Costes Restaurant (Ráday Street)

In 2010, Costes Ráday was the first restaurant in Hungary to earn a Michelin star. Since then, many chefs have come and gone, and many fine dining places have sprouted in Budapest. Costes's current conceit is a hard-to-define collection of seven courses inspired by the techniques of French fine dining traditions. Some are very tasty, such as the slices of celery root molded in the shape of a ravioli and filled with a flavorful spread of stracciatella cheese and smoked eggplant. Or the soft beef tongue with a playful side of sliced pear, creamy parsnip, and hazelnuts.

Still, on recent visits I felt that more than a dozen years after its opening, Costes is due for a revamp, both its austere interior and unfocused culinary direction. Fine dining has evolved in ways that Costes has not (for example in having service teams that are more casual but better informed than had been in the past). Note that Costes Ráday has a sister location in downtown (Costes Downtown), also fine dining, but with a more casual air.

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