Snacking by the water in Hungary traditionally means lángos, hake or burgers by Lake Balaton. But Budapest offers many places by the water to chill and grab a great bite – the Római shore, ever-busier island of Népsziget and the Danube in south Buda to name but three. Here are eight must-try places to sate your hunger and cool down at the same time.
Right in the city centre, Digó is regularly cited among Budapest best pizza joints. Since May, diners have been able to enjoy their Neapolitan-style treats at the Digó Pizza Terrazza on the Római shore. According to founder Zoltán Papp, they will be offering people a new perspective on the lángos-hake-hamburger trinity during the rest of the holiday season.
The menu consists of four basic pizzas, mirrored to the selection of their Erzsébet tér outlet: marinara (1,690 HUF), bianca (1,750 HUF), plain (1,790 HUF), as well as DOP margherita (2,590 HUF) and truffle (2,590 HUF). Among the summer specialities (each 2,890 HUF) is a variety with felino salami, with capers, garlic and ricotta, and another with pesto and peperoncino. Don’t miss out on the summery prosciutto with honeydew melon and more cheese. Seasonal drinks include Aperol Spritz, and wines from young winery Gran Vin de Barnag.
District III. Római part 31
Open: Tue-Thur 4pm-10pm, Fri 4pm-8pm, Sat-Sun 2pm-10pm
The DP BBQ is a few steps from the bicycle path connecting north Buda to south, and one of the more shaded, quieter beaches by the Danube in Budafok, opposite Csepel island. You can’t dive in, but kayakers are welcome. Straight outta Siófok, the crew at DP BBQ must love this lesser-known corner of the city because a month or so back they opened their latest outlet at the DunaFok Szabadidőpark. Now DP BBQ awaits guests all year round with meats exclusively cooked in their smoker, accompanied by vegetables and bread from the local market.
Hamburgers are always on offer, and the end of the week promises offers pork and whole baby chickens, in addition to matured beef. Towards the end of summer/early autumn, DP BBQ goes the whole hog in the style of Máriusz Adorján, with roast piglet on the menu. Look out, too, here on Hajó utca in Budafok, for a pop-up open-fire cauldron.
The DP Special is the top of the hamburger range here. It provides an all in one BBQ experience with a vast beef patty, a large helping of pulled pork, creamy coleslaw, cucumber relish, homemade BBQ sauce, tomatoes and jalapeño pepper between a bun from a local bakery. Not for someone on a diet – actually, possibly not for one person at all, but a professional job all the same. The weekend BBQ suggestions include the Stefánia (3,500 HUF) with Uruguayan beef, brisket (3,900 HUF) and whole baby chicken (2,500 HUF). Toasted sourdough bread makes a nice side dish, and don’t forget the coleslaw or homemade BBQ sauce.
District XXII. Hajó utca 2
Open: daily noon-9pm
A gastro stalwart by the Danube in Kelenföld, Dunaparty Megálló has been serving beach food out of a classic London double-decker for the past 14 years. This fast-food outlet is near a cycle path, so it’s quickly accessible from north Buda. Lack of shade means that it’s probably not worth spending the whole day here, but if you walk a few hundred metres south, you’ll find a more natural beach.
They started out with classic and filled lángos, hake and pancakes but quickly extended their operations to include mega-stuffed hot dogs. Dunaparty Megálló offers affordable beer (Primator, 580-860 HUF) and lemonade (490 HUF), keeping the prices reasonable for the classic/filled lángos (360-650 HUF). As for these filled lángos, we tried the sausage and onion-bacon – soft dough, crunchy on the outside, and they don’t skimp on the filling.
District XI. Hunyadi János út 162
Open: Mon-Fri noon-10pm, Sat-Sun 11am-10pm
Népsziget was Budapest’s hidden, forgotten island. Things changed when Kabin opened in the summer of 2017. From spring to autumn, Kabin sports its colourful ship’s sails and wooden containers. Kabin is not just an eatery, it’s an alternative gathering place amid nature, where DJ sessions, yoga classes and concerts also take place.
