The coronavirus crisis has turned our lives completely upside down and this is particularly true for the hospitality industry. Needless to say, it is an incredibly perilous time for many of our favourite eateries. Fortunately, the rise in door-to-door food delivery apps provides a safe alternative for you to bolster these struggling local businesses. So we’ve created this guide to help you continue eating some banging grub, whilst simultaneously helping to support your favourite Budapest restaurants.
Are Restaurants in Budapest still open?
The hospitality industry is expected to be hit the hardest due to this global pandemic. Bars, restaurants, and cafes qualify as non-essential businesses and are as such subject to intense restrictions. As this article goes to press these types of businesses are required to close by 3 PM each day and this is likely to be extended as a complete ban in the near future. Furthermore, as travel to Hungary is now forbidden for non-Hungarian residents, all of the tourist dollars have dried up. All in all, coronavirus has resulted in a situation where many businesses may be forced to close forever and, at the very least, countless jobs will be lost.
The Impact of Coronavirus on Budapest’s Food and Drink Industry
During this current disaster, it is highly advised for people to stay home as much as possible. However, people can still support their favourite local businesses by ordering from food delivery apps. In Budapest Wolt and NetPincér, the two most popular options in the Hungarian market, are a lifesaving economic respirator for many restaurants in this time of emergency. Both companies have begun offering contact-free delivery in the past month.
What is Contact Free Delivery and is it Safe?
Food delivery helps limits exposure between individuals which makes it much safer than heading out to a restaurant or picking up the food yourself. The contact-free delivery option means that you don’t have to have any direct contact with the driver and can even leave a tip electronically if you are so inclined. These types of extreme precautions not only keep you safe as an individual but also work to help flatten the curve and keep pressure off of our emergency services.
Best of all, many of the Budapest restaurants are now solely focused on their delivery service. This means that delivery food is more delicious than ever before and if anything a greater emphasis is being placed on hygiene. Furthermore, despite the higher order volume, delivery time is just as quick as normal since the restaurants that have remained open no longer have to contend with crowded dining rooms. All in all, there has never been a better time to order in.
Top 5 Delivery Options on Wolt
Wolt is a Finnish company that was founded in 2014 and operates in 60 cities around the world, mostly in Eastern and Northern Europe. They began operating in Budapest back in 2018 and have completed modernized the food delivery world here, supplying services for some of the trendiest, best-loved restaurants in the city.
Empanada Story is exactly what it says on the tin: an epic empanada spot. And the fine folks here are specialists in this unique Argentinian snack food. If you are unfamiliar with empanadas they are basically fried wheat pastries that are filled with a variety of ingredients such as beef, poultry, vegetables, and cheese. These empanadas here are particularly special, as they’re filled with classic Hungarian recipes such as chicken paprikash. You order the empanadas on an individual basis here (between 350 – 450 forints per piece) and then add some of their delicious sauces (180 forints each).
Local Recommendation: 4-6 empanadas and 1 or 2 sauces. The Kolbász and Cheese empanada with chimichurri sauce is a great combination. Oh and be sure to try the Portuguese classic, pastel de nata, for desert.
Delivery Hours: Sunday – Thursday: 10:00 AM – 22:00 PM | Saturday: 10:00 AM – 23:00
Leila’s Authentic Lebanese Cuisine
Leila’s has fantastic food plain and simple. The dining experience here during normal functioning times is superb, but in the stead of normality, we can at least continue to enjoy their fine, middle Mediterranean gastronomy. This is a halal-certified restaurant with recipes diced up by an authentic Lebanese staff. They have both cold and hot mezze (Lebanese tapas) as well as a grill section, plus several scrumptious Lebanese style desserts. Not the cheapest option, about 6,000 – 9,000 for a two-person feast, but well worth the price.
Local Recommendation: The hummus and labneh are both incredible, while vegetarians have to try their signature Warak Enab (stuffed grape leaves). Carnivores can revel in the lamb kafta and anyone with a sweet tooth should finish their meal with a sticky, sugary 3 piece baklava.
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 11:30 – 22:00
Brand new to Wolt as you can see from the “ùj” in the upper left corner of the picture (Hungarian for ‘new’). TOKIO is high-end, contemporary sushi spot serving up all sorts of Japanese cuisine as well as some food from other Asian countries as well. They are located in Széchenyi István Square and are well worth a visit for a sushi and cocktails date night once the virus mania passes over. In the meantime, you can order some of the best sushi in Budapest right to your door albeit for higher than average prices.
Local Recommendation: They have tender tuna nigiri and some outstanding luxury rolls. We highly suggest the KRUSH roll which is a stellar combination of crab and shrimp tempura with tuna, salmon, avocado, and two different types of onion. Ok, it is over 5,000 forints so if you are looking for something more reasonable go for their ramen options which are all under 3,000.
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday 12:00 – 22:00
Biang Bisztró has two different locations in Budapest: one on the Vámház körút near the Great Market Hall and the other just by Oktagon. Both open for delivery only, so make sure you chose the one closest two where you live for the shortest wait time. They do contemporary Chinese street food, so damn delicious that it”’ have your salivary glands singing. Opened by renowned Chinese restauranteur Wang Qiang, aka Master Wang, this shop focuses on a wide breadth of regional eats from across his homeland.
