Budapest (made up of the separate cities of Buda and Pest) is the cultural capital of central Europe. With over 2 million inhabitants and 2.7 million visitors per year — there is no shortage of unique, delicious and cheap restaurants to please any palate. No matter which side of the Danube River you are on, you are never far from a delicious meal. Here are our top 5 spots to catch a bite
For an elegant home-cooked sit down meal:
Zeller Bistro tops our list of restaurants in Budapest, and was one of our favorite meals we have had in Europe. Hidden away in the Jewish Quarter, this restaurant is easy to miss. Once you step in you will be greeted with a welcome glass of house made elder-flower champagne as you peruse the daily changing menu. They have a mix of Hungarian specialties with more mainstream offerings as well. Be sure to save room for desert as you will be treated to complimentary cupcakes after you finish your meal. You will need to make a reservation — even on a weekday as they routinely run out of space.
For a unique soup:
Also located in the Jewish Quarter, Bors GasztroBar has to be one of the most unique concepts we have seen — but has been executed to perfection. While they serve salads and sandwiches — you are really headed here for their soups. These soups daily changing soups are best described as unique — on the day we went they had a “caprese” style soup with grilled chicken, made with spinach broth and mozzarella chunks and for desert a banana split style cold soup with a banana custard broth. When you arrive you will taste why it is consistently ranked in the top 10 best restaurants in the city. The friendly staff will walk you through each of the days offerings and help you pick the perfect soup.
For a break from market shopping:
Located just steps away from the central market, Borbirosag is a great place to sit and enjoy a delicious modern Hungarian meal while recovering from the crowds of the bustling market. We recommend the Chicken Supreme — but you cant go wrong with any of the traditional Hungarian offerings with a modern European twist. They have a vast wine selection as well as local non alcoholic specialties.
For a quick bite of American style fast food with a twist:
Stop at Hot Dog Cold Beer near Saint Ivan’s Basilica for a delicious American style hot dog and a cold beer. They offer several themed dogs as well as deserts, but their trademark is there fried potato chips served on a skewer. There is plenty of seating both inside and outside. While you can get a fried snickers bar for desert — we HIGHLY suggest you hold off for our final suggestion which is just a few minute walk away!
For Italian Style Gelato that will make you think you where in Florence:
You cannot miss the crowds lined up at Gelarto Rosa. The trained artisans take time to create a beautiful masterpiece that is almost too pretty to eat. The Gelato tasted fresh and natural. We particularly enjoyed the tropical fruit flavors, but didn’t find any flavor we didn’t like. Depending on how many flavors/scoops you want you can pick how big your rose is. During the summer they open several pop-up cafes along the same block — which offer the same exact gelato and experience without the wait.