All posts tagged Budapest Restaurant Guide

Piroska Restaurant (officially known as Piroska Vendeglo) is much recommended for those tourists who want to try Hungarian cuisine off the beaten path, and try something really local, traditional Hungarian fare, in a retro environment, at cheap / reasonable prices. Piroska Restaurant (say Piroshka) does not have either the Hungarian folk – Gypsy style atmosphere, or the beautiful historical cafes in Budapest like Cafe Central.

Piroska Restaurant Budapest Traditional Hungarian Foods

Piroska Restaurant Budapest

Piroska is tucked away in side street, within 10 minutes walk to Heroes’ Square. Many tourists rush to Paprika Restaurant on Dozsa Gyorgy Way in the neighbourhood, but we could not get in to test the local celebrity restaurant of Hungarian Restaurants in Budapest.

We wanted to give you our own TopBudapestOrg review of the popular Paprika Vendeglo, and ended up in Piroska Vendeglo where we had a phenomenal late lunch.

We were hungry, and kept walking towards the Grand Boulevard from Piroska. Then suddenly my husband recalled his past visits to Piroska Vendeglo, a traditional Hungarian restaurant with red and white checked tablecloths, soups in little red pots, reasonable prices and, for us, a lovely retro atmosphere of the 1970’s and 1980s of Hungary.

Piroska Vendeglo Budapest Hungarian Restaurants

Piroska Vendeglo Budapest

I was eating a really nice and filling bean goulash soup (as seen in the phot), and we also had an onion soup in a bun, and some meat soup.

These were our starters, and we loved our main courses too (Trout, Brassoi meat and fries, etc.). Do we like Piroska Restaurant? Yes, we do. If you do not shy away from more simple places to eat.

Opening Hours of Piroska Restaurant

Piroska restaurant is open from Mon to Fri from 11 am to 11 pm.

Address of Piroska Restaurant

40 Damjanich Street Budapest 1066 (District VI)

Design of Piroska Vendeglo Budapest


Piroska Restaurant Budapest Retro

Piroska Restaurant Budapest Retro

The interior design of Piroska Vendeglo restaurant was a mixture of retro elements, although not a tasteful mix, but definitely a pleasant one, where you do not have to worry about dresses, mysterious cutlery, etc.

The red walls inside are adorned with old posters, and advertising decor, the windows are filled with various soda bottles, the red and white checkered tablecloths bear a Tiffany lamp. Old radios, and even an old motorbike comes complete with the wooden bar furniture from the 1970s. It is a special place, with an especially good kitchen if you want to eat something nice and Hungarian.

There is a small side street terrace with a few tables outside for those who want to sit / smoke outside. The street was quiet on the weekend, and we had a great lunch, including our 2. 5 year old daughter, who ate up a mighty big meat soup with fresh carrots and nice beef.

If you are on a shoestring budget in Budapest, either because of your limited financial means, or because you are a student or a backpacker or an exchange worker or just a nice volunteer in Budapest Hungary, you can still find affordable, really really good budget restaurants in Budapest – with Hungarian cuisine or with some kind of cosmopolitan food (Chinese, Indian, Mexican, etc.). Here is our Map of Budapest Cheap Restaurants: nice restaurants with cheap menus, eateries, vegetarian food bars, butchers with great sausages by the counter, self service restaurants.

Budapest Leves - Soup Bar

Budapest Leves – Soup Bar

Your best bet is to have a good lunch in Hungary. Lunch is the main meal of the day, which is sometime between 12pm and 2pm. Consequently, lunch menus abundant in the city of Budapest, as they attract all the employees flocking out of the workplaces to get some decent lunch and socialize – but priced favourably in view of low Hungarian salaries.

Lunch meals in Budapest are quite good deals. The 3-6 Euro lunch deals usually include some kind of soup and the main course of your choice,  however, there are no drinks, no salads, no desserts included in this truly shoestring budget price (if you have something even cheaper in mind, you will have to go to the grocery for some bakery products and other cheap foods)

Soups of Hungarian Lunch Deals

Hungarians love soups and many eat a big bowl of soup to start with. The most typical Hungarian soups are: Hungarian chicken soup, tomato soup, potato soup, pea soup, green bean soup, sour cherry soup, bean soup, goulash soup (yes, it is a soup in Hungary, not a stew), but there are all kinds of soups from cheese soup through broccoli cream soup to onion soup. Lighter soups – mostly soups with vegetables and fruits – are typically paired with more substantial main courses, while heavier, meat based soups like bean soup with smoked ham or goulash soup with beef cubes, or tarragon chicken soup are paired with lighter main courses like veggie casseroles or pasta dishes.

