The holidays are over and you’ve partied yourself into 2015. You’ve made all your resolutions and made grand plans for the year ahead, but there is one depressing truth – you’re broke. The festive season tends to put a big dent on our wallets, so come January we’re looking for nifty ways to be a bit more frugal than in hey-big-spender-December. To make life a little easier, here are some places where you can eat out for under 1000 HUF.
Frici papa kifőzdéje
It goes without saying that some of the cheapest restaurants in Budapest serve up local Hungarian dishes. In the cold, winter months, hearty Hungarian food satisfies the soul - and your belly - with filling food, while also giving your wallet a hard-earned rest. Favourite establishments like Frici Papa kifőzdéje offer tasty meals (although maybe not the healthiest) while still keeping the bill to under a grand. For example fried turkey breast with ham and cheese, plus a side of potatoes and parsley comes in at 998 forints. Amazing!
Bangla Büfé on 40 Akácfa Street in the heart of the VII District is easy to walk past, and with only four tables it might not be the most fancy affair. However, step inside and you can find Bangladeshi cuisine made fresh to order. For the budget-conscious, the Chicken Biryani or vegetable curries come in under 1000 HUF, and best yet they are made to taste where spiciness is concerned, and are served with rice or chapatti. You’re certainly getting your money’s worth; just don’t step in in a hurry, everything is made fresh, so you’ll have to wait a bit at peak times.
Keep warm with a mug of hot soup from LEVES. There are more than 5 varieties of hot soup to sip on, and their under 1000 HUF menu deal includes a sandwich along with the soup. Stop by this soup bar next time you want to save a few forints.
One of Hungary’s national dishes, főzelék, a kind of soupy vegetable stew, can fill you up on pennies... well, so to speak. Főzelékfaló Ételbár in the XI District near Ferenciek Square (1 Petőfi Sándor Street) serves up a variety of traditional stews for under 500 HUF, which you can pair with fried meat, mushrooms, cheese and other accompaniments while still keeping the total menu price under 1000 HUF.
There are so many Middle Eastern restaurants, kebab shops and falafel stands in Budapest that it’s easy to grab something and go for about 500 HUF. While this type of food might be cheap, it can often be associated with greasy food consumed after a hard night at Instant. However, there are some places that offer both value and taste, like Szinbád Büfé on 6-8 Krusper Street in the XI District. Run by a Syrian family, all the food at Szinbád Büfé is home cooked from good, fresh ingredients.
For the chicken fanatics among us Csirkecsibész is a great place to stop near Nagymező Street - it might even be worth the trek from further afield. The deal here is amazing. Deep fried crispy chicken in a burger, served up with some liver and French-salad with chips AND A DRINK (!!!) all for under 1000 HUF. This is great literally at any time of day, but it's bordering on a miracle after a few drinks.
Local markets and street food
Take a close look round your local market next time you go and see if there is a food court. The Great Market Hall has a cheap food court upstairs where you can eat out on a budget, we recommend you try the fried-dough Hungarian specialty, lángos, there. Other markets like the Újbuda Market also have an extensive selection of eateries offering meal deals for well under 1000 HUF. We also recommend a visit to “Chef’s Street” in the newly renewed Hold Street market.
Budapest is hot for street food, and quite right too, since you can find delicious tastes at budget prices. There is of course the icon: lángos - Hungary’s most famous street food. The hard part is trying to find the best one, but good bets are your local market, or Retro Büfé in downtown Pest, will offer the yummiest fried tough, topped with cheese and sour cream for a very reasonable price. If you’re in the VII District, then give the new street food court Karaván a try. You’ll find lángos stands here, but not just that... burgers, a pasta station as well as Indian dishes... and many of the vendors will give you something delicious to eat and change from your 1000 forint bill.