The range of cheap eateries in Budapest consists of a few old-style, self-service restaurants, food stalls in markets and some really good street food joints (burger and hot dog bars), or Kolbice the Hungarian street food – grilled sausages in a cone-shaped bread).
There are some vegetarian food bars too, like Főzelékfaló restaurants where you can try a typical Hungarian dish, the főzelék (a kind of vegetable stew thickend with roux, or sour cream).
Cost of food to be expected in the following cheap restaurants: soups 300-500 HUF, main dishes (poultry, pork, pastas): 1 200-1 500 HUF (Note that this may vary slightly from place to place). In most self-service restaurants daily menu (soup and main dish) starts from 700 HUF. Note that some restaurants accept cash only.
Vendéglő-s and önkiszolgáló-s (self-service restaurants) are the best cheap restaurants in Budapest. These places have unpretentious interior, usually with plastic or checkered textile tablecloths.
Large portions, not typically low-carb, low-fat food.
Cheap Food in Downtown Budapest
Address: Október 6. utca 14., v. district, M3 blue metro, Arany János utca station
Open: 11.30 – 20.00 daily
Tel: (+36 1) 269 3861
A simple, inexpensive cash-only eatery with only 5-6 tables (prepare to share the table with other guests). If you want to try hearty Hungarian food this the place to go. Menu in English is available.
Daily menu (soup + main dish or főzelék + meat or sausage) from around HUF 800 -1 200. Try mushroom paprikash with galuska, or máglyarakás (a typical local sweet treat: layeres of sliced crescents, apples, apricot jam, with meringue on top and baked in oven.
Address: Jókai utca 20., VI. district, M3 blue metro, Nyugati pályaudvar station
Open: Mon-Fri: 11.30 – 22.00, Sat: 11.30 – 16.00, Sun: Closed
Tel (+36 1) 312 0557, website
A pretty good-value, cheap restaurant in Budapest’s downtown, close to the Opera, with daily menu of two options (a couple of soups, mains, and desserts): for 890 HUF (two courses), or 990 HUF (three courses).
Soups: Újházy chicken broth – 530 HUF, bean soup with pork knuckle: 960 HUF,
Mains to try: pork rib gypsy style with fries (Cigánypecsenye): 1555 HUF, Hagymás rostélyos (rumpsteak with fried onions and fries): 1795 HUF,
Desserts: pancakes (túrós=sweet cottage cheese, walnuts and chocolate sauce, jam): 420-515 HUF (two pieces), Chestnut puree with whipped cream (gesztenyepüré): 685 HUF.
Lugas Étterem- behind the Basilica
Address: Bajcsy-Zsilinszky E. út 15. , district V.
Despite the touristy location, Lugas is a fairly good place right behind St. Stephen Basilica. You can sit at the terrace if the weather allows. They serve mostly typical Hungarian meals:
- goulash (650 HUF), creamed potato soup-brugonya-krémleves with mushrooms(620 HUF),
- Wiener schnietzel with potato salad (1890 HUF from chicken breast fillet, or 2080 HUF from prok tenderloin),
- stuffed cabbage Kolozsvári style (1840 HUF),
- grilled meats,
- vegetarian dishes,
- fresh salads,
- desserts (pancakes, Somló sponge cake, madártej)
Address: Városligeti fasor 46., VI. district, near Heroes’ Square, M1 Hősök tere or Bajza utca stop
Tel (+36 1) 322 6615
Self-service menu daily from Monday to Friday betweem 11.00 and 15.00., during this time the place can be crowded. Nice terrace from spring till autumn.
See more Italian restaurants in Budapest.
Address: Klauzál tér 9., VII. district, tram 4, 6 Király utca stop
Open: Tue-Sun: 11.30 – 15.30, closed on Sunday and Monday
Tel (+36 1) 321 3622
Classic old-style restaurant in the heart of the former Jewish quarter, serving non-kosher Jewish food. Try roasted goose leg, stuffed cabbage, or cholent (sólet in Hungarian) a stewed or baked bean and meat dish.
Metropolitan Café & Self-service Restaurant
Address: Kéthly Anna tér 1., VII. district, at the junction of Klauzál utca and Wesselényi utca, tram4, M2 (red) metro, Blaha Lujza tér stop (7 minutes walk)
Open: Mon-Fri: 11.00 – 15.00 closed on Saturday and Sunday
Daily menu is around 700 HUF (soup and main dish). The place is air–conditioned and there’s an open-air terrace.
