Why do We Love Budapest? Because it’s a great city, great for dining, great for drinking, great for culture. Film stars love it. Here at We Love Budapest, we select the Great 8s, the best venues, movies and events to grace our fair city in 2017. Today we bring you the Great 8 dining spots that are new additions to Budapest’s burgeoning gastronomic scene and are ideal for sampling Magyar cuisine. Offering everything from classic goulash soup and local pork dishes made with an epicurean twist to creative cakes and fine wine accompaniments, these recently opened eateries all give you a taste of Hungarian hospitality.
Budapest’s newest grand café evokes Budapest’s century-old coffeehouse culture, featuring high-quality java and authentic Hungarian cuisine. Timeless elegance fills this District V eatery adorned with French-mosaic tiles, custom-made lamps and marble tables. A rich deli counter displays top-quality treats available even for takeaway, including Hungarian cheese, sausages and hams, all selling for low prices and making fine breakfast meals. For lunch, Börze serves two-course daily specials, setting you back 1,290 forints. From the à la carte menu, you can order Hortobágyi pancake filled with chicken stew, Újáházy-style guinea fowl broth and pan-fried duck liver served with mashed potatoes and quince chutney.
- 1051 Budapest, Nádor utca 23.
Halkakas Fish Bistro
Having shifted from focal District V to Dohány Street in Budapest’s party central just weeks ago, Halkakas now prides itself on its new courses and a more spacious interior, while keeping the same enthusiasm for creating specialties using fresh local fish. Conventional fish-based treats mix on the menu with dishes fused with international ingredients. Those going for the traditional line can devour paprika-based catfish stew with pasta and cottage cheese, while the gyros, quesadilla, and stuffed cabbage filled with fish are for guests who fancy trying innovative eats. Hungarian craft beer and wine make the selection complete at Halkakas, where even the design makes you feel as if you were dining out at a waterside eatery.
- 1074 Budapest, Dohány utca 36.
Replacing Bordó Bistro on Nagymező Street, Itterem now brings countryside-style dishes to the heart of Budapest. Resembling the design of a Manhattan loft, the spacious interior features lengthy tables ideal for booking with bigger groups, while colourful couches entice couples to linger. At Itterem, you’ll always be able to get staple foods such as goulash and chicken paprikás, but a seasonally changing selection makes the menu complete for returning guests, including local fish specialties or tasteful alternatives for vegetarians. Daily lunch specials are available from 1,390 forints and you can pop in for weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Pair a glass of small-batch Hungarian wine with your meal.
- 1065 Budapest, Nagymező utca 3.
Kálvin Gasztro Bisztro (KGB)
Standing for Kálvin Gastro Bistro as a reference to the restaurant’s Kálvin Square locality, KGB is the brainchild of a trio of bohemian Hungarian foodsmiths. The fancy flavor combinations dreamed up here result in a range of fusion meals inspired by local cuisine of various countries, including Hungary. The Magyars’ tripe dish comes here sprinkled with capers, while fresh sourdough bread is served on the side for soaking in the hefty gravy. During winter, a bowful of Jókai-style bean soup is worth a visit alone. For further culinary reconnaissance, KGB has well planned weekly offers and a range of secret cakes.
- 1053 Budapest, Kálvin tér 5.
Since November, an outstanding Balaton outlet has been giving a boost to the gastronomic scope of District IX in Budapest. An ordinary street-food delicacy such as the lángos fried-dough bread is presented here with a lakeside twist, enhanced with smoked carp belly. If you order a roe mulled wine, you get a spicy, rich and fragrant soup served with mushrooms and roe ragout wrapped in cabbage. Amid the restaurant’s rustic atmosphere, sweets such as aranygaluska (a local trifle-like dessert) evoke a rural lifestyle. Paletta is open for lunch and dinner.
Address: Budapest 1094, Tompa utca 28
Pörc & Prézli
Soft beef cubes enrich the spicy goulash and golden breadcrumbs envelop the deep-fried meat at Pörc & Prézli, a modern-day Hungarian-style dining destination found a short walk from the Hungarian State Opera. Portions are hefty and the ingredients are sourced from local farmers. In addition to heritage Magyar meals, guests here can also enjoy local specialties prepared in an innovative fashion, such as lamb fillet doused with beetroot pálinka brandy. The menu is heavy with meat dishes, including the Hungarian prized mangalica pork, duck served with braised cabbage, and free-range chicken. Look out for the special weekly offers. Live music played on traditional instruments adds that extra touch for a real Hungarian gastronomic experience.
Address: Budapest 1065, Lázár utca 1
Lined by a mix of local and international restaurants, Budapest’s Great Market Hall has become a destination for eating out in recent years. It’s within this arched structure where masterful Bocuse d’Or chef Tamás Széll opened Stand25, a bistro-style eatery pampering to the taste buds of gourmet guests. Come here for the city’s best classic goulash soup or the creamy potato casserole that are permanently features on the menu. Multiple-course meals served here also include stuffed cabbage with mangalica pork meat, paprika-infused chicken stew and Somló sponge cake soaked in rich chocolate sauce. During the week, the marketplace closes early evening but Stand25 remains open until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
- 1054 Budapest, Hold utca 13.
Veritas Wine Bar
While the main driving force at Veritas is its wide wine selection with libations spanning five continents, the Hungarian cuisine here is equally appealing. Just a glance through the oversized windows of this District VII bistro lures guests inside for wine pairing amid stylish surroundings. The à la carte menu is brief and includes smoked trout rillette with celery and apple salad, and a mix of Hungarian sausages as starters, grilled goats’ cheese, roast duck breast, and goulash soup, of course. The plum pie with ginger is just the cherry on the cake. The bar also has daily specials and dishes for vegetarian and vegan diners. As an added bonus, you can also sign up for wine dinners and tasting events.
- 1074 Budapest, Dohány utca 58.