Suggesting 30 bars and restaurants in Budapest might seem like way more food and drink options than you will need, but it is split under five headings in the hope that there will be something for everyone; ten restaurants, ten cafes and teahouses, and ten bars and ruin pubs!
1. Cactus Juice
By far my favourite restaurant in Budapest, Cactus Juice serves traditional Hungarian dishes alongside fabulous cocktails! Their food is very hearty and filling, so don’t even think about ordering a starter, as nice as they are! I once made this mistake and ended up taking home my main course in a doggy bag. I recommend their oven baked pork served on lángos with cabbage… it is divine and the meat is so tender (the picture below doesn’t do it justice)!
Kiado is a big favourite for travellers looking to try the traditional gulyás (goulash) and again due to their traditional Hungarian menu the food is very filling! With dark decor and a similar menu to Cactus Juice across the street, the differentiating feature is that it is a little bit cheaper. My suggestion is always to take a look at the two through the window, and at their menus and go with your gut feeling – they are so close it’s the easiest option!
3. Parazs Preszo
If you’re spending a bit of time in Budapest and want a pleasant break from thick Hungarian dishes then I highly recommend visiting Parazs Preszo for some incredible thai food! Not only is the food lovely, but there is a great seating area at the back of the restaurant with low tables placed on a platform that you sit cross legged on for the full experience! I was taken here for my birthday last year and have been an avid fan ever since!
4. Trofea Grill
Unfortunately, I never made it to Trofea myself but I’ve heard so many great reviews from guests, coworkers, and friends that I thought I should definitely include it in this list! It serves an all you can eat and drink buffet on weekday lunchtimes for 3,500 HUF (€11.50) and it’s a little more pricier on weekends and evenings, but apparently is serves incredible fish (which is hard to come by in landlocked Hungary!) and everyone I’ve sent there has come back appropriately sloshed from the all you drink champagne bottles!
5. Pesti Dizno
I visited Pesti Dizno for the first time with my parents when they came to visit and we all ended up leaving them rave reviews on Trip Advisor. Not only did the meat (Pesti Dizno means ‘Pig of Pest’ apparently!) melt n your mouth, but the owner was very welcoming and sat and chatted with us for ages.
6. Frici Papa
Frici Papa is the king of budget gulyás in Budapest! The food is authentic Hungarian without the tourist price trap!
7. Oktagon Bistro
Another buffet as this one is far cheaper than Trofea with a huge selection! At 1190 HUF plus the price of a drink you definitely get your money’s worth of pork dishes, salad, pizza, grilled meats, and desserts!
Paprika, if it’s not too obvious to say(!), is the king of spicy gulyás in town served in a cosy, relaxed restaurant. There is a familial atmosphere, and yet the service is incredibly professional and the flavours in the soups are out of this world.
9. Sir Lancelot’s
Sir Lancelot’s is on this list less for it’s Hungarian culture and more as an alternative restaurant to eat at if you’re in the mood for some entertainment with dinner! It’s definitely not the cheapest in town, but you are welcomed at the entry by a man or woman dressed in medieval costume and are treated to an evening watching medieval jousting over dinner!
10. Liszt Ference Square
More of a rectangle than a square close to Oktagon crossroads in central Pest lies Liszt Ferenc Square, a delightful restaurant area that comes in to it’s own during the summer months when chairs and tables are brought outside for diners to enjoy their meals in the sunshine. There are a number of great restaurants in this square which makes it a great place to go if you’re not too sure what you fancy to eat and feel like browsing a few menus before making a decision.
11. Podma Cafe
Podma cafe was directly next door to a hostel I used to work at so I spent hours in there! Their coffee is lovely and there’s a hug upstairs dining area. Not to mention that their shelves are stacked with different tes and coffees to try!
12. Eco Cafe
The Eco Cafe just off Andrássy Út is all about organic products; they pride themselves on stocking only organic coffees at 95% of their food products are organic too! There is a lovely laid back vibe inside, modern but comfortable too.
13. Café Farger
This café is located just on the domed corner of Szabadság tér (Liberty Square), a beautiful park located close to the parliament building. The hot sandwiches are surprisingly filling, and the coffee will definitely keep you going on a day of sightseeing! With a lot of opportunity for outside seating, you can drink your coffee, make use of the free Wi-Fi, and enjoy the impressive sight of a monument built in honour of the Soviet lliberation of Hungary from Nazi forces. Look out for the random statue of Ronald Reagan that is also at home not too far from the café!
14. Alexandra Book Café
The incredible building that used to house the Paris Department Store is now home to the Alexandra Bookstore. Take the escalator and stairs to the third floor and you will be able to enjoy an exquisite lunch underneath the renaissance style ballroom ceiling.
More of a pastry and confectionary shop than a coffee house, it’s history dates back to 1827 when it was first founded and service has continued right up to the present day. The pastries are delicate and full of flavor, but due to the combination of it’s popularity and small size service can be rather slow at times.