Locals Recommend: Though the soups are great when you are eating at the restaurant, they don’t always hold up well on delivery. Instead, go for the spicy Xinjiang style noodles with 2 pieces of fluffy baked Baozi.
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 11:30 – 21:00
Despite its limited opening hours, Fruccola is a fantastic choice if you are in the mood for a light, super healthy lunch. There are three locations in Budapest, two in Pest and one in Buda. They are well known for their delicious smoothies, fresh sandwiches, and vegan alternatives. They are particularly famous for outstanding salad combinations and vibrant, organic ingredients.
Locals Recommend: The tuna salad is a tremendous choice and meat-eaters can combine any that sizzle grilled steak with basmati rice or sweet potato puree. They make their own juices and smoothies here, which are all perfect for staying healthy during the Corona craziness.
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 10:00 – 15:30
Top 5 Delivery Options on NetPincér
NetPincér is the old school classic Hungarian food delivery app. It’s been around in one form or another since beginning life as the dormitory experiment of Zoltán Csontos and Péter Perger all the way back in 1999. Since then the service has gone from strength to strength and continues to be a market leader in the Hungarian scene.
Il Terzo Cerchio
For over a decade Il Terzo Cerchio has been pumping out some of the best pizza pies in all of Budapest. There is a laundry list of authentic Neopolitan style pies and they also do plenty of other types of Italian food, including a roster of delicious pasta options. The name of the restaurant is a reference to Dante and his circles of hell, with Terzo being the third. The brick vaulted, atmospheric dining room on Dohány utca is well worth a visit once the corona lockdown is over. But for now, enjoy the food and show them some support by getting a delivery.
Locals Recommend: The Margherita di buffalo pizza is an all-time classic, made with the type of beautiful mozzarella cheese you don’t usually find outside of Italy. If you are more in the mood for pasta check out their spaghetti carbonara, or try the penne puttanesca for something a bit lighter.
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 00:00 – 23:59
Have you ever ordered food from a gym before? Probably not. But this is the number one place to start. Bodybuilders from around the world have gotten their post work out fuel from this institution. Unfortunately, gyms are probably the worst place to go during these tenuous times, which means that FLEX is in particular need of our support. The food here is as healthy as can be and has fueled up some of the top bodybuilders of all time such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jay Cutler, Flex Wheeler, and even The Rock. Once things calm down you can see for yourself and get a work out in as well.
Locals Recommend: The grilled chicken and steamed vegetables are a terrific combo! And vegetarians can try out the juicy veggie burger.
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 10:00 – 17:25
Montenegro Gurman grill is a stylish restaurant that opened up across from the Budapest eye back in 2016. They offer a wide array of Balkan specialities, particularly those from the homeland of Montenegro. Balkan food is famous for juicy, succulent meats and farm-fresh salads. The dishes here are super simple in presentation but the flavours are complex and rich. Best of all, Balkan food is filling, especially when combined with the oven-fresh, pita-style bread which accompanies every dish.
Local Recommendation: Their signature dish is their gorgeous, grilled veal sausage links known as chevapi which come in both big and small portions. They go great with the side salads and order extra ajvar (red eggplant dip) which is a little bit addictive truth be told (watch out).
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 11:00 – 22:00
The ethos of this restaurant is sustainable living and ethical cooking practices. Good Karma is in the name and they do their utmost to pay it forward with modern Indian inspired fast-casual food. The highlights on their menu are their whole wheat flatbread Roti wraps, stuffed Dosa rolls and healthy, flavour-packed basmati bowls. There is also an ample selection of salads including the delicious chicken tikka combination with roasted chicken marinated in masala spiced yoghurt with sweet tamarind and chutney. All of the food here is organic and made with love.
Locals Recommend: Despite serving some meat dishes, this restaurant places an emphasis on vegetarian eats. Try their pure veg roti wrap which is brimming with flavour. The sweet potato tikkis roti wrap is also a great choice.
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 11:00 – 19:55
One of the newest members of the Budapest foodie scene, Aloha Poké opened up to rave reviews on the Buda side of the city just last year. They’ve capitalized on the Hawaiian food craze which has delighted the world in recent times. A poké bowl is a fresh fish frenzy with all sorts of organic veggies and seeds mixed in. Basically the healthiest, and arguably tastiest, cuisine you can find anywhere. There are plenty of combos to chose from and best of all you can design your own.
Locals Recommend: The monster bowl is a bit pricier than the other ar 3,590 forints, but it is also our favourite choice. It’s packed with ingredients: tuna, salmon, avocado, pineapple, edamame, and crispy bonito flakes. All topped off with sesame seeds, teriyaki sauce, and spicy mayo. Salivating! If you are on a budget try one of their smaller ‘pokito’ bowls.
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 11:00 – 21:45
Hopefully, this article will help make your life’s a bit easier during these tough times. Though travelling is out of the question right now, you can get more inspiration for future trips to Budapest, Barcelona, Athens and London by checking out some of the other epic articles on our blog. Oh and make sure you stay tuned, we have some exciting news coming very soon.