Where to Have Dessert in Budapest
By Miharu Sugie
Almost every corner of any street in Budapest, you’ll find a confectionery—fitting for a country where patissiers compete to create a Magyar cake in celebration of Hungary’s “birthday” on August 20th. It’s impossible to list all these dessert shops, but here are some casual places to keep in mind when you’re walking in the city.
The Popular One: Szamos Today
Szamos is easily one of the most popular confectioneries in Hungary. This classic Magyar favorite is the go-to-place for marzipan, chocolates, bonbons, ice cream, and of course, cakes. Szamos Today, located next to the Hungarian Parliament Building, adds a modern twist to the traditional confectionery established in 1935.
You cannot go wrong choosing any cake here. But there is one that deserves the spotlight: the 2016 winning “birthday” cake of Hungary—Őrség Zöld Aranya (Green gold of Őrség)—is possibly the most addicting in the city. The Szamos Zöld Aranya is the poster boy: the white chocolate ganache, the raspberry jelly, the whipped cream, the pumpkin seed oil layer, and the crispy pumpkin seed praline complement each other so well.
But don’t forget to check out the desserts that are not listed in the standard menu. Although a bit more expensive than the cake, the mille feuille sprinkled with poppy seeds just melts in your mouth.
Location: Kossuth Lajos tér 10.
The Vegan-Friendly: Naspolya Nassolda
This raw, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly cafe is tucked behind the high-end stores on Andrássy Avenue. Although the cafe’s healthy snacks like kale chips and granola-filled breakfast menus are tempting, the cakes and pies are must-haves.
Naspolya Nassolda makes the combination of creaminess, lightness, and simplicity possible. The cakes and pies are seasonal, so depending on the timing of your visit, you can find different cakes. Starting last week, you can taste the Strawberry “cheesecake,” but only until June.
There are classics that you can enjoy all year, like the Matcha Pie and the Rawnie. The Matcha Pie is an elegant mix of vanilla and Japanese green tea, with a chewy cashew layer at the bottom, and a hint of agave syrup. The Rawnie brings you to chocolatey heaven with the cocoa powder, cocoa beans, and cocoa butter. The bourbon and the sesame seeds will surely give you a kick. The Matcha Pie goes exceptionally well with the super cacao drink, and the Rawnie with the homemade almond milk.
Naspolya Nassolda is a dog-friendly place, so jump in with your dog, eat some healthy cakes that won’t make you feel guilty, and relax on the swing inside the cafe.
Location: Káldy Gyula street. 7.
The Award Winning Confectionery: Nándori Cukrászda
Nándori Cukrászda, located near Petőfi bridge, is one of the many popular family-owned, award-winning confectioneries in Budapest. In fact, five years ago, Nándori’s Zalavári cake and Legényfogó cake were finalists in the competition to decide Hungary’s “birthday” cake.
The Legényfogó cake can be roughly translated to bachelor catcher. The layers of vanilla, honey, oatmeal, and cherry jam with walnuts and cherry on top will surely catch your attention. This eye-catcher manages to be not too dry, not too moist, and definitely not boring.
At this classic retro-style cukrászda, the glass case is full of traditional Hungarian cakes and pastries, as well as innovative and custom-made cakes and figurines only available at Nándori. You can even enjoy the last bits of wintry vibes with the chestnut pastries, Gesztenyeszív.
Location: Ráday street 53.
The Instagram-Worthy: Marangona desszert.pont (permanently closed)
Marangona is another Instagram-worthy dessert place you can visit after a walk on Margaret Island. You can fully relax and take a break on the terrace or sit inside the pastel-colored space, and take a new profile picture in front of the painted white wings.
Whether it be with a cup of coffee or tea, you have to have a mini Marangona cake accompany you. The pistachio raspberry cake and the pomegranate brownie cake are one of the many Marangona creations that are especially divine. The cakes here tend to be very rich in flavor: the raspberry cake’s layers of vanilla and cream topped with roasted pistachios and the brownie cake’s white chocolate mousse lathered on top of the brownie almost melt in your mouth.
If you’re lucky, you might get a glimpse of Lara, Marangona’s charming French Bulldog. Lara does not speak much, but she is polite and will greet you at your table.
Location: Bimbó street 2.
The Italian: Dolcissima
A quiet, Italian confectionery located a few minutes away from the Lukács Thermal Bath on the Buda side, Dolcissima is the place to go for pistachio-flavored cakes and pastries.
Although there are many recommendable sweets at Dolcissima, Torta Bronte is one of the standouts.
The phrase, opposites attract—the crunchy nuts sprinkled generously on top of the thick layer of Sicilian pistachio cream—is really true. Not only that, but also the smoothness and sweet and salty tang make this slice of cake irresistible. The passion that Dolcissima has for pistachio is definite: the confectionery recently celebrated Pistachio Day, an unofficial but also significant holiday on February 26.
If you’re not a fan of pistachios, you can still get a taste of southern Italy by trying Dolcissima’s cannolis and biscottis.
Location: Frankel Leó street 21.
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