A Vegetarian's Guide to Budapest
This post has literally been sat in my drafts for almost a year! So I think it's finally time I got round to publishing it.
Before Christmas last year, I went to Budapest for a long weekend away. I follow a mostly plant-based diet, and traditional Hungarian cuisine is very meat-heavy. It typically features meaty goulash, cabbage rolls stuffed with liver, and steaming hollowed out bread buns filled with meaty soup... Not exactly the most vegetarian/vegan-friendly cuisine! But this didn't deter me one bit; in such a cool city, I knew there must be some veggie havens lurking around!
I did a lot of research on vegetarian-friendly places before I went; much to my surprise, I found a few vegan places, plus some 'normal' restaurants with veggie options too. As I went with my then boyfriend who wasn't a vegetarian, we tried to go to a good mix of restaurants that had options for both of us. Luckily, we never had to wander for too long before stumbling across somewhere with suitable options. If you want to see what other recommendations I had for exploring the city, check out my Buzzing Budapest post.
Here are a few of the restaurants I tried:
This little cafe has almost a canteen-style feel to it. There are many dishes to choose from laid out on a counter, you choose which ones you would like and the staff dish it up for you. There were many appetising dishes to choose from: pumpkin soup, lentil goulash, mixed salad and nut roasts. I went for stir-fried vegetables with dates and some pumpkin soup, whilst my friend had a big salad featuring a small nut roast. The staff were really helpful and friendly which was about the only redeeming feature. The food was okay, but my soup was cold and it was overpriced for what it was.
This cute cafe is tucked down a small side street located near the House of Terror museum. The prices were very reasonable, the staff were lovely, and the small tea light candle in the centre of the table added to the really relaxed ambience. I had a bean goulash with crusty bread, but the veggie burrito also looked amazing! The menu is a complete mixture of international cuisines, but hey, at least there's something for everyone. They also had some delicious looking vegan desserts on offer but I was way too full after my goulash!
This places isn't completely vegan or vegetarian, but it had more veggie options on the menu than anywhere else I had seen! I had the parsnip and pesto soup for starters, whilst my friend had the Jerusalem artichoke and chestnut soup. Both were absolutely divine (I had serious food envy, so just had to try it!). For the main course, I had the pumpkin and sage homemade tagliatelle, which was deliciously creamy and flavoursome.. the only problem was that I was way too full to finish it all! It came with Parmesan which I just took off, but I'm sure you could order it without cheese if you follow a strict vegan diet.
With a great selection of Hungarian cuisine and wine on offer, I just had to sample this intimate restaurant hidden just behind the Grand Central Market. They source a lot of their fresh ingredients from the market itself (cooking with local produce is always a winner for me). It's not a vegetarian restaurant, however it had a couple of suitable options on their seasonal menu. I had the red lentil dish followed by a pudding of baked pear covered in Belgian chocolate and washed down with a light glass of white wine. It was slightly more expensive than other places I ate at, but it was my last evening in the city and I fancied a little treat. It was still very reasonably priced.
Another must try is chimney cake.It's not healthy in the slightest, but it tastes absolutely divine. if you can't treat yourself to decadent local delicacies when on holiday, then when can you?! I had never seen it before, but it was sold at every Christmas market I visited. It's basically a sweet dough wrapped in a tunnel shape, baked on a wooden cylinder over hot coals and rolled in sugar, cinnamon and various other flavours. I even got a pot of chocolate sauce to dip mine into - AMAZING. Told you it wasn't healthy in the slightest!
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