Alabárdos Restaurant

Opened in 1964, Alabárdos is the longest-serving restaurant in the Castle Hill and one of the most famous fine dining establishments in Budapest. A stone’s throw away from the famous Matthias Church, the restaurant is located within a medieval residential home, featuring original Gothic tracery and ogee curves. With about a dozen tables, the dining room is startlingly impressive: they serve dishes on Herendi porcelain plates paired with silver cutlery.

One of Hungary's leading chefs, Gábor Mogyorósi runs the kitchen at Alabárdos since 2017. He likes to revamp classic Hungarian and Central European plates, which often contain an element of surprise, like the goulash soup that comes with thin slices of foie gras. Mogyorósi is also fond of Asian ingredients, which, very subtly, make their way into many plates. For example, he soaked camellia leaves in the beef consommé, before serving it with a pistachio-flavored semolina dumpling, or filled a spring roll shaped amuse bouche with pike perch fillet. The veal cheek, paired with lentil, artichoke, and parsnip cream, is delightfully tender and delicious. Three types of 4- and 5-course tasting menus are available at Alabárdos (if needed, patrons can select dishes from more than one set list). All 5-course meals cost around HUF 19,000 or €60 per person, not including alcohol. Note that except for Saturday, Alabárdos is open only for dinner.

It’s unfortunate that the service staff at Alabárdos can be misleading. For example, despite an order of tap water, the waiter simply brought an expensive bottled water, and, to a look of surprise, explained that the water pipes are old, and hence tap water isn’t safe to drink. This is of course not true (are they using dirty water at Alabárdos for cooking?) and evokes communist-era gimmickry, casting a dark shadow over the entire operation despite the exceptional dishes.