Note: Updated October 29th, 2016!
I’d been hearing a lot about Budapest over the last couple years, even that it is the “new Berlin”, so I had to check it out! It’s not far from Berlin, affordable to get to and affordable once you’re there. I definitely recommend paying Budapest a visit! I went caving, met a lot of cool people, took in some beautiful scenery and ate ALL of the things.
Here’s an overview of all the things I ate. I go to Budapest relatively often and spent the whole month of May 2014 there taking a Hungarian class and was back again in December 2014 for a week, plus many shorter trips. There is a lot of eating to be done and vegan places are popping up here quite rapidly!
Where to Stay
Mandala Hostel– I stayed at a few hostels in Budapest and the Mandala was one of my favorites. It is small and pretty calm during the day so I could hang around reading guides from their library and planning my trip without being annoyed. Not too much of a party hostel, and they have other volunteers working there who were friendly and also quite excited by the city. It’s also near lots of things, including the Hummusz Bar, good coffee, etc. in a little old quaint area and a really nice environment. It has a nice kitchen which I made use of! They also rented me a bike! Click here for a direct link to the hostel.
Hostel Zen – I also stayed here and the prices were amazing, as was the owner, plus I got a free glass of Hungarian wine at check-in. The design of this place isn’t as fancy as the Mandala, but I liked that I could get a really small room with only 2 other people for something crazy like €6 per night at the time. Lots of storage space and I slept very well since there were not tons of people coming in and out of my room! It also has a kitchen, which is a huge plus for me.
Budaveg Apartment – Past the hostel stage of your life? Maybe the vegetarian-run Budaveg apartment is for you! They even sweeten the deal by stocking the place with soyamilk! Prices start at €50 per night depending on time of year and include a simple breakfast. Keywords: well-equipped kitchen and pay-as-you-go vegetarian mini-bar. Sleeps up to 6 people.
In general, I recommend having a look at Booking.com as I’ve managed to snag hotels + breakfast for less than €25 per night and hostels on the same website. Usually there is free cancellation too if your plans aren’t solid yet. Click here for a direct link to the Budapest page.
Alternatively, you can use this search box to go directly there:
Restaurants and Cafeteria-style places
Fruccola – 1052 Kristof Ter 3
Healthy food place with lots of vegan options, salads, smoothies, etc. Bigger than I thought it would be, grab and go packaged options, fresh juices, free wifi, nice atmosphere, good to eat out and get your vegetable and fruit fill without drowning in oil, vegan options labeled.
I’m not usually a juice drinker, but this was pretty yummy.
Olla Gitana – carrot, pumpkin, beans, chickpeas, tomato, pear, green beans and mint (960 Ft) I was afraid this was going to be weird as it has quite the assortment of ingredients and is really not something I’d usually order, but it was actually pretty awesome and delicious, a nice change of pace from all the oil-soaked things I’d been eating in Budapest but still very tasty.
I grabbed this from the to-go fridge because it was one of the only desserts that wasn’t fruit salad that was labeled vegan and it was amazing. I NEED to make coconut milk tapioca pudding at home now!
Govinda Veggie Corner – Papnovelde utca 1
First day in Budapest! Govinda is a chain you find in a lot of cities run by the Hare Krishnas, who make some yummy food! Dal soup, rice, some yummy eggplant and potato curry with peach chutney, lemonade with mint and some fried veggie things, all for 1800 forint (6 euro). Workers speak enough English to help you order. You need to point out that you want vegan as they also have vegetarian stuff, but so simple and so good!
A few days later, couldn’t get enough! Another dhal soup with plum chutney this time, a rice and potato curry, more mint lemonade and naan.
Mennyorszag Szive Bio Bolt – VII, Nefelejcs ut.3 – reader recommended vegan restaurant in near Keleti Station, they cook international vegan meals and also sell the bio (organic) products.
Napfényes Etterem – now has multiple locations! Their old location was changed into a restaurant and pizzeria and they have a new one very centrally located.
Napfényes Restaurant and Pastry Shop – Ferenciek tere 2
I took a visit to the new restaurant and pastry shop in early November 2015. The space is huge and it’s in the center, so way easier to get to for most visitors than the other location. They have a big pastry case in the front, where you can order cake, pastries and candies for there or to go. The restaurant is in the back. It’s great they’re doing so well!
