The 24 Trendiest Restaurants In Budapest

Here's what to expect from Budapest's hottest restaurants: dependable dishes without culinary acrobatics, stylish interiors, overpriced plates by local standards, and a crowd comprising tourists and chic locals. For more upscale options, check out Budapest's fine dining and Michelin-starred restarurants too.

Head to Mazel Tov if you like the ruin bar concept in theory but prefer things more upscale. This Middle Eastern restaurant inside Budapest's buzzing Jewish Quarter does have a disintegrating facade like other ruin bars, but the inside is a different story: Cheap drinks have been upgraded to cocktails, ham & cheese sandwiches to mezze plates, self-service to hostesses, and weathered furnishings to modern fittings with lush greenery.

The dishes arrive without delay to ensure that tables turn over quickly in this popular restaurant. The shawarma plate and the merguez, a North African sausage made from beef here and paired with beets, tahini, and matbucha, are reliable. You can safely skip the undersized and underseasoned beef kebab. Cocktails and plenty of Hungarian wines are available. Reservations are a must as the place gets mobbed by people every day of the week.

Fogasház, a more traditional ruin bar – these days more like a club – is next door if you'd like to compare and contrast.

Gettó Gulyás is a cozy Hungarian restaurant inside Budapest's party district, also known as the old Jewish Quarter. The short menu features the heart of Magyar cuisine with staples like goulash, chicken and veal paprikash (€11-15), and various seasonal vegetable stews called főzelék. "Gettó" refers to the Jewish ghetto, what this neighborhood became during the winter of 1944, the darkest time in Budapest's history.

Don't sleep on the desserts, of which the ground walnut-filled crepes (Gundel palacsinta) and the cottage cheese dumplings (túrógombóc) are both excellent. Hungarian wines are available for pairing.

My only issue with Gettó Gulyás is also a compliment: these reliable Hungarian dishes have become so popular among visitors that the absence of Hungarian patrons can detract from the experience. Advance reservation is an absolute must (forget about scoring a same-day booking). Before your meal, you could grab a drink at Szimpla Kert, the famous ruin bar just steps from away in Kazinczy Street.

Kiosk is a hip restaurant in the heart of Budapest, favored by trendy locals and tourists in the know. The restaurant 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 historical building houses a Roman Catholic high school upstairs, in fact, there's a chapel right above Kiosk.)

Kiosk aims to please all tastes with a diverse menu that includes everything from salads to burgers, from pastas to steaks to Hungarian classics. Despite the wide reach, the dishes are tasty and reliable, with mains in the €12-16 range. The goulash soup is especially good, as is the updated mákosguba, a traditional bread pudding soaked in vanilla custard and laced with poppy seeds. In the warmer months, follow the throngs to the outdoor terrace, where the action shifts to. Advance booking is a must.

In the early aughts, Liszt Ferenc Square in Budapest's District 6 was a popular hangout for chic locals, but as the wheel of trends has turned, people moved on to other pockets of town. Today, you'll find restaurants emblazoned with "tourist menu" signs and it’s also here that Hungary's only Hooters operated until recently. You don't need me to tell you proceed with caution.

So it's against the odds that you'll find here one of Budapest's best destinations for Hungarian food: Menza. This lively modern restaurant churns out traditional local dishes with a level of consistency that would make any Hungarian grandmother blush (there are also pastas and burgers but keep your eye on the prize). I usually order the beef broth soup (húsleves), the wonderfully soft pork schnitzel, or the hearty veal paprikash paired with egg dumplings. Mains are €12-18. Desserts are also excellent, especially the poppy seeds-blanketed mákos guba, and the Kaiserschmarrn, a Habsburg-era shredded pancake topped with apricot jam.

Menza is usually mobbed by tourists but locals also come here, especially for the two-course lunch prix fixe. The service staff is among the best you'll find in Budapest informed, kind, and efficient. Reservations are an absolute must.

