The 5 Best Hungarian Restaurants in Budapest That First Timers Must Try

You can’t go to Budapest without eating Hungarian food. Contrary to what you might think, Hungarian cuisine isn’t *just* goulash and paprika-everything! In fact, the Hungarian food scene in Budapest is about to turn what you think about Hungarian food on its head!

When we lived in the city, we made it our mission to find the Hungarian food in Budapest that first-timers can’t miss. You know the perfect blend of OMG-THIS-IS-AMAZING with a central location so you can spend more time seeing the sights instead of navigating buses to get to restaurants?

In this guide, we’re sharing our top 5 picks for Hungarian eats in Hungary’s Capital, like Cafe Kor and Hungarikum Bizstro, so you can make sure you taste the best the country has to offer without wasting a calorie! Let’s get started with a video showing the vibe of each place! 

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Quick Navigation: Our Best Places To Stay In Budapest – Ranked

1️⃣ Cafe Kor 

2️⃣ Hungarikum Bizstro

3️⃣ Getto Gulyas

5️⃣ Pörc & Prézli Étterem
4️⃣ Retek Bistro

How To Use Our Guide

Considering we 1. Lived in the city, and 2. We love to eat, and we’ve been to many Hungarian restaurants in Budapest. However, since this is a first-timers guide and you probably don’t have endless days in the city to go to every restaurant or read a guide with 20 options and try to figure out which you need to prioritize, we did it for you!

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While it was super hard, Caleb and I narrowed it down to our top 5 best Hungarian restaurants in Budapest that are all within the city center, so you can make the most of however long you have. Any one of these is a great pick for your first time trying Hungarian food!

You can also consult our guide on the 20 Hungarian foods you must try, as we have some more restaurant recommendations there.

Our Top Pick: Cafe Kor – For delicious, no-fuss food with a cozy vibe

Cafe Kor is absolutely our top pick for eating typical Hungarian food in Budapest, and you MUST GO! It’s cozy and quiet inside and has this whole “hidden gem” vibe to it that’s also fancy in a low-key, unassuming way? 

You’ll know what we mean when you go.

At Cafe Kor, you’ll find two menus: one for the “always available” food and then a parchment paper menu that changes weekly (available on their Facebook page.) The menu is huge, and they serve up all the classics like Goulash and duck legs with cabbage, as well as some international eats with Greek or Asian flavors.

A handwritten menu on a roll of brown paper in a restaurant, listing various dishes in Hungarian with prices, including chicken liver soup, smoked salmon, goose liver pâté, beef goulash, and chestnut purée.

It’s the *perfect* spot to go if one of you isn’t so sure about the paprika business going on in Hungarian food and might want something a little “safer,” you know?

We shared the Hungarian beef strips, which had a creamy, stroganoff vibe and were served with the crispiest potato croquettes.  We also had duck legs with red cabbage, which were unreal, and you got 2 of them, so it was VALUE and perfect to share as a couple!

A plate of fried croquettes and a creamy mushroom sauce served at a restaurant, with a basket of bread and another dish in the background.

The food here is simple and what I expect a Hungarian grandma to serve: not plated with tweezers or random edible flowers…or really much color in general. It’s comforting, “beige” food at its best, and we loved every bite of it.

❤️ ROMANTIC TIP: Because it’s quieter and more cozy, it’s also a good pick for a romantic dinner!

What to order: their special is the duck legs, and they’re unreal.

📍 Budapest, Sas u 17, 1051 Hungary
💻 Cafe Kor Website

Our Second Pick: Hungarikum Bizstro – for eats with a whole experience 

An interior view of a cozy restaurant with red and white checkered tablecloths, yellow and red walls, and customers sitting at tables.

When you visit Budapest, you may hear the term “Hungarikums.” This comes from the Hungarikum Act of 2021, which protects some of the local products, foods, and inventions that Hungarians are proud of.

Look – you learned stuff! And you just thought you were here to eat.

That’s where the name “Hungarikum Bizstro” comes from, and this is a FUN SPOT.  We love eating here because it is SO lively, and the servers feel like friends. They joke around with you and are all smiles and happy without it feeling fake or forced.

We especially loved the free smoky bread and bacon to start your meal – who would have thought a tiny bite of bread could be so memorable? We shared the pork loin wrapped in bacon (because WHY NOT PORK x2. You’re in Hungary!) and duck legs with cabbage. Everything was juicy and so perfectly seasoned.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you even get a free shot of local spirit, Palinka, to end your meal. We think it tastes like gasoline, but we never give up free alcohol. You feel us?

PRO TIP: You need reservations here, or you won’t get in (learn from our mistakes.)

What to order: they’re known for their pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon, duck legs, and pork knuckle for two (great for couples like us!)

📍 Budapest, Steindl Imre u. 13, 1051 Hungary
💻 Hungarikum Bizstro Website

In Spot #3: Pörc & Prézli Étterem – for a lunch vibe

Close-up of the same dish showing the detailed texture of the seared meat and the accompanying sauce and garnish.

