Just over a week ago I spent a relaxing long weekend in Budapest with one of my best friends. She needs a wheat free diet and finds it’s often easier to ask for gluten free meals when eating out. When travelling with a particular dietary restriction like a gluten free diet for coeliac disease it can help to do a bit of research ahead of time to find suitable restaurants, supermarkets and make a note of some helpful phrases to help avoid any undesirable tummy complaints. Here’s a taste of what we found gluten free in Budapest.
We found a mixture of naturally gluten free foods, supermarket foods that were gluten free as well as a couple of cafes which served suitable gluten free food while we were in Budapest.
Gluten free restaurants in Budapest
Staying in the Jewish quarter of Budapest we mostly ate within that area, with two particular cafes worth mentioning for their gluten free options.
Köles A Reform Konyha
Köles is the only completely 100% gluten free restaurant available in Budapest. This simple fact alone means that it should definitely be high on the list of anyone in Budapest avoiding gluten. Naturally I am going to be a bit biased towards this restaurant since it is partly owned by a dietitian – but honestly the food was amazing. On our first day in Budapest we ventured in pretty close to closing time so the options available were limited. There is a new menu serving different foods each day and once it runs out it runs out. For this reason it’s a good idea to get in early, however what was left on offer for us at the end of the day was mouth wateringly tasty.
On the first day I had some sort of lentil and pumpkin stew with the last of a turkey, olive and potato bake. This was followed by a luscious chocolate orange cake. Sharing a piece of gluten free cake wasn’t even an option for either of us – it was definitely a piece each situation. It was fantastic for my friend who didn’t even have to think about what foods were suitable for her on the menu since everything on offer was gluten free.
The cafe has a very relaxed atmosphere, a bit like a canteen with a chilled out vibe and lime green tables. Prices and portions were very generous and warranted our return for lunch the next day (some sort of baked cream and chicken dish on rice). The staff were very friendly and explained what was in each dish to help with our decision making process. You can view the menu online on their website (providing you can read Hungarian or use Google translate) which is also handy for anyone with other intolerances or allergens as they highlighting anything else it’s free from.
Address: 1071 Budapest, Kertész u. 41st
Open Hours: Monday to Friday: 1100-1800
Blue Bird Cafe
Blue bird cafe is a bright and cheerful cafe tucked away in a little alleyway/lane within the Jewish quarter that we happened upon while checking out an antique fair on Saturday afternoon. We tested it out for coffee (top notch) and checked out the breakfast options available before returning Sunday morning to refuel ahead of a very strenuous day floating about in Gellert baths. The staff were very friendly and helpful when explaining that my friend couldn’t eat wheat. They understood that she needed gluten free food and were happy to serve eggs Benedict on a ‘bun’ of potato instead of bread – the presentation was fantastic as well. Apparently they had a gluten free cake on offer that morning but having just eaten breakfast we gave it a pass that time. Perhaps next time we visit Budapest…
Address: 1072 Budapest, Dob utca 16.
Open hours: Monday – Thursday 0900-2200,
Friday – Sunday 0900-0000
Gluten free supermarkets
Before visiting a new country it can help to familiarise yourself online by checking out local supermarkets for gluten free brands. Having previously worked for Dr Schär as a coeliac dietitian, I recognised the Schär packaging on the supermarket shelf which differed to that available in the UK. This meant that my friend at least had some suitable gluten free bread for breakfast or as a snack. You can find supermarkets that stock gluten free foods by visiting www.glutenfreeroads.com.
Useful Hungarian gluten free phrases
We were pretty lazy tourists on this trip (our main aim was relaxation in the amazing baths) so didn’t actually make use of any of these phrases on this particular trip. However, it’s always handy to have some useful phrases and travel cards on hand to explain that you are coeliac or need a gluten free diet while travelling through another country. Here are a couple of examples of free travel translation cards that you can download and use in Hungary:
Hope this helps you if you’re gluten free and travelling through Budapest!