If you are Coeliac or gluten free (or even vegan, dairy free or lactose free) and have dismissed Budapest in Hungary as likely to be a ‘no-go’ food destination, think again. Gluten free Budapest is a revelation and possibly one of the easiest non-UK destinations I have visited for gluten free eating in recent years. Not convinced? Check out my ultimate guide…. I’ve done all the hard work and research for you, so all you have to do is have a fantastic time exploring this beautiful city.
I have always been a traveller. In my 20’s (long before the days of social media, mobile phones or even digital cameras), I inter-railed and back-packed across wide swathes of the world. I have always been a foodie too and have relished every opportunity to try and to taste national, local and sometimes ‘far-out’ cuisines along the way… often bringing home culinary inspiration to absorb into home cooking. Our experiences of gluten free Budapest will no doubt influence our future creations too, with goulash soups and plenty of smoked paprika being high on the list.
Much of my travel was before kids and before Coeliac diagnosis, the latter of which hit our family in 2011, when Miss GF was 6. We are eternally grateful that Coeliac Disease is ‘treated’ and managed through diet alone (no drug or continual testing regimes needed). As a family, we take gluten free life in our stride, seeing the diagnosis for all the positives it has brought us in discovering new ingredients and foods, rather than a negative focus on what we can’t eat anymore.
However positive we are now however, when suddenly you find yourselves having to actively avoid ingredients and having to ask for details about not only what is in the food you want to eat, but also how it is prepared, then the confidence to travel to places where the language and food is unfamiliar gets a massive side-swipe. I know from discussions in gluten free Facebook forums that I am not alone in this, particularly in the early days of diagnosis.
The confidence we have in our ability to survive gluten free anywhere has grown hugely in the last few years and gradually we are opening up opportunities for travel further afield with our now more resilient and confident teenage daughter.
Call us irresponsible, but when we booked flights to Budapest, we didn’t even bother to check its Coeliac-friendly status, so comfortable are we that we will no longer be ‘held back’ by gluten free requirements. Of course, once we know where we are heading, we always prepare for and research gluten free options (check out my page on travelling gluten free for some great tips), but gluten free Budapest positively surpassed expectations from start to finish.
As a Coeliac traveller, the internet is always my ‘go to’ source for recommendations on gluten free eating in any destination. Coeliacs and gluten free bloggers who have gone before are a wealth of information and in my experience, can always be trusted to provide honest reviews and to have checked for potential cross-contamination and safety issues within places they have eaten. Some of my gluten free Budapest eateries were flagged from fellow trailblazers (Happy Celiac; My Gluten Free Guide; Find Me Gluten Free; Glutenfree Travelbee) ahead of my trip.
Interestingly, I have never found Trip Advisor to be a reliable source (unless a review comes from a stated Coeliac) and have been disappointed on many an occasion that a ‘good’ gluten free review has clearly not been health-based, missing the fact that foods are all fried in the same oil, oats are not gluten free, or receiving scathing looks when we mention the word Coeliac.
If it’s not in your plans yet or you are looking for inspiration for safe Coeliac travel however, I would definitely recommend you consider Budapest as a destination. Not only is the food fantastic, but it is such an amazing, safe and chilled city, with loads to do whatever the weather.
The following recommendations and foodie finds for gluten free Budapest have been drawn from places we have tried and tested, or from research both before our trip and through our stumbling across when walking the city. Hopefully, it will make your life a lot easier if you are heading that way. So here you go… my ultimate guide to gluten free Budapest…. foodie finds, supplies, restaurants, cafes and bakeries. Where we know venues to cater for vegan, dairy free, or other intolerances, I have stated my understanding.
If you do use the guide, please let me know! If you find anything has changed, closed or there are new places you’ve stumbled across, please leave a comment and let me know so that I can update. If you post your visit on social media, remember to tag me too… especially if you’ve picked up a recommendation here. Click to find me on Instagram; Twitter; Facebook.
Social media is the first place I usually post gluten free finds in the UK or abroad, so follow me and share my journey!
Ultimate Guide to Gluten Free Budapest (August 2019)
I have worked hard to give you up to date information on each of the Gluten Free Budapest venues below. Many of them were directly visited, but a few were on my list to see when I was in Budapest and we either ran out of time, they were closed due to the summer holidays and public holidays that took place whilst we were visiting, or were not in areas that we found ourselves. I have however undertaken further research via direct websites and Facebook pages to check the accuracy of information provided here.