Our hunt for the best Chicken Paprikash (my favorite Hungarian food) in Budapest led us to Pörc & Prézli, and it did not disappoint!  

I had the chicken paprikash, which was honestly the prettiest, nicest-plated chicken paprikash I’ve ever had, and I love that it came with a huge chunk of chicken with skin on – something we usually don’t see.  It was falling off the bone, served with a heavy dose of sour cream (stretchy pants ya’ll. Bring them!) and the chewiest, springiest like egg dumplings. SUCH a perfect combo.

A cozy restaurant setting with a mezzanine floor, decorative plates on the walls, and diners enjoying their meals at wooden tables.

Caleb had the duck legs with cabbage (we love duck legs, can you tell?), which came with a cabbage strudel, which we had fallen in love with at strudel Hugo. They’re sweet, tart, and nice and crispy! The duck is juicy, crispy, and packed with flavor!

You could definitely do this for dinner, but we think that “the farm vibe” we got felt more lunchy.

What to order: they’re known for their chicken paprikash and Goulash.

📍 Budapest, Lázár u. 1, 1065 Hungary
💻 Pörc & Prézli Étterem

In 4th Place: Getto Gulyas – For good prices and a trendy vibe

A dimly lit view of a restaurant window at night, with plants in the foreground and a warm, cozy interior visible inside.

This trendy, sophisticated spot is probably the best priced on the list – it’s not cheap but a great value for what you get and for the central location.  We had two mains (and two of the more expensive ones because of the nicer cuts of meat) and a glass of wine and our cost as a couple was only 35 Euros, including tip.

They are known for their different stews and have a list of staples that always stay as well as chefs offer menu which changes.

Caleb the lamb paprikash with spaetzle, a twist on the classic chicken paprikash, and it had a rich and creamy sauce that paired well with the gamey lamb.  I had the venison stew with juniper, mushrooms, and bread dumplings, and the sauce was so rich and a flavor bomb!  We both really loved both!

The inside has this cool blend of industrial meets fancy, and the walls kind of feel like you’re on the inside of a shipping container but not in an “I’ve been kidnapped by a murderer and being held hostage way.” The dark, moody lights make it feel trendy and romantic!

We will say that it was almost all tourists here, but the food was really good and we liked the vibe and prices. 

What to order: and goulash or porkolt (stew) variations!

📍 Budapest, Wesselényi utca 18, 1077 Hungary
💻 Getto Gulyas Website

Last But Definitely Not Least: Retek Bizstro – For a little romance

The interior of a vibrant restaurant with a curved bar, hanging lights, and diners enjoying their meals in a warmly lit environment.

Retek Bistro, meaning “radish,” is an absolutely gorgeous restaurant with white-brick walls, dark blue accents, and adorable lights made from pasta strainers hanging down. Pair that with all the green plants everywhere with the homey, cozy vibe and live pianist playing music, and you’ve got yourself a little romance!

We loved that they were one step ahead of us when we casually mentioned we would be sharing our dishes as they brought us sharing plates without us asking.  We shared the duck leg confit with a Hungarian cheese crepe and a beef cheek with roasted veggie sauce.

Close-up of a gourmet beef dish served on a black plate, garnished with pickled onions, greens, and a creamy sauce.

Both were delicious, but the cheek was EXCEPTIONAL OMG.  The meat just melted in your mouth, and no knife was needed.

They have all the classic Hungarian food, and they even had some recipes printed on their menu, which added to the cozy, homey feel. We loved it!!

What to order: Beef cheek, duck legs, or they’re known for their stuffed cabbage

📍 Budapest, Nádor u. 5, 1051 Hungary
💻 Retek Bizstro Website

Overhead view of a wooden table with two gourmet dishes, one featuring a roasted duck leg and the other a beef dish, both accompanied by fresh garnishes.

Our Picks On A Map

How to use this map: Use your computer mouse (or fingers) to zoom in or out. Click on the icons to get more information about each place. Click the arrow on the top left corner for the index. Click the star next to the map’s title to add it to your Google Maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open Google Maps, click the menu and go to ‘Your Places’/’Maps’. If you want to print the map or see it in a bigger window, click on ‘View larger map’ in the top right corner.

A couple things you might want to know…

Should you tip in Budapest?

Yes, tipping is customary in Budapest, and we recommend 10-12%. However, many restaurants have already added it to the bill, so double-check before tipping!

What Time Is Dinner In Budapest?

Dinner is usually between 7 and 9pm in Budapest, so don’t go too early if you want to be more local!

Now you’re armed and ready with all the info and best tips you need at the best traditional Hungarian restaurants in Budapest, and you don’t have to comb through a huge list or waste time going outside the city center! If you have any questions, just let us know in the comments!

Now that you know about traditional Hungarian food, you have to know where to eat for all your other meals! We’re here to help with our ultimate guide on where to eat in Budapest!

Or, check out the 3 unmissable experiences you must have in Budapest if you’re a couple who loves food and wine!

Other Budapest Posts

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