My Hungarian friend and I came with huge appetites, I had taken an 8:30am flight from Berlin and we arrived around 1:00pm, so you can imagine I was ready to eat. We each started with a soup and went for a classic Hungarian Bean Goulash made from dried beans, carrots, turnips, celery, onions, potatoes, spelt flour, oil, spices, spelt batter pearls, and soy yogurt on top. The whole thing cost 4200 Ft (about €13,50, not bad right?). My non-vegan friend said this tasted different than the meat version, but was super good. I also loved it, nice on these sorta cold autumn days.
You might not be able to tell how big the plate was from this photo, but it was large. We ate it all and then whined about feeling so full we felt sick for hours afterwards, oops. This is the Napfenyes Platter for Two, which we ordered so we could try a lot of different things, including fried crepes with veggies, fried non-dairy cheese, marinated and grilled seitan cutlets, stuffed seitan a la Kiev, homemade falafel, rice and peas, mashed potatoes with onions, braised white cabbage and tartar sauce.
It was awesome. Everything was good and my non-vegan friend even commented that she really liked the fried (vegan) cheese. You’d think the potatoes and cabbage would be the boring part, but no, the potatoes were super good, with slightly fried bits and the cabbage was like sauerkraut and the perfect balance of sweet and sour. The tartar sauce was amazing, we were both obsessed with it. I want to put it on everything.
I kept hearing that the pizzas were also amazing, but when I go I always want to try the Hungarian stuff since I can get pizza other places. Luckily for me we went back again the next day to get some somoloi galuska (see below) and split a Pizza Hawaii too. The pizza cost 2100 Ft (about €6,75). It was indeed really awesome. The crust was perfect and there was the perfect amount of cheese. We talked about it for a whole day afterwards. They had tons of different types of pizzas too.
Napfényes Bistro and Pizzeria – Rózsa utca 39
The following pictures are from the bistro and pizzeria, which was formerly the only location before the new space opened. I haven’t been to the new old space yet, but here are some pictures from when it used to be the only location.
This was probably my favorite place I went. It’s all vegan. The first time I got a Caesar Salad with a side of fried cheese and some ginger lemonade. All of it was amazing.
Vegan fried cheese action. Holy crap I could have eaten 1000 of them.
This dessert was so heavenly. It was called the Somlo Sponge Cake (Somloi Galuska, 850 forint) and it was vanilla, walnut and carob sponge cake layered with vanilla cream and walnuts, served with carob sauce and soy whip cream. It was the perfect amount of sweetness, not too much and tons of flavor. I will try to recreate this for sure. They also had something called Fake Curd Dumplings with soy yoghurt made from balls of millet and served with brown sugar that seemed interesting.
I went to Napfenyes Etterem twice! The second time I got the small salad bar, which had the fried cheese slices in it. I got approximately a billion of them.
For my main course the second time I got the Hungarian Stuffed Pickled Cabbage (1800 forint), which was jasmine rice and spelt wheat stuffing wrapped in pickled cabbage leaves with spicy diced cabbage bits and soy yoghurt. I wasn’t a huge fan of this, the salad was much better! I was trying to give something more Hungarian a try, oops.
After all this I was totally stuffed, so I got this little Hungarian Isler to go. It’s two cookies filled with jam and coated in carob sauce. Yummy.
Vegan soup from Napfenyes Etterem, yum!
Vega City (formerly smaller Le-bar) – Muzeum Korut 23/25
Le-bar, the former tiny hole in the wall cafeteria style food place, has now moved just down the street and re-branded itself in a huge space called Vega City. The pictures below are from the now-closed Le-Bar, but it’s the same owners. They still have a rotating menu by day and a salad plus some desserts in a case and drinks, smoothies, ice cream, sandwiches etc. I haven’t had a chance to thoroughly check out the new space, but above is a vegan sandwich I grabbed on the way in from the airport. They have a lot of stuff that’s easy to order to-go, but also plenty of space to eat there.
In the previous space I got some type of sauerkraut noodles on the right, a salad and some beet and carrot salad thing that I thought was beet lasagna. It wasn’t. It was shredded and cooked beets and shredded carrots stuck together with mayo and formed into a block. I wasn’t a fan of the beet thing, maybe because I thought it was lasagna, but the other things I ate there were good! Bargain vegan meal!
Food from former space Le-Bar, same owners
Vegan Cherry Hugarian Rétes (Strudel) Pastry from Le-Bar
Édeni Vegán – 1011 Budapest, Iskola u. 31
Another cafeteria-style place with savory food and cakes. I quite liked what I got, you can see above. A cabbage roll, some sides and a seitan cutlet. Yum! It’s on the Buda side and I went there before getting ice cream at Artigiana Gelati, which is a 10-15 minute walk away.
