Budapest might not be the first destination that comes to mind when thinking about food, but let me tell you – it doesn’t disappoint the hungry tourist. I visited Budapest for 5 days, ate and drank a lot, and now I’m here to help you experience the best Budapest has to offer.
In the first of three posts I’ll be taking you on a sugar rush journey through the streets of Budapest. From classical Hungarian pastries to the latest Instagram craze (“crazy unicorn shakes”), I’ve got everything your heart (and stomach) desires.
At the end of the post you’ll find a map with all places mentioned for your convenience.
1. Chez Dodo
If Chez Dodo is not yet marked on your map, please add it now. This adorable little place is located close by Szent István Bazilika. Here you’ll find a variety of macarons, great warm chai for a cold winter day, and a selection of other nibbles.
It was really hard for me to choose but eventually I picked 3 macarons: Morelo Cherry Vanilla, Pistachio and Strawberry Vanilla, each cost 390 HUF ($1.5 / 5₪). I also got a Medium Sized Green Chai Latte (they have many different kinds) for 590 I think ($2 / 8₪). My favorite macaron was the pistachio – which consisted of a salty-sweet play.
There are very few places inside, but if the weather allows it, It’s also nice to sit outside. I did it even though it was cold until it started raining. I highly recommend paying a visit.
Chez Dodo Online:
If you started reading online about recommendation for Budapest, you probably came across Ruszwurm. This pastry shop has been operating for almost 200 years, which makes it one of the oldest in Budapest. It is located minutes away from Buda Castle, which makes it the perfect destination for grabbing a coffee and a piece of cake right after wrapping up your sightseeing.
When I arrived at 10:00 the place wasn’t as packed, and I was easily able to find myself a table. I ordered the Winter Coffee with Cinnamon and Whipped Cream (950 huf / $3.5 / 12.5₪). It was a nice drink, but since it was so cold that day, the beverage turned cold and uncomforting as well rather quickly.
But why am I rambling about the coffee? You’re here for the classical Hungarian pastry, the Cremeschnitte (450 HUF / $1.5 / 6₪), which is also Ruszwurm’s staple. Fluffy vanilla cream is tucked between two thin layers of flaky puff pastry. I actually like my pastry with much more dough to have a more balanced bite, but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy every bite of this cake. The pastry’s form factor has another advantage – when you slice it it doesn’t fall apart.
3. Gelarto Rosa
In Gerlarto Rosa you can find, you guessed right, rose shaped ice cream. This place, located right by St. Basilica, specializes in forming perfectly shaped roses on (way too thin) cones. There are various different flavors to choose from, all made from fine organic ingredients.
You can choose between 2-4 flavors to create your rose. I went for 3 flavors (750 HUF / $3 / 10₪). – Pumpkin, Pistachio and Panna Cotta with Salted Caramel. It was mesmerizing to watch how the lovely lady formed the ice cream rose using a special spatula. The ice cream was very creamy and had an amazing taste. Unfortunately the cone didn’t really support its weight and broke a moment after I started eating. Also, their napkins feel like sanding paper.
Gelarto Rosa Online:
4. Cafe New York
Cafe New York is another common mention in Budapest city guides, however as opposed to Ruszwurm, I’m not boarding the this hype train. In fact, I had the most horrible experience there of all the places I visited in the city. Not only was the food on the verge of disgusting, the prices were outrageous and the service a disgrace.
Two cups of cappuccino departed us from 4200 HUF ($16 / 55₪), and a plate with 3 dry, inedible Strudel Selection set us back another 2400 HUF ($9 / 32₪). For the lovely service they charged us 990 HUF ($4 / 13₪). So yes, you might be able to enjoy the magnificent Italian Renaissance-style decor and listen to live classical music, close your eye and imagine you went back in time a few decades. But then when you open your eyes and go back to reality you’ll soon realize you’re sitting in an overpriced, mediocre tourist trap of a cafe.
Cafe New York Online:
Smuz is a charming coffee shop combined with a flower store. It is located next to Hungarian parliament, and was a few minutes walk from my hotel, so it’s there me and my friend started one of our mornings. When we got there we learned that the opening time they publish is just a recommendation and the crew were still cleaning the place. We were sent to wait long long minutes in the cold Budapest morning until they wrapped up their morning routine.
We sat inside and went over their large menu, filled with all kinds of drinks, cakes and other nibbles. Our goal was to try their colorful coffee drinks I’ve seen all over Instagram.
I ordered the Red Velvet Late (1500 HUF / $5.5 / 20₪) and my friend got herself the Match Latte (1500 HUF / $5.5 / 20₪) and Cappuccino (800 HUF / $3 / 10.5₪). Minutes later we received beautiful big mugs, decorated with flowers. After one sip the truth behind this beverages revealed itself, in the form of food coloring staining our lips, tongue and teeth. The coffee wasn’t a knockout, but it wasn’t bad either.
6. The Donut Library
The Donut Library is my kind of place – small, cozy and not packed full of people. A great place to relax and let your feet rest after a long day strolling in the city.
They have such a great variety, I’m sure everyone can find something to their liking. From more classical/common flavors like Pistachio, Cinammon glaze and Oreo, to much wackier creations such as Cookie Moster and Blueberry Witch.
They also create seasonal collections which are very festive, and the attention to details shows. I payed 1300 HUF ($5 / 17₪), which I think is a good deal, considering the amount of work they put into it and the great flavor. My favorite out of the bunch was the Blueberry Witch, and my least favorite was the Pistachio Frank. It had a marzipan flavor and it’s chocolate filling felt too industrial for me.
The Donut Library Online:
7. Molnar’s Kurtoskalacs
A visit to Budapest is not complete without eating at least one Kurtosh, a Hungarian staple. There are many places in town that serve Kurtosh, but not every place roast it fresh over charcoal. Molnar’s Kurtoskalacs is located on the shopping street, Váci Utca, so it’s an easy stop between your new shoes and your new dress.
The fun thing is that you can watch how the dough is made, wrapped around a truncated cone, covered in sugar and then roasted. One cake is ideal for sharing – I enjoyed the Cinammon Kurtosh (990 HUF / $3.5 / 13₪) and sat near one of the few tables they have inside, while it was pouring cats and dogs outside.
Molnar’s Kurtoskalacs Online:
8. Mr. Funk
Mr. Funk is another donut shop in town. It’s as different as can be from The Donut Library. Here, it feels like a continous birthday party. The place was decorated for Halloween, wearing black and orange and decorated with considerable effort including the obligatory huge spider on their neon sign.
The donuts are very much like the place itself – sweet and crazy. The crazier the better. How can you resist a Poo Emoji donut or a Mr Minion donut? The Halloween spirit didn’t stop with the decorations of course, and on display were ghosts, bloody teeth, detached eyeballs and more in-theme donuts.
We got there at 10:30 and the place was occupied with a few people drinking coffee and eating donuts. We ordered a cup of Cappuccino (599 HUF / $2 / 8₪), which was of course decorated with a sinister pumpkin. I had to go all in with the Unicorn Freak Shake (2499 HUF / $9.5 / 33₪) and we also got the Spooky Eye donut (699 HUF / $2.5 / 9₪).
Mr. Funk Online: