Kollázs Brasserie & Bar (Four Seasons Hotel)

Independent restaurants located inside luxury hotels face a common challenge: they need to juggle between satisfying the not-always-so-sophisticated palates of the hotel residents while also luring discernible diners looking for a fine dining experience. KOLLÁZS - Brasserie & Bar, occupying part of the ground floor at the exquisite Four Seasons Hotel Budapest, meets the challenge. The tastefully designed neo-Art Deco interior seamlessly blends a grill bar with a bistro, a fine dining restaurant, and a cocktail bar. Don't be surprised by besuited waiters scurrying around with tableside carts, carving fine meats like chateaubriand and Dover sole.

The kitchen serves classic French fare like a beef bourguignon but they also use a Josper charcoal grill for the steaks, while roasted birds come out of a rotisserie. Chef Árpád Győrffy is at his finest when it comes to the tasting menu, aptly called “blind date”: guests receive no information upfront, not even the number of courses, leaving themselves entirely in the hands of the Mr. Győrffy. On my visit, it was an exuberant eight-course feast featuring raw oysters, salmon roe, pigeon breast, and venison loin, among others. Győrffy cut his teeth at other Budapest fine dining restaurants like Arany Kaviár and Alabárdos, and his pedigree shows through in his delicate plating technique, flavor combinations, and ability to balance dishes with light vegetable and fruit purees.

So, don’t hold anything back, and go for the full experience. The c. €60 price tag, excluding alcohol, is more than reasonable for this indulgence. I also enjoyed the cheeseburger (€16) - the 200 gram / 7 ounce Angus patty exhibits a level of beefiness I haven't experienced elsewhere in Budapest. It's a classic burger with few garnishes (tomato, lettuce, cheddar) that let 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).

An added benefit of Kollázs is its location. This exclusive downtown restaurant is located inside the stunningly beautiful art nouveau building of the Four Seasons complete with marble, dark wood, and brass finishes, offering a panoramic vista of the Castle Hill across the river.