Let’s face it, we all love a burger. Frowned upon by gastro snobs before they came into vogue, hamburgers now come in every type and stripe, hand-crafted and between buns of many colours including black. Retro or sophisticated, American-style or meat-free, here are our top tips for where to chomp in Budapest.
Bamba Marha Burger Bár – Oktogon
BigSeven travel magazine chose Bamba Marha as Europe’s fifth and the world’s 13th best burger, so this place must be doing something right. Former burger blogger Jani Jancsa and his team opened the first Bamba Marha Burger Bár at Oktogon in the summer of 2015. Since then they have added four more locations to the franchise, offering classic as well as somewhat wilder, unique burgers.
There are permanent items on the menu, but the options are slightly different at all locations. The simple burgers are very tasty as well, but this kitchen definitely knows how to play with flavours and create outstanding combinations. Apart from traditional sauces, you will be acquainted with teriyaki, parsley-pesto and umami ketchup as well.
WLB tip: Big Kahuna Burger (1,990 HUF)
District VI. Andrássy út 46
Open: Daily 11.30am-9.45pm
Black Cab Burger – Mester utca
The Black Cab is a British burger joint, whose name refers to London’s most commodious form of transport. Jószi ‘Joe’ Tóth opened the first Black Cab after many years of experience abroad, and three years later opened a second location. While there are many hamburger restaurants in town now, Black Cab Burgers are true pioneers of the genre.
As the name ‘fast food’ suggests, we get our burgers in a matter of mere minutes, yet everything happens here before our eyes, and so there is no doubt of the quality. The outlet on Mester utca lets you play with the sizes of burgers and buns, and you can add all sorts of toppings, while the Rákóczi út location features house specialities. In addition to beefburgers, there is also chicken available, as well as hot dogs.
WLB tip: Big Cabbie Burger (1,400 HUF) – 12.5cm and 150g of meat
District IX. Mester utca 46
Open: Daily 11am-11pm
Bodega has been flipping burgers for a while but that’s no reason not to visit this spot near Vágóhíd utca down in deepest District IX. They started with a single caravan but soon became a local favourite, moving into a fixed premises in 2016.
The interior suits the industrial feel of the surroundings, but the quality of the food remains the same – besides burgers, you can still find Tex-Mex gems and their famous soups. In fact, if you want your own garden burger barbecue, you might want to ask for their burger pack, which includes beef patties of 180g, sauces and vegetables.
WLB tip: Chiliburger (1,600 HUF)
District IX. Nádasdy utca 12
Open: Daily 11am-8pm
Bölcső Bar & Food
In District XI near the Technical University of BME, the ‘Cradle’ gastropub attracts academic types and all-comers with Hungarian and Czech craft beers. Although they moved across a few hundred metres in the autumn of 2018, the same atmosphere remains, only the space and selection increased. The permanent menu features fixed combinations, but no cause for concern, the hamburger remains. In fact, the famous Bölcsős bun is still made by them.
So, you can still get one of the finest very homemade hamburgers in town – what else would you need in your free period or meeting friends after work?
WLB tip: Bölcső burger (1,950 HUF)
District XI. Zenta utca 3
Open: Mon-Fri 11.30am-11pm, Sat-Sun noon-11pm
BpBARbq by name, barbecue by nature, and not just hamburgers, which go hand-in-hand with meat of all stripes prepared in smokers. Anyone who knows the art of Zsolt Serényi can pretty much imagine the kind of professionalism at work here: a perfect carnivorous experience, top-quality buns, crunchy bacon, fresh vegetables and pickles.
To take the bull by the horns, try their iconic Monster burger: smoked beef brisket, bacon, sauerkraut, vegetables, spicy mayonnaise and cheese are concertinaed into a fresh bun.
