There are several reasons for being a vegetarian. People can choose this lifestyle because of health problems, religious views or principles – to name but the classical reasons. But curiosity or even a conscious approach can also guide us. We wondered whether Budapest is a good home for "no meat" lifestyle.
The generally accepted definition is that vegetarians can be classified at least into six groups - would you have thought? Basically, a vegetarian is a person who doesn’t eat meat (including poultry, fish and any products made of them). Then there are the ovo-lacto vegetarians (they are okay with eggs and dairy products), the lacto-vegetarians (no eggs, but milk and milk products are allowed), vegans (who do not consume any animal foods: eggs, milk, honey), and even in some cases do not use any animal products (such as leather, wool, silk, etc), either. Raw eaters - as their name suggests - only consume raw food (except for those which would be toxic or indigestible), and a fruit-eater is a vegan who avoids vegetables.
Is that complicated? A little bit, maybe - but the fact is that not everybody decides willingly what kind of vegetarian they want to be. Sometimes the body simply determines what a person can eat or cannot. And, of course, there are at least the same number of people who simply decide to say meat goodbye. Either way, both groups need to eat every day. They have to find meals, which are delicious and diverse, not the all-the-time-repeated hyper-oldschool and uber boring fried cheese, fried cauliflower, broccoli and eggplant – or replace the asphyxiated piece of vegetable in the breadcrumbs with anything you like – in any of the possible variations.
Is Budapest vegetarian compatible? Can we offer as a fine variety of meals and restaurants for vegetarians as for those who are omnivorous? We went after that. We searched for a place where we can go even if we want to attract our friends’ attention to the vegetarian side. We looked for a spot where we can find exotic tastes. We also found a restaurant where we can have a delicious meal in just 15-20 minutes. We got to know a place where our favourite sweets are to made vegan-friendly. And we found a place where we will be satisfied even if our brain happens to demand traditional tastes only. Here is the result and the TOP 5 vegetarian restaurants recommended by WeLoveBudapest!
Their first restaurant was opened in 1996, since then four others have been founded country-wide. It is probably the most well-known and quality-based enterprise targeting the vegetarian. Their palette of dishes is so big; one can hardly get bored of it– even if you might think little is to be discovered in the field of vegetarian food. The staff prepares you special, lacto-vegetarian dishes featuring traditional Indian flavors and the meals of the healthy reform diet made of clean, fresh, mainly grain-, vegetal-, and dairy product-based ingredients as well. Govinda is sophisticated and cares for quality, if you hesitate to try vegetarian style, here you will find your way.
Two of the four Hummus Bar restaurants are especially vegetarian. One of them is in Alkotmány Street, the other, recently opened one is to be found in Hollán Ernő Street. The use of quality raw materials is also priority here combined with a very direct and friendly service and a perfectly favourable pricelist. Mainly we have the opportunity to try the tastes of the Near-East which might be very familiar to us in some cases. The dishes are light and astonishingly colourful. So in such gray winter time it is worth visiting the place for colour therapy reasons as well. And their specialty: the hummus..., uh useless to say a word, it is a must to taste!
Cakes, pastries, and other kinds of sweets in a vegetarian way are not easy to make. It is so because the traditional Hungarian pastries mainly contain egg and dairy products. After all the confectionary in Kiskorona Street, in Óbuda has chosen the vegan line, so they offer cookies made of vegetable ingredients only. Although winter is approaching, still, they offer ice-creams that meet the strictest vegan requirements as well. These products fit the diet of those having lactose- and other type of food allergy or diabetes – meaning dolce vita for all! Back to the nature: the slogan would sound like this – and it works. Like.
The younger brother of Ganges Restaurant has been opened for three years in Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Street, at the corner of Hunyadi Square, opposite to the Arany János subway station. They put the main emphasis – quite obviously – on the quality of the dishes: they procure the seasonal raw materials from farmers living in the regions around Budapest. These manufacturers have been practicing the profession for generations, guaranteeing the freshness and the quality of their products. The menu list is put together in a way that fits the Eastern and European taste preferences alike. As they function like a fast food restaurant, it is a great option for those in a hurry who are willing to eat something healthy and nutritious. Last but not least: for a decent price.
Besides selling fair trade coffee – a small step for mankind, a giant leap for us -, they strive to make healthy fast food. And how they do so exactly? For instance, with tofu- or bean burger. You should give them a try, of course, after switching off your prejudices. As vegetarians here we can have a hot dog as well, and we do not have to neglect either French fries or big soft drinks – as the classic meal is offered in Gorilla – if this combination happens to be our destiny. Or we can have a nice portion of layered potatoes followed by a sweet dumpling filled with plum – of course both are prepared in a vega-compatible form. Gorilla - located at the beginning of Paulay Ede Street - is likely to be our haunt if we prefer traditional tastes. And if we add that the daily menu (soup and a main dish) is under 1000 HUF... Any questions left?