When I'd like to impress my friends that Budapest has restaurants as hip as those in New York's East Village, I take them out to Dobrumba. With a chic crowd, effortlessly cool design, and a Middle Eastern menu, Dobrumba is a wildly popular place inside Budapest's buzzing Jewish Quarter. It's especially enjoyable in the warmer months when the oversized windows swing open and the ear-catching electronic music wafts into the street.

Unfortunately the food can fall short I've had unremarkable meals here, but most hot and cold mezzes and the tender chicken tagine are unlikely to disappoint. The basbousa is also good, a rich and sugary semolina cake blanketed in a tangy yogurt.

Also here: a deep drinks menu with cocktails and local wines. Reservations are an absolute must. The owners run another popular restaurant on the Buda side of the Danube, Pingrumba, in a similar vein.

Chic breakfast venue in the morning, snug dinner destination and wine bar in the evening, Solid hides on the top floor of a small boutique hotel (Rum) in downtown. The views are striking – the many church towers and the Gellért Hill seem within arm's reach – and all tables provide panoramic vistas. For breakfast, the eggs Benedict with a side of smoked trout is the one to go for.

In the evening, the concept is shared plates, focused on precisely made modern Hungarian classics. Vegetarian stuffed cabbage, duck liver pâté with sourdough, local cheese selections. And there’s of course Mangalica, the local breed of pig known for its deeply marbled meat. The wine list includes some from the famed Tokaj wine region and also natural and biodynamic producers. €30-35 will buy you a full meal with a drink. The space is small, advance booking recommended.

Over the years, Chef Szabolcs Nagy has won many fans for his brand of cooking, which isn't confined to goulash and all things paprika yet Hungarian in spirit. Szabolcs, who currently oversees the kitchen of N28, a casually elegant restaurant off Andrássy Avenue, finds inspiration in the food of Transdanubia in western Hungary. There, dishes reflect the influence of sizable German communities that settled down in the 18th century.

The daily changing menu might feature delicious stewed gizzards, foie gras, or lamb fries. Not into offals? How about roast sausages stuffed with yeast bread (instead of rice, as in eaastern Hungary)? Or perhaps marbled mangalica from a small farm in the Zala region? Pure-tasting catfish? Lots of seasonal vegetables and winter preserves play more than supporting roles. Be sure not to miss the poppy-seeds based desserts.

The owners deal also in wines, meaning that pairing options abound, sourced from the major wine regions in Hungary (for example Tokaj, Eger, Balaton). There's a two and three-course lunch prix fixe and a focused dinner menu with €15-20 mains.

Located a bit outside downtown, near the City Park, Szaletly is a destination restaurant, one worth trekking out to. At least if you're curious to try traditional Hungarian dishes transformed with a deft hand by head-chef Dániel Bernát. The whole menu is a celebration of dishes people in Hungary are used to eating, but these beautiful plates are hardly what appear on most dining tables at home.

There's of course goulash, but also the local fish soup (halászlé), foie gras, fogas (pike-perch), Mangalica pork, schnitzel, and túrós palacsinta (túró-filled crepes). And Stefánia vagdalt: a meatloaf named after Stéphanie, the Habsburg Crown Princess of Austria (1864-1945), after whom Szaleltly's elegant street was named. The service is excellent not pushy but alert and knowledgeable, and there's a full wine list of local options. Mains are €15-20. Reservations are recommended.

Curious about the top restaurants on the less traveled side of the Danube? Visit Bobo in Rózsadomb, an exclusive residential area but reachable within ten minutes from Pest. The restaurant's stated mission is to draw Budapest's Bobos (a term made popular David Brook's book, "Bobos in Paradise"), people who harbor both bourgeois and bohemian sentiments.