Bear in mind however, that venues sometimes close down, change hours, take a holiday and as always, will need to be double-checked on any visit for concerns regarding allergens/gluten and food preparation/cross contamination. Differences in staff on duty can also affect the response you get. ALWAYS place your health first and check where unsure. To avoid disappointment, check websites for up to date information and opening times before/during travel.
If you find any of the venues noted have closed or give poor safety information, please let me know so that I can update information in this post. Equally, you may stumble across other venues that give you a wonderful, safe, gluten free experience that would be great to add to the list to help others seeking gluten free places to eat in the future. Please let me know about these too, so that our fellow gluten free travellers can have even more choice in Budapest.
To help you when you are exploring, I have indicated the area of the city you will find gluten free Budapest eateries against popular tourist venues/areas. When we travel, we tend to plan our days and then see where might be safe to eat nearby. For time and flexibility (and to reduce the risk of disappointment because we hopelessly never bother to book a table anywhere), we tend to do brunch via cafes and bakeries and then opt for an early evening meal (when restaurants are less busy). It suits us! If you want to guarantee a table at a particular time however, check the website for telephone numbers/booking arrangements. To make it easy, just click on the title for the restaurant name and you will be taken to the local website/Facebook page (remember to auto-translate as needed).
Gluten Free Budapest : Restaurants, Bistros & Cafes (breakfast, brunch, lunch & dinner)
Drop Restaurant (Pest)
8 min walk from St Stephen’s Basilica; 4 minutes walk from the Hungarian State Opera, 9 min walk from House of Terror
Loved this place. Tasty, well cooked, varied menu, which has something for everyone. Service was good with a relaxed atmosphere. The fact that it is 100% GF and serves proper meals (not just snacks and light lunches) is an absolute joy and makes is a ‘must visit’ on any trip to gluten free Budapest.
Kata Restaurant (Pest)
hours : 8am to 11.30pm daily
100% Gluten Free; Lactose Free
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
8 min walk from St Stephen’s Basilica; 4 minutes walk from Hungarian State Opera, 9 min walk from House of Terror
Situated next door to Drop (above), Coeliacs are spoiled for choice. Frankly, I could have spent most of my meal times on this street, but definitely made sure I tried both. Like it’s neighbour, Kata has a relaxed atmosphere with a varied and well-cooked full menu. It also has the bonus of opening earlier in the day for breakfast, as well as lunch and dinner.
Etna Pizzeria (Pest)
el Asador de Pata Negra (Pest)
10-12 min walk from St Stephen’s Basilica; 10-12 min walk from Great Synagogue; 5 min walk from Gouba Sunday Art/Craft Market; 10 min walk from House of Terror
Gutted I didn’t get to eat here due to lack of time, but the menu looks lovely and given the positive experience we had at Pata Negra (sister restaurant) I would expect any meal here to be good. Has a good reputation with other travellers.
Pata Negra (Buda & Pest)
hours : 11am to 12 midnight daily
Menu clearly marked Gluten Free; Lactose Free; Vegetarian (most of the menu naturally gluten free, inc desserts)
Pata Negra has a good reputation, is popular and therefore busy. If you are eating at peak meal times, it is worth making a reservation.
Cöli Bisztró (Pest)
Visited the Bistro and bought supplies and bakery food. The main Bistro menu is changed daily and they advertise daily specials (stews, pastas, soups, pizzas, hot-dogs, sandwiches, pancakes, etc) via their Facebook page. Relaxed atmosphere. Hot food looked tasty and home-made.
Bistro Fine (Pest)
Didn’t get to eat here, but has a good reputation and is a little more up-market (though not massively expensive). Does lunch specials (although the menu seemed limited). The A’La Carte menu is quite traditional Hungarian and meaty, but with lots more choice and clearly marked gluten free. I understand from fellow travellers that the chef is able to adapt much of the menu to make it GF-friendly and offers fresh gluten free bread with your meal.
Hunyadi Lakásbisztró (Buda)
12 min walk from Buda Castle; 8 min walk from Chai Bridge (Buda side); 6 min walk from Museum of Hungarian Applied Folk Art; 12 min walk from Hungarian National Gallery; 7 min walk from Buda Castle Labyrinth
Stumbled on this little Bistro up near the Castle. Serves tasty Hungarian plates of food, most of which are naturally gluten free. I don’t recall the menu being marked, but the waiter was happy to talk through what was on offer. Thoroughly recommend the Pulled Beef Goulash Soup, which was delicious. Be very clear though that you don’t want bread! It was accidentally served alongside our GF orders.