WLB tip: Monster burger (3,480 HUF)
District VII. Akácfa utca 24
Open: Mon & Sun noon-10pm, Tue-Sat noon-midnight
Buddies Burger – Kálvin
The story of Buddies began in the Corvin Quarter with a modest window outlet at the end of 2015. Balázs Zöldi-Tóth and Máté Kasper moved from here with their sassy burgers to Magyar utca, where they were able to cater to a sit-down crowd of regulars and newcomers. Buddies specialise in hamburgers, no soup, pies, hot dogs, not even dessert, just burgers and a couple of toppings to augment the experience, French fries, onion rings or coleslaw.
The menu is as long as it needs to be – changing the sauces would just be for the sake of it, and overthought. Just think juicy, nutritious, original burgers in two sizes.
WLB tip: Ranch Buddy (1,880 HUF)
District V. Magyar utca 52
Open: Mon-Sat 11.30am-9.30pm
Ákos, his fiancée Zsófi and their friend Bálint started exploring the world of hamburgers three years ago. If you go to festivals, you have probably seen their trademark yellow food truck, every bit the American school bus, which has allowed them to travel around serving those hungry for good burgers. Now they have plotted up by Corvin sétány. Burger fanatic Ákos crafts the goods with the utmost care and passion. The sesame- and poppy-seed covered buns are from a nearby bakery, while the meat is created by the crew themselves, from the neck, ribs and fat, seasoned only with salt and pepper. The various sauces and the thick, creamy soups are concocted here as well.
The hamburgers comprise medium-rare patties of 180g, but you can ask to have the meat cooked a bit more. Underlining the owner’s love for cheese, you will find it in almost everything on the menu, in some cases almost covering the food, like with the Cheese Heaven burger. It looks a real challenge but is definitely worth trying. Thankfully, there is a sink installed in the eating area as well, which is a real benefit for those who need to wash their whiskers.
WLB tip: Cheese Heaven (2,690 HUF)
District VIII. Lósy Imre utca 2
Open: Daily 10am-10pm
Burger’s Bar first appeared at Kolosy tér with its tasty, creative burgers in 2013. This spring, they moved to a new location, Klauzál tér in bar vortex, where street food is more common, but Burger’s still manages to stand out. They believe that you can’t go wrong if the ingredients and the suppliers are top-quality, so they chose Józsi Vajda from the bakery Pékműhely to provide the buns.
The menu isn’t overly complicated. The classic burgers come in simple, double or triple sizes, while the gourmet ones are exciting and elaborate without getting too confusing. Apart from the burgers, you will find plenty of options from the Tex-Mex kitchen, too.
WLB tip: Award-winning bone-marrow burger (single: 1,790 HUF)
District VII. Klauzál tér 13
Open: Daily 11am-11pm
It’s nearly 20 years since actor Gábor Karalyos famously chucked away the mixed pickles from his hamburger in the famous scene in Moszkva tér, filmed around the then seedy square of the same name. Times have changed, Moszkva tér is now Széll Kálmán tér and similar little burger outlets have had to clean up their act. The retro burger is the buzzword of our times – few realising that the little hamburger enterprises of post-1989 are being faithfully reproduced. The Hambika-Burgerpoint, hidden in the shadow of Óbuda housing estates, is just such a place.
Opened in 2014, this little stall is primarily for those who yearn for the 1980s. Although they do not make the bun or the meat on-site, they take the time to properly assemble the combo and avoid adding any plastic flavouring additives. There is a huge gold star for the vegan version not having goats’ or sheeps’ cheese but grilled vegetables – aubergines or courgettes – with feta. Those who drool over the high-end burgers in the city centre won’t be beating a path here, but for cheap, high-quality, freshly-made nostalgia, look no further. Yes, and big high-five for making artisanal but homemade burgers.
WLB tip: HEJJ-Burger – with mixed pickles, of course (990 HUF)
District III. Szentendrei út 15A
Open: Mon-Sat 10am-9.15pm, Sun 10am-7.15pm
The Kandalló popped out of the imaginations of six university students in 2011 and was finally developed into a stylish pub in 2013. They were one of the pioneers of craft beer in the city, and helped new-wave burgers achieve their current status as well. The venue on Kertész utca is running smoothly ever since it opened, thanks to the vide variety of drinks, the prize-winning burgers and the friendly, welcoming atmosphere.
