Soup’s great any time of year but in winter, it’s essential. And if you’re hurrying about doing your Christmas shopping in Budapest, there are plenty of options to drink hot broth on the hoof. Here are our recommendations.
Anyu leves és szendvics bár
If only everywhere had an Anyu leves! This pocket-sized spot in Új Buda is the stuff that every office worker dreams of: varied, delicious and homemade. There are two types of daily options that can be eaten here but you can ask them to serve it in a paper cup if you’re in a hurry. Don’t expect Bocuse D’Or innovation, but if you miss cooking like your mother or grandmother used to make, you’ve come to the right place. To complete the experience, don’t forget to dunk your grissini.
Price: 500 forints
Recommended: cream of spinach, cream of celery, liver-dumpling.
Bors has been serving top-quality street food on Kazinczy utca since 2012. They’re not only veterans, but legends in the genre. Their daily soup selection features unique flavours you’d never expect, in both sweet and savoury versions. Whichever you order, you won’t be disappointed; thanks to their creativity and excellent teamwork, the food is good quality and staff work like a well-oiled machine.
Price: 650 forints
Recommended: creamy corn with chili and BBQ jelly, Ginger-elderflower cream of pumpkin, popcorn (yes!) with crunchy bacon.
On downtown Nádor utca, Crudo does a roaring trade at breakfast and lunchtime, when the soup-and-sandwich combo is a popular choice. They give their soups full welly, not shying away from spreading around flavour. A savoury soup can go with a salad as a main dish, a sweet one with a dessert. Your soup may take a while to come but it will be worth it – especially the palócleves, a revered, thinner type of goulash.
Price: 590 forints
Recommended: beetroot with Greek yoghurt, mozzarella spinach, potato with coriander.
Hokedli Pottage Bar
Hokedli offers soups and different types of főzelék, a thick Hungarian vegetable stew. They often cook lactose- and gluten-free dishes, and always serve them in both meaty and vegetarian versions. Here you don’t have to be afraid to find lumps in your creamy cup of soup, since they prepare everything with extra care and use modern culinary techniques.
Price: 490 forints
Recommended: Cream of beet with goats’ cheese, potato soup with sausage, almond-milk with spinach.
INEZ Bagel Shop
While bagels take centre stage at homely, simple yet attentive Inez, near Arany János utca, the soups are well worth investigating. There’s a daily offer, which can be enjoyed in-situ, or taken away in a cup. They contain no gluten, sugar or eggs.
Price: 550 forints
Recommended: smoked broccoli, coconut and sweet potato, cream of potato and ginger.
The motto of the founders of LEVES. is “Eat the street!” and they really are trailblazers in pioneering the concept of street food to hungry locals. They opened in 2011, serving nothing but soup which can be consumed from branded paper cups on the go, or standing outside their small booth on Kálvin tér. Besides their usual, tried and trusted recipes, they always try to add a little novelty as well. Drawing inspiration from their travels, they’re not afraid to use exotic spices.
Price: 490 forints
Recommended: Indian lentil, Burmese chicken, Malaysian cream of potato.
There are now three Nyakleves outlets around the city, but everything started on Budafoki út. Since then, they’ve parked their trucks at District VII fast-food hub Karavan. As they provide stews, pastas and sandwiches as well, the soups tend to be simpler rather than innovative, two or three kinds every day. Service is kind and helpful, despite the name, which loosely translates as a clip round the ear.
Price: 600 forints
Recommended: bacon-lentil, savoury pea, cream of celery and potato, grape-and-apple.
In the summer of 2018, the staff at Ramenka decided that besides serving their hot and hearty Japanese ramen soups at their outlet on Kazinczy utca, they’ll also prepare smaller portions, available in takeaway cups, offering a great alternative for busy street-food aficionados. De-shelling a shrimp on the go might prove difficult, but other than that, the soups can easily be consumed by drinking them and tucking in with chopsticks to fish out noodles and tasty toppings.
Price: from 1,350 forints
Recommended: ramen varieties shifudo, waggie, chikin and yuwan.
Rapaz opened in 2015 as a refreshing and much-needed alternative to the fast-food outlets around Blaha Lujza tér. This soup-and-sandwich bar offers a daily changing selection of four or five warming varieties. Some crowd-pleasers return from time to time, such as the traditional chicken broth on Tuesdays, but can also push the boat out, cooking up extreme flavours that can either be homely, savoury or a sweet calorie bomb.
Price: 640 forints
Recommended: creamy spinach with garlic, chicken with wild mushrooms, orange and walnut with chocolate sauce.
Recept Bistro – 'Leveses Tomi'
Recept at Lehel tér market, otherwise known as Soup Tomi, tries to outdo the super-cheap Leves Pont in the immediate vicinity – shoppers love Asian flavours as well as Tomi. It’s not unusual to find everything gone by 1pm. Generally, they make two kinds, filling, rich and no skimping on the meat. Much is sourced from the varied, top-quality produce found around the market, so little goes to waste. All in all, very friendly and familial.
Price: from 550 forints
Recommended: Transylvanian chorba, lentil curry, Texas pork ragout.
The hurried office workers of the downtown bank district get through their day thanks to Soup Culture, where four or five varieties are made every day. It’s a well run, fast-paced place where they know that not everyone has time to stand around. They often make soups with Hungarian flavours but also thrown in favourite spices from other parts of the world. We can also order a soup as part of the daily offer, or with a sandwich. Their desserts are also fairly decent, if you still have room.
Price: 550 forints
Recommended: Nyírség dumpling, gazpacho, beef with vermicelli, gorgonzola with gnocchi.
Tökmag Vegan Street Food
Health-conscious eateries dot trendy Újlipótváros. One of the top picks is Tökmag on Hollán Ernő utca, serving all-vegan soups and sandwiches. Even without dairy and meat, it’s frequented by omnivores and dedicated carnivores, thanks to the rich flavours and exciting combinations. They cook with seasonal vegetables and a lot of spices, nut, seeds and other delicious toppings.
Price: 590 forints
Recommended: curry courgette, cream of carrot with ginger, pumpkin with cinnamon.