Frici Papa Kifozdeje - cheap eatery in Budapest

Frici Papa Kifozdeje – cheap eatery in Budapest

Main Courses of Hungarian Lunch Deals

Main courses at cheap restaurants may seem to be mostly meat based, and they are indeed. But there are lots of vegetarian meals available too (especially soups and the wide range of stewed vegetable dishes called ‘fozelek’, say fur-zel-lake). Main courses are quite cosmopolitan, with frequent Hungarian – Italian – Eastern European options to choose from.

Types of Cheap Places to Eat in Budapest

Let’s assume, that you would not want to spend more than 4-8 Euros per meals (for lunch and dinner) in Budapest. Your best options arecheap Hungarian restaurants (étterem is restaurant) or other types of dining places called:

  • eatery: étkezde (ate-kez-deh), or kifőzde (ki-furs-deh): usually open all day, crowded at lunch hours, but at dinner time eateries are not busy
  • self-service restaurants: onkiszolgalo (önkiszolgáló, say earn-ki-sol-gah-low) – mostly focusing on cheap lunches
  • buffet: bufe (büfé, say bur-fay) – sandwiches, frankfurters, sausages, grilled meat, salads, Hungarian style burgers, pickles, etc. e.g. Burek Kiraly (in Hegedus Gyula street, close to Nyugati Train Station) or Csirkefogo close to Deak Square in Bajcsy Zsilinszky street)

Budapest Budget Restaurants

Eateries and Restaurants in Budapest: budget but good places to eat, with good foods and modest prices, approx. 4-8€. The budget prices usually mean that you can expect a not so good service (American tourists please note that the European style catering is far less dynamic and proactive than the American style “the waiter checks upon the guests every 5 min” to refill, to ask, to offer, to make sure, etc.. The traditional Hungarian style catering, and in general European style, is more like ” please hail down the waiter / waitress if you need anything, otherwise we don’t want to bother you in your privacy”).

Fruccola Bar Budapest

Fruccola Bar Budapest

So let’s see the list of cheap places to eat in Budapest: these are the best budget restaurants in Budapest at the time of writing.
Menza Restaurant on the unavoidable Liszt Ferenc Square by Andrassy Avenue (close to Oktogon). Liszt Square has a dozen restaurants of various styles, Menza is one of the most visited for its cheap prices, and lovely retro atmosphere. Is it perfect? No it is not, yet it is still one of the most visited dining places in Budapest by locals and tourists alike. It has a great location if you are walking along Andrassy, taking a tour in the nearby Opera House, or heading to / from the House of Terror and the Heroes Square. 4-5 Euros for a soup-main course lunch menu:
Ruben Restaurant in District V is one of the best budget restaurants in Budapest with its highly popular cheap daily lunch menu for 3-4 Euros. Ruben is at 12 Magyar Street, close to Astoria M2 metro station (just a few minutes from this cheap Hungarian restaurant, there is a nice little park, Karolyi kert, where you can sit down to have some quiet and peace in the bustling city): Ruben Restaurant
Frici Papa Kifozdeje is a genuine cheap eatery / budget restaurant in Budapest. Do not expect anything fancy, just something like a nice cosy canteen with lots of happily dining very satisfied locals who are on a budget (as are Hungarian wages). Official website of Frici Papa Budapest.
Hunyadi Kisvendeglo close to the House of Terror at 10 Hunyadi Square Budapest is indeed a cosy traditional Hungarian restaurant with cheap prices and good foods. Official website of Hunyadi Kisvendeglo
Fruccola is a light eatery with healthy salads, sandwiches and lots of fresh veegetables and fruits for the health conscious tourists in Budapest (locals love Fruccola’s places) More info on 

Montenegroi Gurman Budapest

Montenegroi Gurman Budapest

Leves is a trendy Hungarian eatery specializing in soups. It is in face a good soup bar for take away soups, fresh baguettes, cookies, etc. Leves (or more precisely Leves! with an exclamation mark – I have mentioned that Hungarians looove soups!) is very very popular among students. No wonder: the soups are substantial, very nice and fresh, perfect for a dirt cheap budget main course. The budget eatery is close to the Central market hall (Vamhaz korut street 14). Official Facebook page of Leves here.
Cafe Zappa The daily cheap lunch menu deal includes two courses plus 3 dl lemonade for about 5-6 euros. Isn’t it budget Budapest? More details about Cafe Zappa Budapest here.
Cafe Alibi a cosy and cheap student hangout by the Hungarian National Museum on Egyetem Square should be on your Budapest cheap restaurant list in downtown Budapest (hot tip: nearby Chocoroom is a great place for a cuppa hot chocolate) See the image video of Cafe Alibi at the bottom. Official facebook page of Budapest Cafe Alibi.

