Since the fall of communism, there’s been a growth in international cuisine in the Hungarian capital. Budapest is cheaper than most European capitals. It's often possible to eat cheaply even in the more opulent restaurants.
The most numerous and cheapest restaurants in the city are those serving traditional Hungarian cuisine. Hungarian food tends to be very fatty. Paprika is used frequently in traditional dishes such as kaposzta (stuffed cabbage) or porkolt (Hungarian goulash) and paprikas (porkolt thickened with sour cream).
Gulyas is not goulash but a meat soup. Most of the main courses on offer on a restaurant will be pan or deep fried and fried meat and potatoes are common fare. Life for vegetarians is not easy, as they will find little choice in most traditional restaurants. Restaurants with international cuisine are more likely to have vegetarian options.
Hungary is a landlocked country but there are some fresh water fish available for fish lovers. Trout (pisztrang) and carp (ponty) are popular. The Etkezde is a small, cheap and often family-run restaurant that offers simple home cooking. It will often have a few vegetarian options and prices range between Ft450-700.
V Liszt Ferenc tér 9, Budapest, Hungary
Don't let the English menu here put you off. This ultra-cool bar/restaurant serves a mainly Hungarian clientele who come to enjoy the laid-back vibe and good food, with mains costing 1,600HUF and up. The warm red décor simply compliments the vibe.
Open daily from 9am-midnight.
II, Ordogarok ut 80, Budapest, Hungary
Popular garden restaurant in the leafy Huvosvolgy, ten minutes walk from the terminus of bus 56. Hungarian home cooking with extravagant portions and reasonable prices. Live music. Booking advisable.
Paulay Ede utca 6, Budapest, Hungary
Popular place near Deak ter, serving huge portions of inexpensive traditional Hungarian food. The Wiener schnitzel (Becsi szelet on the menu) is a speciality.
VI, Hajos utca 43, Budapest, Hungary
Good salad bar, with a big selection of salads and assorted dishes. The Ft750 special daytime deals mean you can eat here very cheaply. Vegetarian food available.
VI, Paulay Ede utca 53, Budapest, Hungary
Best of the citys falafel joints. Good value felafel place where you can take away or eat at the tables upstairs.
V, Vigyazo Ferenc utca 4., Budapest, Hungary
A cellar restaurant with a fountain to provide an oasis of calm. Two daily set menus one lunar, the other solar serving a range of international vegetarian dishes.
XIII, Szent Istvan korut 20, V. Nyugati ter 6, Budapest, Hungary
Italian-run place, serving pizzas and fresh pasta at reasonable prices. The selection on offer changes according to season.
VII, Kertesz utca 48., Budapest, Hungary
A small French creperie that serves traditional galette. There are 35 savoury and 30 sweet options. You can sit at the tables upstairs or around the bar.
II, Lovohaz utca 17., Budapest, Hungary
Friendly Hungarian restaurant near Moszkva ter. Offers rich soups, pickled
salads, fozelek (vegetable porridge), and breaded deep-fried meat dishes to warm you on a cold winters day.
VI, Oktober 6 utca 17., Budapest, Hungary
The Little Bell is a traditional etkezdek near the business district serving up hearty Hungarian fare. Main dishes are served with rice, potatoes and salad.
VII Madách útca 11, Budapest, Hungary
Tucked down a quiet street across from Deák Ferenc tér, this cosy teahouse attracts students and locals who read newspapers, chat with friends or browse the web. It's a good place to go in the morning as they have 5 set breakfasts to choose from.
Open Mon-Fri 7.30am-10.30pm, Sat & Sun 9am-10.30pm.
V Október 6 útca 15, Budapest, Hungary
Portions in this extremely central sandwich bar may not be the most generous, but what do you expect for less than 150HUF? Take your pick from open-face salmon, pepperoni, beef, egg and other sandwiches. The perfect place for lunch on the run.
Open Mon-Fri 8am-5pm and Sat 9am-1pm.
VI Nagymezo útca 18, Budapest, Hungary
If you like to try out local specialities, visit this food bar close to the State Opera House which specialises in 'fozelek' - a mix of anything from potatoes to peas mixed in a broth with fried spam/eggs in a bowl. Hungarians love the stuff as it's cheap and filling. Try it.
Open Mon-Fri 9am-10pm, Sat 10am-5pm.