There’s nothing like a creamy, refreshing ice cream on a hot day – or pretty much any day. This favorite treat of Budapest locals and tourists alike is offered in many venues around the city, so you can pretty much take your pick of the great flavours and styles at each place.
According to those in the know, however, here is a short alphabetical list of 12 of the best ice cream parlors to check out in Budapest.
Tucked away on a side street near Széll Kálmán tér, this authentic Italian gelato place offers creamy, hand-crafted flavors made with fresh seasonal fruits (NB: their pear and lemon ice cream is irresistible). You’ll find 27 different flavors, including some lactose-free and vegan options. There are a few tables in this tiny venue, but for an even better spot to enjoy your gelato just walk across the street to the lovely green park of Városmajor.
Address: Csaba utca 8, Buda, District 12 – near Széll Kálmán tér
One of the city’s newest places, ice cream is prepared right before your eyes. Bp Creamy’s owners got the idea from Thailand, and then created their own special flavours in Budapest.
Only natural ingredients are used, such as full milk and homemade yogurt. For the lactose-intolerant, you can choose to have yours made with coconut or soy milk. To oversee your very own special treat, first choose a small, medium or large cup. Next comes milk or yogurt (or soy/coconut milk), then pick your seasonal fruits, including raspberry, peach, apple, pear and plum in summer. Finally, anything else that strikes your fancy: chocolate chips, biscuits, toffee, Nutella, raisins or prunes.
Viola, the kind shop owner, then swiftly mixes all these on a chilled surface and within a couple of minutes your ice cream/frozen yogurt is ready. Add chocolate, caramel, strawberry or blueberry sauce to heighten the delight and enjoy your amazing dessert sitting on the small terrace.
Address: Andrássy út 61., district VI., trams 4, 6 Oktogon stop
One of Budapest’s favorite spots for locals, Daubner offers home-made ice cream prepared daily, from old family recipes. The dozen or so flavors available are smooth and refreshing treats anytime of the day. Try the creamy almond, the strawberry yoghurt, the chestnut-puree or the apricot and you’ll understand why, despite its location outside the city center, there are often queues stretching all the way to the street.
Address: Szépvölgyi út 50, Buda, District 2
This is another new place that opened in 2015, not far from the Danube Promenade and Erzsébet Bridge. Firenze has classic flavours, but also boasts specialty items, like a dark chocolate creation called Black Mamba, chocolate-hazelnut, salted caramel, strawberry, elderflower-lemon and pina-colada. There is also a Gelatinho, which is a mix of guava, coconut, pineapple and lime, evoking Caribbean flavours. You can also have sugar-free and vegan ice cream in such flavours as banana and tangerine. Coffee (made from dark roast Italian Vergnano), cakes and sandwiches are also available.
Address: Galamb utca 4. District. V, close to Erzsébet bridge
Creamy gelato is the primary offering at this charming Italian ice cream parlor. Home-made flavors with all natural ingredients range from classically smooth chocolate and pistachio to more unusual tastes such as ginger, gorgonzola and chianti. Refreshing fruit ice creams come in a variety of flavors like grapefruit, mulberry and strawberry (‘fragola’ in Italian). Fragola is a must-try place.
Address: Nagymező utca 7, Pest, District 6 – near Oktogon
Each scoop of gelato comes in the shape of a rose, hence the name. Delicious hand-made Italian ice cream is produced fresh on the premises every morning. The flavors are innovative, such as lemon basil, white chocolate and jasmine, strawberry-elderberry and even chocolate chili. Lactose and gluten-free options are also available as well as a wide assortment of macaroons and handcrafted chocolates.
Address: Szent István tér 3, Pest, District 5, near the Basilica
When the summer sunshine bathes Budapest in its warm glow, locals head for Gerbeaud’s one of the city’s greatest coffee houses, where the sweet aroma of fresh-baked waffle cones drifts across the main square. These home-made cones are crispy and tasty. Gerbeaud’s ice cream is made fresh daily using only the best ingredients, like Valrhona cocoa, Ceylon cinnamon and Bourbon vanilla. Treat yourself to one of their classic flavors like dark chocolate or creamy walnut. If you have time, enjoy an ice cream sundae on the patio or order one of Gerbeaud’s tasty creations like Strawnilla, strawberry tart and strawberry macaroon with vanilla and strawberry ice cream, or their famous Esterházy cake topped vanilla and walnut ice cream.
Address: Vörösmarty tér 7-8, Pest, District 5
Hisztéria Cremeria only opened last year. This downtown ice-cream shop on entices everyone with a wide selection of more than 25 flavours. The delicious desserts can be topped with various chocolate sauces, but it’s just the beginning. Guests can also choose among an assortment of tasty and beautiful cakes. Hisztéria also features a show kitchen, meaning that they make their ice creams on the spot.
Address: Andrássy út 44.
MAMO opened in 2013. They follow traditional Italian ice cream making techniques: fresh, seasonal fruits and ingredients and milk are used to make lush, fluffy gelato. There are about a dozen flavours to choose from, such as chocolate (dark and milk), strawberry cheese cake, hazelnut, coconut, grapefruit and lemon. Some other delicious frozen delights to sample here are: ice bon, semifreddi or the brioche gelato; the Granita is great here too. Coffee and cakes are also available and there’s a terrace outside the shop to enjoy your treat and contemplate life in Ráday utca.
Address: Ráday utca 25., district IX
Another Italian gelateria not to be overlooked is Pomo D’Oro. Owned by renowned Italian restaurateur Gianni, the recipes here are created by gelato maestro Davide, also from Italy. Pomo D’Oro rolls out classic flavors like hazelnut, strawberry, vanilla, yoghurt, caramel, coffee, lemon and more. The ice creams here are smooth and creamy, just like a proper Italian gelato should be.
Address: Arany János utca 12, Pest, District 5
Luckily Budapest boasts a great variety of healthy ice-cream parlors too. Spillion offers a wide range of lactose, gluten and sugar free frosty treats. Incredible flavours, unusual combinations such as rhubarb-strawberry or lemon-gooseberry. Vegan options are also available and you can taste amazing paleo-cakes in this vegan-friendly shop.
Address: Nagymező utca 36. district VI. and Karácsony Sándor utca 10/a district XXI.
Zimmo is also a new ice cream parlor and cafe right in the centre of Budapest. They offer real artisan ice cream with lots of choices, from old favourites (chocolate, vanilla, coconut, lemon) to new trendy ones (whiskey-cream, raspberry cheese cake). If you prefer healthier alternatives there are also fruit juices and paleo desserts. There’s a small terrace on the street.
Address: Cukor utca 1. district V. close to Ferenciek tere, M3 (blue) metro)