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The Best Restaurants in Budapest's Pest Quarter

The Best Restaurants in Budapest's Pest Quarter

Picture of Adam Barnes
Updated: 20 December 2017
While a visit to Hungary’s capital will no doubt feature both sides of the Danube, it’s on the Pest side where much of its nightlife can be found. It’s here that Budapest’s varied gastronomic experiences can be discovered and it really doesn’t matter what your tastes or budgets are, there’s something for everyone.

Hungarikum

Restaurant, Hungarian, $$$

It’s in the name of this small restaurant, but it’s not specifically the dishes of Hungary you’ll find here but the flavours. While this does mean spicy paprika and juicy stews, the real glory is in its mangalica, a breed of pig specific to Hungary and whose existence has even been protected by the government – which means the quality of its meat is worth the expense. Add in homely piano-driven tunes, traditional chequered tablecloths and some of the most friendly service you’ll find in the city and you’re left with a dining experience that truly offers a taste of Hungary.

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Mon - Sun:
11:30 am - 3:00 pm
Mon - Sun:
6:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Paprika

Restaurant, Hungarian, $$$

At the other end of the scale is Paprika. Further out from downtown Pest and sitting on the edge of the városliget – or City Park – is this homely eatery that is better suited to those who would rather enjoy something more rustic. Paprika’s timber seating and wooden beams give the place an authentic aesthetic, but its meals of chicken liver, stuffed cabbage or brassói – a garlic-infused dish of chopped meat and potato – offer a traditional Hungarian taste, too.
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Zeller Bistro

Bistro, Hungarian, $$$

You may think that this simple yet authentic restaurant’s name is a reference to its position inside a cellar, but in fact it’s the Hungarian word for ‘celery’ – and, no, we don’t know why they chose this, either. Famed for its stylish takes on meat-heavy Hungarian meals – a particular favourite being its csülök, or pork feet – the place is just as highly praised for its cuisine as the friendly staff and suave interior.
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Borbíróság

Restaurant, Contemporary, $$$

Since it’s located only a short stroll away from the Great Market Hall, Borbíróság – or ‘wine court’ – is a perfect place to quench your desire after perusing the marketplace of traditional Hungarian flavours. It’s an ideal blend of the classic and the contemporary, with its wide selection of grilled Hungarian meats available at incredibly fair prices.

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Costes

Restaurant, Contemporary, $$$

As one of a handful of Michelin star restaurants in Budapest, Costes naturally has a lot to contend with when it comes to non-locals dining in its calm and subdued atmosphere. It manages to offer a whole range of Hungarian meals beyond those typically offered up as more ‘traditional’ Hungarian dishes. This might be the borsóleves (AKA creamy pea soup), the crescent-shaped bread kifli or a savoury scone called pogácsa. It might be fine dining, but it’s not afraid to overlook the simpler tastes from Hungarian cuisine.
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Spoon

Restaurant, Hungarian, $$$

It would be a shame to take a trip to Budapest and not make the most of the view of the Danube, and what better way than to dine on one of the many ships anchored on the banks of the Pest side. Spoon is one of the more popular of such places, particularly due to the variety of its menu. It has everything from chicken in a paprika sauce with dumplings, to a selection of fish, meats and intricately crafted cakes.
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Fricska Gastropub

Restaurant, Hungarian, $$$