If you are looking for a good Hungarian restaurant with live Gypsy music, you will definitely find some places to eat well and feel good in Budapest. Please do check the opening hours of the restaurant as several Hungarian restaurants are not open all week.
Besides Restaurants with Gypsy Music in Budapest, you may also wish to check other dining options like Budapest river cruises with Gypsy Music.
Hungarian Restaurants with Gypsy Music
Margitkert Restaurant, Budapest
Margitkert Restaurant is probably your best option to dine in a Hungarian restaurant where live Gypsy music can be heard, and truly delicious Hungarian meals and wines can be had.
Margitkert Restaurant is a short walk from the busy Margaret Bridge (Margit hid) by the Margaret Island.
This wonderfully welcoming place, which feels like a retro oasis, has been around for ages (since 1780), and many a famous people have been invited there to try authentic Hungarian cuisine (which is a lot more than goulash of course), like Tony Curtis, Francois Mitterand, Olof Palme, Vaclav Havel, Willy Brandt, to mention but a few.
The restaurant is in a very pleasant neigbourhood of Budapest, on the Buda side in District II, in the green, wealthy and elegant Rose Hill (Rozsadomb) part of the city.
Kehli Restaurant, Budapest
Kehli Vendeglo (Kehli Inn or Kehli Restaurant) is a pleasant restaurant with many rooms and terraces in Old Buda (District III on the Buda side of Budapest, north of the Margaret Island).
This old restaurant has had several outstanding guests over the many decades, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Woody Allen, Jimmy Carter, Roger Moore, Andy Vajna, James Belushi, Gerhard Berger, etc.
Kehli Restaurant is close to Arpad Bridge spanning over the river Danube. The kitchen is open every day from 12 am to 11:30 pm (closed at Christmas).
There are several rooms, so if you want to be closer or further away from the Gypsy band, try to get yourself seated accordingly (being too close may hinder conversation).
There are many locals at this Hungarian restaurant, which is always a good sign. Here are some restaurant reviews (many of them by Hungarians)
Karpatia Restaurant, Budapest
Karpatia Restaurant is within a few min walking distance from the city center. The address is 7 Ferenciek Square. Karpatia restaurant seems to have an uneven quality, not the best, not always good, but fits the notion of the wild romantic Hungarian restaurant with Gypsy music, and despite being hit and miss, they have some nice Hungarian dishes too.
Szeged Restaurant, Budapest
Szeged Vendeglo (Szeged Inn or Szeged Restaurant) is right next to the world famous Art Nouveau spa bath, Gellert Baths in the Hotel Gellert by the Liberty Bridge. Red and white table cloths, Hungarian dishes and Gypsy music are always on ready to entertain tourists (which is to suggest that the restaurant is quite touristy, and can be busy with several tourist groups in summer months, yet mostly airy in low season).
The venison goulash at Szeged Restaurant is usually well rated. Please bear in mind that goulash sold in Hungary is totally different from goulash sold in other countries – goulash is a soup with lots of vegetables, beef and some noodles, while porkolt is a stew, dense and not soupy.
Matyas Pince Restaurant, Budapest
Mátyás Pince Restaurant is one of the most central Gypsy music – Hungarian restaurants in Budapest. It goes one step further than the usual Gypsy music restaurants with even more entertaining for Budapest tourists: in addition to the live Gypsy band, you can also marvel at some Hungarian dancers (folk dances and traditional Hungarian palace dances like ‘palotash’).
Matyas Pince Restaurant offers various programmes throughout the week (Gypsy music, Operetta music, Hungarian dance performances). Lakatos Vilmos and his gypsy band performs every day from 7 pm to midnight all week. You can also expect to see a 40-minute folk dance performance on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 pm. Lastly, Hungarian operetta evenings are on each Friday from 8:30 pm.
Please do check your bills carefully. If you order wines by the glass, please specify which wines you pick (or be aware what you are being served each round by consulting with your waiter) as randomly served wines may hugely increase your bill (you will be served more expensive wines automatically).
Matyas Pince is often well rated for its lovely atmosphere (painted glasses and walls), but not for its great food or for its pricey tags.
Kulacs Restaurant, Budapest
Another restaurant, which is the same category of ‘Hungarian restaurant with Gypsy music’, but is slightly more well known perhaps (and boasts several celebrity guests like Brad Pitt, Liam Neeson, Robert Redford, etc.) is Kulacs Restaurant. That said, its TripAdvisor reviews are really not that gorgeous.