The beautifully refurbished 1885 estate, once the playground of the Hungarian aristocracy, puts Bobo a notch above Budapest's chic bistros, but it’s also more casual than hushed fine dining venue. The short menu draws inspiration from dishes once popular in Budapest and Vienna during Austria-Hungary (1867-1918), featuring goulash soup, foie gras, paprikash, schnitzel, freshwater pike-perch (fogas), all plated delicately and served on white linen. Crown your meal with the yeast buns drenched in vanilla custard (aranygaluska) or the sweet cottage cheese dumplings (túrógombóc), both of which pair nicely with a glass of Tokaji wine. Mains range €17-23.

Fleischer is a buzzy restaurant along the tree-lined section of Nagymező utca in Budapest's District 6. Kudos to the owners for having retained the name of the bespoke shirtmaker’s workshop that had long occupied the premises (the same team runs the comparably lively Két Szerecsen across the street). The inside, decked out in subway tiles and crammed with tables, projects fashionable bistro vibes.

The menu consists of foreign and local classics: bouillabaisse, eggplant salad, catfish paprikash, marinated pork belly, and nudli, which are gnocchi-like dumplings served with fruit preserves and sweet poppy seeds. The dishes are tasty, I just wish the portions were a little heartier. The wine list features some of my favorite producers, such as Figula (for olaszrizling), Heimann (for kékfrankos and kadarka), and Oremus (for Tokaji). Bookings accepted only by telephone (+36 30 080 9333).

After your meal, you could drop in to Zsivágó, one of the coziest bars in Budapest.

HILDA is a chic downtown restaurant fitted with stained glass mosaics and Art Nouveau Zsolnay ceramic tiles, the same brand that decorates the Four Seasons around the corner from here. The seasonal menu consists of tasty and beautifully plated Hungarian classics updated by the talented hand of Chef Renátó Kovács and his team. You'll usually find dishes with mangalica, the heritage Hungarian pig known for its marbled meat, smoked trout, and stews made from ripe vegetables.

With €20-30 mains, HILDA is pricey, but here your conscience can be clear that ingredients come from top local producers who farm sustainably. With snug, dim corners, it's also an ideal venue for a special date night fortified by local wines, including sweets and dries from Hungary's most famous region, Tokaj. Before you leave, take a glimpse at the limestone tiger perched atop the main entrance – those vigilant eyes have been guarding the building since 1840.

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.

Enso is a hip Asian-inflected fusion restaurant a bit outside of downtown, in the working class part of Budapest’s District 8. Part of Enso's coolness stems from its premises: you enter the rundown pre-war building on Baross utca, then schlep through the nondescript courtyard to arrive at the dim, exposed brick dining room. There, chic servers scurry under the high ceilings decorated with hanging paper lanterns.

The food is a mishmash of global favorites: from duck ramen to chicken taco, from oysters to marinated trout, from Brazilian cheese bread to Wagyu beef. Most plates are meant for sharing. Although on the small side, they're very tasty, especially those kissed by the charcoal fire, such as the grilled broccoli. Vietnamese coffee, cocktails, Japanese beers, sakes, whiskeys, and Hungarian wines are all available.

Prices are on the higher end – a few small plates with a drink can quickly add up to €40-50 per person. A word to the wise: Plan on an early dinner here, as Enso closes at 10 p.m. Open Tuesday to Friday.

Curious where the top one percent of Buda residents hang out? Wonder no more. Déryné's owner was ahead of the curve in 2007 when he opened this chic restaurant featuring a Balthazar-like interior as if straight out of the Keith McNally playbook. Back then, few places in Budapest offered this kind of casually hip bistro vibes. Déryné has managed to remain popular through these years, even as comparable restaurants have sprouted up on the other side of the Danube, often with lower price points.

The lunch and dinner menus skew French, featuring pricey bistro staples, including prime cuts of dry-aged Angus and Wagyu. Eggs benedict, shakshuka, and avocado toast are just a few of the exhaustive breakfast options along with an excellent bread and breakfast pastry lineup. A note of caution: Déryné's service staff can be too eager to upsell the most expensive dishes to customers.

