest
Wandering the streets of Budapest, you’ll find a treasure trove of delicious menus boasting traditional fare. Take, for example, lángos. This deep-fried dough topped with sour cream and cheese is advertised everywhere from the Great Market Hall to local street-food vendors (chances are good you may have seen someone sinking their teeth into one of these doughy bad boys after a night out!).
From goulash to chicken paprikash, there are certainly many classic foods to try when visiting Budapest; however, where do you go when you’re looking for something traditional but perhaps a little healthier?
Where do vegetarians and vegans, and our food-sensitive friends go to enjoy a delicious bite to eat? Where are the local haunts not often discovered by tourists? Quell that growling stomach with these delicious options.
Quick Bites for Vegetarians, Vegans and Foodies on the Go!
While in the midst of all that sightseeing, you may realize that those rumblings are not coming from the Budapest tram but rather your stomach. Where can you go for a quick bite? Better yet, where do you go when you are vegetarian, vegan or have food allergies? Here are some of our favorite places to grab some healthy grub.
You won’t find any preservatives or additives here, only honest-to-goodness natural, quality ingredients. This street food joint specializes in vegan burgers made with everything from spinach and garlic to beetroot and oyster mushrooms. Visitors with food allergies are also welcome here!
This vegan oasis in the Jewish District is the perfect place to come when you are running on fumes and seriously hungry. This six street-food truck “garden” offers a variety of vegan eats from ice cream to pizza to Mexican dishes and seitan kebabs. You can even grab adult beverages here!
With three different locations, including Karaván Street Food, it’s safe to say that people love eating at Las Vegan’s. If you are craving a vegan burger, you’ll find everything from vegetable to seitan patties at this street food truck. Choose from more exotic options like the Indiana chickpea burger or Thai burger, or just order one of each (we won’t judge!).
Inez Bagel Shop
If you are craving a freshly baked bagel to start the day off right then head to the cozy Inez Bagel Shop in the heart of the city center for breakfast or lunch. Among delicious options like the Vega grilled vegetable bagel or the smoked salmon and capers (for you pescatarians), you’ll also find a variety of soups, salads, fresh quiches and frittatas.
Inez Bagel Shop
If you are dying to try authentic Hungarian dishes that won’t cramp your vegan style then Napfényes Étterem is not to be missed. They boast pure, mostly organic ingredients and dishes that are free of meat, eggs and dairy. Even their desserts are made with healthier sweeteners like carob and cane sugar. On colder days, the Hungarian bean goulash is sure to warm you, body and soul.
Escape the Hustle and Bustle of Central Market Hall for the Peace and Quiet of Downtown Market
The Central Market Hall is a popular tourist attraction and they have the lines of hungry customers to prove it. While you may wish not to forgot at least a quick trip to this market, might we also recommend a market that boasts some delicious restaurants but with fewer crowds?
On Hold Street, in the District V, you’ll find the Downtown Market. While you may choose to purchase homemade sausage, fresh produce or cheese to take back to your hotel for some late-night snacking, if you wish to dine at the market you’ll have your choice of epicurean pleasures.
A Séf Utcája
This casual rustic eatery also offers both gourmet-style Hungarian and Hungarian-Jewish dishes and four new sandwiches each day (with vegetarian versions, too!). On Fridays and Saturdays, you’ll also find cholent, a traditional Sabbath stew made from slow-cooked bean, eggs and potatoes.
A Séf Utcája
Eat Like a Local: Fixed-Price Daily Lunch Menus
Want to know where the locals are dining? We’ll let you in on a little secret. If you live in Budapest you’re taking advantage of some of the amazing fixed-price daily menus offered throughout the city, particularly at lunchtime.
Why pay more for a meal when you can find incredible mouthwatering cuisine at a fraction of the price? Think like a local and your stomach—and wallet—will thank you!
A pinch of Hungarian Nouvelle cuisine, a dash of Italian and a peppering of French fuse together to concoct incredible lunch and dinner options popular amongst the locals. The dishes also come with recommended pairings from local Hungarian wineries for those looking for a taste of the country’s rich viticulture. Head here on a weekday to take advantage of their three-course prix fixe lunch deals.
In the heart of the Jewish Quarter, you’ll find this restaurant that boasts an inexpensive prix fixe lunch menu, and Hungarian-Jewish cuisine with an elevated twist such as the goose broth and matzo ball soup. You’ll also find some delicious vegetarian-friendly options.
Szatyor Bar and Gallery
Cozy up in this bohemian-chic restaurant with high ceilings, colorful murals and eclectic decor. The floor-to-ceiling windows are great for watching the city go by as you nosh on Hungarian homemade dumplings, warm potato casserole with spicy sausage or the vegetarian garlicky spinach risotto.
With a name like Most (which means “now” in Hungarian) there’s no better time like the present to enjoy a delicious breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch or dinner at Most Bisztró. Choose from American classics, English staples like fish & chips, as well as Italian, Hungarian, Asian and Mexican. The lunch menu also offers two or three courses for a steal.
Go Off-the-Beaten Path to Discover Some Delicious, Non-Touristy Gems
We think we know what the poet Robert Frost meant about the road less traveled. After all, going off the beaten path can certainly reward you with surprising and delicious experiences that you wouldn’t have otherwise stumbled upon if you were following the throngs of hungry tourists or TripAdvisor reviews.
Be like Alice and jump down the rabbit hole where you’ll discover the ever-evolving and very up-and-coming District VIII. This neighborhood has shed its old reputation and now you’ll find a wonderland of cozy cafes, funky art galleries and these incredible restaurants.
The vine-covered entryway welcomes you to this all-day restaurant and bar where you can cozy up to endearingly mismatched wooden tables surrounded by high ceilings and a variety of greenery. Choose from a hearty helping of scrambled eggs and bacon, warm traditional goulash, a beef brisket sandwich or main dishes like their grilled beetroot-polenta steak.
Escape the tourist-laden streets and you’ll be rewarded with Lumen Café, a sleek modern restaurant serving up delicious egg dishes ‘til noon, a hearty coffee (or refreshing craft beer), great lunch specials and a mix of vegetarian and meat-heavy comfort foods for dinner. Their adjacent concert hall is also an amazing spot to listen to live jazz, folk and indie music daily.
Rákóczi Square Market Hall
While this market has received the nickname of “Market Number Two”, since it was established not long after the city’s Great Market Hall, don’t let the nickname fool you. Visiting this 19th-century indoor will reward you with fewer crowds and just as delicious meats and produce. This is a great place to grab a budget-friendly bite, a traditional Hungarian dish or some ingredients to whip up your own authentic meal at home.
Rákóczi Square Market Hall