Plenty of commentators have lauded Kandalló as one of the best beer and burger bars in the city, and it’s no wonder. The ingredients, the technology and the execution are all professional, with surprising and refreshing gourmet additions, such as truffle mayonnaise, foie gras, grilled bell peppers and chive-infused cottage cheese. The burgers are made with 180g patties and come with steak fries, coleslaw, and a sour-cream and-garlic dip. The prices are also quite friendly considering the portion sizes.
WLB tip: Ultimate cheeseburger (2,990 HUF)
District VII. Kertész utca 33
Open: Mon-Thur, Sun noon-midnight, Fri-Sat noon-2am
Komló & Tehén
Komló & Tehén (‘Hops & Cow’) is located on the main street of Budaörs, right next to busy Szabadság út. Inside, the restaurant is bright and open, the tablecloths a little kitschy with English text reading “HELLO”, “No matter” and “BE COOL”. But there is a great selection of artisanal burgers, and a variety of domestic craft beers. The meat in the buns comes from Angus cattle, 150g.
This is the place for anyone who likes well-packed, imaginative and juicy burgers. They’re quite large, so the provided cutlery comes in handy. Each one comes with a portion of chips and American cabbage salad.
WLB tip: Zöldbors burger (2,190 HUF): meat patty, marinated peppers, bacon, cheddar cheese, house sauce, red onion, tomatoes and rocket
Budaörs, Szabadság út 53
Open: Mon noon-10pm, Tue-Fri 11am-11pm, Sat noon-11pm, Sun 11am-10pm
Lilla and Peti opened their hamburger operations in 2010, well before hamburger fever truly gripped the city, selling their wares from a buffet truck. After three years, they opened shop in 2013 in the District XI. Their burgers are renowned for offering alternative options to the traditional design, including five different bun choices and vegan options. Of course, classic carnivores will find something to suit their palette, as well.
When ordering, you can choose between 100g and 200g patties. Not enough meat? There’s a giant burger of 400g… Their homemade burger sauce is a big hit, and you can build your own burger in terms of toppings. There are also hot dogs and Tex-Mex dishes available.
WLB tip: Blue-cheese burger (100g: 1,800 HUF, 200g: 2,380 HUF)
District XI. Barázda utca 40
Open: Mon-Sat 11am-8pm, Sun 11am-6pm
Meatology is a little out of synch with this whole selection because they don’t focus on hamburgers, but they do allot them their own section on the menu, and they are very professional on the subject. And as the place, as can be inferred, is about meat, they make the list. This outlet opposite the Basilica offers Hungarian meat in the guise of fusion by default, but the burgers are expertly composed.
Although extremely filling and substantial, Meatology’s treats can still be recommended to those who believe that hamburger as a genre has long surpassed the constraints of simple street food, and are examples of fine cuisine on their own.
WLB tip: Tarjaburger (2,900 HUF)
District VI. Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út 15
Open: Daily 10am-10pm
Pesti Burger & Bár
Imre Háda and Edina Noszlopy have enriched District IX with delicious burgers since 2014 – first on Tompa utca and, after a short break, you can now find their outlet on nearby Tűzoltó utca. They reopened in late October after being closed for four months due to renovation.
Pesti Burger és Bár serves true gourmet delicacies, designed with the highest attention to detail and with top-notch ingredients: the meat comes from butcher Józsi Gál, and the buns are a contribution from the renowned Marmorstein bakery. The Angus-beef patties are 150g each, and, according to Pesti Burger’s philosophy on how to create the perfect quality, juicy burgers, they are always cooked medium-rare. You won’t find a thousand different variations on the menu, as this place puts quality over quantity, but you will find weekly changing specials, so there’s always something new to try.
