In many Western European cities, some of the most affordable places to eat out are Indian restaurants; however, this is not exactly the case in Budapest, as several of the city’s most popular Indian eateries are quite sophisticated dining destinations. Nonetheless, we have a few budget-friendly but authentic places for those who don’t have much to spend but feel like enjoying spicy specialties from the Subcontinent – visit any of these five restaurants where you can enjoy full Indian meals for less than five euros, in some cases including a variety of meaty or vegetarian menu items.
A mysterious Indian lady mesmerizes passersby from a shop window opposite from Fogas Ház; even though at first glance this place looks like a hairdressering salon, Bollywood Vegetarian Bar is in fact the neighborhood’s only vegetarian Indian restaurant. The interior is surreally stunning; while we wait for our dish, it is worthwhile to let our eyes wander amid the decorations, from the colorful posters of Indian pop stars to Christmas baubles. Fortunately, Bollywood is open until late at night in the center of the party district, so we can pop in when we crave some Indian food almost anytime. We had six crispy pakoras for only 600 forints, and the main courses with rice and salad fall between 990-1,490 forints.
Prices 600-1,500 HUF
WLB tip: samosa and paneer kadahi
Further down on Akácfa Street lies the tiny original Bangla Buffet, and it also has a newer branch on the corner of Dob Street and Erzsébet Boulevard. The new unit is more spacious, but the flavors are the same. As the name foretells, the owner, Mr. Sheikh Swapan, and his team focus on the cuisine of Bangladesh. Not only tourists love this place, but many Indian, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani families that live in Budapest are also regulars here, thanks to the truly authentic tastes. The starters cost between 490-750 forints, while meat-free dishes start at 690 forints, and the cheapest meaty courses cost around 1,090 forints.
Prices: 500-1,790 HUF
WLB tip: papaddum and beef curry
Opening hours: Monday-Thursday noon-11pm, Friday 2:30pm-11pm, Saturday-Sunday noon-11pm
Even though they are more upscale than the previous eateries included in this article, Haveli and Shalimar both made it on our list, as they offer low-cost lunch specials – in addition to several affordable meals on their à la carte menu. Haveli’s lunch offer varies weekly, and includes a soup and a main dish with naan bread and rice. The vegetarian version is 1,290 forints, while the meaty option is 1,490 forints. At Haveli, generous portions and memorable flavors are always found on our plate.
At Shalimar, the southern-Indian lunch meals come in a so-called thali style. This means diners receive a large plate with smaller portions of rice, various currys, yogurt salad, desserts, and buttery naan bread. It is a big portion even for a particularly hungry diner, and the various flavors quickly satisfy the belly. The vegetarian version is 1,450 forints, the meaty variety is 1,490 forints, and a thali can be ordered until 4pm.
Address: Budapest 1072, Dob u. 53