The old Jewish quarter of Budapest is now the concentrated centre for nightlife, so it’s here you’ll find many of the city’s best must-visit restaurants. Here are some of our recommendations of places to eat in Budapest’s District VII.
Restaurant, Gastropub, Soup
Bors Gastro Bar, Budapest
Not everything in district VII needs to be flashy and aimed at tourists, and Bors Gasztrobár is perhaps the best proof of that. It’s reputed for its simpler scale, but that doesn’t mean the selection of soups and sandwiches isn’t worth the visit. The food is inventively put together, and the names are equally creative. The restaurant provides a wide variety of options, and, as a result, it’s so much more than just a sandwich shop. The tastes here are varied and highly recommended.
Gozsdu Udvar is a destination well worth visiting, if not for its historical significance—it was a Jewish ghetto during World War II—then for the fascinating mix of sprawling restaurants and bars that comprise the walking passage between the two main roads of district VII: Király and Dob streets. Spíler epitomises the courtyard’s modern day image, which means you’ll almost exclusively find tourists eating here, but the combination of cool décor and even cooler atmosphere highlights a night out in the Seventh District. It even incorporates its own microbrewery to ensure some unique, hoppy flavours for those so inclined.
Despite being situated in the historic Jewish quarter of Budapest, district VII doesn’t offer much in the way of traditional Jewish-style food. However, the grilled meats, soft pita bread and hummus offerings at Mazel Tov do provide a more contemporary take on the cuisine. As delicious as the dishes are, it’s the setting that really impresses. Designed to feel like you’re eating in a cosy garden, this year-round venue drapes plants and greenery across the exposed brick for a uniquely warm atmosphere.
Perhaps better suited to couples, maybe those on their first date, Vintage Garden’s quaint French décor and stashes of dried flowers make for a place of serenity amid a district that is often accented by the sounds of loutish drunks. The menu focuses on international dishes, but there’s still space for some twists on Hungarian tastes—the chicken, olive and leek lángos (deep-fried dough) is favourite.
No capital city would be whole without its own craft burger experience, and though Budapest is not lacking in this regard, it’s hard to deny that Tuning Burger is one of the top spots for matching high-quality ingredients with inventive burger concoctions. It’s by no means the only place to grab a great burger in District VII—let alone Budapest—but it should be on your list.
Traditional Hungarian dining experiences are at a minimum in the Jewish quarter, as there’s a need to stay on top of the cool charts in the downtown party district. But Spinoza has managed to carve a niche for traditional offerings, though they slightly exaggerate the genuine thing. Regardless, it’s impossible to deny the charming vibe of days gone by. Be sure to book a table, as this spot gets busy. Visit the place between the hours of 7pm and 10pm and you’ll even be treated to live music in the intimate theatre.
A combination bookstore-and-restaurant might be an unusual concept, but this bright space claims to “cook your favourite books.” The chefs take the literary classics—and some not-so-classics—and create themed weekly specials based on a particular book. It’s a novel (sorry!) idea, but when paired with exceptional presentation and great tastes, it’s one that works pretty well.
Having recently won the honour of the Gourmand Bib from the Michelin Guide, Fricska Gastropub is proving its worth as one of the best eateries in the city, let alone the district. It’s converted-cellar vibe creates a cosy space, and the service is equally laid back. The dishes, however, are exceptional mixes of a range of cuisines—Hungarian included, of course.
Considered the place to get pasta in the city, 2Spaghi isn’t exactly fine dining. All the same, the restaurant, founded and run by two Italians who moved to Budapest in 2011, produces a glut of pasta shapes, types and tastes to the exacting standards that you’d expect from Italian chefs. It isn’t lavish, but it more than satisfies the craving.
Doblo Wine Bar is a comfortable place to enjoy a glass of wine | Courtesy of DOBLO
Hungary is finally being recognised for the high-quality wine production, and this place is all about their incredible wine list. The food also offers typical tastes of the country, each selected to complement your wine choice. That doesn’t mean Doblo is pretentious. Instead, it presents an honest view of a country varied in tastes.
This inexpensive restaurant is commonly recommended to tourists looking for classic Hungarian dishes because Frici Papa has it all. Gulyás (goulash), chicken paprikás (paprika sauce with dumplings) and rakott krumpli (layered potato with sour cream and sausage) all make an appearance, but choose the daily menu for a filling meal that costs less than £4. And that’s kind of its benefit; don’t expect a gourmet dinner, and you’ll manage to get a taste of Hungary on a budget.