The 19 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.

Babel is a Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant in the heart of Budapest. The hushed, casually elegant dining room has only a dozen tables, set with white linen and overlooking the neighboring Gothic cathedral bathed in soft light (the Danube is just a stone's throw away).

Swedish celebrity chef Daniel Berlin has fine-tuned the menu while the day-to-day kitchen duties are carried out by a quintet of local chefs under Kornél Kaszás. The 8 and the 12-course tasting menus draw inspiration from Austro-Hungarian cuisine but the kitchen chases purity of flavors rather than a complete loyalty to traditional dishes or ingredients. Exquisite foods abound, from black caviar to truffles. What unites the plates is their near-uniform excellence (that flavor-bomb of guinea fowl broth, oh my). The service staff is notably competent – no matter how mundane or technical your question, they'll have answers for you.

The 12-course menu runs €180 per person or €270 with pairing, either with Hungarian wines or a smart selection featuring craft vermouth, local beer, Normandy cider, and an idiosyncratic Tokaj szamorodni. Babel is currently the priciest of Budapest's Michelin-starred restaurants, but also one that offers an all-around, two-star experience (despite having only one Michelin star currently).

You wouldn't guess that a truly excellent fine dining restaurant hides in a dim backstreet of Budapest's District 7, just blocks from the heart of the party district. The vibes here are casually elegant: cushy modern furnishings, bare wooden tables, soft electronic music. The sleek below-ground kitchen sends out beautiful plates inspired by the traditions of Hungarian food, with twists and turns of course.

Aged Mangalica ham, stuffed cabbage, pure-tasting catfish with farmer's cottage cheese (túró), maroon paprika sauces reduced to earthy richness, homemade plum preserves. The list goes on. Most memorable is the brown-hued consommé, packing pockets of flavorful dumplings and evoking the celebratory Sunday family meals across households in Hungary.

The six-course tasting menu runs €125, or €195 with wine pairing. Apart from a delicious grower Champagne, the wines feature Hungarian producers from Somló, Balaton, Villány, and of course the famous Tokaj region (both dry and sweet). Laurel's service team is among the best in Budapest – alert, knowledgeable, but unobtrusive.

Borkonyha is a Michelin-starred restaurant in Budapest's downtown. Instead of a special emphasis on Hungarian food, the dishes here wouldn't seem out of place in fine dining restaurants around the world. Borkonyha's secret lies in its technical expertise: they serve up colorful, visually impressive plates that verge on the artistic. What does lend a local angle are the more than 200 types of Hungarian wines skillfully selected by Wine Director Krisztián Juhász.

The foie gras with aszú from the famous Tokaj wine region is Borkonyha's signature dish, on the menu since the 2010 opening. The luscious duck liver boasts a creamy texture and a paper-thin, crackly crust. The mains are a collection of prized meats beautifully plated with seasonal vegetables. Think rack of lamb, Mangalica pork, and wagyu beef.

With €25-35 mains, Borkonyha is among the most expensive restaurants in Budapest, but one with a relatively laid-back, bistro-like atmosphere. Advance reservation is a must.

Stand Restaurant is the fine dining project of local celebrity chef-duo, Szabina Szulló and Tamás Széll, and follows the success of Stand25, their acclaimed restaurant on the Buda side of the city. Here too, their success was almost immediate: accolades quickly poured in, and the restaurant won two Michelin stars in 2022, within a few years of opening.

It's the updated Hungarian classics that stand out from the eight-course tasting menu. It may be a fish soup, a traditional peasant fare in Danubian towns, served in a paprika-laced broth and drizzled with tortellini-like envelopes stuffed with smoked carp. The prettiest dish is the sterlet, a small species of sturgeon. The delicately rolled-up fish is topped with roe and drenched in a luscious clam sauce. You can observe the meticulous prep work that goes into these elaborate plates via the see-through kitchen where an army of cooks scuttle about.

The eight-course dinner tasting menu will set you back by €200 per person (€300 if you opt for wine pairing). The wine program, overseen by head-sommelier János Gervai, a winemaker himself, features bottles from the major Hungarian wine regions.

Before settling into a fine dining meal at Rumour, you’ll need to find the restaurant, a surprisingly challenging task (look for the pastry shop through which the entrance leads). The venue: a windowless high-ceilinged room draped in maroon curtains. The concept: chef’s table, meaning that two dozen or so diners per evening are seated on high chairs in a half moon, cradling the open kitchen where an army of cooks labors with tweezers in hand.

