Top 5 Vegan/Vegetarian Places to Eat in Budapest
Whilst accommodating for your vegan/vegetarian diet at home is often easy and manageable, venturing abroad can be a struggle. However, you should not let your dietary requirements and lifestyle choices prevent you from seeing the globe. In recent years, Budapest has become one of Europe’s most popular destinations.
Managing to maintain its original currency whilst also being part of the Euro, has meant that prices for food, attractions, drinks and general day-to-day living are cheap, appealing for those on a budget. Combine this with spectacular architecture and a city thriving in cultural history, and you have the perfect location for a city break.
However, much like the majority of Europe, vegan and vegetarian food can be hard to come by. Hungarians are famed meat eaters, and cheese features heavily in a lot of their dishes. Although, well connected tram and metro links mean that it is easy to criss-cross the city and visit these top five vegan/vegetarian eateries.
1. Napfényes Restaurant and Confectionery Store
Rozsa utca 39, District VII, Budapest. 1077 www.napfenyesetterem.hu
This is located just a 5-10 minute walk from one of Budapest’s most popular museums, The House of Terror. The menu is somewhat small, but ideal for lunch or a lighter dinner. Each day, two different Hungarian dishes are offered as specialities – examples include creamed pea soup and Hungarian layered potatoes. The highlight of the restaurant has to be the vegan pizzas though. Instead of being cheese-less, dairy free cheese is featured on all the pizzas, with an array of various toppings to choose from. Fried dairy free cheese is also on the menu, as well as falafels, soups, sides including chips and rice, and a salad bar. An enticing counter of fresh vegan pastries also features at the front of the restaurant, meaning you can’t leave without picking up a cake to go. As for prices, they are surprisingly cheap. The restaurants itself is inviting and comfortable and the quality of the food is worth a lot more than advertised, making for a truly satisfying meal.
2. Atma Buda Vegetarian Restaurant and Pizzeria
Bakfark Bálint utca 1-3, Budapest. www.facebook.com/atmabudavegetarianrestaurant
As well as doing vegetarian and vegan dishes, Atma Buda also features gluten-free options too. Gluten-free cakes, pasta and pizzas are available, which are often hard to come by even in the U.K. and U.S.A, making it go to for any gluten sensitivity sufferers. The basis for many of the dishes are actually Asian inspired. Classic curries and fragrant rice feature heavily in their menu, as well as pizzas and a few traditional Hungarian plates. What is also unique from Atma Buda is the addition of their home-made cheese. They boast that it is made without preservatives, and actually offer cooking classes to the public for those interested in learning to make their own. The price of the restaurant is also reasonable, considering the range of food that is offered and different diets they cater for – some of their desserts are also sugar free too. For those nursing a hangover or just not feeling Budapest’s unpredictable weather, Atma Buda also do delivery - handily through their Facebook site.
3. Gelarto Rosa
Szent István tér 3, Pest, District V, Budapest. www.gelartorosa.com
For many vegans and milk allergy sufferers, finding a fulfilling substitute for ice-cream can often be hard. However, Gelarto Rosa offers lactose and gluten free options that are both visually appealing and tasty. Conveniently located near St Peter’s Basilica – one of Budapest’s top attractions – Gelarto Rosa is a nice little stop for a sweet-treat any time of the year. They also go out of their way to sculpt the ice cream into the shape of a rose, almost too pretty to eat. Flavours include traditional chocolate and strawberry, and also slightly more daring innovations like chocolate chilli, lemon basil, and jasmine. Macaroons and hand-crafted chocolates are also available. The ice cream is Italian inspired and produced fresh each morning, meaning you get a truly authentic feel right in the heart of Budapest. Prices vary between 400 Ft – 600 Ft, depending on the size of the scoop - very reasonable, especially for dairy free ice-cream!
4. Hummus Bar Budapest
Október 6. utca. 19, Budapest 1051. www.hummusbar.hu
Aiming to give Hungarians and tourists alike a taste of Middle Eastern food, Hummus Bar Budapest has received high praise for its take on the cuisine. It has be awarded two years running as the ‘best exotic cheap eat’ from Time Out magazine, thanks to its tasty food. They now have seven restaurants, having started just seven years ago. Hummus commonly features in any vegetarian diet; it can be accompanied by almost anything and blended with various spices to make for a more tantalizing experience. Around half of the dishes are vegetarian, meaning that if you are travelling with meat-eaters, they can also be catered for here too. Most of the ‘Hummus Plates’ are vegetarian – these are a plate full of hummus with your choice of topping, served with laffa (a Middle Eastern bread) and dips. Prices for the ‘Hummus Plates’ range from 990 Ft – 1690 Ft, so it is quite possible to get a tasty meal for a cheap price. This is slightly more expensive than other individual vegetarian restaurants in Budapest, however the chain status and reputation does mean it is able to charge a bit more for their dishes.
5. Istvánffi Burger Bar
Lajos utca 36, Budapest, 1036. www.istvanffi.hu
Whenever you go abroad, it’s hard to escape the classic burger and chips combo, and Budapest is no exception. Despite its cuisine, Istvánffi Burger Bar is putting a healthy spin on the usually fatty meal, offering dishes made 100% from plant material. No preservatives, no artificial flavours or colourings and obviously no meat, fish, dairy or eggs means that you don’t have to feel guilty if you fancy ‘pigging out’ a day or two whilst on your holiday. The menu is short but sweet, and everything definitely looks and fresh and appetizing. You can chose from either a wheat, mushroom, or oatmeal patty, and then pick what burger you would like it go into. There is an adequate enough range of burgers, including just a classic plain one, the Caesar burger, or their very own Istvánffi Burger with their special sauce. Sides include the typical fries and salad – again, they like to keep it simple – but you wouldn’t really ask for much else from this quick and easy meal. Although for desert they do do something called ‘sour mussels’… perhaps something for the more brave-hearted to try.
As you can see, vegan/vegetarian eating in Budapest need not be too difficult. An evolving culture and introduction of new foods have meant that restaurants now cater for tourists with different dietary requirements. This means that you spend less time worrying about where to go for dinner, and more time soaking up the beautiful scenery and diverse history of the city.
By Mariah Feria