Kollázs Brasserie & Bar (Four Seasons Hotel)

Kollázs Brasserie & Bar is a fine dining restaurant and cocktail bar on the ground floor of the swanky Four Seasons Hotel Budapest. The restaurant, which is inside a beautiful Art Nouveau building, offers prime views onto Budapest's Castle Hill. It's the type of place where dark-suited waiters scurry around with tableside carts and pricey bottles of Bordeaux while soft jazz is drifting from the speakers. There's a discernible air of affluence here but without the stiffly formal setting of a fine dining restaurant.

The kitchen wears many hats. There's classic French fare like beef bourguignon and saucisson en brioche (sausage in brioche), traditional Hungarian dishes along the lines of a goulash soup and chicken paprikash, and also burgers and steaks. But head-chef Árpád Győrffy is at his finest when it comes to the tasting menu, aptly named “blind date:” guests have to put themselves in Győrffy's hands as they receive no upfront information. On my most recent visit it was an exuberant eight-course feast featuring oysters, squab, and venison loin. The tasting menu costs €100 per person without wine pairing, in line with comparable restaurants.

Pricey as it was, I also enjoyed the €16 cheeseburger—the 200 gram / 7-ounce Angus patty exhibits a wonderfully intense beefiness. It's a classic burger with few garnishes (tomato, lettuce, cheddar) that lets the meat and the squishy, toasted bun do the talking. On Sundays, Kollázs serves a €40 per person lavish brunch buffet that includes seafood and plenty of other treats (no egg-based breakfast though).

The dim and atmospheric cocktail bar in the corner of the dining room offers more than 20 types of classic cocktails, ranging in price from €8 to €14, each prepared with a slight twist.

We visit all places incognito, pay for our own meals and drinks, and write independent reviews.