Known for its hearty, traditional fare, Budapest is rapidly becoming something of a fine dining destination, with an increasing number of Michelin-starred restaurants and talented chefs catering to food lovers from around the world. Whether it’s experimental Hungarian cuisine or stylish Japanese dishes, there are plenty of places to experience fine food in the city – these are ten of the best.
Restaurant, Contemporary, Hungarian, $$$
Costes Restaurant | Courtesy of Costes Budapest
The first restaurant in Budapest to be awarded a prestigious Michelin star, Costes Budapest opened its doors in 2008 after a total renewal of the previous establishment by the same name. The aim was to create a refined gastronomic experience, with an international menu accented by Hungarian influences. An executive chef was found in the form of Miguel Rocha Vieira, who previously worked in El Bulli – today he oversees the kitchens of both Costes and the recently opened Costes Downtown. The atmosphere is sophisticated and stylish, however the lack of dress code keeps things welcoming and inclusive.
There is no menu at this restaurant in Budapest’s 7th district. Instead, fresh produce is delivered every morning; from this, the chefs create a menu based on what is in season, and guests are invited to select from menus ranging from four to seven courses each evening. In the spirit of slow food, diners are encouraged to take time over their meals, relaxing and enjoying the company of their companions.
Russian cuisine in an elegant environment can be found at this restaurant with an intimate, stylish indoor dining area and romantic outdoor garden. Classic Russian dishes such as borscht and stroganoff feature on the menu, which includes an à la carte option as well as tasting menus. There’s also an extensive vodka menu, as well as a varied wine list.
One of Budapest’s four restaurants to hold a coveted Michelin star, this cozy eatery offers guests an outstanding culinary experience in relaxed, unpretentious surroundings. Staying true to its name, the wine list is extensive and primarily sourced from Hungarian vineyards. The cuisine is also local, with the menu offering Hungarian dishes with a contemporary twist.
Known across the world for its stylish Japanese cuisine, Nobu has restaurants in cities such as New York, London, and Tokyo. Its Budapest edition can be found inside the stunning Corvinus Kempinski Hotel in the heart of the city, providing a classy atmosphere and a selection of well presented dishes including sushi, sashimi, and tartar.
At this book-themed restaurant in Budapest’s Jewish Quarter, diners can enjoy a three-course menu based on a different literary work each week. A creative concept that never fails to delight, flavors are classic with a twist – previous novels on the menu have included Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Murder on the Orient Express. There’s also an à la carte option for those who aren’t tempted by the literature-themed cuisine, while the atmosphere is friendly and welcoming.
Relatively new to the city’s culinary scene and already popular with both locals and visitors to Budapest, this gastropub in the heart of the Jewish District offers nouvelle Hungarian cuisine with French and Italian elements thrown in for good measure. Found in a cozy cellar, the intimate atmosphere invites guests to relax and enjoy the elegant, tasty, and well-prepared food.
The kitchen at this well-located restaurant in downtown Budapest is run by the young, award-winning chef Janos Mizsei. His menu offers Hungarian classics with a modern twist, while Scandinavian cuisine also has an influence on the simplicity and preparation of the refined dishes served at MÁK. Seasonal produce is a focus while the six-course tasting menu is updated on a daily basis.
For a fine dining experience in opulent surroundings, Onyx is the place to go in Budapest. Chandeliers, gilt chairs, and luxurious surroundings provide the setting for a Michelin-starred meal in the city center. For lunch, a four- or six-course tasting menu is available, while at dinner two tasting menus are offered. Diners can choose either to enjoy the six-course Hungarian Evolution Menu, allowing an insight into Hungarian cuisine cooked with modern techniques, or the eight-course Chef Menu.
Located inside one of the city’s most historic and luxurious hotels, this elegant bistro offers guests a unique take on traditional Hungarian cuisine, complemented by an extensive and varied wine list. Chef Lajos Bíró has built a name for himself in Budapest and beyond, serving flavorsome and well-presented cuisine that never fails to intrigue and excite. There are also a few slightly more experimental options on the menu at Bock Bisztró for those feeling adventurous – tobacco-flavored ice cream, anyone?!