Instead of the fashionable Noma-style locavorism, Rumour's dishes are rooted in the classical French and the science-obsessed modernist gastronomy of the early aughts (some hat tips to Hungary do exist, as with the walnut and buttercream spiked Esterházy torte). Think pockets of kohlrabi ravioli stuffed with creamy scallops in a paradise of textures, colors, and shapes. Charred cauliflower sitting in a rich hollandaise sauce, dotted with fermented and soy-sauce-marinated shimeji mushrooms and drizzled with aged beef, grated table-side. Perfectly executed, technically brilliant plates, one after the other.

Unlike with other fine dining restaurants in Budapest, guests here are mainly Hungarians because the head chef, Jenő Rácz, is a local celebrity with a TV show. There’s a six-course “pre-theater” tasting menu starting at 5:30 pm (€100 per person, or €160 with wine pairing), and a nine-course meal at 8:00 pm, for €150 per person (€220 with wine). Rumour has one Michelin star currently, but the dining experience is emphatically two-star.

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.

Head chef Márk Molnár sends out elaborate and precise creations which are as pleasing for the mouth as for the eyes. The seasonal tasting menu features the usual suspects of European fine dining, including caviar-topped oysters and flavor-rich, aged steaks sprinkled with black truffles. The highlight of a recent meal was the lightly grilled pike perch (fogas), sourced locally and served in a memorably rich pho broth sprinkled with pork cracklings.

For the full experience, go for the six-course tasting menu, which costs €95 per person, or €135 with wine pairing — the wine list has under-the-radar local options with a whole section dedicated to Tokaj, Hungary’s most famous wine region.

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 home to the five-star Matild Palace. Here, head-chef István Szántó sends out beautifully plated dishes that are reliably rich in flavor.

Spago's eclectic menu features everything from foie gras to homemade pastas, fancy steaks, and Hungarian classics (goulash soup, mangalica pork, somlói galuska). The core menu is complemented by Mr. Puck's famous creations, including the smoked-salmon pizza. Máté Horváth, one of Hungary's leading sommeliers, oversees the wine program, which comprises both Hungarian and international options. In the warmer months, be sure to ask for a table on the outdoor terrace. With mains ranging €25-35, Spago is a special-occasion restaurant.

If you think the restaurant fashion of all things foraged, pickled, and fermented has run its course, think again. Currently, one of the most popular restaurants among Hungarian diners is Salt, a downtown establishment that so skillfully plays from the Noma playbook that it even earned a star from Michelin in 2021.

Bright flavors are the throughline of Chef Szilárd Tóth's 15-course dinner tasting menu, which costs €160 per person (€250 with wine pairing). Some of the ingredients are truly remarkable, such as the deeply flavorful aged mangalica ham and the koji-fermented barley crepe, which serves as a vessel for a tender goat meat tartar. But as I ate my way through the beautifully composed bite-sized courses adorned with rare flowers and herbs sourced by the kitchen staff, I felt wishing for more rounded flavors and buttery richness. And a bit more food. It's a tired cliche that fine dining meals leave one hungry, but I did toss a slice of bread in the toaster when I got home.

The wine list features both top Hungarian producers like Oremus, and Sauska, and also less-known family winemakers like Szóló and Tomcsányi that specialize in natural wines. The service team is friendly and informed.

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 hall features exposed brick walls, plush mid-century modern furniture, and bare wooden tables.

The five or seven-course tasting menu is called “May 17th,” their daughter’s birthdate, and features Hungarian and Portuguese dishes. The highlight is the creamy foie gras, a traditional produce of Hungary, the grilled octopus with beluga lentils, and the tender mangalica heritage pork served with a paprika sauce and a side of Portuguese bread salad. The seven-course tasting menu costs €130 per person (€210 with wine pairing). As with the food, the wines are sourced from Hungarian and Portuguese producers.

Tiago Sabarigo is a skilled chef who puts out delicious and eye-pleasing dishes, but there's room for creativity when it comes to assembling the menu. For example, by replacing some of the cliched fine dining staples with more exciting ingredients from Hungary or Portugal.

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. 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. Soft beef tongue with a playful side of sliced pear, creamy parsnip, and hazelnuts. Tender venison loin with earthy beets.

