Where To Eat In Budapest: A Munchies Guide

If you don’t identify as a goulash stan yet, just you wait. Budapest’s culinary scene is as rich as its history: Hungary’s capital city has undergone something of a restaurant renaissance over the past decade, with a host of new establishments joining the spot’s old, classic staple joints, offering modern spins on classic Hungarian fare. From hearty poultry dishes to grab-and-go street food, there’s a story behind every staple — and we’re getting all the intel on each one, in our Munchies’ Guide to Budapest.

In the video below, Topjaw travel host Jesse Christopher Burgess explores the very best of what the city has to offer, starting at Mercure Budapest Korona. Thanks to the brand’s Discover Local program, the hotel offers much more than a comfortable night’s sleep; it also serves as a portal to discovery, immersing guests in a locally-inspired atmosphere and showcasing the city’s food and beverage specialties — and they’re all easy to explore. Given its premiere location in the heart of downtown Budapest, the place is perfectly situated for access to three of the area’s absolute must-visit restaurants. Press play to get a taste of each one, and keep reading to continue the full-on food tour below. 


A family-owned, farm-to-table restaurant inspired by the Hungarian countryside, Rustico’s menu boasts everything from homemade pastas and traditional beef and goulash soups to Vienna schnitzel and meat pancakes (also worth noting: there’s an entire menu section devoted to pickles). Best of all, each dish’s ingredients are sourced locally and sustainably.

“By supporting small farmers’ markets and small suppliers, you can help them to grow,” says the restaurant’s owner, György Molnar, whose ultimate goal is to bring Rustico’s entire culinary process in-house. “We would like to have our own ecosystem outside of the city, and then we can bring everything from our land. [But] for the first step in five or six years, we would like to have only [our own vegetables] and fruits, and then we would like to evolve with it.” 



Another family-owned business, My Choccy is run by a father and daughter duo who create decadent delights together. Although the treats are made according to the Belgian artisan tradition, they’re produced entirely in Budapest. “The passion [for the business] came from my father,” says Vivian, one of the owners. “He learned everything in Belgium more than 30 years ago and brought it to Hungary.”

Alongside traditional handmade bonbons and alcohol-infused pipette truffles, the shop sells more *innovative* chocolates designed to shock the palate — with unexpected ingredients like chili, peanuts and roasted onion. Each recipe takes months to create, and when it comes to choosing the specific flavors for each concoction, Vivian and her father prefer to think outside the box. “We are weirdos,” she laughs. “But we have interesting guests who are looking for these kinds of chocolates. I know it’s not for everyone — that’s why we [also] have a lot of classic tastes.” 


The story of Szatyor begins in the early 1900s, when the local spot was simply known as the Hadik Cafe. “This cafe house was famous because of the creatives — the authors, writers, and painters — that came here,” says owner Tibor Bosznai. Following the bohemian haunt’s closure during World War II, the space sat empty for four decades. But 10 years ago, it was brought back to life as a bustling ruin bar — a shabby-chic drinking spot located in one of Budapest’s neglected pre-war buildings — that doubles as a gallery for frequent contemporary art exhibits.

“When we reopened it, we wanted to stuff it with culture,” says Bosznai, who had the walls painted with themes from Hungarian folk tales as a nod to the space’s artistic roots. Today, Szatyor once again serves Budapest’s creative community with a robust and versatile menu that’s inspired by the local scene. “A cafe house must [offer] the possibility to choose a very fancy food or a very everyday food,” says Bosznai. From Gödöllő-style Chicken Casserole — with mashed potatoes, shiitake mushrooms, green peas, truffle jus and fatted foie gras — to authentic Hungarian sztrapacska — soft egg noodles with sheep’s cheese, served with onion and toasted sauerkraut — options certainly abound. And with beer and craft cocktails aplenty, the drinks aren’t to be missed, either.

Discover 50 foodie experiences around the world, curated by Mercure Hotels, at www.mercurebucketlist.com.


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