15 min walk from Margaret Bridge (Buda side); 10 min walk from Vienna Gate; 16 min walk from Museum of Military History; 14 min walk from Fisherman’s Bastion
I understand this restaurant does lovely pizza and all sorts of gluten free pasta and came well-recommended from pre-trip research that I undertook. Sadly we were not in the right place at the right time to try it, but with a completely separate (very varied) GF menu, I would hope they know what they are doing!
Szederinda Gluténmentes (Blackberries GF restaurant) (Pest)
Far South of the city – 20 min walk from Budapest Planaterium & The People’s Park
Dedicated GF cafe-restaurant. Menu indicates hamburgers, salads, soups, sandwiches, chilli, rice dishes, sausages and basic Hungarian Fare. Good selection of desserts. For most holiday-travellers (including ourselves), this place is too far out of the centre. We didn’t make it there!
Maja GF Bistro (Buda)
13 min walk from Liberty Bridge (Buda side); 11 min walk from Gellert Baths
Dedicated GF (also lactose free) bistro with a menu which is regularly changed. Fresh home-cooked food – potatoes, chicken, steak, soups, pasta, salads, stews, etc. Plenty of cakes and bakes.
London Coffee Society (Pest)
6 min walk from The Great Synagogue; 6 min walk from the Orthodox Synagogue; 13 min walk from the Hungarian National Museum
Lively (and noisy) cafe that is also very busy. Offers to sub with gluten free bread/toast (for fractional extra cost) and as such has a fairly flexible menu of usual breakfast/brunch fodder (eggs, avocado, houmous, cold meats, bowls, etc). Good coffee.
Oh My Green (Pest)
6 min walk from Elizabeth Bridge (Pest side); 12 min walk from Central Market Hall; 11 min walk from Hungarian National Museum; 7 min walk from the Great Synagogue
Didn’t eat here (Mr GF sadly does not see veggie bowls as sustenance!), but if you want to go really healthy, this may be your place for breakfast or a light meal. The buddha bowls look amazing!
Great Bistro Vegan (Pest)
5 min walk from St Stephen’s Basilica; 4 min walk from Liberty Square/Park; 14 min walk from Shoes on the Danube Monument; 11 min walk from Hungarian National Parliament; 13 min walk from Chain Bridge (Pest side); 15 min walk from Great Synagogue
Completely vegan and gluten free, this place is a rare find. Eclectic, healthy menu, with an emphasis on fresh, healthy ingredients. Perfectly situated near the Basilica, it is a great spot for a light lunch. Best of all, it does buckwheat pancakes.
Didn’t see this place as it is far outside the city, however I’ve included it as a possible option if you venture southwards.
Vega City vegan (Pest)
2 min walk from Hungarian National Museum; 7 min walk from Liberty Bridge (Pest side); 3 min walk from Karolyi Garden; 8 min walk from Central Market Hall; 7 min walk from Great Synagogue
Daily varying menu of stews, soups, tofu, potato and vegetable dishes, this is another vegan venue, which whilst not completely gluten free, offers plenty of GF options. Menu clearly marked for allergens and offers alternative gluten free side dishes.
9 min walk from Hungarian National Museum; 2 min walk from Great Synagogue; 11 min walk from Elizabeth Bridge (Pest side)
Wanted to try this place as the menu (though not extensive) looks so good… but we ran out of time. I really really wanted to try their GF pancake with white chocolate ganache, orange peel, raspberry foam, nuts and ice cream.
We didn’t have fries and didn’t ask whether they were gluten free (it was very late when we arrived in Budapest and we simply couldn’t be bothered!)
Gluten Free Budapest – Gluten Free & GF-Friendly Bakeries
Free a Gluténmentes Pékség (2 bakeries : Pest & Buda)
We used the bakery in Pest, which whilst not large, had a good selection of delicious gluten free pastries and breads (baked on premises). It has a well-deserved reputation as being one of the best gluten free bakeries in Budapest. The cheese straws and cinnamon rolls are to die for! Make sure you get ‘todays’ bakes and not ones which are being sold off from ‘yesterday’. Staff are exceptionally friendly and their passion shines through.
3 min walk from The Great Synagogue; 8 min walk from Hungarian National Museum; 12 min walk from Elizabeth Bridge (Pest side)
In the heart of Budapest and set on a main road, Tibidabo is easy to find and is well stocked with gluten free pastries, breads and bakes, including pizza snails and croissants. Serves sandwiches and is pretty convenient for grabbing a picnic. All home-baked, the quality is good, but to be honest, I preferred the quality from Free, Manioka and Noglu. If it was the only bakery in the city, I would have been ecstatic, but in Budapest you are spoiled for choice.