Napos Oldal – Jókai utca 7
I actually stumbled upon this place while wandering around looking for lunch and was pleasantly surprised. The whole place was vegetarian as far as I could tell and most things were vegan. Regardless, the woman working there was very helpful and pointed out all of the food that was vegan for me. It’s also a little vegan shop and stocks some candies from Napfenyes Cukraszda
Vegetable tempura with gravy. This actually happened by accident. I ordered the vegan special and then got excited by everything in the fridge so ordered the things on my plate in the last picture assuming the lady working there understood I was replacing my first order, but I assumed wrong. All my fault, I guess subconsciously I wanted to eat two meals at once (duh).
If I remember correctly they had three different vegan milks
Mannatural – Garibaldi utca 5
Raw vegan food for an affordable price, what?! This is a cute little place by the Parliament building. I got the Mixed Plate because I had no idea what to order so wanted to try a bit of almost everything. About ten different raw salads are on that plate with a few dehydrated crackers. It was actually pretty filling! A good starting point, next time I think I’ll just pick my favorites. I just saw in a post from fellow MoFoer Flicking the Vs about Budapest that they have some sort of vegan smoked cheese I totally overlooked. Next time!
Raw cake! They had a ton of different types. I let the person working there choose for me. I really liked the top layer of this, super delicious, but the bottom was a weird pruney texture. That’s what I get for not making my own decisions.
Some raw macaroon balls I took to-go. I wasn’t a huge fan of these either, but they made okay breakfast fuel.
Hummus Bar – Kecskeméti ut 1
Let me just declare my love to the Hummus Bar now. I’m not kidding, I think I went there about 7 times over my 8 or so days in Budapest. This was called the Complete Plate, I think. It had some beans, falafel, mushrooms, chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and spices on top of a big bowl of hummus. Ohmygoshsogood. If you are a student (or still have an student card without an expiration date like me!) you get a 10% discount. However that hummus bowl with a drink cost about 3 euros.
Hummus Bar – Október 6. utca 19
My lovely couchsurfing hosts Gyongyi and Tim took me to their favorite Hummus Bar on Oktober utca. This one had amazing bread that the others don’t have. We got a big bowl of hummus with falafel and a bunch of sides to share with the bread. I also got a fried eggplant slice hummus sandwich without the egg, but my picture is ugly so you will have to use your imagination. The sides are baba ganoush, some type of cooked and spiced carrots, fresh carrot and coriander salad, cooked eggplant in a tomato sauce, tomato and cucumber salad and I can’t remember the last thing. All yummy!
The bread! This one is topped with zatar. Heavenly!
Padthai Wokbar – Október 6. u. 4
This is a make-your-own-noodle-bowl kinda chain. You pick rice, noodles, etc. toppings, sauce and they stir it all together and heat it up in a wok and give it to you. Pretty easy to veganize, but make sure you ask for no egg. They have tofu as an option and you can add cashews, cilantro, bok choy, etc. and lots of different sauces, my favorite was the Indonesian Coconut Peanut one. This place was actually really good if you need a quick, tasty meal and they have free wifi as well!
I’m not gonna lie, the Mexican food in Budapest leaves something to be desired. They have one chain I tried that was okay, sorta chipotle-style where you pick what you want in your burrito, etc. It was good enough for me to go there twice in a month for a Mexican fix, but not mind-blowing.
Arriba Tacqueria – multiple locations
My burrito, guac, chips and salsa and a Corona. They don’t use chips from a bag, which is a plus and the guac is homemade.
Bakeries and Sweets
Napfényes Cukrászdat – Kiskorona u. 8
This place is very much out of the tourist center, on the Buda side. While we were walking there, we were pretty sure we were lost the entire time up until we were right in front of it. It’s basically on the bottom floor of a high rise in a residential-looking area. You need to take the H5 to get there, which I think is a regional train metro thing, but still within Budapest and included on the regular metro card. Anyway, it is SO WORTH IT to make the trek. DO IT. Just make sure you have a good map or a smartphone with a working GPS and write that address down!
What I really liked is that is that they made traditional Hungarian pastries and cakes. Not that I don’t love me a vegan cookie or brownie, but when I travel it’s usually the traditional local foods I miss out on as a vegan, so this was super cool. They have gluten-free options, candies and apparently ice cream in the summer. They also use xylitol in some desserts and beet sugar instead of cane sugar, I believe. I got five things, don’t judge me. I ate them all over the next few days. I don’t remember what all of them were except the krémes, which was a custard-filled pastry cake thing. It doesn’t matter what you get, because everything is delicious. I think they even have savory pastries sometimes too.
