In recent years Budapest’s population of ethnic restaurants has exploded throughout the city. One of the most popular foreign culinary choices in town has always been Mexican food, heavy on the tacos, burritos, tamales, chips and salsa and guacamole.
In addition to a couple of long-term venues for the spicy stuff, there are now more options to choose from when looking for that special taste-bud burn. Here are some of the best in Budapest.
With the recent addition of its fourth venue on Bartok Bela u, Arriba Taqueria continues to attract Mexican-food addicts, as patrons can customize every taco and burrito as they’re made. The decor is definitely reminiscent of Speedy Gonzales and includes murals of brightly-painted Mexican icons like Frida Kahlo, lowriders, and lucha libre wrestlers. There’s more on the menu than just tacos, however, scrumptious dishes such as quesadillas, tamales, tortilla soup and jalapeño poppers. In addition, breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs are served all day long.
If you find yourself near the Basilica or Erzsébet Square, you’re just a quick two-minute walk from Burrita Bar. This new entry in the Mexican food sweepstakes specializes in burritos and quesadillas made with fresh produce and local meats. It also boasts authentically-prepared Mexican ingredients for its dishes, like pork chorizo and beef poblano, along with excellent guacamole. Tasty chips and salsa along with ice-cold Coronas are offered at a discount on the “amigos menu”.
The first few meters of Király Stree walking away from Deák Square, are reminiscent of a Mexican border town, so it feels right to find this Mexican street-food vendor there. It’s a small and special venue, however, which exceeds expectations with specialty ingredients like Serrano ham and tasty chorizo. A special bargain is a huge filled tortilla for less than 1,000 forints.
Farther along into Budapest’s District VII party district, is Kazinczy Street, where you’ll find El Rapido, with some of the most authentic tacos in town. It’s really just a tiny hole-in-the-wall grill, located behind a colorful façade, close to Szimpla Kert’s front door. This eatery is especially attractive for late-night customers looking for an alcohol-absorbing snack. Crowd favorites include tortilla-wrapped treats and hard-to-find tequilas. You can also stop by during the day for a spicy snack.
Both locations of this “Mexican food factory”, in Buda and Pest, offer fresh-made tortillas all day. They’re popular spots where diners can enjoy large portions of cheddar-cheese nachos or fresh guacamole and chips. Quesadillas, burritos, and tacos are made to order and a salad made with tomatillo dressing and pico de gallo or corn salsa is always a favorite among light eaters. And for dessert – they have CHURROS!
Still the Dean of Budapest Mexican Eateries, Iguana is a favorite landmark for Budapest expats and locals alike. It’s a classic cantina atmosphere with a laid-back ambiance. Friendly servers will bring you delicacies like sizzling fajitas, jalapeño cream-cheese soup, enchiladas de mole, and the infamous “whoop-ass chili” (watch out for that little red pepper on top!). And their ready-made margaritas are to die for. Iguana also offers Budapest’s only street party, the annual Cinco de Mayo Festival, featuring live mariachis and dancing till dawn.
Another festive Mexican restaurant is this adobe-walled cellar venue, decorated with clay pottery and wooden rafters. Mariachi music fills the air, where visitors can find lots of interesting Mexican dishes, like chilaquiles (fried tortilla strips topped with spicy tomato sauce and cheese), Aztec steak, or mole poblano prepared with chicken, chili peppers and chocolate. There’s also a spacious sidewalk seating area for summer visitors.
Good, standard Mexican fare is available at this unassuming eatery on one of Budapest’s busiest boulevards. Their menu includes: green-tomato enchiladas; chicken flautas (deep-fried stuffed-tortilla rolls, also known as taquitos); and desserts like hot cream-cheese empanadas or lemon pie with mango sauce.
For Tex-Mex fans, this street-food bandito-themed eatery has three distinct locations within two adjacent blocks of Pest’s District VII. There’s a solid selection of foil-wrapped burritos, perfect self-contained meals for eating on the go. If your tastes run to one of their special grilled burgers, (including the BBQ or “fire in the hole” varieties), it’s best to enjoy them on the spot – with lots of napkins!