Where Do Locals Eat in Budapest – A Guide for Beginners

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Pub Crawl Budapest

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Budapest, the capital city of Hungary, is famous for its rich culinary traditions. Exploring local eateries is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in Hungarian culture and taste authentic dishes. If you’re new to the city and eager to discover the hidden gems loved by locals, this guide is for you. We’ll take you on a culinary journey through Budapest, sharing tips on where to find the best traditional Hungarian food.

Budapest Market Halls

For a true glimpse into local food culture, visit one of Budapest’s iconic market halls. The most popular ones are the Great Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) and the Central Market Hall (Fővám Tér). These bustling markets are where locals buy fresh produce, meats, and bakery items. You’ll also find food stalls serving up delicious street food, such as lángos (deep-fried dough) and chimney cakes (sweet pastries).

Café Gerbeaud

Established in 1858, Café Gerbeaud is a legendary café and pastry shop located on Vörösmarty Square. This elegant establishment is a local favorite for indulging in mouthwatering pastries, traditional cakes, and beautifully crafted coffees. Don’t miss the chance to try their famous Gerbeaud slice, a layered dessert with apricot jam, walnut filling, and chocolate glaze.

Karaván Street Food

Karaván is a vibrant street food courtyard located in the Jewish Quarter. It’s a go-to spot for locals looking for diverse food options in a lively atmosphere. From juicy burgers and loaded fries to authentic Mexican tacos and heavenly chimney cakes, Karaván has something to satisfy every craving. Enjoy your meal at one of the outdoor picnic tables and soak in the bustling energy of the area.

Ruszwurm Confectionery

Nestled in the charming Castle District, Ruszwurm Confectionery is the oldest pastry shop in Budapest, dating back to 1827. This hidden gem is renowned for its traditional Hungarian cakes and pastries, including the delectable cream-filled Dobos cake and flaky apple strudel. Step inside this nostalgic treasure and treat yourself to a sweet delight while admiring the historic surroundings.

Étkezde-Style Restaurants

Étkezde-style restaurants are simple and affordable eateries where locals gather for a quick and hearty lunch. These no-frills establishments offer traditional Hungarian dishes with generous portions and reasonable prices.

Belvárosi Lugas Étterem

Located in the city center, Belvárosi Lugas Étterem is a popular étkezde-style restaurant loved by locals. Try their mouthwatering goulash, hearty stews, and crispy schnitzel. The cozy atmosphere and friendly service make it a perfect spot to experience authentic Hungarian flavors without breaking the bank.

Frici Papa Kifőzdéje

Step into Frici Papa Kifőzdéje and transport yourself back in time. This retro-style restaurant in the Újlipótváros neighborhood offers a variety of traditional Hungarian dishes, such as beef stew, stuffed peppers, and potato pancakes. The portions are generous, and the flavors will make you feel like a local. Don’t forget to try their homemade pálinka, a traditional Hungarian fruit brandy.

Ruins Bars

Budapest’s ruin bars are unique establishments that have transformed abandoned buildings into eclectic and vibrant social hubs. In addition to their lively atmosphere and creative decor, these bars also serve delicious food that locals adore.

Szimpla Kert

Szimpla Kert is one of the most famous ruin bars in Budapest. Apart from its funky ambiance, it also hosts a farmer’s market every Sunday, where you can find fresh produce, locally sourced ingredients, and a variety of street food options. Whether you’re in the mood for a burger, pizza, or vegan delights, Szimpla Kert has got you covered.


Instant is another popular ruin bar known for its diverse food offerings. On its premises, you’ll find food trucks and pop-up stands serving cuisines from all around the world. Enjoy a plate of delicious pad thai, a savory falafel wrap, or a juicy pulled pork sandwich while mingling with locals and soaking in the vibrant atmosphere.

Final Thoughts

While Budapest offers countless dining options, exploring where locals eat is an excellent way to experience the city’s authentic flavors and vibrant food culture. From market halls and pastry shops to étkezde-style restaurants and ruin bars, these hidden gems will ensure that your taste buds are delighted during your visit. So grab your fork and dive into the culinary wonders of Budapest!

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Where Do Locals Eat in Budapest – A Guide for Beginners