Cafe Bocadillo in the city centre of Budapest, on Astoria Square is an ideal cheap place to eat a quick lunch, snack or a nice budget breakfast if you happen to be in the neighbourhood (close to the Jewish Quarter, the Great Synagogue, the National Museum, Urania Film Theatre, etc.). The terrace is definitely an advantage. More info here
Cafe Bali (officially known as Bali Caffe) is a small cafe with 13 tables by Astoria Square, in central Budapest. Their cheap lunch deals are great value for money (for about 4 Euros soup and main course) if you are close by Astoria Square M2 metro station. Official website of the cafeis here.

Ruben Restaurant Budapest

Ruben Restaurant Budapest

Atrium Restaurant is very close to the Heroes Square in Budapest, opposite the nearby 1956 Memorial on Dozsa Gyorgy Way, in the modern glass building of the ING. The modern self-service / canteen / cafe is a pleasant and cheap place to have a decent lunch on weekdays. Not to be confused with Atrium Cafe on Vorosmarty Square.

Belvarosi Disznotoros is not even an eatery, still a warmly recommended cheap place to eat in Budapest – for meat lovers exclusively, who are happy to grab some lovely sausages, grilled chiken, duck thighs, blood pudding (the latter of which could be the closest translation to the Hungairan liver and blood sausages), etc. If you like meat and don’t mind eating while standing at a counter amongst fresh butcher products, it could be your potential best budget ‘meatery’ in Budapest. Belvarosi Disznotoros (‘Downtown pork platter’) is super centrally located and open all day long on weekdays (until 8pm). It is a short walk from the Elisabeth Bridge, from Astoria (M2 station) or from Kalvin Square (M3 Station) and the National Museum in Budapest. Official Facebook page

Makos Guba Restaurant Budapest

Makos Guba Restaurant Budapest

Makos Guba is a budget restaurant on the Buda side, close to the Tunnel under the Castle Hill on Krisztina korut street, District I in Budapest. The place is packed with locals at lunch time, with an average waiting time of 10-15 min, but is a lot more relaxed outside peak lunch hours. Right across the street from Makos Guba you will see a CBA grocery store – well this corner shop has a pretty good and very cheap eatery section – with a very limited number of tables (5-6?), but many are happy to take their lunch boxes away for a cheap meal (maybe eat it at the nearby little park). Official website of Makos Guba Restaurant here.

Popular canteens: there are some really popular canteens in Budapest, which are usually not attractive by sight, so you need to lower your expectations before entering the canteens. Some of them have been around for many decades, and have a definite retro feeling, like Pajtas Etterem (self service canteen) in Gyorskocsi Street, close to Batthyany Square M2 metro station. Pajtas (poy-tah-sh) attracts anyone of any ages trying to get a decent lunch on a budget (weekday lunch place only).

Most universities also has cheap canteens, you can ask any of the students to give your directions. For instance, if you are staying by Petofi Bridge, you can try the canteen of the Technical University for a cheap lunch.

Miscellaneous budget places to eat

Cosmopolitan cuisine in Budapest with reasonable / budget prices

Arriba Taqueria Mexican foods on Terez korut street, not far from Liszt Ferenc square and Menza (which is usually full)
Hummus Bar for great vegitarian dishes in Alkotmany street, close to the Parliament and Szabadsag square
Szeraj Restaurant Turkish eatery close to the Margaret Bridge (13 Szt Istvan korut street)
Momotaro Ramen Chinese restaurant close to the Chain Bridge and the Parliament and the Basilica in Szechenyi street
Montenegroi Gurman in Rakoczi way (54 Rákóczi út)
California Coffee for sandwiches on Kalvin Square (American urban trendy sort of place)

Budapest Budget Restaurants

Budapest Budget Restaurants

Regarding Hungarian cuisine, of which you have already must have heard that the meals are heavy, I would recommend trying anything ‘typical Hungarian’ for lunch so that you have time to digest it. We ourselves eat our heavy national deals mostly for lunch time, maybe for this very reason, but maybe also as midday lunch is the main meal of the day for Hungarians, while dinners are lighter, faster, less fancy on average. Midday lunch is sometime between noon and 2 pm, but some places open earlier at about half to 12 as early arrivals will be happy to get before the long queues building up by 12pm.