These were also amazing, everyone I fed them too loved them. I tried to share since I already ate five different cakes, but it was hard.
Some savory to-go options with vegan cheese in them.
Up-close of vegan cake, can you tell I love this place?
In the warmer months they also have vegan ice cream!
Artigiana Gelati – 8 Csaba Utca (near Szell Kalman Ter)
Speaking of ice cream, this place was epic. They have several flavors of vegan ice cream. They are not labeled, so you have to ask. It is so, so good. I got chocolate, pistachio and hazelnut if I remember correctly. They were all great, but the pistachio was my absolute favorite.
Vegán Édes Élet Cukrászda – 1133 Budapest, Pannónia utca 3
This place had a nice space with two floors and TONS of vegan cakes and chocolates to choose from. Everything is vegan. The chocolates are mostly made from carob, but they are tasty. Budapest vegan establishments seem to be really into carob, but I like it so I don’t mind.
Two types of vegan cakes, I don’t remember the types now, I think one was marzipan and they had cute tiny chocolate bars on top!
Levendula – multiple locations in Budapest and beyond
This place has some vegan ice cream and sorbet if you ask. Various items labeled gluten and dairy-free.
Vegan ice cream from Levendla in Szentendre, a nearby city to Budapest
dynamobake – Képíró u. 6
This place was great, very friendly owner, little cozy cafe and bike rental shop. They let me sit there for hours using the free wifi to get some work done and there are always a few vegan treats on offer. After chatting a bit the owner even gave me a map of Vienna, my next stop!
Vegan sweets with no added sugars. The one on the left is a rich chocolate cherry chili cookie with black beans hiding in there, this was my favorite and I WILL recreate it. The one on the right was a mini raw pecan vegan cheesecake. The owner was super nice and really took the time to explain which things were vegan, all the ingredients she used and how she made them.
Coffee from dynamobake with rice milk. The owner explained she usually makes her own almond milk (awesome!), but she was out of it the day I came.
Madal Cafe – Hollan Erno u 3
I went here a lot my last few days to get some work done as it was around the corner from where my Couchsurfing hosts lived and they had free wifi. Only downside is they didn’t really have any food, but they did have raw chocolates and cookies! This a my soy flat white. They have lots of fancy coffees for the coffee connoisseurs among you.
A close up of my raw cookies and chocolates. Yum.
Lumen Kávézó – Mikszáth Kálmán tér 2
This place was near my first and favorite of the two hostels I stayed in in Budapest, the Mandala Hostel. I popped in one day and lo and behold, they had soy milk! They even roast their own coffee there.
Ecocafe – Andrássy út 68
The first day I popped in this place and left because I read they had vegan food and they didn’t really. To their credit, they did offer to make me a sandwich with vegetables, but I wanted more. The second time I was just in search of internet and beverages, so it worked out. This is a big fresh lemonade. Promising, but it was way too sweet.
fekete – Muzeum Korut 5
I probably had my best coffee here, but unfortunately I didn’t take a picture! Another small hole-in-the-wall place, the barista was very friendly! The third-wave coffee places have taken on here for sure!
My Little Melbourne Canteen – Madách Imre út 3
This place wasn’t especially vegan-friendly at all with regards to food, but they did have soymilk, good coffee and free wifi, which was what I needed at the moment. They have a small seating area in the loft upstairs where I stole a table and got my last two hours of work done for the day while sipping on that vegan flat white above.
Kelet Kávézó és Galéria – Bartók Béla út 29
This place was not especially vegan-friendly, but it’s a great space to do some work with free wifi and they have soymilk and 1-2 things on the menu that could be veganized. It’s on the Buda side, filled with books and also a gallery. I holed up in a corner to get a few hours of work done and it was peaceful. I believe they also have alcohol, but I don’t remember now. One of the waitresses spoke English and helped me veganize a sandwich from the menu. It had a peanut sauce, so I ended up just getting the peanut sauce and salad on it (I think the original had egg), but I made due and it wasn’t bad.
Vegan coffee with soymilk
BioABC Organic Shop – Museum körút 19
The most well-stocked organic shop I found in Budapest. They have Violife vegan cheese in many flavors, tofu, tempeh, seitan, nutritional yeast, lots of vegan sausages including some locally made Hungarian ones, sweets packed to-go and two big shelves filled with gluten-free (glutenmentes) stuff along with produce, some stuff in bulk bins, etc.
