Budapest, the capital city of Hungary, is perhaps not the first place that comes to mind when one thinks of Greek food. However, one Greek culinary export, gyros, has become a popular fast food choice for Hungarians in the capital.
Restaurants serving gyros have become increasingly widespread in Budapest over the past two decades where they have become a firm favorite with diners looking for a quick and tasty meal, especially after a night out.
In Greece, gyros are the most popular fast food delicacy. A typical gyro includes slices of meat, tomato, onion, fried potatoes, and tzatziki wrapped in pita bread.
Gyros in Budapest
Blue Agori is probably the best-known Greek-style restaurant serving gyros in Budapest and is also one of the most widespread, with three locations across the city. One of the restaurants is situated just a few minutes walk from the city’s famous St. Stephen’s Basilica.
“It is very important to us that our ingredients are not only of high quality, but also come from Greece, for the most authentic taste experience!” states the Blue Agori website.
Blue Agori’s owner, Stavros Koranis, grew up in the Hungarian capital, but he possessed an appreciation for his Greek roots from a young age, largely thanks to his mother who instilled within him a love for gastronomy. This deep-rooted appreciation for Greek culture is expressed in the gastronomical delights Koranis has worked hard to make accessible in Budapest.
Popular Greek restaurant in Budapest, Blue Agori, is opening a second location, adding Greek donuts and courgettes to the already popular menu. #budapest #greek #restaurant #food #wheretoeat #new #newlocation #greekfood #blueagori https://t.co/2zCGWbP4E6 pic.twitter.com/TNd0LfXkmf
— We Love Budapest (@welovebudapest) July 14, 2020
Of course, Blue Agori is not the only place where gyros are available in Budapest. Kyros Gyros in Hegedűs Gyula and Budapest Gyros in Wesselényi are just two examples. Both restaurants have above four out of five-star reviews on Google.
Gyros: a brief history
The name “gyros” literally means ”round” or “loop” and many theories exist about the history and its origins. Is it just a Greek variation of the globally known Turkish kebab? Or could it date back to ancient times, when the army of Alexander the Great was known to skewer and roast various cuts of meat on long swords over an open fire?
In truth, there is no way to verify any of the theories. Gyros, as we know them today, became a famous dish following the arrival of Greek immigrants from Asia Minor in the 1920s. Throughout the 20th century, local fast-food shops grew in popularity, not only in Athens but all over Greece and beyond its shores.
Inspired by the Turkish kebab, the Greeks who came from Anatolia created a more Greek-looking variation of it by using Greek meat and local ingredients.
Formal dining options
Gyros are an excellent fast food option, but for those who want a more upscale Greek dining experience, there are a number of restaurants in Budapest that offer Greek food in a more formal setting.
One of the best is Mazi, located at Alkotmany Utca, just a few minutes walk from the iconic Hungarian Parliament. Mazi is an “authentic Greek bistro in a contemporary space” led by Greek chefs. The restaurant offers traditional Greek seafood and mountain dishes with a modern twist.
Mazi has a five-star rating on Tripadvisor, with over 2,500 reviews. Last year, the restaurant won the Tripadvisor Traveller’s Choice Award and the Authentic Greek Cuisine Golden Award.
Another option is Mythos the Greek in Arany János, not far from St. Stephen’s Basilica. This restaurant, located in busy downtown Budapest, “welcomes all those interested who want to leave everyday life behind and spend an evening in Greece.”
Mythos boasts an extensive menu of Greek delicacies paired with some of the best wines from across Hungary, perfectly combining Greek cuisine with Hungarian oenology.