There are so many eateries popping up in Budapest proffering delicious pizzas, burgers, Asian meals, and ice creams, but restaurants serving high-quality traditional Magyar meals - like goulash soup, chicken stew, or sweet Somlói galuska (a sponge-cake dessert) – seems harder to find all the time. We have been keeping an eye on the goulash assortment of the city for a while, and came up with a list of eateries where trying this iconic Magyar specialty promises to be a truly unforgettable experience.
The bistro of prominent Magyar chefs Tamás Széll and Szabina Szulló, located within the Downtown Market, was highly anticipated in Budapest – especially by those who saw how well Tamás Széll and his team did at last year’s Bocuse d’Or. They finally opened their eatery in February, offering excellent courses of high-end gastronomy for affordable prices. The bistro has been truly popular ever since the opening, and we also popped in to take a sneak peek into the everyday life of this tiny but highly professional eatery. The menu changes seasonally, but features three permanent courses: goulash soup, rakott krumpli (a Hungarian dish made of potatoes, sausage, and sour cream), and Somlói galuska (a Hungarian sponge cake and pudding dessert). Stand25’s goulash soup is a true culinary adventure; it is enhanced with celery and a touch of citrus, but they also stayed loyal to this delicious dish’s classic roots. The meats are mouthwatering, and there is just enough vegetables and noodles in it. We think that this is the best goulash soup in town.
Price: along with a two- or three-course menu it costs 3,900 or 4,900 HUF, and it is 1,000 HUF extra if ordered by itself
Bestia soon turns two years old, and its concept has remained just as concrete and well-thought-out from the beginning to the now. Of course they’ve introduced several changes over these long months, but there are some things that are always permanent here: the meat-centric menu, the cool and sexy presentations, the importance of spices, and the impressive beer selection. Hungarian chef Gábor Krausz has been the head chef here for awhile now, who gained lots of experience on the west coast of America, but loves Hungarian cuisine just as much. Due to Bestia’s location by St. Stephen’s Basilica – they always have to feature a few traditional Hungarian meals on the menu, and fortunately goulash soup is one of them: no matter how often they vary the menu, this specialty always remains. It is served in a small pot, the base is not at all too fatty, and the ratio of meat and vegetables in it is just perfect. Enhanced with a touch of hot paprika, the flavor is even more intense.
Price: 1,850 HUF
It would indeed be quite funny if the Jewish Quarter’s stew place, Gettó Gulyás, would not offer goulash soup (in Hungarian goulash translates to “gulyás”). Gettó Gulyás opened in the beginning of 2016, and they strictly offer traditional Hungarian courses, without any “rethinking”, reinventing, or too many twists. Their Hungarian lunch specials are truly popular in the neighborhood, and they offer Budapest’s best túrógombóc (Hungarian sweet cottage-cheese dumplings). We recommend trying the Alföldi gulyás (translating to “goulash from the Great Plain”) that recalls the tastes of the countryside, and we can enhance it with both hot and dried red paprika. It is best devoured with a sizeable slice of bread.
Price: 1,100 HUF
Hunyadi Gasztroműhely & BBQ
Retek Street’s newest BBQ restaurant and beer bar not only offers sandwiches, burgers, and BBQ ribs that can all be washed down with local and international beers from small-scale breweries, but the place also serves a fine bowl of goulash soup. They reinvented the recipe, as instead of meat cubes the soup comes with shredded BBQ beef-neck pieces. More than 20 dkg of this meat soaks into the soup, so it becomes more of a massive and dense goulash base than a soup. Devoured with some bread, Hunyadi’s own homemade goulash fantasy is almost enough for a main course.
Price: 1,350 HUF
Hunyadi Gasztroműhely & BBQ
Address: Budapest 1122, Retek Street 12
Opening Hours: Monday - Sunday, 11:30am - 10pm
Mania Gourmet Bar (ceased)
Mania Gourmet Bar was a sweet surprise for us, as we have not really heard much about this eatery before. A certain Scandinavian elegance appears on their plates and in their flavors. As Mania is located on Király Street, in the heart of Budapest’s party district, they would miss out on a lot of customers if they did not offer a few iconic Hungarian courses like goulash. This savoury soup is made perfectly homey here, from great-quality meat and fresh vegetables. This is a soup that we would drop by for anytime.
Price: 1,990 HUF