Still, on my most recent visit 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 welcome ways that Costes has not (for example in having service teams that are more casual but better informed than in the past). Note that Costes Ráday has a sister location in downtown (Costes Downtown), also fine dining, but with a more casual air.

MÁK Bistro is a fine dining restaurant in Budapest finding inspiration in New Nordic cuisine. Accordingly, head chef János Mizsei, who trained in Denmark and Sweden, serves up bright-tasting and long-fermented flavors from seemingly everyday ingredients. 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.

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. Don't go searching for goulash soup here: MÁK eschews the paprika-laced local classics. For the full experience, go for the 8-course dinner tasting menu, which runs €110 per person (€170 including wine pairing).

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 most customers consist of his fans, for whom faraway dishes hold more appeal than yet another bowl of goulash, no matter how good it tastes.

The best of what I've had was a lightly grilled octopus appetizer paired with tender blood sausage dumplings and a quince soup lightly spiked with chilis and drizzled with scallops. Not all dishes are hits, but they all impress visually — you'll do well to have your camera at hand. Mains are €25-30.

The wine program, overseen by head-sommelier Krisztián Juhász, is one of the best you'll find in Budapest, featuring scores of local winemakers across the main Hungarian wine regions. Give Krisztián a few hints about your taste preference and let him take care of the rest.

St. Andrea is an upscale restaurant near Budapest's city center, occupying the ground floor of a luxury office building. St. Andrea doesn't shy away from showcasing classic Hungarian dishes through a fine dining prism, such as an updated chicken paprikash or egg dumplings. The 6-course tasting menu runs €100 per person, or €150 with wine pairing. If you'd prefer a less elaborate a more wallet-friendly meal, try the €25 three-course lunch prix fixe.

Note that given the restaurant's location, many senior executives from the upstairs offices patronize St. Andrea, especially at lunchtime, which can result in an overly corporate atmosphere. The waitstaff is especially kind and informed.

Kollázs Brasserie & Bar is a fine dining restaurant located 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.

The kitchen wears many hats. There's classic French fare (beef bourguignon), traditional Hungarian dishes (goulash, chicken paprikash), and also burgers and steaks. But head-chef Árpád Győrffy is at his finest when it comes to the dinner tasting menu. On my most recent visit it was an exuberant eight-course feast featuring oysters, roast squab, and venison loin. The tasting menu costs €100 per person (€150 with wine pairing).

Tucked away on a steep side street within the Castle Hill lies one of Budapest's most expensive, special-occasion restaurants: Arany Kaviár. As with any self-respecting establishment that specializes in pricey caviars, the dining room is furnished with opulent maroon and golden tapestry.

Fish is normally an afterthought in Budapest restaurants because seafood is difficult to source in a landlocked country and many freshwater species are endangered and hence banned from fishing. Arany Kaviár has a fish farm in the Hungarian countryside populated with species like sturgeon that were once common in the local rivers. These comprise much of the la carte list and the seven-course tasting menu (€110 without wine pairing).

Be sure to come with a full wallet if you're also eyeing the caviars. Entry level chum salmon sells for €20 (30 grams), and prices quickly reach triple-digit territory, topping out at €300 for the DeLuxe selection (50 grams), which includes ossetra and Iranian beluga.

Thanks to the 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.

If you're familiar with Nobu restaurants elsewhere in the world, rest assured that in Budapest, too, you'll will find all of Mr. Matsuhisa’s signature dishes: miso-marinated black cod, squid “pasta," tiradito, and rock-shrimp tempura. If you can get over their steep price points, they're a real treat. Consistent with Nobu's elite status, the restaurant often serves as a meeting place for high-profile Hungarian politicians and businessmen.

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. Be sure to bring a full wallet as you can easily rack up a bill for the equivalent of €80 per person for a three-course a la carte meal without wine.

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.

The food consists of beautifully plated and delicious fine dining classics. There might be a roasted foie gras, a rack of lamb, or braised pork cheek with seasonal vegetables. But best of all, and also most economical, is the weekday three-course lunch prix fixe for €12. Note that La Perle Noire is rarely more than half-full, but no one, least of all the ever-present owners, seems to mind.

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 ribeye, porterhouse, top sirloin 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.

To help you ease into your meal, a selection of more than 200 bottles of top Hungarian wines are also available. The dark interior fittings can lend an overly formal ambiance to the space, but the tables near the oversized windows feel more intimate. You can nurse a drink at the cocktail bar if you need to wait for your table.