WLB tip: Smoked burger (2,990 HUF)
District IX. Tűzoltó utca 50
Open: Tue-Fri 11am-9pm, Sat noon-9pm, Sun noon-4pm
Ray”Bá Street Food
Ray”Bá of Óbuda is a serious proposition. This burger joint, opened four years ago, has more than 100 varieties, even including chicken, pork and vegan versions. Even from the window, it looks like Texas has been transported to a few square feet of Óbuda: vast burgers, lots of variations and sizzling iron platters. The meat is made in-house and the sweet, puffy buns come from a pastry shop.
The beefburgers run the scale from mini 100g meat patty to a 600g monster, with additional options to choose from. Basic burgers are harder to find, but anyone who chooses Kolozsvár bacon, hot habanero, fried egg, chili beans, extra ribs or sausage in their burgers will definitely be back for more. If it’s chilly or raining, the stall has a covered seating area, but in case of a snow flurry, you can order to go.
WLB tip: Kis Óbuda burger (1,990 HUF)
District III. Kiscelli utca 14
Open: Mon-Fri 11.30am-9pm
Rock Burger Bar
The basic concept was launched by the mothership in Balatonlelle in 2016, and a year later a burger bar du choix for rock aficinadios set up here on Nagymező utca. The Rock Burger Bar, a little bit ruin bar, a lot rock bar, with mementos on the walls, takes us back to the heyday of guitar: each snack bears the name of a legendary musician.
The Rock Burger Bar is perfect for a bigger crowd – it’s noisy, pulsating yet somehow cosy. And the burgers are creative and juicy, and each comes with potatoes and cabbage salad.
WLB tip: Red Hot Chili Peppers (2,490 HUF)
District VI. Nagymező utca 64
Open: Mon-Thur noon-midnight, Fri-Sat noon-2am, Sun noon-10pm
Tuning Bar and Burger
Opened five years ago in the venue-swamped Jewish District, Tuning Bar and Burger has a strong presence in the neighbourhood. Their tasty burgers come in a wide array of possibilities, so it’s best to come here when you’re looking for something exciting. They’re a bit more expensive than the average burger, but that’s because they focus on quality materials and craftsmanship.
Each burger comes with a heap of toppings, like pickled cucumbers, yogurt sauce with avocado, maple-glazed bacon or goats’ cheese foam with beetroot and thyme. It’s worth trying their meat patties stuffed with different cheeses, as well, and everything can be accompanied by a section of draft and bottled artisanal beers, quality wines and brandy.
WLB tip: Texas burger (4,300 HUF): Angus beef patty, romaine lettuce with habanero tomato sauce, cheddar sauce with halapeño, coleslaw, bbq sauce and skinny fries.
District VII. Akácfa utca 45
Open: Mon-Thur noon-11pm, Fri-Sat noon-11.45pm, Sun noon-10pm
Zing Burger Király60
Zing Burger, formerly famous for delicious food-truck treats, opened its first venue at Király utca 60 in 2013 and since became a whole franchise. Their trick is to create simple but unique burgers with excellent ingredients, at trick they have mastered at all of the locations you can find them. Their many venues and their festival food-truck tradition means that you can always count on Zing for a good meal.
From time to time they come out with seasonal specialities. This time, they have created the Triffla Burger, in collaboration with a store specialising in mushrooms. This hearty, mouth-watering treat is excellent for winter, offering flavours of foie gras, truffle and plum jam. The other ingredients – the poppy-seed bun, the crunchy lettuce, the mayo with rosemary and sea salt, and the Emmental cheese, were chosen by Ádám Susánszky to complement the jam’s sweet taste. This seasonal burger can be sampled from until 6 December.
WLB tip: Triffla Burger (1,950 HUF + 790 HUF with foie gras)
District VI. Király utca 60
Open: Mon-Wed, Sun 11am-11pm, Thur-Sat 11am-1am