This year, they created a wall of flowers, and next year they want to establish a playground with a climbing wall. The menu offers light bites such as tuna and aubergine dip, tzatziki (each 1,200 HUF), as well as Caesar or smoked-mackerel salad. For those who want something a little more substantial, they offer Mediterranean or Debrecziner sausages (1,700 HUF), hamburgers or grilled bacon (1,900 HUF).
District XIII. Népszigeti út 727
Open: Mon-Thur noon-midnight, Fri noon-1am, Sat 10am-1am, Sun 10am-midnight
Kupak és Dugó
Gastro bar Kupak és Dugó has enriched the scenery of the Római shore since 2016 and recently it really found its mojo, partly thanks to co-operation with Zsolt Serényi’s downtown eatery BpBARbq, which now provides the meat. The pulled-pork sandwich (2,590 HUF) comes in a ciabatta, which the crew of Kupak és Dugó enriches with their coleslaw salad, cheddar sauce, jalapeño and homemade BBQ sauce.
The range of meat starts with spicy chicken wings (2,190 HUF) and is enhanced with mac and cheese with own-made coleslaw and cheddar sauce, as well as BBQ chops (2,990 HUF). They also offer eight types of pizza (1,800-2,200 HUF) which cover the classic Italian range. Ten types of small-batch beers come on tap, with quality wines to boot. And all a couple of steps from the water!
District III. Római part 29
Open: Mon-Fri 4pm-midnight, Sat-Sun noon-midnight
One of the unmissable eateries on the Római shore, Nap bácsi has been serving customers since 2015. Compared to Fellini alongside, Nap bácsi is quiet. This part of the shore is made for chilling and meditation. Events only take place at weekends. The establishment got its name after a former tavern that once stood here.
They offer not just craft beer, but a substantial food offering as well, such as the grey-cattle burger (1,950 HUF) wrapped in a grilled-cheese tortilla. Every year, the crew at Nap bácsi add something new to the menu. This year’s speciality is a light avocado-chicken salad (1,950 HUF) and sausage with parmesan cheese. Another novelty is on Saturdays, when customers can choose from dishes boiled in the cauldron, while Sundays mean dishes smoked on a wood-fire grill. Their current lunch menu is on their Facebook page.
District III. Kossuth Lajos Üdülőpart 9
Open: (weather permitting) Mon-Fri 2pm-11pm, Sat-Sun 10am-11pm
Only a few steps from Kabin, the Perem Bisztró brings a little urban vibe to Népsziget island, Berlin perhaps, with the trappings of a fairy garden thrown in. On the banks of a little bay, this little bistro stands with an enormous terrace set between the trees, shaded by day, its chill zone illuminated by fairy lights at night. The Perem Bisztró towers over the local competition with its small-batch and premium beer range, and they also have a quality wine and craft spirit collection.
The menu starts with the classics plus extras (Greek- and Mexican- themed lángos, 1,390 HUF) and sausage platters (1,490 HUF), then moves on to the series Zabálj csak! (‘Devour it!’) that includes pulled pork and smoked ribs. Locals are always pleased to find Zsírosdeszka (‘Fat Platter’) variations on the menu (990 HUF), featuring all their domestic favourites, a kind of Magyar tapas allowing you to embellish your toast with three kinds of fatty spreads: sausage-crumb, herb and roast duck-liver bowls come with a healthy portion of fresh vegetables. At weekends, acoustic and jazz concerts liven things up.
Open: Mon-Thur 2pm-midnight, Fri 2pm-2am, Sat noon-2am, Sun 10am-midnight
The stalwart Vasmacska Söröző under the railway bridge has withstood the years of desolation on Népsziget island. Its current owner has been frying hake and sausage in its small kitchen since 2000. All this time, Vasmacska has been a haunt for those from Lipótváros and Újpest, who consider the hake here to be the best in town. Its spicy crunchy coating is imbued with herbs made by a secret recipe, with optional French fries and pickles on the side. Sausage and breaded meats are usually also offered, though you won’t find them on the regular menu. With its sympathetic retro feeling, Vasmacska Söröző is not just an ideal spot to experience what life was like pre-1989, but tuck into excellent fish at the same time.
District IV. Zsilip utca 6
Open: daily noon-8pm