The Best Places To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth in Budapest
The Hungarian capital boasts impressive foodie credentials – not in the least thanks to the desserts and sweet treats on offer | Ódor Dorottya / EyeEm / Getty Images
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, the Hungarian capital will not disappoint. Founder of Gelarto Rosa, Niki Szökrön, gives the lowdown on the best desserts in Budapest.
The quirky Hungarian capital is becoming a go-to destination for European city breaks. Beyond its Baroque architecture, ruin bars and thermal baths, Budapest has a lively food scene. In addition to classic dishes such as goulash and lángos, the city’s foodie credentials extend to desserts and sweet treats. Ice cream entrepreneur Niki Szökrön spoke to Culture Trip about the must-try desserts in Budapest: from traditional poppyseed croissants, to matcha and maple bacon donuts.
Gelarto Rosa is Budapest’s premier spot for ice cream Courtesy of Gelarto Rosa
Gelarto Rosa is known as much for its distinctive presentation as for its innovative flavours | Courtesy of Gelarto Rosa
Often referred to as the best spot for ice cream in Budapest, Gelarto Rosa is situated next to St Stephen’s Basilica. Niki studied the ice cream making process in Italy, with a vision of bringing “natural and high-quality ice cream back to Budapest”. Taste, texture and presentation all stand in the centre of Gelarto Rosa’s work. “We only use fresh ingredients, and we always pay attention to the creamy texture of our ice creams,” she explains. “Of course, the biggest hit is the rose shape we create out of our ice creams. They’re a piece of art, and super photogenic”. The store is uniquely decorated in the style of a 1950s “Grandmother’s kitchen in Tuscany”, so it’s worth a visit even if only to check out the décor. From traditional flavours like vanilla and chocolate to more usual ones like lavender white chocolate, basil lemon, and wasabi hazelnut, Gelarto Rosa offers an unparalleled range of ice creams.
“Hungarians love to experiment and think outside the box, so unique things can definitely happen here in terms of desserts,” Niki says. Just a stone’s throw away from St Stephen’s Basilica, Mr. Funk Donuts exemplifies this truth and is worth a visit for its aesthetic alone. Its fun and colourful interior provides the perfect setting for a great photo, as do the quirky, intricately decorated donuts. So pretty, in fact, that visitors here tend to spend more time photographing their sweet treat than they do actually eating them. From donuts decorated as unicorns, Minions, pandas and even emojis, to staples like the glazed or chocolate donut, there’s a dessert here to suit every taste.
This small and cosy confectionary store with its vintage vibe is a great spot to sample tea and cake when out and about in Budapest’s Jewish Quarter. Specialising in French desserts and cakes, the kitschy confectioner makes every one of its sweet treats freshly in store. Chocolate lovers can sample the infamous Oreo cheesecake, brownies and triple chocolate cake, and those who sway more towards fruity flavours should try the Earl Grey raspberry cheesecake or the lemon tart. “Hungarians have always been trendsetters. We love to create new and unique high-quality things,” Niki reflects.
Cafe Ruszwurm dates back to 1827 | Viennaslide / Alamy Stock Photo
Whether you have a sweet tooth, or you’re a history buff who loves visiting old buildings complete with their original décor, Ruszwurm Confectionary is an essential stop-off when exploring the Castle District in Buda. This charming, family-run dessert café dates all the way back to 1827, and is most famous for its traditional Hungarian pastry dessert known as “creamy”. Made up of two thin layers of puff pastry and one thick layer of vanilla cream, this staple sweet treat is refreshingly simple but delicious. In fact, the ‘creamy’ here is so good that Ruszwurm has earned a loyal following.
If you’re a coffee lover, Espressoul should be an essential stop on your Budapest itinerary. Niki says: “Budapest had a great coffee house culture before communism, and now I think it’s coming back with the city’s epic desserts, great coffees, and foods. Now, our streets are full of coffee houses”. The décor of Espressoul – which looks like something from an interior design magazine – provides the perfect setting to sample one of the top-quality coffees, and a dessert such as a traditional Hungarian pastry, a slice of exquisite chocolate cake or a scoop of fruity ice cream.
Street markets are often a source of delectable sweet treats in Budapest Elena Gonzalez Hontoria / Getty Images
Pastry Shop, Pastries, $$$
This spot is iconic among Hungarians, and renowned for its delicious, old-school pastries. Situated in Buda, a bit of a trek away from the bustling city centre, Daubner is a must-visit if you like going ‘off the beaten track’. “I think Hungary has a lot of awesome traditional desserts, and now everyone is renewing these,” Niki comments, identifying Daubner as being a prime spot for trying some authentic or updated treats. Opt for the sour cherry pie, a poppy croissant for something authentically local or choose a chestnut heart, mignon or one of their famous chocolate figurines for an Instagrammable sweet treat.
For a truly unique experience, try one of the desserts at Cloud 9. Conveniently situated in the city centre, this hotspot is known for its combination of ice cream and pastry, pairing the two to create one-of-a-kind desserts. Rather than sampling just a scoop of ice cream, visitors here can taste a brand new dessert creation in which ice cream is one of the main components. Fancy an ice cream cupcake or an ice cream brownie? Complete with a minimalistic, modern interior, Cloud 9 boasts desserts that are inclusive for everyone, including gluten- and lactose-free options.
Not far from the Margaret Bridge and Westend Shopping Centre is The Box Donut – a modern, newly-opened franchise store which is famous for its square-shaped donuts. The perfect dessert stop for on-the-go travellers, this place is a must for those who think desserts should look as fantastic as they taste. For something classic and tasty, choose the maple glazed or ‘cinny’ with cinnamon sugar, or opt for a matcha or maple bacon for something a little bit different.