Goulash and paprikash: Hungarian food in Budapest

Budapest, Hungary

5 places
Anastasia Chukovskaya

Sour cherry soup, Mangalitsa hairy pig, lángos flat bread, Hungarian goose liver, flodni dessert – try it to feel the Hungarian cuisine. And don’t forget about the wines – Tokay from rasin grapes, red Kékfrankos wine, Olas Riesling white and dozens of other sorts to be found in enotecas around the city. And we give you five addressed to become the Hungarian cuisine expert.

Central Market Hall

The idea of Nagycsarnok, a major market hall in the united city (prior to 1873, Buda, Pest and Óbuda were separate cities), was suggested by the first mayor of Budapest. A prominent architect Samu Pecz was hired to work on the project that required huge investment. The red brick building with a roof having colorful Zsolnay tiling was erected in 1897 and has been since one of the most important trade places in the city. The area of the building covered with a fine steel structure is more than 10,000 square meters. You will find here stalls with vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, tokaji, sausages, cheese, spices, paste, bread, fresh and dry paprika, clothes and etc. Visit the place in the morning, go to the second floor and have breakfast of bean soup or goulash with a sausage. Then go shopping and buy wine for a dinner, foie gras and paprika and fresh bread with cheese to take out with you. You may also just walk this wonderful market and watch the citizens buy food from time-proven salesmen. Fish and seafoods are on the second floor.

Horgásztanya Vendéglő

This fish restaurant has been standing on the Danube shore for more than half a century. Visitors are served with thick fish soups in pots. The portions are so big that you can hardly stand up. The menu features spicy fish soup with carp, pike and cat-fish with paprika. You can order any kind of fish as well as dishes with goose, pork and beef. For some reason, cards are not accepted here, which is very uncommon for Budapest. The nearest ATM is in the supermarket at Batthyány tér.

Café Noé Cukrászda

A rabbi's daughter Rachel Raj was a fashion designer who became famous when she switched to cakes design. Together with her husband, they launched a website where you can order a custom-made cake, as well as several bakeries in the city. A must-try cake from Rachel is her personal version of flodni, a dessert eaten by Hungarian Jews.You can try it in an unremarkable place in the middle of the Jewish quarter. Main ingredients include apples, nuts, plum and poppy seeds. This dessert makes all Magyars feel proud. They say that this is the only place in the world where flodni is that tasty. Rachel also set a world record. She baked so many flodnis that they made up 96 meters in height if put one on the other. The same height as the Parliament building.

Szép Ilona

This elegant restaurant at the bottom of Buda Hills was named after Helen the Beautiful who once let King Mátyás in her house when he was returning from hunting. After a night of love, a naive girl realized that she wouldn't become the king's wife and threw herself in a ditch. A Hungarian poet Mihály Vörösmarty perpetuated the legend. Visitors in Szép Ilona look very presentable. Whole families come here on weekends to have venison in berry sauce and traditional Hungarian dishes: goose liver, goulash, duck in red wine, fresh fish and home-made Tyrolean pies.


Seven years ago, a wine club Bortársaság opened Klassz restaurant in the most fashionable street of Budapest. It is hard to find a vacant table here in the evening. The owners decided that no tables can be booked in advance. That is why you have to wait in a line. Klassz boasts of Hungarian wine assortment. You can always ask the sommelier what Tokaji wine to choose, what Kekfrankos is better or what Olaszrizling suits better the dish. On the menu you will find foie gras, consommé with chicken paste, delicate duck breast with risotto and mangalica (special breed of Hungarian pigs) with potato gratin. Compared to other joints in Budapest, the place is rather expensive (average bill is between 5,000 and 6,000 forints, which is EUR 20 per person), but the quality of food and wine is tremendous. There is also a wine store here.


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