Kőleves is a popular restaurant in the heart of Budapest’s old Jewish Quarter, inside an 1851 building once home to a kosher meat processing facility and butcher shop. Leftover objects are used as design pieces, including a leather-bound ledger book and a weathered Talmud. Kőleves pays homage to the building’s with a few Jewish-Hungarian dishes, such as a matzo ball soup and cholent, the typical Sabbath bean stew.

As other busy and tourist-heavy restaurants, Kőleves aims to please all tastes with a hybrid menu. Hungarian bean goulash, roast duck, ribeye steak, and a New York cheesecake appear side-by-side on the menu. Almost all dishes are reliably good, if not memorable. More locals appear for the lunchtime two-course prix fixe. In the summer, the backyard of Kőleves, Kőleves Kert, transforms into an all-welcoming outdoor bar.

Gerlóczy is a snug café and restaurant tucked away on an unusually quiet pocket of Budapest's downtown. The charming square outside the restaurant, surrounded by elegant pre-war buildings, is a well-kept secret of this otherwise tourist-heavy neighborhood. Gerlóczy's interior evokes French bistro vibes, featuring small round tables, leather banquettes, and a high ceiling. In the warm months, the outdoor terrace is especially enjoyable.

The breakfast menu includes reliable pan-European staples like a pair of frankfurters with a side of mustard and various omelets. Be sure to also order a bread basket with warm and crusty slices. The dinner menu is a hodgepodge of dishes spanning chicken paprikash, seafood pasta, and pricey steaks. If you like the atmosphere, note that Gerlóczy operates a boutique hotel on the upstairs levels.

M is a tiny dinner-only restaurant on the far and quieter side of Budapest's Jewish Quarter, but within walking distance of the neighborhood's famed ruin bars. The cozy space is crammed with tables so expect to sit elbow-to-elbow with fellow diners. While waiting for your food, unleash your creative side using the pencil and doodling paper provided on each table.

M serves a mishmash of French, Italian, and Hungarian fare, and also many expertly prepared offal dishes you're unlikely to find elsewhere in Budapest. I've had delicious paprika-strewn veal bone marrow here and pork brains poached in red wine. If you don't find these appealing, try the duck breast with cabbage and quince, or the goulash. The kitchen doesn't try to reinterpret these classics, instead sticking to decades-old reliable recipes. The upstairs tables can get a little stuffy in the summer, so try to sit on the ground floor or the tiny outdoor terrace. Reservations are an absolute must.

M's moniker pays homage to the title of a collection of poems written by György Petri, a famous Hungarian poet and friend of the restaurant's owner, Miklós Sulyok, who opened the place in 2000, soon after Petri's death.

Located inside the tourist-heavy Gozsdu Udvar, Spíler is one of the most popular restaurants within Budapest's buzzing Jewish Quarter. The massive space features three Instagrammable dining rooms that operate at capacity most evenings (also at full noise level). The menu comprises reliably made international bistro and diner fare – nachos, wings, salads, burgers — alongside traditional Hungarian classics (goulash soup, paprika sausages). Local wines and craft beers are available to pair. Mains are €15-20.

Oriental Soup House is a hopping Vietnamese restaurant in Újlipótváros, a residential neighborhood a bit outside the city center. An army of Asian cooks stands behind the open kitchen, preparing one of the eleven types of soups, of which the traditional beef pho (pho bo) is the best I've had in Budapest with a gleaming, flavorful, steaming broth in which flot thinly sliced cuts of tenderloin.

The bun cha, grilled pork patties with springy rice noodles and a profusion of fresh herbs and vegetables, is wonderfully refreshing. Round out your meal with a Vietnamese chè dessert, a luscious tapioca pudding with mango and pomegranate seeds. Try booking in advance otherwise you may have to sit at one of the long communal tables in the middle of the space on backless wooden stools.

