The 18 Best Fine Dining Restaurants In Budapest

Fine dining can mean many things these days apart from dimly lit dining rooms, white linen tablecloths, and soft background music. The list below includes Budapest's highest-end restaurants, some even with a Michelin star. Most of these places serve tasting menus, featuring everything from updated Hungarian classics to New Nordic-inspired fare. The bad news: expect prices comparable to top restaurants in other major cities.

#1 Babel Budapest

Babel is a Michelin-starred restaurant in the heart of Budapest's downtown offering a memorable fine dining experience. The hushed, dim, comfortably elegant dining room has only a dozen tables, all set with white linen. The oversized windows overlook the neighboring Gothic cathedral, bathed in soft light.

#2 Costes Downtown

Costes Downtown is a 2015 offshoot of Costes, the first Michelin-starred restaurant in Budapest. Downtown is a slightly more casual version of its sister location: instead of a classic fine dining decor, here a sleek, modern design sets the tone with an open kitchen and wooden tables stripped of tablecloths. The restaurant, which has had its own Michelin star since 2016, occupies the ground floor of the posh Prestige Hotel, meaning that the dining area closest to the lobby can feel like a hotel restaurant so try asking for a table in the main hall.

#3 Costes Restaurant (Ráday Street)

In 2010, Costes Ráday was the first restaurant in Hungary to earn a Michelin star and the establishment still carries a special cachet. The six-course tasting menu is inspired from near and far and includes a couple of memorable dishes. One of them is the slices of celery root molded in the shape of a ravioli and filled with a flavorful spread of stracciatella cheese and smoked eggplant. Each crunchy bite calls for another. Also delicious is the tender black cod served in a saffron-laced, piquant lobster sauce, and the “duck trio” plate in which three treasured cuts of the game bird arrive with a savory Hungarian pinot noir, if you opt in for the wine pairing.

#4 Stand Restaurant

Stand Restaurant is the fine dining project of local celebrity chef-duo, Szabina Szulló and Tamás Széll, and follows the success of Stand25, their highly acclaimed casual restaurant on the Buda side of the city. Here too, their success was almost immediate: accolades quickly poured in, and the restaurant won a Michelin star in 2019, less than a year after opening.

#5 Spago Budapest

Spago Budapest is the 2021 project of globe-trotting Austrian-American restaurateur, Wolfgang Puck. Since the now-iconic location opened in Los Angeles in 1982, Puck has expanded his famous brand near and far. The Budapest restaurant inhabits the ground floor of a nicely restored historic building in downtown, currently also the home to the five-star Matild Palace. Here, head-chef István Szántó sends out beautifully plated dishes that are reliably rich in flavor.

#6 Essência

Budapest’s latest Michelin-starred restaurant, Essência is the project of the Portuguese-Hungarian husband and wife duo, Tiago and Éva Sabarigo. Before venturing out on their own, Tiago was head chef at another decorated establishment, Costes Downtown, while Éva came from the hospitality industry. Essência is a casual fine dining restaurant: the high-ceilinged ground floor features exposed brick walls, plush mid-century modern furniture, and bare tables.

#7 Salt Budapest

If you think the decades-old food trend of all things pickled and fermented and foraged has run its course, think again. Currently, one of the most popular restaurants among Hungarian diners is Salt, a downtown establishment which wouldn't be wrong to call the "Noma of Budapest" as it seems to have adopted much from the playbook of the famous Copenhagen restaurant which pioneered the genre. In 2021, Salt earned a star from Michelin.

#8 Könyvbar & Restaurant

Könyvbár is an upscale-ish restaurant within Budapest's Jewish Quarter. Head chef Zoltán Decreceni brings a Michelin experience to this snug, book-lined space, which has become a tourist favorite following praise from the New York Times. The food here doesn't easily fit into any mold: there are both Hungarian classics (goulash soup) and international optins (risotto with scallops) on the slim menu, which changes seasonally. What unites these beautifully plated dishes is how good they are. Take the fogas, once Hungary's prized fish, arriving on a bed of creamy cauliflower and ringed by crunchy and colorful slices of the vegetable.

#9 MÁK Bistro

MÁK Bistro is a fine dining restaurant in Budapest finding inspiration in the New Nordic cuisine. Accordingly, head chef János Mizsei, who trained in Denmark and Sweden, serves up bright-tasting flavors from seemingly everyday ingredients. Mizsei is known to go out of his way to scout for unlikely suppliers, like a farmer who collects birch sap in a Hungarian village. The dishes are heavy on vegetables and fish, both of them prepared in light sauces. The interior shows obvious Scandinavian inspirations: the bare, exposed brick dining rooms have sleek wooden tables stripped of tableclothes.

