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.

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.

Swedish celebrity chef Daniel Berlin fine-tuned the menu for Babel's post-pandemic reopening, while the day-to-day kitchen duties are carried out by a quintet of talented young local chefs. The 8 and the 14-course tasting menus draw inspiration from Austro-Hungarian classics and there's no shortage of exquisite ingredients, such as foie gras, black caviar, and truffles. For me, the standout was the fish soup, made with tender sturgeon (in days of yore, they used to swim up the Danube all the way here from the Black Sea) and the updated Esterházy cake. Service is impeccable, living up to the exacting standards Babel is known for.

The tasting menu runs €180 per person or €250 with wine pairing, which comprises Hungarian-only white wines, many from the famous Tokaj region. 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).

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.

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, sleek open kitchen, bare wooden tables, soft electronic music. Head chef Ádám Mede's below-ground kitchen sends out beautiful plates that are inspired by Japanese and Hungarian cuisine. Smoked trout on a bed of sushi rice; sturgeon filets in a mirin and yuzu-slicked sauce; ramen with homemade noodles and strips of Mangalica; catfish, in a paprikash sauce reduced to earthy richness.

The six-course tasting menu runs €125, or €195 with wine pairing. Apart from a memorable Champagne, the wines feature mainly Hungarian producers from Somló, Balaton, and of course the famous Tokaj region. 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, one that's been on the menu since the opening in 2010. 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 highly 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.

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 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.

Bright flavors are the throughline of Chef Szilárd Tóth's 15-course dinner tasting menu, which costs €120 per person (€190 with wine pairing). Some of the ingredients are remarkable, like the deeply flavorful and marbled 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 itself, 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 after my meal at Salt I did toss a couple of slices of bread into my toaster at home.

The wine list features both top Hungarian producers like Szepsy, 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 and one of the best I've experienced in Budapest.

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 wooden tables.

For dinner, there’s a Hungarian and a Portuguese tasting menu, as well as a fusion option with selections from each. It's called “May 17th,” their daughter’s birthdate, and I recommend you opt for this one. The highlight was the creamy foie gras, a traditional produce of Hungary, the grilled octopus with beluga lentils, and the tender mangalica, Hungary’s heritage pork served with a paprika sauce and a side of Portuguese bread salad. The tasting menu costs €160 per person with wine pairing. As with the food, the wines are sourced from Hungarian and Portuguese producers.

Tiago Sabarigo is a highly 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. The exquisite six-course tasting menu of head-chef Levente Koppány 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 bite of beef tongue with a flavor-rich side of sliced pear, creamy parnsip, and hazelnuts with a savory Hungarian kadarka (if you opt in for the wine pairing), and the tender venison loin with earthy beets.

Nonetheless, one feels that more than a dozen years after its opening, Costes could use a revamp, both the austere interior and the unfocused culinary direction. Note that Costes Ráday has a sister location in downtown (Costes Downtown), also fine dining, but with a more casual air.

Könyvbár is a snug, upscale-ish restaurant within Budapest's Jewish Quarter. The food doesn't easily fit into any mold: there are both Hungarian (goulash soup) and international classics (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.

The wine list includes a curated selection of top Hungarian and regional (Austrian, Slovenian) options and also a few natural wine producers. The thematic concept of the restaurant — picking a popular book and using its plot as inspiration for the dishes — falls flat for me, but I have only myself to blame for still not having read Harry Potter. The servers nudge patrons toward the five-course tasting menu, which, for €70 or €110 with the wine pairing, is among the better deals in Budapest, but an a la carte option is also available with mains in the €20-25 range.

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.

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 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.

The seasonal tasting menu might include a pan-seared foie gras and a butternut squash veloute anchored by a tender blood sausage (the six courses cost €80 per person, or €120 with wine pairing). Of the regular dishes, reliably good are both the duck confit with a side of potato gratin, and the beef bourguignon sitting in its signature sauce spiked with wine, mushrooms, and pearl onions. If you have some stomach space left, get the chocolate eclairs to finish. The wine selections consist mainly of Hungarian options.

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.

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 never accept money in exchange for coverage. If you've enjoyed this article, please consider supporting me by making a one-time payment (PayPal, Venmo).