Disclaimer: Due to Covid-19 some of the places and venues mentioned below have temporarily closed down. Please check their websites and social media channels for up to date information.
Hungarian food is known for a devout love of paprika, potatoes, and meat. However, the capital city of Budapest has adapted to the times and every year more and more vegan-friendly cafes, restaurants and shops pop up around the city. Whilst Budapest is not renowned for its vegan cuisine, if you know where to look you can explore Hungary's palate whilst still safely avoiding meat, dairy and eggs.
Contrary to popular belief, you can experience some of Hungary's traditional dishes in a vegan-friendly way. One of the most popular and delicious street foods is lángos which, at heart, is an easy and quick vegan option.
It's essentially a deep-fried dough that is typically topped with sour cream and cheese, at many vendors, however, they have a wide selection of toppings, such as olives and mushrooms, so it's easily adjustable for a vegan diet. You can find lángos on most main streets in Budapest, but Retró Lángos Büfé is the place with the most extensive selection of plant-based toppings.
If you want a sit-down meal, Napfényes Restaurant is the ultimate spot. Located just up the road from Erzsébet bridge, Napfényes is one of the oldest vegan restaurants in Budapest and offers the most amazing versions of Hungarian classics such as goulash and stuffed cabbage, as well as an extensive pizza list.
The restaurant also has gluten-free and raw food options available, and they always aim to make the dishes as healthy as possible without compromising on flavour. The food at this restaurant is consistently served to you photo-worthy, but even though this food appears fancy, Napfényes has always maintained reasonable prices for generously portioned food and during the weekdays you can even get soup and a main dish for around 2500 HUF (7 Euro).
If you're not full to the point of food coma, don't miss the chance to check out their dessert menu before leaving--the cakes here are famous amongst the vegan population of the city.
Another must-visit in the city is Karaván - this outdoor street food venue is the best one-stop for Budapest cuisine, including food trucks from various different restaurants across the city.
Hummus Bar is one of the staples here, whilst they have restaurants all across the city serving up delicious freshly made hummus and falafel, none compare to the communal vibe that Karaván gives off. It's hard to picture anything that beats eating fresh hummus and drinking their homemade juices in the sunny courtyard they take residence in.
Another truck on-site is Las Vegan’s. This place is perfect for all your junk food needs: they make the most mouthwatering plant-based burgers that would satiate anyone's tastebuds, and you can wash it down with some of the tastiest smoothies in town.
Whilst on a break from sightseeing in Budapest, Karaván is the perfect lunch stop for a variety of vegan dishes, in a relaxed environment.
Gelarto Bistro is a gorgeous little ice cream shop and bistro restaurant that is located not far from St Stephen’s Basilica. This hidden gem is always killing the dessert game, but since a menu revamp in 2018, it's also very inclusive of the vegan diet. Gelarto offers the most beautiful and instagrammable breakfasts, brunches and lunches.
Some of the most memorable dishes on the menu would have to be the smoothie bowls, mezzes and chai-spiced porridge. Despite definitely being a great place for eating, the coffee at Gelarto is the star of the show with many plant-based milk alternatives available and plenty of vegan cakes to pair with it, we cannot recommend this place enough for your morning coffee.
With a similar concept to Karávan, on Király utca, Vegan Garden supplies the city with six permanent street food trucks in their beautiful, open-air yard. Whilst it's only open seasonally, if you have a chance to visit during the warmer months you can look forward to everything from burgers and pizza to dairy-free ice cream.
Vegan Garden is a paradise for the plant-based and omnivores alike. You can even enjoy a seitan kebab in their beautiful courtyard, decorated with vibrant murals to complement the colourful food, it's hard not to be impressed with this food court.
While the list above is only a selection of our favourite food places for vegans in Budapest, most other restaurants nowadays also offer vegan and vegetarian options, especially if you find yourself in the city centre. Don’t shy away from taking a stroll through the Jewish district and discovering the variety of restaurants it has to offer.