#10 Textúra

Located in the heart of downtown Budapest, Textúra is the sister restaurant of Borkonyha, the Michelin-decorated establishment across the street from it. At Textúra, too, you can experience executive chef Ákos Sárközi's brand of technically precise cooking. Rather than piling the menu with updated Hungarian classics as many Budapest fine dining restaurants do, Textúra relegates the local staples to a supporting role. How come? Sárközy is a Hungarian celebrity chef and many of the customers here consist of his fans, for whom faraway dishes hold more appeal than yet another bowl of goulash, no matter how good it is.

To remain unbiased, I visit all places incognito and pay for my own meals and drinks. I never accept money in exchange for coverage. But this means I must rely on readers to support my work. If you're enjoying this article, please consider making a one-time payment (PayPal) or becoming an Offbeat Patron.

#11 St. Andrea

St. Andrea is an upscale restaurant near Budapest's city center, occupying the ground floor of a luxury office building. They don't don't shy away from showcasing classic Hungarian dishes through a fine dining prism, for example the 6-course "traditional innovation" tasting menu features stuffed cabbage with mangalica pork, a stew of tender beef paired with egg dumplings (pörkölt), and lecsó, a beloved Hungarian-Serbian summer dish packing ripe summer vegetables and crisped-up sausages. The 6-course tasting menu runs €60 per person, or €110 with wine pairing. St. Andrea's waitstaff is kind and informed—they're one of the best service teams in Budapest.

#12 Petrus Restaurant

The sleepy outer part of Budapest's District 9 is an unlikely place for an upscale French restaurant so it's against the odds that here hides Petrus, the Bib Gourmand-awarded bistro of Hungarian owner-chef Zoltán Feke. You might think that the vintage Citroën car parked inside the restaurant overdoes the French countryside vibes but the snug space is comfortably elegant. Petrus's slim menu features both classic French bistro food — onion soup, baked camambert and the like — and fine dining fare. The tasting menu skews to the latter, the a la carte offerings the former.

#13 Kollázs Brasserie & Bar (Four Seasons Hotel)

Kollázs Brasserie & Bar is a fine dining restaurant on the ground floor of the swanky Four Seasons Hotel in Budapest. The restaurant, which is inside a beautiful Art Nouveau building, offers prime views onto the Danube and the Castle Hill across the river. 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, but without the stiffly formal setting of a fine dining restaurant.

#14 Arany Kaviár

Tucked away on a steep side street within the Castle Hill lies one of Budapest's most expensive, special-occasion restaurants: Arany Kaviár. As you'd expect from a place that specializes in high-priced caviars, the exquisite dining rooms, lined with maroon and golden tapestry and heavy drapes, exude an air of opulence. Apart from fish roe, they offer two tasting menus — a “Hungarian Fish” and a “Traditional” Russian — and plenty of chilled vodka and premium wines for pairing.

#15 Nobu Restaurant

Thanks to a late Hungarian businessman, Andy Vajna, with top Hollywood connections, Budapest is home to a Nobu, the world’s fanciest chain restaurant (Robert De Niro is an owner of the parent company). This upscale Japanese-Peruvian establishment is located inside the dim ground floor of the five-star Kempinski hotel smack in the middle of Budapest's downtown.

#16 Fausto’s Ristorante

Fausto’s Ristorante, which opened in 1994, is a classic fine dining restaurant in Budapest with a hat-tip to northern Italian fare. Forget pizza and Caprese salad; here scallops, foie gras, flatfish, and venison loin are the gastronomic currency. A couple of egg pasta and risotto are also available, made with deliciously rich sauces. The decor is traditional fine dining: soft background music drifts from the background of the dim dining room, which has only a dozen tables, all set with heavy linen tablecloths. Under the vigilant eyes of owner Fausto Di Vora, always dressed in a chef's coat, an army of waiters quietly scurry around the tables that tend to fill up on Friday and Saturday evenings with well-heeled tourists and local businesspeople.

#17 La Perle Noire

La Perle Noire is a high-end restaurant occupying the ground floor of Mamaison, a four-star hotel on a quiet section of Andrássy Avenue (peppered with residential villas and embassies, Budapest's Andrássy Avenue is often compared to the Champs-Élysées). Let's get the bad news out of the way: La Perle Noire's interior is anything but cozy — rows of dark furnishings lend a constrained formality to this oversized space. The good news? There's a green terrace overlooking Andrássy to escape the inside and offering an exclusive dining experience in the warmer months.

#18 Prime Steak & Wine Budapest

Prime is an upscale steakhouse in downtown Budapest, on par with the top steakhouses around the world, not only in quality, but, unfortunately, also in price. The restaurant serves premium imported meats from the U.S., Australia, and Argentina, including prime-grade Black Angus and Wagyu. While steak in Hungary was never a major part of the diet, you can also try Grey cattle, a native breed.

Rankings are based on a combination of food/drink, atmosphere, service, and price. To remain unbiased, I visit all places incognito and pay for my own meals and drinks. I also never accept money in exchange for coverage. But this means I must rely on readers to support my work. If you've enjoyed this article, please consider making a donation.