The 21 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 Costes Restaurant (Ráday Street)

In 2010, Costes was the first restaurant in Hungary to earn a Michelin star. Today, despite the fact that Budapest boasts many Michelin-starred places, Costes still has a special cachet. The restaurant is once again helmed by Portuguese chef Miguel Rocha Vieira, under whom Costes first won its Michelin accolade and who for several years cut his teeth in the kitchens of legendary Spanish chef Ferran Adrià.

#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, is helmed by Portuguese chef Tiago Sabarigo.

#3 Babel Budapest

Babel is a Michelin-starred restaurant in the heart of Budapest's downtown offering a classic fine dining experience: the hushed, dimly lit dining room has only a dozen tables, all set with white linen. Babel serves dishes inspired by Transylvania, the chillingly beautiful, mountainous region cradled by the Carpathians and known for its long and complex history (today, it's part of Romania with a sizeable Hungarian community). The proof that this is more than empty marketing slogan is the young head-chef himself, István Veres, a Hungarian native of Transylvania.

#4 Onyx

In Budapest, Onyx comes closest to offering an old-school, classic European fine dining experience. It's the type of place where crystal chandeliers hang in the opulent dining room and white-glove-wearing waiters scurry about with beautifully sculpted plates in hand. The dishes feature playful textures, rare ingredients, and striking visuals. Onyx, which is located in the heart of Budapest's downtown, is the only two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Hungary currently.

#5 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.

#6 Borkonyha (Winekitchen) Restaurant

Borkonyha (Winekitchen) is a wildly popular upscale restaurant in Budapest's downtown, serving European fine dining staples and more than two hundred types of Hungarian wines. Head chef Csaba Puskás puts out colorful, almost artistically visual plates made from locally-sourced ingredients.

#7 St. Andrea Wine & Gourmet Bar

St. Andrea Wine & Gourmet Bar is an upscale restaurant near Budapest's city center, occupying the ground floor of a luxury office building. Unlike other elite chefs in Budapest who hesitate to put pricey peasant fare in front of discerning diners, St. Andrea's executive chef, Ádám Barna, doesn't shy away from showcasing traditional Hungarian dishes through a fine dining prism.

#8 Könyvbar & Restaurant

Könyvbár is an upscale restaurant in Budapest's Jewish Quarter. Head chef Zoltán Decreceni, who joined in 2019, 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's a goulash soup and a (vegetarian) stuffed cabbage, both Hungarian classics, but the slim menu, which changes seasonally, also features a risotto with scallops, foie gras, and an avocado salad.

#9 Csalogány 26 Restaurant

In the early aughts, Balázs Pethő, the executive chef of family-run Csalogány 26 Restaurant, was a pioneer in improving Hungarian restaurant food. A whole crop of younger cooks, many of them established head chefs now, learned under Pethő's tutelage at a time when comically backward, communist-era practices reigned supreme in Budapest kitchens.

#10 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 — think onion soup and baked camambert — and fine dining fare. The tasting menu skews to the latter, the a la carte offerings the former.

#11 MÁK Bistro

MÁK Bistro, helmed by 28-year-old head chef János Mizsei, is one of Budapest's leading fine dining restaurants. The fact that Mizsei trained in Denmark and Sweden shines through in the dishes: In line with the New Nordic Cuisine, the plates pack vibrant flavors despite the seemingly everyday ingredients. Mizsei is known to go out of his way to scout for unlikely suppliers; most recently he found a local farmer who collects birch sap in a Hungarian village.

#12 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.

#13 Arany Kaviár Restaurant (Golden Caviar)

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

#14 Alabárdos Restaurant

Opened in 1964, Alabárdos is an iconic fine dining restaurant perched on Budapest's Castle Hill, just a stone’s throw away from the imposing Matthias Church. The restaurant is located within a medieval residential home complete with Gothic tracery and ogee curves. The dining room, which has less than a dozen tables, is startlingly impressive: they serve dishes on Herendi porcelain plates set with real silverware.

#15 Nobu Restaurant

Thanks to a late Hungarian businessman, Andy Vajna, who had Hollywood connections, Budapest is home to a Nobu, the world’s fanciest chain restaurant (Robert De Niro is an owner). Even more impressively, it's the one and only Nobu in Central Europe with the closest being in Milan. This upscale Japanese-Peruvian restaurant is located inside the five-star Kempinski hotel in 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 lingua franca. A couple of egg pasta and risotto are also available, made with deliciously rich sauces.

#17 Textúra

Textúra is the 2018 venture of the team behind Borkonyha, the decade-old, Michelin-starred restaurant located on the other side of this downtown side street. At Textúra, too, you can experience executive chef Ákos Sárközi's unique brand of technically precise cooking. Rather than packing the menu with updated Hungarian classics as many Budapest fine dining restaurants do, Textúra relegates the local staples to a minor, supporting role (the chicken paprikash, for example, shows up as an unremarkable appetizer).

#18 Salon Restaurant

Salon is a fine dining restaurant in Budapest inside the historic and jaw-droppingly ornate New York Café, one of the city's top tourist attractions. Salon's seasonal dishes feature the usual suspects of Hungarian fine dining—foie gras, quail, mangalica pork, and venison saddle. Head chef András Wolf is in charge of both the New York Cafe and Salon, but their kitchens are operated separately.

#19 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: the interior of La Perle Noire is anything but cozy or inviting. Dark furnishings lend a constrained formality and nightclub atmosphere to this oversized space.

#20 KNRDY American Steakhouse

KNRDY is an upscale steakhouse in the heart of Budapest’s downtown. The restaurant buys prime-graded and Omaha Angus from the U.S., Wagyu from Australia and Japan, and serves only the best cuts: ribeye/tomahawk, New York strip, filet mignon, and T-bone/porterhouse. If you enjoy the funky flavors of aged meat, KNRDY also offers 50-day dry-aged meats. You can’t really go wrong with anything here—all steaks arrive with a beautifully-browned crust. I enjoyed the intensely flavorful, juicy, and tender Prime Angus ribeye (€60 for 450 grams; 16 oz).

#21 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. You can also try a Hungarian beef, from grey cattle, but, I'm sorry to say, it pales in comparison with the others.

Rankings are based on a combination of food/drink, atmosphere, service, and price. The author visits all restaurants incognito and pays for his own meals and drinks.