Retro atmosphere, locally sourced ingredients and reasonable prices define a new wave of hip restaurants and cafés in Budapest operated by creative, young owners. The past year and a half has seen many new restaurant openings in the city. The fact that there could have been 15 new places on this list says something about Budapest's evolving restaurant scene. Here are some of the best new, homemade, mostly Hungarian-inspired eateries to check out.
This retro breakfast bar revives the old tradition of milk parlors, which were immensely popular in Hungary during the 60s and 70s. They were known for their fresh milk products and freshly baked breakfast pastries sold at bargain prices. Owner István Cserpes brings back the old atmosphere with a modern touch. Caramel milk, hot cocoa, coffee specialties, sandwiches, salads and delicious Hungarian breakfast pastries like kakaós csiga (cocoa roll) and túrós batyu (pastry filled with cottage cheese) are sold here. At Cserpes Tejivó everything is homemade, locally sourced, fresh and healthy, and the prices are kept low.
Good for: Breakfast
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This café would brighten up any neighborhood. It feels like the young chef/owner duo of Zsolt Soltész and Zsolt Horváth is paying tribute to their grandmothers’ cooking. The homey atmosphere is topped with Hungarian delicacies, like mangalica sausage and homemade ham. Inspired by locally sourced ingredients Szendzso brings back tasty childhood memories. The best part is that most products are also available for sale. Homemade jam and syrup, artisan cheese, handmade chocolate, various salami products and craft beer can be purchased here. Come for a classic breakfast or try their two-course, always changing lunch menu, it's truly a limited edition.
Good for: Breakfast, Lunch
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This fish bistro occupies a cozy-chic niche somewhere between a fish market and a seafood restaurant. Halkakas is also one of the few places in Budapest where fish is creatively prepared and reasonably priced. With offerings like grilled perch, crunchy carp, smoked trout, catfish gyros and fish & chips the menu goes well beyond the famous Hungarian fish soup (halászlé), which by the way is prepared here on Fridays. Owner Zsuzsi Lévai's approach is clean and simple. She offers up inventive and tasteful fish dishes prepared from freshwater fish indigenous to Hungary.
Good for: Lunch, Dinner
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This distinctly modern, urban and young lunch place is inspired by soup, one of the most important meals to Hungarians. Every day 5-6 different hearty, home-style soups appear on Leves' menu, along with some great sandwiches. Soups are served in white and red paper cups, which is well-received by the downtown lunch crowd. Keep in mind that everything is for takeaway only. The menu at Leves comes with international aspirations with dishes like Moroccan lentil soup, Thai coconut soup and African chicken-peanut soup regularly making the list, along with Hungarian-style green pea and chilled sour cherry soups.
Good for: Lunch
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For an original take on a Hungarian original, this deli-like eatery is dedicated to the curly-haired mangalica pig, a Hungarian heritage breed. Mangalica pork in all its tasty forms is available here, be it fried sausage served with mustard, sauerkraut, pickles, horseradish and fresh bread or a cured ham sandwich. Mangalica & Társai Húspatika offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, and dishes are freshly prepared to order and go well with a glass of house wine. It's a meat-centric place where you will want to go for the mangalica sausages and salamis.
Good for: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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