The Best of Budapest: A Foodie’s Shortlist
This is your go-to guide no matter what you are craving. We have compiled a list of the best of the best, not by cuisine but by plate. This is your short list for those specific cravings. Trust us when we say, we have done our research and venture out to taste Hungarian and international gastronomy.
1. “Everything-free” cheesecake with Blueberry and lemon from Say Cheese
Budapest ́s very first specialized Cheesecake store. The combinations here will make it hard to pick just one, and since they come in cute portable jars, you won´t have to! Say Cheese caters to all types of eaters, gluten-free, sugar-free, milk-free, and of course the classic Cheesecake. We had a hard time choosing this one favorite, so we urge you to go in and try the best of Budapest cheesecake place.
2. Biryani Bangala Büfé
A tiny joint next to the famous ruin pub, Fogashaz. Known for its terrific Biryani, travelers and locals alike flock to this restaurant to satisfy their spice cravings. Truly authentic Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine, who keep to their roots. Unlike most over-priced and fancy Indian places this joint keeps the frills in their food. They have a short menu of delicious items and are always quite crowded, but trust us the Biryani is worth the wait.
3. Bun Xa from Hanoi Xua
Pho has become a staple when you ask any local about Vietnamese food. Sadly, this has dampened the focus on other Vietnamese delicacies such as the Bun Xa, pork meat accompanied by rice noodles, spices, and special sauce. No one makes a better Bun Xa than Hanoi Xua, an authentic Vietnamese place. Their portions are huge, tasty, extra filling, and one of the best places to fuel up for winter. To truly make the most of your Bun Xa accompany it with a Lychee lemonade or rice vodka. Hanoi has two locations, a larger restaurant and a smaller street food style place- be sure to check out the closest one to you!
4. Canelé from Chez Dodo
Source: Chez Dodo
“Canelé. Crunchy yet smooth and creamy inside. As the original recipe from Bordeaux instructs, each one is baked in a copper mold greased with a bit of heavenly smelling beeswax. The perfect choice with your hot coffee.”
We could not have found better words to describe this heavenly treat from Chez Dodo. A specialized pastissery right next to the Basilica has set forth with the challenge to innovate the macaron business, by creating audacious falvors and combinations. On the side however they have low key mastered the art of the Canelé. My firth encounter with this particular pastry was actually a decade ago in Mexico City, at a bakery that made them with an infusion of orange zest. At Chez Dodo they have upped the game! They make mini and large Canelé´s with a decadent bourbon vanilla essence. There aren’t enough words in the English language to allow me to rave on about this sweet, so please do yourself the favor and go give it a taste!
5. Chuleton at El Asador de Pata Negra
Source: Asador de La Pata Negra
Chuletón is actually a spanish-basque cut of meat, cured and dry aged for perfect flavoring. A chuletón is cooked with the rib bone still in, and the meat is so tender it basically falls off the bone. Asador de Pata Negra is a restaurant that transports you straight to Spain from the heart of Budapest. I love it when a place brings that kind of originality and basically teleports you to new worlds. A meat-lovers paradise, the best of Budapest, Asador de Pata Negra is the only place you should be going for your protein cravings.
6. Guylas Soup from Szirom Food Bar
Source: Szirom Food Bar
Vietnames Gulyas by famous chef Krisztian Huszar. Gulyas soup is one of the most widely known and enjoyed national Hungarian delicacies. It is a type our stew/soup made with meat and vegetables seasoned with paprika for a warm and hearty meal. Krisztian Huszar has taken a traditional dish and reinvented it, elevated it, and internationalized it. It is almost certain that this is not the same soup my grandmother makes, but boy are you in for a treat! With hand-made Udon noodles, Mangalica pork meatballs, a dash of fish sauce and sour egg, this twist on a Gulyas is the definitely the best of Budapest.
7. Duckliver & Pear Croissant from Freyja
Freyja “The croissant Story.” A place uniquely dedicated to the craft of creating the very best croissant. They are breaking the notion of the croissant, it does not have to be sweet, and definitely should not only be enjoyed for breakfast. This amazing duck liver mouse and pear croissant is perfect for lunch, dinner, and afternoon stack, oh hell, it is perfect for every moment of the day. At Freyja they recommend following a salty croissant with a sweet one, maybe perhaps the pistachio delicacy.