Manioka Gluténmentes Pékség (Pest)
5 min walk from Central Market Hall; 6 min walk from Hungarian National Museum; 9 min walk from Liberty Bridge (Pest side); 7 min walk from New Budapest Gallery
Loved this place (although the woman who served us was really grumpy). We bought cheese straws and some savoury cheese and ham pastries which were delicious, with a crisp flaky pastry and a chocolate-coconut cake which was equally yummy. The selection is pretty limited and even late morning, we felt we should have been there earlier to get the best choice, so plan a visit first thing. What they lacked in choice however, was made up for in quality!
There are seats outside which belong to another venue… if you don’t want to encounter the narky owner, head off somewhere else to eat your stash!
Cöli Bisztró (Pest) – see photo above (it’s easy to walk past if you don’t know what you are looking for)
15 min walk from St Stephen’s Basilica; 12 min walk from House of Terror; 12 min walk from Liberty Square & Gardens/Soviet War Memorial; 12 min walk from Hungarian Parliament
Visiting later in the day, Coli Bisztro still had a good selection of gluten free pastries and bakes. We treated ourselves to sausage croissants (croissant wrapped round a hot-dog type sausage) and XXXXX Lots of home-baked breads to choose from, as well as other savoury and sweet offerings. Bear in mind that although a dedicated gluten free bakery, they use gluten free wheat starch in some of their products, so check if you are wheat-intolerant or sensitive.
Noglu Cukrászda (Buda)
11 min walk from start of Cog Railway; 18 min walk from Kiraly Baths; 13 min walk from Museum of Military History; 10 min walk from Vienna Gate; 18 min walk from Fisherman’s Bastion; 22 min from Margaret Bridge (Buda side)
This was one of the few bakeries that was open in the middle of the summer public holiday and we were so glad that we made the trip. We bought a stash of cakes and pastries (eating the cakes with coffee in the shop and taking the pastries for a later picnic at one of the thermal baths). Most of the cakes we tried were also dairy free and sugar free (although you would never have known) and tasted rich and delicious. Situated not far from the start of the Cog Railway (that takes you up to the Children’s mountain railway), this is a perfect stop to grab supplies for a day in the hills. You won’t be disappointed.
Predominantly an on-line shop, this gluten free bakery apparently has a sample shop selling a selection of healthier cakes, muffins, cookies, etc. We didn’t visit whilst we were there, but I would love to hear from anyone who does.
Öko Kamra (Pest)
DiétABC Táplálékallergiások (Pest : shop linked to Blackberries Restaurant as above)
Budapest, Üllői út 149, 1091 Hungary
hours : 7.30 am to 7.30pm – Monday to Friday; 7.30am to 6pm Saturday; Closed Sunday
100% dedicated gluten free bakery & cafe (also stocks GF & other Free From supplies)
Bread, cakes, pastries, pizza, sandwiches, etc
Gluten Free Budapest – Supermarket & Free From Supplies
Supermarkets (Lidl; Spar; Tesco; Aldi)
hours : 7am to 6pm – Monday to Friday; 9am to 4pm – Saturday; Closed Sunday
100% dedicated gluten free bakery & gluten free supplies/staples
Cöli Bisztró (Pest) see photo above (it’s easy to walk past if you don’t know what you are looking for)
15 min walk from St Stephen’s Basilica; 12 min walk from House of Terror; 12 min walk from Liberty Square & Gardens/Soviet War Memorial; 12 min walk from Hungarian Parliament
Reform & Bio (aka Free Selection) (Buda)
Bijo Trade Store (Pest)
Budapest, Róbert Károly körút 96, 1135 Hungary hours : 7am to 7pm – Monday to Friday; 9am to 5pm – Saturday; Closed Sunday
Gluten Free Budapest – Cooling Down with Ice Cream
Ice creams can be less straight-forward than you expect. In Budapest, we found that many ice cream parlours sold mostly ice cream that was loaded or decorated with biscuits and cookies. We avoided these for risk of cross-contamination.
Vinatti Ice Cream (Buda)
Gelarto Rosa (Pest) (2 shops a stones throw from each other, near to the Basilica)
Anjuna Ice Pops
Lavendula Ice Cream (various)
Useful Hungarian foodie words and phrases
cöliákia – coeliac
I’ve linked my ultimate guide to Gluten Free Budapest with :