Taking a critical look at our own Hungarian cuisine (and mind you, we are not relying on statistics here as simply there are no stats only assumptions and observations), we could say that Hungarian savoury cuisine can be summed up in 3 words: stews, pickles and sour cream. However, the desserts in Hungary, eaten at a good place can be won-der-ful! Delicious, yummy, mouthwatering. Let’s add that the best place to eat is always a good Hungarian home with a nice housewife, possibly in her mature years. But most tourists are not that lucky to get invited for a real home made meal in Hungary. Never mind, some places will let you have a feel for what you could have.

If you eat goulash, be prepared that in Hungary, where it is from, goulash is a soup with more liquid and lots of veggies, maybe dumplings, beef cubes and paprika. Most foreigners expect to get stew when they order goulash, but in Hungarian stew is pörkölt, goulash is gulyás (soup).


Last updated: 11 August, 2012

Are you planning to have your meal while enjoying panoramic views in Budapest? Would you like more than having a picnic basket on the Citadel or climbing the Fisherman’s Bastion lookout tower to get stunning views? Here are some of the top viewpoint restaurants in Budapest, the ‘Paris of East’ divided by the river Danube into Buda and Pest – both magical at night.

Stunning Views over the city from Citadella Panorama Restaurant Budapest

Stunning Views over the city from Citadella Panorama Restaurant Budapest

Having a great meal in Budapest is not so difficult in one of the best Budapest restaurants. That said, having a great meal in a good restaurant possibly with river views might not be so easy, which sounds strange and with all that water flowing through between Buda and Pest it is downright contra-intuitive. Still, having a good dinner while enjoying the attractions by the river Danube is a sort of rarity in Budapest.

The river views and the Danube promenade in general – with the historical bridges – in Budapest are worth a visit for themselves. After all even the UNESCO found the glittering beauty of the most beautiful river views and its attractions along the river Danube worth adding to the World Heritage Site list: the Hungarian Parliament, the Buda Castle, the Chain Bridge, the Gresham Palace (Four Seasons Hotel Budapest), the Gellert Hill, etc. are all fantastic and provide the most romantic and beautiful background for a nice dinner in Budapest – when the sights get illuminated at dusk, the riverside becomes one of the best  scenic and romantic places in Europe.

Needless to say, you will have to pay a bit more to enjoy the views alongside your meals, but we think it would be worth the splurge. The snag is that, strictly speaking, there is currently no top notch restaurant with really top notch views over the river Danube and the best attractions along the river in Budapest.

There are either great restaurants with some good river views or good restaurants with good / great river views. In addition, there are Budapest dinner cruises where the boat tour is enhanced by buffet dinner options, which are usually decent but not outstanding five star dinners.

Great restaurants in Budapest with good river views

Trattoria and Taverna are only a few minutes walk from each other by the river Danube (not right near the river, but about 45 steps from it). Booking is needed, especially in high season (July and August) when most tourists seek out the best Budapest restaurants (both are often reviewed on Budapest travel forums with very satisfied ratings)

Trattoria Toscana Restaurant – Budapest restaurant with terrace and river views

Trattoria Toscana Restaurant Terrace with Budapest Panorama

Trattoria Toscana Restaurant Terrace with Budapest Panorama

Trattoria Toscana: the terrace of this restaurant has some astonishing river views, and you will definitely get one of the best Italian dishes in this lovely and highly popular restaurant. The atmosphere of Trattoria Toscana is very Italian, cosy and warm, very casual and truly Mediterranean ambience. Tourists are usually surprised how good Italian foods you can get in Budapest. But Budapest is a very cosmopolitan city with all sorts of restaurants (from French, Italian, through Russian or German or Indian to Argentine and Mexican). Please note that reservation is a must. And be prepared for extra waiting time on busy days.