8. Cardamom Swirl from Artizan
Source: Artizan Instagram
Artizan, a bakery that only uses local and fresh ingredients, baked on the spot, ensuring highest quality. They distinguish themselves from other bakeries, by baking in small batches, slowly enjoying an respecting the process of the ingredients binding together. At artisan they don’t use any additives or preservatives, and guarantee that all of their baked goods are fresh and delicious. They make baked goods for those with intolerances, allergies, and dietary restrictions as well so everyone gets to taste their craftsmanship. All that being said, head to one of their locations to taste their unparalleled cardamom swirl.
9. Coriander Basil-Tofu-Sandwich Sandwich by Tökmag Vegan Street Food
Source: Tökmag Vegan Street Food
My go-to vegan place! It is a bit of a shame to admit, but in terms of vegan cuisine Budapest is still evolving, but that leaves space for small passionate cafes to shine with their love for natural healthy meatless ingredients. At Tökmag they believe that “vegan cuisine represents colorful, fresh and harmonic courses with endless combinations of flavors and guilt-free, healthy snacking.” They make each of their dishes with inclusivity in mind, thus their meals are created without sugar, gluten or yeast catering to those with special dietary needs and preferences. Now onto this meatless sandwich: it´s like biting into healthy aromatic heaven.
10. Peanut-cranberry sourdough bread from Panificio il Basilico
Source: Panifico il Basilico
Looking for the best loaf of bread in Budapest? Look no further. This bakery has mastered the art of bread making. Bread amateurs believe that great bread is defined by only needing butter, but the professional bread lovers know that truly great bread is the kind which you can still eat with nothing on top even after 3 days. Panifico il Basilico has set out to give its customers to very best bread experience. Each of their loaves ensures a new taste experience, so make sure to try as many as you can.
11. Pho from Hai Nam Pho Bistro
Source: Hai Nam Pho
Hai Nam Bistro, located at perfectly in a business and university area of District 11. In the bustling and traffic-filled Oktober 23 street. This place is small and VERY popular so don’t get creeped out if you get seated at a table invading the personal space of others, this is accepted at Hai Nam. Though we recommend coming here for the Pho, which raises the bar for any other soup serving place, their other dishes are also pretty spectacular like the red king crab to trout, and sweet-and-sour catfish. If you prefer to stick with something less exotic, go for the crunchy duck roast or wok-cooked chicken and vegetables. During the days of the week between 11am and 3pm you can opt for their office menu, that comes with a daily soup, side dish and main.
12. Peking Duck from Won Hao
Source: Won Hao
Won Hao is known as little Peking. It is only fitting that they really make the best Peking Duck in Budapest. Our favorite thing about eating Peking Duck is hard to really determine, is it the crispy duck skin? The refreshing cucumber and sauce? Or is it making the individual little pancakes for ourselves? We just can´t decide, that is why we leave you here with the knowledge of where to find the best Peking Duck of Budapest.
13. Pogacsa – Daubner
You want authentic Hungarian places, there is nothing more traditional in families than to pick up this pastry from their local patisserie before the Sunday family meal. For as long as I can remember Sunday lunch has been the most important time for family, no matter what the circumstance, families here gather to share a meal, and no meal is complete without the adequate amount of pastries. Daubner has been serving family sweet and salty cravings since 1901, with countless families served every day this patisserie is as much home for us and our grandmother´s Sunday table would be.
14. Rakott Krumpli – Stand25
Rakott Kumpli, which translates to layered potatoes, is a traditional Hungarian dish. Every grandmother has their own version of this, and it will always bring nostalgia when you smell those ingredients melting together in the oven. One restaurant has done this longstanding traditional dish justice, observing all typical ingredients while elevating them into a gourmet experience. Head on over to their location inside of Hold Utca market (another great spot to explore as a foodie, right in the heart of the fifth district).
15. Shitake mushroom Boar Sausage- Töltő
Töltő is a unique place in the center of the city, they have reinvented the concept of the Hot Dog and use the most creative ingredients to create their sausages. Elevating street food to pure gourmet, Töltő offers options like pumpkin seed chicken sausage, paprika, and chili sausage, but our all-time favorite is the shiitake mushroom boar sausage. Absolutely the best of Budapest that street food has to offer.
16. Sutamina Miso Ramen from Komachi
Source: Komachi Bistro
Komachi is so cozy, and that is everything that you could ever want when looking for the perfect place to curl up next to your bowl of ramen. There are many variations of ramen, such as Shoyu ramen made from a soy sauce, the authentic Hokkaido Miso variation, as well as a sesame seed oil based Shio. Komachi has a great selection of Japanese wines to go along with your ramen- I call this the best hangover cure.