Kulacs Restaurant is not within walking distance from the city centre, but not too far away either (in VII District, at 11 Osvath Street). The restaurant is close to Blaha Lujza Square (and the Boscolo Hotel New York Palace).
You can easily get there from Deak Square by taking the M2 red line metro to Blaha Square or from Ferenciek Square taking the bus (most stop there, e.g. 178) and be at Blaha Square within 10 min.
Cafe Central, Budapest
Cafe Central (Central Kavehaz) is also very much in the city centre and has occasional Gypsy music. The place itself is classy but relaxed at the same time, and its spacious, airy and authentic European turn of the century interior is very much praised by most reviewers.
Cafe Central is located close to the Elisabeth Bridge, just off a side street by Ferenciek Square (and very close to Karpatia Restaurant mentioned above).
Although the atmosphere is brilliant, rarely though, but some guests found the service of lower quality (most were satisfied and rated the service as ‘friendly’), and the food mediocre.
As Cafe Central is one of the oldest coffee houses in Budapest (in its glorious days it was the literary hub of the Hungarian capital), it offers a a wide variety of pastries and desserts.
If you are not sure about booking a dinner table here, just have a coffee / tea in the afternoon. Gypsy music is not always on, please make your inquiry personally before your planned booking.
Muzeum Restaurant, Budapest
Muzeum Restaurant is oftentimes appreciated for its rare old world charm.
Gypsy music may not be the default background music (currently its main dinner pianist plays classical music and popular music, like Mozart, Liszt, Debussy, Webber, etc.).
Museum Restaurants is one of the Hungarian restaurants with Gypsy music which is closed on Sundays.
Rezkakas Restaurant, Budapest
Rezkakas Restaurant (Rézkakas Etterem) could be an obvious downtown restaurant option with Hungarian Gypsy music if you want to splurge a bit. The prices are quite high.
Please note that the address of Rezkakas Restaurant has changed: in April 2012 Rezkakas has moved from Veres Palne Street to Sas Street.
Their new address is 3 Sas Street, District V, Budapest, 1051), which puts it very close to St Stephen’s Basilica.
The new Rezkakas defines itself as a bistro offering all the traditional Hungarian foods and some international dishes too.
Gypsy music is on every evening.
It is one of the most expensive restaurants in Budapest, Hungary (usually offered by five star hotel concierges).
Bohem Tanya Restaurant
Bohem Tanya Inn (Bohem Tanya Kisvendeglo) is located in the city centre, just off Deak Square. Gypsy music is on at Bohemtanya Restaurant twice a week on Friday and Saturday evenings. The restaurant has received mixed reviews so far.
100 Eves Restaurant (aka Szazeves Etterem)
The name of the restaurant translates as 100 year old restaurant and it is indeed one of the older restaurants in Budapest with live Gypsy music to be enjoyed.
At 100 Eves Restaurant you can buy solid Hungarian foods in the city centre of Budapest.
Further Hungarian restaurants with occasional Gypsy music to consider:
- Marvanymenyasszony Restaurant in Marvany Street in District I, close to Deli Train Station.
- Aranyszarvas Restaurant on Szarvas Square in District I, at the foot of the Castle Hill and a pleasant riverside walk from Elisabeth Bridge (or Chain Bridge) on the Buda side of Budapest.
- Busulo Juhasz Restaurant on Gellert Hill on Kelenhegyi Way.
- Alfoldi Restaurant close to the city centre of Budapest in Kecskemeti Street.
- Bajai Halaszcsarda on Hollos Way in District XII (far away from the city centre and the most touristy areas)
Please note that many tourists assume that a real Hungarian restaurant is unimaginable without a Hungarian Gypsy band, but most locals would call restaurants with live Gypsy music touristy and fake Hungarian (‘műmagyar’).
The idea of Hungarians eating drinking and even singing along with Gypsy musicians, who are playing right by the table, into the very ears of the restaurant guests may have been well circulated in touristy videos and romantic films, but the reality is that most Magyars would definitely avoid ‘Hungarian style restaurants’, and would probably advise against eating out at such places. Being played into the ears can be especially intrusive.
Nevertheless, we absolutely respect if you want to try, see, and feel the ‘Gypsy – Hungarian restaurant atmosphere’ for yourself, so here is a list of some of the most well known Hungarian restaurants with live Gypsy music.
We have put together the above Budapest restaurant guide to the best of our knowledge. For further details and current opening hours, the schedule of Gypsy music programmes please double check the info on the official website of each restaurant.
Last updated: February 2013