Bécsi Szelet Vendéglő
Address: József krt. 63., at the corner of Csepreghy utca, district VIII., trams 4, 6
Open: Mon-Sun: 12.00 – 22.00 daily
Tel (+36 1) 318-4934
Their specialty is the huge size Wiener Schnitzel, breaded veal deep fried in oil. Daily menu from 890 HUF, main dishes from 1 790 HUF.
Address: Bródy Sándor utca 30/a., district VIII., near the National Museum, M3 blue metro, Kálvin tér station,
Tel: (+36 1) 338 4878
Mostly Hungarian dishes, main courses are around 2 000- 2 600 HUF-, excellent home brewed beer.
Address: Radnóti Miklós utca 38., district XIII., tramx 4, 6 Jászai Mari tér stop
Open:< Mon-Fri: 9.00 – 12.00, Sat: 10.00 – 12.00
Tel (+36 1) 787 4877
Huge portions, varying quality, low prices.
Erzsi Mama Konyhája
Address: Pajkos utca 60., district XI.
Open: 11.00 – 22.00 every day
Tel (+36 1) 208 1296
It’s a bit out of central Budapest, but this place has nice, homey interior and good selection of traditional Hungarian dishes at reasonable price.
Vegetarian Cheap Restaurants in Budapest
Finding a vegetarian restaurant in Budapest or any in any other Hungarian city is a real challenge. Here are a few places to make eating out in Budapest easier for vegans.
Has several joins in Budapest:
Főzelékfaló Ferenciek tere, M3 metro, district V.,
Open: Mon-Fri: 10.00 – 20.00, Sat: 12.00 – 20.00, Sun: closed
Tel: (+36 1) 302 3856
Főzelékfaló Allee Shopping Centre
Address: Október Huszonharmadika utca 8-10., district XI.,
Open: Mon-sat: 9.00 – 22.00, Sun: 9.00 – 20.00
Főzelékfaló KÖKI Terminal Shopping Centre
Address: Vak Bottyán u. 75/A-c, M3 metro (blue line) Kőbány-Kispest termini
Főzeléks are peculiar to Hungarian cooking: vegetables simmered in some water and thickened with roux and sour cream.
Note that meat (usually smoked meat) is cooked together with vegetables in case of some főzeléks (babfőzelék), so always ask about it if you’re a strict vegan.
Meat dishes are also offered so the place is also recommended for meat lovers.
Address: Vigyázó Ferenc utca 4., district V., city center
Open: Mon-Fri: 11.00 – 21.00, Sun: 12.00 – 21.00 Sun: closed
Govinda Vega Corner
Address: Papnövelde utca,
Open: Mon – Sun: 12.00 – 21.00
Address: Cukor utca 3., district V., M3 blue metro, Ferenciek tere station
Open: 11.30 – 22.00 daily
Tel: (+36 1) 484 0848
A cheap vegetarian restaurant in downtown Budapest: wide selection of vegetable dishes (about 40), salads, soups, pizzas, bio juices. Daily menu from 650 HUF.
If you don’t want to sit in a restaurant or just don’t have time for it you can have a quick and cheap eat in a market, the best in Budapest is the Great Market Hall which you should visit anyway because of its architecture or for buying souvenirs.
TIP: I highly recomemnd Kolbice, a sort of Hungarian version of hot-dog: grilled mini sausages in a cone-shaped bread with various toppings: braised, cabbage, oinions cheese sauce, mustard, mayo, ketchup, chili.
Look for food stalls selling lángos (a deep fried dough), fried sausages or black pudding (hurka).
These dishes are a bit heavy and fatty, but taste better than a burger in a McDonald’s.
But if you feel the urge:
countless buffets (Chinese, gyros, Turkish), Western-style fast food chains are scattered throughout Budapest, including McDonalds, Burger King, KFC-s, Pizza Huts.
I’m not fan of these places but they inevitably conquered Budapest, and as you’ll see many of them are full almost all day.
For quick eats also try one of Budapest’s numerous shopping malls; they usually have a separate food court offering various cheap meals.
Subway Sandwiches has recently opened a few bars in Budapest: Károly körút 5., VII district, Váci utca V. distict, in Mammut Shopping Mall (M2 metro Széll Kálmán tér, trams 4, 6 Széna tér).