25 of the Trendiest Restaurants In Budapest in 2024

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, you could check out Budapest's fine dining and Michelin-starred restarurants too.

#1 Mazel Tov Budapest

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 under-seasoned 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.

#2 Gettó Gulyás

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 away in Kazinczy Street.

#3 Kiosk

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 ranging €12-16. 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.

#4 Dobrumba

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.

#5 Virtu

Virtu is the rooftop restaurant of the Norman Foster-designed MOL Tower, Budapest’s recently completed tallest building. The 360-degree views provide astonishing vistas and restaurant guests receive free access to the observation deck above. Depending on your definitions, Virtu falls between an elegantly fashionable and a casual fine dining restaurant.

Head-chef Levente Lendvai came from the hushed Michelin world as evidenced by the presentation of his plates, which are often layered with fish of all kinds. The trout crudo served with orange roe and seasonal vegetables and the generously portioned sturgeon variations are especially convincing. More highlights: the foie gras-rhubarb creation with a side of homemade braided bread, and the Palóc soup (€12), a dazzling riff on a Hungarian classic: sour, silky, charred. Mains range €17-35, meaning that a reasonable and a lavish meal are both an option. The wine list covers all of Hungary and more.

Of the two symmetrical dining rooms, try booking to the northern side, which faces the city center (the open kitchen on the other compensates for the quieter views). There's a cocktail bar within the premises if just a drink with a view is what you're after. Advance booking is a recommended.

#6 Menza Restaurant

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.

#7 Most Bisztró

Most Bisztró is a buzzing Hungarian-Indian restaurant lining the narrow Zichy Jenő utca in District 6. Behind a bland entrance hides one of Budapest’s most inviting and most idiosyncratic dining rooms – floors draped in Persian carpets, densely packed tables, a soaring skylight window hung with greens. The space was originally a motorbike repair shop, hence all the light pouring from above. Most customers are local residents owing to the relatively friendly price points (mains are sub €12).

The menu combines Hungarian and Indian classics, meaning that seriously delicious butter and tandoori chicken, dal makhani (lentil stew), and chana (chickpea) masala appear beside a goulash soup, beef stew (pörkölt), sztrapacska, and cottage cheese dumplings (túrógombóc). The reason for the unusual culinary marriage is that part of the kitchen staff is Nepalese. Also here: Hungarian draft beers, wines, and Negroni sbagliatos at the full-service bar. Consider the spacious outdoor terrace in the warm months.

#8 N28 Wine and Kitchen

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 as do poppy-seeds in the desserts.

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

#9 Fleischer

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.

#10 HILDA

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.

#11 Szaletly

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 food 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 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), whose name is also borne by the elegant street where Szaletly is located. The service is excellent – not pushy but alert and knowledgeable and there's a full wine list of local options. Mains are €14-18. Reservations are recommended.

#12 Zazie Bistro

Zazie is a slick restaurant in the ground floor of the new MOL Tower, designed by Norman Foster and Hungary’s tallest building currently (accessible within 15-minutes from the city center by bus #107). Zazie’s head-chef, Dániel Bíró, is the son of Lajos Bíró, a legendary restaurateur who made a name for himself by rejuvenating Hungarian classics after their Communist-era stupor.

Dániel’s culinary direction mirrors his father’s, with welcome quirks and digressions. Such quirks would be the zippy mackerel pieces sitting in a bed of sour cream, and the pair of boneless chicken thighs, smashed and crunchy and slickened with a soy and peanut-based sauce. The goulash soup is the dialed-up version, arriving in a gleaming, flavor-rich paprika broth. So is the tender catfish with a side of silky cabbage noodles. I recommend you end with the Instagram-friendly plate of floating island (madártej): creamy and cool.

Mains are €9-15 and there’s a weekday €14 three-course lunch prix fixe – be sure to book ahead. Once here, you could visit the striking observation deck atop the building (accessible for an admission fee). A more upscale restaurant on the 28th floor, Virtu, is run by the same owners.

#13 Bobo Restaurant

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 in David Brooks's "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 venues. 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 €16-23.

#14 Déryné Bistro

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.

#15 Macesz Bistro

Macesz Bistro is an elegantly chic restaurant smack in the middle of the city’s old Jewish Quarter and today’s party district. The menu, which isn't kosher but free of pork, is a hat-tip to the neighborhood, featuring dishes that were once popular among Budapest’s numerous Ashkenazi residents. (The building across the street is still home to the Hungarian Autonomous Orthodox Jewish Community). Macesz Bistro's high-traffic location and relatively steep price points – mains are €15-20 – make the restaurant especially popular among tourists.

The menu features matzo ball soup, of course, but also cholent, the classic shabbat stew of slow-cooked beans with eggs, and ludaskása, a plate of risotto normally sprinkled with duck gizzards but here also topped with roast goose leg and foie gras. Be sure to finish your meal with flódni, a rich and delicious Hungarian-Jewish layered pastry.

#16 Ensō

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.

#17 Opium

Opium is part of a successful Budapest restaurant group in charge of several pan-Asian establishments, such as Sáo, Khan, and Quí (right next door). The owners, originally from Vietnam and some with a background in fashion, have proven themselves brilliant at creating spaces that might be described with adjectives such as: cool, trendy, fashionable, buzzy, and fun. The interiors are always imbued with good taste, enveloped in greenery and warm wood and filled with catchy electronic music.

What Opium and its sisters aren’t known for is the inventiveness of their kitchens. Instead, the menu is a veritable collage of basic pan-Asian dishes: from Chinese dumplings to Japanese tempura to Vietnamese soups to Thai curries to wok noodles. They're consistently average and a bit overpriced at €15-20. Try veering toward the Vietnamese selections (most of the kitchen staff is Vietnamese) – pho soups and the bun cha, for example. All this to say that Opium can make for a happy time if an atmosphere-forward dinner is what you’re mainly after.

#18 Kőleves Restaurant

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 past 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.

#19 Gerlóczy Cafe

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

The breakfast menu includes reliable pan-European staples such as 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.

#20 M Restaurant

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.

#21 Spíler Original

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.

#22 Oriental Soup House

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.

#23 Padron Budapest

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.

#24 101 Bistro Budapest

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.

#25 Babka Budapest

Babka is a fashionable 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 inviting; unfortunately, 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 €15-20 mains, prices that are high by Budapest standards.