Where to eat the best goulash

We round up the best places, both in Budapest and here in the UK, to get your fill of authentic goulash.

By Michael Raffael
Published 6 Sept 2019, 16:00 BST
Stand25 Bisztró, Budapest
Stand25 Bisztró, Budapest.
Photograph by Stand25

Gettó Gulyás, Budapest
Located in the old Jewish Quarter, Gettó Gulyás (pictured) serves classic dishes in offbeat surroundings (corrugated iron-clad walls, antique knickknacks). The goulash is an ‘alföldi’ version, so it contains a mix of root vegetables as well as meat, and you’ll also find a long list of stews, including a rich ox cheek pörköltek with buttered barley. Leave room for the Gundel palacsinta (walnut pancakes). Goulash,1,300 Hungarian forints (£3.50). 

Stand25 Bisztró, Budapest
Culinary couple Tamás Széll and Szabina Szulló gained their first Michelin star this year for fine dining restaurant Stand, but at their more casual outpost, Stand25 (pictured), you’ll find dishes — including the signature gulyásleves (see recipe on previous page) — at a fraction of the price. Located in the Downtown Market, Stand25 has an open-plan kitchen dishing up modern twists on local dishes. Try the mangalica pork pate. Two-course lunch, with gulyás, 5,500 forints (£15).

Pest-Buda Bistro & Hotel, Budapest
Part of a chic boutique hotel in the historic centre, this restaurant is one of the city’s oldest. On the menu are local favourites such as cottage cheese noodles, catfish with paprika and székely goulash (meat stew with Hungarian sauerkraut). A classic gulyásleves with csipetke will set you back a modest 2,180 forints (£6), and for another 1,490 forints (£4) you can wash it down with some Fóti Szickl, a local, unfiltered craft lager. 

Kollázs Brasserie & Bar, Budapest
Kollázs is an upmarket, leather-and-polished-brass type of place, within the art nouveau Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace. On the lunch menu, alongside other traditional dishes such as chicken paprikash and cottage cheese dumplings, you’ll find a goulash spiked with root veg and csipetke, for 3,800 forints (£10). Or, if you visit for dinner, try it as a starter. 

The Rosemary, London
When Soho’s Gay Hussar closed last summer, it left The Rosemary as the sole Hungarian restaurant in the capital. With an abundance of plants and an arched glass roof, this place in New Cross has plenty of character — and the food stands out too. Everything is organic, with many ingredients sourced from the owners’ farm in Kent. The menu winds round the full repertoire of Hungarian cooking, but the gulyás, one of four soups, is typically copious and authentic (£8.60). 

Magna Hungaria, Edinburgh
This West End bistro, recently reopened after a kitchen refurbishment, does a great line in Hungarian comfort food. The menu features high-cholesterol hits such as a liptauer cheese, pork crackling spread and goose liver paté. Popular street food lángos, a deep-fried flatbread, comes with garlic, sour cream, cheese and a choice of toppings. As for the goulash, there are four different types (beef, pork, chicken and bean) lurking among a lengthy list of stews (£10.50-£11.50).

Deck Café, Bristol
The menu at this laid-back daytime dining spot draws on various influences, from Mexican to Middle Eastern, and it’s only when you get to the section marked ‘hot dishes’ that you get a sense of owners Dora, Timi and Krisztian’s Hungarian origins. The goulash, priced at £10.25, is the real deal, and is served with a hearty hunk of sourdough bread. 

Paprika Restaurant & Cafe, Bournemouth
Paprika is a cheap and cheerful neighbourhood diner that attracts a crowd of Hungarian émigrés. Alongside an all-day breakfast, sandwiches and burgers, there’s also a short list of Hungarian dishes. Goulash comes with meatballs and marrow, beef or beans (£5.95). 

Read our feature on deconstructing goulash here

Published in Issue 6 of National Geographic Traveller Food. 

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