16. 1,000 Tea
This beautiful tea room offers teas for sale, or to drink in and enjoy either in the Japanese style lounge or on the cute terrace. If you’re a fan of smoking hookah, then sit back, drink up and enjoy the mix of asian/european atmosphere.
17. Zöld Teknős
So many of Budapest’s best tea house can be found along Jokai Utca and Zöld Teknős is no exception! My favourite by far, although I’m not sure if my preference is due to the comfy, cool and darkened atmosphere or to the pleasant feeling I always get from a hot pot of their Jamaican rum tea!
18. Tea Palota
The colourblind would unfortunately miss out on an absolute treat for the eyes in this Tibetan inspired tea room, also found on Jokai Utca! The colours and decoration are stunning, almost overshadowing the long list of teas that they offer on their menu.
19. Vörös Oroszlán Teaház
Initially, this tea house doesn’t offer as much comfort for visitors as the others on this list, with straight back wooden chairs and tables. There is however a hidden bean bag corner which I sincerely suggest you hijack with a few friends before letting the friendly and helpful staff help you pick out the perfect tea for you!
20. Mozaik Kavezo
One of the more well known tea houses in the city, Mozaik Kavezo received Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence this year and when experiencing their great service and incredible interior design I’m sure you’ll understand why! A large section of their wall is free for guests to write on with chalk, which adds to the fun, and if you’re tired of Hungarian cuisine their English Breakfast is cracking!
21. Szimpla Kert
A list of the ‘101 Things To Do In Budapest’ wouldn’t be compete without mentioning Szimpla, the first and most famous of all the ruin pubs in Budapest and listed in many top ten lists of the best bars in the world by various authorities. Another receiver of Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence this year, the bar epitomizes quirky hipster style, with computer screens used as light fittings, and old car in the garden area to sit in, a room specifically set aside for hookah, and plenty more! Filled with colours, it is a must see.
Most often the go-to club any night of the week for most bar crawls around town, Instant is as quirky as Szimpla but with more of a focus on music and dance-floors, rather than just bars and seating. Probably the best place to party until the early hours! Look out for the large Owl and the upside-down room, as well as the fake bathroom!
23. Fogas Haz
This spacious open-air bar is my favourite of all the ruin pubs! With cool coloured lamps criss-crossing over the courtyard and the mandatory games room complete with table football and pinball machines the music here is best on a Wednesday, where you join the local crowd relaxing after work in the evening. Head to Fogas Haz on the weekend to party on the large dance-floor connected through an almost secret doorway from the courtyard!
Full of colourful octopi hanging from the ceiling, Kuplung is the best bar to try out some of the many different flavors of palinka, the traditional hungarian fruit brandy.
Designed with a Mexican twist near the busy Kiraly street in the Jewish District is Ellato, my favorite bar for tequila! After extensive investigation I can also say that the bathrooms are probably the nicest of all the ruin pubs (save for Ankert) and that their tacos are delicious!
26. Morrison’s 2
Morrison’s 2 is technically set up as a ruin pub, but whilst it has a large courtyard area it’s not open air which for me is the beauty of any ruin pub. It houses an incredible underground maze with a number of different dance-floors, as well a room dedicated to karaoke. For the best karaoke night though head to Morrison’s Opera (a much smaller underground bar behind the State Opera House) on a Monday night! The music is pretty cheesy in Morrison’s 2 but it is a cool place to hang out if you’re looking for somewhere further away from the main party district.
27. B-City Pub
The walls in this spacious pub are absolutely plastered with pictures of all the hollywood greats from throughout the ages, which instantly gives the pub it’s cool factor! I couldn’t even estimate the number of nights I spent sat at the bar drinking their cheap wine and tequila and enjoying the great music that plays throughout the night. It’s a great place to chill out if you don’t want to go clubbing.
The famous club on a boat, A38 was originally a Ukranian stone-carrier boat and after one and a half years of renovation it was opened to Budapest as a cultural venue in 2003. Since then it has hosted art exhibitions, concerts, and hundreds of parties! The best time to go is on a weekend – so check the listings on their website to see what’s coming up! It is a bit tricky to get there on public transports, you need to change trams here and there, but it’s totally worth it for an amazing night!
This is the club to be at for electronic music in town, with two massive dance-floors to rave on once you’ve walked up a long staircase that I admit, looks a little sketchy but is perfectly fine! With bright flashing colored lights inside the vibe is very cool, but the best part of Corvinteto is at the very top where they have an open air terrace complete with bar and stage which is just amazing in the summer nights! Make sure to head up early and watch the sunset over Pest!
Tuesday is the best night to take a visit to Lokal. The drinks definitely aren’t the cheapest in town, but on a Tuesday night they have a regular jazz band and it’s great to have some different music to dance to! Guests who stayed with us for a while always enjoyed the change of scene from the regular rowdy bar crawls; you can grab a drink and dance to the jazz or chill outside in the large courtyard.
Hopefully I have included something there for everyone! Let me know if I’ve missed any of your favourite spots!
Lots of love,