The Great Market Hall – Vámház körút 1-3
A bit touristy, but huge a worth a visit. Food and beer stalls upstairs and well as clothing and trinkets, food and veggies downstairs. I stocked up on my necessary palinkas (Hungarian alcohol) and paprika here.
For a detailed list of more markets, even less touristy ones, try this post.
Macska – Bérkocsis u. 23. (Joszef Korut) A bar with a nice atmosphere and some vegan food, free wifi. I wanted to check this out, but just didn’t get to it! There is only so much eating one person can do, next time!
Élesztő – Tűzoltó utca 22
A sidestreet a bit out of the way, this place is a huge craft beer bar with an outdoor beer garden, cafe and they even seem to be opening a “hopstel”, a hostel with pillows filled with hops. I also read something about a cafe with lots of stuffed animal bears. They describe the cafe part as a “tea and coffee-shop, choclaterie and bear asylum for humans”. I like it. They say they’re not just a bar, but a “cultural entertainment zone, a small-town sidestreet with its own rules, or an underground gastro-plaza, if you like.” They have 21 quality Hungarian craft beers on tap. I was here once, but it was during a weird time and I didn’t realize all the other stuff going on there. It seems like a healthy vega juice bistro is in the works on the premises and a homebrew school. There seems to be a lot going on, someone go there and report back!
Bölcső Bár – Lágymányosi utca 19
This is my favorite bar in Budapest, on the Buda side. I love their retro wallpaper and comfy couches and armchairs. It’s a bit out of the hussle and has a cute dog named Hera who lives there and loves to come hangout with you. They also have tons of craft beer, including IPAs and free wifi (if you ask for the password). They also have food, but it’s mostly not vegan. Come for the beers, doggy cuddle time and to chill.
Belgian Brasserie Henri – Budapest, Bem rkp. 12
I didn’t make it here, but we considered going. I’m kinda obsessed with Belgian beers at the moment. I heard the service is not so great (though I haven’t been so it’s only hearsay), so go for the beers.
I won’t put Szimpla on this list officially, because all the tourists already know about it, right? They seem to be slowly taking over their area, with not only their ruin bar but also cafes, design shops, farmer’s markets…
Müszi – 1085 Budapest Blaha Lujza tér 1
I went here for a Budapest Freelancers meet-up and the space was awesome! They have a bar, co-working spaces, event spaces and have concerts and other events here, plus free wifi of course. Plus, it looks pretty rad inside and there were cute dogs roaming around.
Places I Didn’t Get To
96 Zen Etterem – Kálvin tér 5
I really wanted to go here, but there just wasn’t enough time. Berlin doesn’t have any kinda vegan Chinese fast food place, so I was hoping to fulfill that craving. They have vegan sushi, dumplings, yummy friedn Genral Tso’s chicken kinda things. They also do Taiwanese bubble tea and smoothies. I want it.
Elixir – Szondi utca 44/b
A 100% vegan bistro that also does lunch delivery by bike in eco boxes. They always have a daily variety of gluten free items. Foods like burgers, pizza, sandwiches, cakes and cookies, smoothies and raw yummies. Only open during the week and during the day.
Istvanffi Veggie Burger – Lojos utca 36 9/c
People keep seeking me out and specifically telling me to go here, but I still haven’t made it. The description for burgers didn’t especially excite me, but everyone keeps telling me they have the best vegan burgers ever. I guess it must be true. Next time I will go!
Kozmosz Vegan Etterem – Hunyadi ter 11
People also keep telling me I have to go here. It’s a vegan restaurant with a daily menu of seasonal ingredients. The Happycow reviews are really good. People seem to rave about the bean burger and pancakes. They seem to stive for relatively healthy food and the pictures on their website make me hungry. It’s on my to-do list!
Nearby – Szentendre
I took a daytrip to the nearby town Szentendre that used to be/still is an artists’ town. It’s cute and by the river and quite easy to get to!
My favorite Hungarian also helped me to some vegan experimenting on my own, when she made these vegan Hungarian sweets!
Vegan Guesthouse in Rural Hungary
Traveling more in Hungary? I recently stumbled upon this Vegan Holiday Guesthouse Bed and Breakfast that offers organic food and yoga classes in the Szarasz region of Hungary! Add it to my bucket list! Have you been? Let me know how it is if you go!
Have you been to Budapest? Where was your favorite vegan spot?