After your meal, roam the neighborhood, known for its modernist buildings from the 1930s and 1940s, especially those along Pozsonyi út, the main artery of the area. Note that Oriental Soup House has another location in downtown, but this one, in Balzac utca, draws more locals.

Padron is a small tapas bar within Budapest's Palace Quarter, situated on a charming side street. The restaurant exhibits the usual signs of a busy family-run enterprise, often with the mother taking orders, the son serving food, and the father behind the bar. Apart from a selection of dry-cured Spanish hams, there are two dozen or so tapas, which is what you're here for.

The best ones include the namesake Padron peppers, the garlic and chili shrimp (gambas pil-pil), the blood sausage (morcilla), the piquillo peppers stuffed with cheese-infused béchamel, and the lamb shoulder topped with goat cheese (espaldilla de cordero). A selection of Spanish wines and beers are available. €40 or so will buy you a full meal with a drink.

Once here, it's worth roaming the neighborhood, especially Krúdy, Reviczky, and Ötpacsirta Streets, lined with beautiful pre-war palazzos. Padron's street was known as the "little Vatican," because the Roman Catholic Church owned much of the real estate before the Communist takeover and once again today. That's why it's so quiet at night.

101 Bistro is a recent addition to Budapest’s growing group of hip pan-Asian restaurants. It’s the type of place where ear-catching Japanese hip-hop drifts from the speakers and a sleek wood-paneled interior with small tables and low backless stools evoke the dining rooms of Tokyo.

Chef Márton Keve, who cut his teeth abroad, is in charge of the kitchen, which draws inspiration from the food of Taiwan. Think braised pork rice (lu rou fan), packing tender cubes of pork belly sitting on a bed of firm rice grains brightened with sugary soy sauce and thin slices of ginger. The concept is small plates, many of them vegan, such as the excellent fried sweet-sour eggplants. 101 Bistro isn't cheap: a dinner with drinks will set you back €40-45 per person or so. After your meal, you could head next door to Nemdebár, one of the coolest bars on the Buda side.

Sáo is a chic pan-Asian restaurant located alarmingly close to the tourist-heavy center of Budapest’s party district (Gozsdu Udvar). The menu is a collection of uncomplicated but reliably prepared Vietnamese (pho, bun bo nam bo), Chinese (dumplings, fried rice, sticky rice cakes), Thai (green papaya salad, curries), and Japanese (moji) classics. But there’s more to Sáo than food: a striking decor complete with tropical greenery and bamboo bird cages hanging from the ceiling – a testament to the aesthetic sensibilities of the owners, who double as fashion designers. If you enjoy a hip spot with loud music and solid dishes, Sáo could be the place for you. €10-15 mains.

Bestia is a fashionable restaurant located right by Saint Stephen's Basilica, one of Budapest's most visited attractions. With prime views onto the Renaissance Revival church and crowd-pleasing hits blasting through the speakers, Bestia has quickly become a tourist-favorite. The lively restaurant specializes in pricey Josper-grilled steaks and barbecued pork in addition to the usual suspects of city-center restaurants (burgers, goulash, mac & cheese). A full-service bar serves craft beers, bespoke cocktails, and Hungarian wines.

Babka is a Middle-Eastern restaurant in Budapest named after the Ashkenazi Jewish bready cake that originated in Eastern Europe. Perhaps the restaurant's moniker is a hat-tip to the neighborhood, which is home to much of Budapest’s middle-class Jewish residents. The snug, dim interior complete with vintage furnishings and hardwood floors is very inviting.

The Israeli and Middle Eastern dishes are pricey and a bit hit-or-miss. On a recent visit, the lamb kofta (€18) arrived with a distractingly sour side of parsley salad, and the namesake Babka dessert was a far cry from the moister, richer, and softer versions that catapulted this baked good into cult status around the world. All this at prices that are high by Budapest standards: €15-20 mains.