7 Excellent Fixed-Price Lunch Menu in Budapest

Many Budapest restaurants offer a weekday lunch prix fixe; the food is generally plain, service quick, and the prices rock-bottom (around €6 for a two-course meal). But here's the twist: a few of the higher-end establishments also serve fixed-price lunches, meaning that you can have an elaborate meal for a fraction of the regular price, usually for €15-20. Let the indulgence begin!

#1 Olimpia Restaurant

You'll need to trek out to the outer part of District 7, a working class Budapest neighborhood, to experience the elaborate meals 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.

#2 Kiosk Pest

Kiosk Pest is a buzzing restaurant and cocktail bar in the heart of Budapest, favored by trendy locals and plenty of tourists. Kiosk has at least two things going for it: a stunning view of the Danube and the Elisabeth Bridge from its outdoor patio, and a dramatically high-ceilinged, industrial-chic interior. (The building houses a Roman Catholic high school upstairs, in fact, there's a chapel right above Kiosk.)

#3 Fricska Gastropub

Following stints at well-known Budapest restaurants, two young chefs, Andor Giczi and Szabolcs Nagy, struck out on their own, opening Fricska in 2014. Fricska has since earned a reputation for tasty dishes, and it also picked up a Bib Gourmand award in 2017. The restaurant is located on the far end of Budapest's party district, inside a buzzing below-ground space.

#4 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.

#5 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.

#6 HILDA

HILDA is a chic downtown restaurant on the increasingly fashionable Nádor Street, an area that has come to life as a growing number of tourists and international students from the nearby Central European University pass through. HILDA boasts a perfect curb appeal and Instagrammable interior: An oversized stained glass mosaic covers one of the walls in its entirety, and the bar is studded with dark blue, glazed Zsolnay ceramic tiles, the same brand that decorates the lobby of the Four Seasons around the corner from here.

#7 Stand25 Bistro

When in 2017 Szabina Szulló and Tamás Széll (a European Bocuse d'Or winner and celebrity-chef in Hungary) announced that they were leaving the Michelin-starred Onyx restaurant to venture out on their own, one didn’t need a business degree to predict success. The idea of Stand25 Bistro was to prove that traditional Hungarian fare can be more than a gut-busting, high-carb, greasy affair. The restaurant's success was immediate: a well-to-do local crowd fills Stand25's tables each day and in 2018 they picked up a Bib Gourmand from Michelin.

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.