When in 2017 Szabina Szulló and Tamás Széll (a European Bocuse d'Or winner and celebrity-chef in Hungary) announced that they were leaving the Michelin-starred Onyx restaurant to venture out on their own, one didn’t need a business degree to predict success. The idea of Stand25 Bistro was to prove that traditional Hungarian fare can be more than a gut-busting, high-carb, greasy affair. The restaurant's success was immediate: a well-to-do local crowd fills Stand25's tables each day and in 2018 they picked up a Bib Gourmand from Michelin.

Although not ground-breaking, Stand25's dishes are very good. The crimson-hued goulash soup is exactly as it should be, brightened with an extra touch of chopped celery. Another signature is the layered potatoes with crisped-up sausages, eggs, and sour cream: The potatoes are tender without falling apart, and the side of chopped beets exude earthy flavors. Both the somlói galuska, a sponge cake with whipped cream and chocolate syrup, and the palacsinta, Hungary's take on the crêpe, are worth any sugar-induced guilt you might feel afterward.

My only issue with Stand25 is the restaurant's misleading pricing policy. For example, instead of the headline €18 for the three-course lunch prix fixe, you're more likely to rack up a bill for €35-40 per person even without wine, because more than half of the dishes have extra charges. Why not just be upfront about it?

Nonetheless, Mr. Széll’s disciplined approach, which can occasionally be observed through the open kitchen, sets a new standard in Budapest — other restaurants would do well to take cues from Stand25's hospitality and professionalism.

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