The 20 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 cut his teeth in the kitchens of the 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, 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 by the window.

#3 Babel Budapest

Babel is a Michelin-starred restaurant in the heart of Budapest's downtown offering a classic fine dining experience: the hushed, dim 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 contentious 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 inside the historic Gerbeaud building, 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

Unlike its competitors, Borkonyha, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Budapest's downtown, doesn't put special emphasis on the traditions of Hungarian food — the dishes here wouldn't seem out of place in fine dining restaurants around the world. Instead, 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.

#7 Olimpia Restaurant

You'll need to trek out to the outer part of District 7, a working class Budapest neighborhood, to experience the elaborate food prepared by chefs Ádám Csaba and Donát Mogyorósi at Olimpia Restaurant. Instead of a fixed menu, Olimpia uses a blackboard to present the daily-changing dishes, which vary based on seasonal ingredients. The result? Absolutely superb, especially for the prices.

#8 Könyvbar & Restaurant

Könyvbár is an upscale 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 foods (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 Csalogány 26 Restaurant

In the early aughts, chef Balázs Pethő was one of the people who pioneered Hungary's food revolution at a time when comically backward communist-era practices still reigned supreme in many Budapest kitchens. A whole crop of younger cooks, many of them established head chefs now, cut their teeth under Pethő's tutelage. The family-owned Csalogány 26 is Pethő's long-standing fine dining restaurant, located on the ground floor of a Buda residential building near the Danube.

#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 — 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.

#11 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.

#12 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.

#13 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.

#14 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.

#15 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.

#16 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.

#17 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.

#18 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.

#19 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, roast quail, mangalica pork, and venison saddle. The dishes are visually impressive and flavorful. The 7-course tasting menu will set you back by €95 per person (€145 with wine pairing). A 4-course option is also available for €65 / €110. Head chef András Wolf is in charge of both the New York Cafe and Salon, but their kitchens are operated separately.

#20 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. The author visits all restaurants incognito and pays for his own meals and drinks.