When you think of Budapest your mind may wander towards strikingly constructed thermal baths, majestic cafes, or perhaps the Central Market Hall that people talk so much about. Yet it seems that the vegan scene is gradually growing in Hungary’s cultured capital.
Budapest is cheerfully cheap, the portions of food are more than substantial: I promise you will never go hungry here as a vegan. After visiting the city I was stunned that I had not seen more praise regarding the amazing quality of vegan food that there is on offer, and so I’m here to let you know about some of the best places to grab some mind-blowing plant-based nourishment!
Lajos utca 36.
This is an all-vegan burger place that puts any mainstream fast-food restaurant to shame. The burgers are American-style, and I suppose if you were to compare it to a fast-food chain you could compare it to Burger King (but way better). You would not believe that the patties are made from oats and mushrooms, as well as a couple of other variations that looked just as good; Britain definitely needs to hop on this bandwagon and quick! The chips were similar to steak chips and had the perfect amount of crispiness (I’m pretty sure that Budapest has the best chips I’ve ever had, weirdly). The seating is very limited and it’s a little dark inside, but don’t let that put you off as the food certainly makes up for it. The menu is entirely in Hungarian so if you don’t speak the language you just have to point to an option and hope for the best. I’m pretty confident that all of the choices are delicious though. The same as most things in Budapest, Istvanffi is very cheap, however, you do have to pay for sauces, which isn’t too bad. Supposedly the majority of their customers are meat-eaters, so that must say something about the realistic taste of their burgers!
Szondi utca 11.
This is an ideal place for breakfast or brunch, it has lovely paintings and pictures on the wall plenty of cute seating upstairs and downstairs, and the staff are so chill and friendly. If you are looking for a relaxed vibe whilst eating good food and sipping hot coffee, this is the place you need to go. The menu isn’t entirely vegan, but there are still good choices. Usually, a cafe or restaurant selling mainly raw vegan options would sometimes put me off, but ‘Slow Foodiez’ makes their dishes so well, you can’t even tell that it’s raw. I would say that the dish you must try if you go here is the vegan omelette – it was amazing! I won’t lie and say it tastes exactly like egg; however, it was like a whole new creation, with shreds of salad and tofu inside it (I’m going to take a guess and say it was made from chickpea flour). There was also a little fridge where you could buy cheap and energy-filled treats, like coconut date balls, to keep you going for the rest of the day.
Situated on a tree-lined street of shops and eateries, and close by to the Gellert Hotel (you mustn’t leave Budapest without visiting the thermal baths, the Gellert baths are likened to swimming in a cathedral) and the Citadel, Vegan Love makes for a great lunchtime break on your tourist-y day out. The interior is trendy, green and bright, and there is a substantial amount of seating available for such a small place. They offer fast-food options such as a cheese steak roll, Mexican burger, tofu burger and broccoli burger and you better go there with an appetite because the burgers are huge and filled to the brim (and messy). Their vibrant salad bar is a nice touch, and offers more interesting options than just lettuce and tomatoes; I was certainly in need of the salad bar as I was consuming so much junk food during my stay. I’m typically a hater of veggie burgers and thus have fallen into the bad habit of only eating faux meats made from soy and seitan, however, Vegan Love was like no other veggie burger I’ve had in the UK. My faith has definitely been restored!
Ferenciek tere 2 (on the corner of Veres Palne) and
There are two all-Vegan Napfenyes restaurants dotted around the city, and we decided to visit the one with the bakery (of course). The restaurant typically serves vegan versions of Hungarian dishes like goulash, and stews; however, they also had Asian dishes, salads, and pizzas. The pizza was undeniably the star of the show, with the desserts coming up as a close second. They offered a three-cheese pizza, as well as a jalapeno pizza, and a load more. The restaurant is semi-formal, which is fairly uncommon for a Vegan place (in my experience); so it was nice to sit and have a candle-lit dinner whilst sampling some of the nicest plant-based food I’ve ever had!
‘Spa’ grocery shops are in abundance, which is a great place to grab your daily fresh fruit, and surprisingly there are a few Tesco’s dotted around which I found super odd, yet comforting. If you have a kitchen where you’re staying it’s well worth hunting for the Tesco stores as it’s easy and helpful to pick up some familiar items. As I already mentioned previously, Budapest is so cheap and thus perfect for the budget traveller; it’s refreshing to see vegan food be sold just as cheap as food that contains animal products.