Taverna Dionysos Restaurant – Budapest restaurant with terrace and river views

Taverna Dionysos: this restaurant has been amongst the best restaurants in Budapest for several years.

Taverna Dionysos Budapest panorama views

Taverna Dionysos Budapest panorama views

The cuisine, as the name suggests is Greek not Hungarian. Its outdoor seating makes the restaurant a great place for a bit of splurge (e.g. for a romantic dinner in Budapest, to celebrate an anniversary or your spouse’s / friend’s birthday). The terrace of the Greek Taverna Dionysos provides good views of the Buda sideand some of its sights like the Citadel and the Statue of Liberty atop Gellert Hill and the Buda waterfront with churches and 19th century residential buildings. While indoor the restaurant is typical white-blue Greek, the outdoor is undeniably more of Budapest due to the attractive sights and the city atmosphere. Service on busy days may get quite slow with lots of waiting time (for a seat, for the food, for the bill).

Good restaurants in Budapest with good / great river views

Citadella Panorama Restaurant, Budapest

Some of the tables at the restaurant by the Citadel on top of Gellert Hill called Citadella Panorama restaurant have beautiful night views over the river Danube. As this is the top of the Gellert Hill is THE most panoramic viewpoint in Budapest, you can easily get great views of both the Buda and the Pest side and their attractions (the Chain Bridge, the Parliament, the Gresham Palace, the dome of the St Stephen’s Basilica, the Buda Castle, etc.). The restaurant got good (but not excellent) reviews. The prices are expensive. The opening hours of the panorama restaurant are somewhat limited: Monday – Friday 5pm – 11pm, and at weekends open from noon to 11pm.

A38 Restaurant with panoramic views in Budapest

A38 Restaurant with panoramic river views in Budapest

A38 Restaurant with panoramic river views in Budapest

A38 is a ship permanently anchored by Petofi Bridge on the river Danube: while A38 is widely known as a cool and vibrant music club, its upper deck is in fact a trendy modern restaurant. The prices range from mid range to expensive and the restaurant is not superb but it is very good. You can have views over the river, the southern attractions of Budapest by Rakoczi Bridge (the Palace of Arts and the Hungarian National Theatre). A good choice if you want to see one of theconcerts on A38, or join the night party after dinner (one of the stars of Budapest nightlife).

Columbus Pub – standing ship with great views of Budapest

Columbus Pub might be a perfect choice for having a drink if you want to have a really wide panoramic view.

Columbus Pub and Restaurant Budapest panoramic views

Columbus Pub and Restaurant Budapest panoramic views

For dinners the restaurant seems to be a good but hit and miss choice. The reviews of the dishes and service on Columbus Restaurant on avarage are good or very good. An often recurring remark is overpriced(but this could be said of most panorama restaurants in Budapest). Columbus is oftentimes picked as the wedding party scene of foreigners in Budapest.

Spoon Restaurant – Budapest river views

Cafe Spoon Budapest

Cafe Spoon Budapest

Spoon Restaurant is a two floor standing ship turned into a stylish cafe / modern restaurant. Spoon is docked by the Chain Bridge on the river Danube in central Budapest. Its location and its amazing river views and views over the Buda side attractions, make the place quite popular amongst tourists and expats. The quality of the foods is average or good, and the prices are quite high in light of Hungarian standards, similar to western prices (like in London). You may feel a bit hurried when dining so if you want to take your time, and sit back, it may not be the best place.

Budapest Dinner Cruises and Lunch Cruises

There is no doubt about it, having a great dinner on a fantastic ship in Budapest could be the most memorable thing to do in this romantic city. Currently we cannot recommend you five star river cruises in Budapest, but if you are OK with a 3-4 star dinner experience and a 5 star sightseeing opportunity, taking a nice boat tour on the Danube  is a viable option – with or without dinner (or lunch, or cocktail, or beer, or party, what have you): see Budapest dinner cruises here.

For some tourists, especially tourists who are on a Budapest whistle tour or have a 2 day Budapest visit as part of a European tour, enjoying a dinner cruise in Budapest also saves time. It is indeed and interesting way to see the city of Budapest, learn about Hungary, the attractions, marvelling at the sights by the river and listening to live music (including Gypsy music).

However, if you are a foodie, or a picky eater, or someone who is only happy about five star dining experience, you may wish to take a drink only river cruise, and enjoy the dinner at one of the best restaurants in Budapest (see the Michelin starred Budapest restaurants here)