Budapest is a thriving city full of lively bars and restaurants, intriguing tourists' attractions, and unforgettable festivals. It is hard to get bored in Budapest because not only is there so much history to enjoy, but a never-ending list of things to do. It is hard not to visit Budapest and not fill your days and nights full of entertaining activities.
Eating Out in Hungary
Throughout history Hungarian food has been influenced by Turkish, French, and Austrian cuisine. Middle-class Hungarians incorporated Austrian dishes in their everyday meals, such as schnitzel, sausages, potatoes, and vegetable stews. The vegetable stew is called fozelék and is a traditional favorite food throughout Hungary.
Different parts of Hungary have their traditional and favorite cuisine, which is often used in every meal. Hungarian cuisine uses a great deal of pork and goose fat, which adds incredible flavor. Many of the meals are flavorful and heavy. Sour cream, potatoes, or pasta are a normal side dish with savory meals.
Lunch begins with a soup called goulash, which is made of beef or pork, carrots and potatoes in a rich broth. Hungary is also famous for their cold fruit soup called gyümölcs leves that is made of sour cherries, peaches, or apricots. A fish soup called halaszle is popular in the wintertime.
Entrees always have some type of rich meat and cabbage is a popular side dish. Hungarian pastries are light a flakey, as well as the bread. Meats (salami) and cheeses are very popular and delicious, not to mention cheap but still high quality. Fresh produce is easy to find and full of flavor and freshness.
More Hungarian Food Specialties:
- Fozelék - This hearty dish has a consistency between a soup and a stew but without chunks of meat or potatoes.
- Lángos - Dough that is deep fried in fat and topped with shredded cheese and/or ham and sprinkled with garlic juice. There are now many types of toppings. The best place to try them is in the Central Market Hall upstairs on the right wall of food booths.
- Halászlé - This is fish soup, usually made with carp, pike, or perch.
- Palacsinta - This dish is similar to a crepe. The Hungarians refer to them as a national treasure. There are a number of fillings to put in them.
- Somlói Galuska - A rich, chocolaty dessert. It is served in a bowl with cubes of sponge cake are sprinkled with a rum flavoring, and then vanilla sauce is poured over the cake followed by chocolate sauce, and finished off with whipped cream.
- Turós táska - A cheese-filled dessert that is available in most bakeries.
- Túró Rudi - This is a very Hungarian dish that you won't find out of the county. It is shaped like a small log with cheese called quark, which is thinly coated with chocolate. The most famous is the "natur" flavor, though fruit can be added. You can find these in supermarkets in the refrigerated case.
Popular Restaurants in Budapest
- Onyx - Hungarian and International cuisine with an impressive wine list.
- Spinoza - An attractive street café that serves Hungarian and Mediterranean food.
- Corso - Authentic cuisine in an elegant environment.
- Rezakakas - Located in the heart of Budapest with authentic Hungarian cuisine.
- Halaszbata - Located on the Buda side of the river, this restaurant offers great seafood and beautiful views.
- Mokka - This restaurant has beautiful décor and is inspired by cuisine from all over the world.
- Remiz - International cuisine with a beautiful outdoor terrace.
- Comme Chez Soi - French, Italian cuisine restaurant that is highly rated.
- Zeller Bistro - Hungarian Cuisine.
- Eat & Meet - Family style Hungarian.
Popular Fast Food Restaurants in Budapest
Street food is considered fast food in Budapest because it is quick, convenient, and delicious. Here is a list of some popular spots:
- Leves - A place for the popular Hungarian soup along with baguettes and cookies.
- Gyradiko - A delicious Greek eatery.
- Dang Muoi - Vietnamese cuisine.
- Punjab Tandoori - Indian cuisine.
- Marika Néni Kávézója - A burger place that has over 40 types of burgers and 7 types of buns.
Fast Food Chains in Budapest
- Burger King
- Pizza Hut
Vegetarian Food in Hungary
Vegetarianism is slowly being recognized and many establishments offer vegetable dishes. Vegetarians can order dishes such as lecsó tojással (eggs scrambled in a thick tomato-onion-paprika sauce), rántott sajt (batter-fried cheese with tartar sauce), or túros csusza tepertó nélkul (a type of noodle with cottage cheese dish).
Tipping in Hungary
Tips should be left in cash and be 10% of the total. It is considered rude if you do not leave a tip and that you were dissatisfied with the service.
Like many European countries, Hungary does not look down upon drinking. The ‘Ruin Pubs' are very popular for tourists because of the affordable drinks and fun times waiting to be had. Alcohol is readily available in many markets, supermarkets, corner stores, restaurants, beer gardens, and pubs. Hungary has never been a real beer country, but they do sell other European beers throughout the country as well as some made in Hungary. Hungary has excellent wine of both the red and white variety that comes from all different regions of the country.
Non-Alcoholic Drinks in Hungary
- Water - Even though tap water is safe to drink in Budapest, it generally isn't offered in restaurants. Bottled water is charged when you go out to eat. Bottled carbonated mineral water is very popular as well as the standard bottled spring water.
- Juice - Delicious fruit juices are available for purchase in all food stores and most restaurants and cafes.
- Tea - Tea is readily available at restaurants, pubs, and cafes. There are even teashops that have opened up to cater to the tea drinker. There are also stores that sell numerous herbal teas.
- Coffee - Hungarians drink many cups of coffee throughout the day. There are several coffeehouses throughout the city and it is available in restaurants, pubs, and cafes. It is also available for purchase at supermarkets and street shops if you want to brew your own. Espresso and decaffeinated coffees are also available.
Popular Cafes in Budapest
- Espresso Embassy - A popular coffee café close to the Danube River that also sells pastries and sandwiches.
- The World of Strudels - The name says it all, this is one of the best places to get yourself a delicious strudel in the Center City of Budapest.
- Albi Café - A great place for coffee, espressos, and fruit juices or a quick and delicious breakfast.
- Alexandra Bookstore Café - A beautiful and well-decorated café that is great for coffee and desserts.
- Manual Café - Perfect for an Italian coffee.
- Café Factory - A great spot for sandwiches, tortillas, and salads. Along with coffee and tea, they serve alcoholic beverages as well.
- Balzac Café - Along with delicious drinks, you can grab yourself a sandwich, chocolate, or freshly bakes croissants at this tiny café in district XIII.
Alcoholic Drinks in Hungary
- Beer - A number of European beers are produced under a Hungarian license. There are also several European beers in pubs, bars, and restaurants. Beer is also available for purchase at the local grocery stores.
- Wine - Hungarian wines have a great reputation. The most popular and well-known red wines come from the region around Villány, a town to the south of Pécs near Croatia. Many travellers are familiar with the red wine from Eger, which are rich and fruity. The best white wines are from the Lake Balaton region. Tojak wines are popular as dessert wines because of their sweetness.
- Liquor - Unikum is Hungary's national liqueur, which is similar to Jagermeister. It has an aromatic, bitter liquid that has an acquired taste. A fruit brandy palinka is also a popular liquor in Hungary that is often referred to as schnapps. It has a high alcohol content with a fruit or honey flavor. Palinka is traditionally brewed at home with a variety of fruits and is believed to have a medicinal effect.
Liquor Laws in Hungary
Individuals must be at least 18 years old to legally drink in Hungary. It is illegal to drink and drive in Hungary.