The 24 Trendiest Restaurants In Budapest

If you're looking for the hottest restaurants in Budapest, look no further. Here's what to expect: dependable dishes without culinary acrobatics, stylish interiors, overpriced plates by local standards, and a crowd consisting of tourists and chic locals. For more upscale options, check out Budapest's best fine dining restaurants, 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.

Mazel Tov's Israeli and other Mediterranean dishes are reliable and arrive without delay to ensure that tables turn over quickly in this wildly popular restaurant. I enjoyed the shawarma plate (€10) and also the spicy merguez (€12), a North African sausage made from beef here and paired with beets, tahini, and matbucha (skip the undersized and underseasoned beef kebab). Cocktails and plenty of Hungarian wines are also available. Reservations are an absolute must as the place gets mobbed by people every day of the week. Fogasház, a more traditional ruin bar, 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 restaurant's name makes its culinary priorities clear — the short menu features the heart of Magyar cuisine with staples like goulash, chicken and veal paprikash (€10-14), 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 of WWII in Budapest.

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 world-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 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 to pastas to steaks to Hungarian classics. Despite the wide reach, the dishes are tasty and reliable, with main courses in the €12-16 range. The goulash soup is especially good, and don't miss 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, which is where the action shifts to.

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 €17-25 mains, HILDA isn't cheap, 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.

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 turned, people moved on to other pockets of the city. 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.

Against the odds, this is also where you'll find one of Budapest's best Hungarian restaurants: Menza. The massive high-ceilinged space 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 goulash soup, donning a perfectly crimson hue, the wonderfully soft pork schnitzel, or the hearty veal paprikash paired with egg dumplings (mains are €12-18). The desserts are also excellent, especially in the colder months: 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 for the two-course lunch prix fixe. The service staff is among the best you'll find in Budapest — they're 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 a couple of unremarkable meals here, but most of the hot and cold mezze 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, and breakfast service Thursday to Sunday. Reservations are an absolute must. The owners have another popular restaurant on the Buda side of the Danube, Pingrumba, run 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 spires and the Gellért Hill seem within arm's reach – and all tables provide panoramic views. For breakfast, the eggs Benedict with a side of smoked trout is the one to go for.

In the evenings, the highlights are the precisely made modern Hungarian dishes. 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 is heavy on local wineries, including some from the famed Tokaj wine region and also natural and biodynamic producers. The concept is shared plates and €30-35 will buy you a full meal with a drink. The space is small, advance booking recommended.

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 made from top ingredients are hardly what appear on most people's dining tables at home.

There's of course goulash, but you can also try the local fish soup (halászlé), foie gras, fogas (pike-perch), Mangalica pork, schnitzel, and túrós palacsinta (túró-filled crepes). And also Stefánia vagdalt: a meatloaf named after Stéphanie, Crown Princess of Austria (1864-1945), who also bears the name of 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 €15-20.

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.

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"), referring to people who harbor both bourgeois and bohemian sentiments.

The restaurant is inside a beautifully refurbished 1885 estate, once the playground of the Hungarian aristocracy. The slightly formal vibes and steep price points mains range €17-23 put Bobo a step 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 the Austro Hungarian Empire (1867-1918), featuring foie gras, goulash soup, paprikash, schnitzel, and freshwater pike-perch (fogas), all plated delicately and served on white linen. The best way to complete your meal here is with the yeast buns drenched in vanilla custard (aranygaluska) or the sweet cottage cheese dumplings (túrógombóc), both of which pair well with a glass of Tokaji wine.

Having retained the name of the bespoke shirtmaker’s workshop that used to occupy the premises, Fleischer is a buzzy restaurant along the tree-lined section of Nagymező utca in Budapest's District 6 (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 poppy seeds. The dishes are tasty, although I wish the portions were bigger. The wine list features some of my favorite producers, such as Figula (for olaszrizling), Heimann (for kékfrankos and kadarka), and Oremus (for sweet Tokaji). After your meal, drop in to Zsivágó, one of the coziest bars in 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. €35 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 buildings. Padron's street was known as "little Vatican," because the Roman Catholic Church owned real estate here before the communist era; this is once again the case today, that's why it's so quiet here at night.

Enso is a trendy Asian-inflected fusion restaurant located 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 interior courtyard just to arrive at the dim, exposed brick dining room where good-looking servers scurry under the high ceilings decorated with hanging paper lanterns.

The food is a mishmash of global dishes: there's duck ramen, chicken taco, oysters, marinated trout, Brazilian cheese bread (pão de queijo), and Wagyu beef. Most plates are meant for sharing. Although on the small side, they're very tasty, especially those treated on the charcoal fire, such as the grilled broccoli coated in a pungent white sauce. 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 €30-40 per person. A word to the wise: Plan on a relatively early dinner here as Enso closes at 10 p.m. Open only Tuesday to Friday.

Located on the Buda side of the Danube, 101 Bistro is a new 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 chic dining rooms of Tokyo.

Chef Márton Keve, who worked at top restaurants abroad, is in charge of the kitchen, which draws inspiration from the food of Taiwan. Of the lunch menu, the braised pork rice (lu rou fan) was most memorable, packing tender cubes of pork belly that sit on a bed of firm rice grains brightened with sugary soy sauce and thin slices of ginger. The dinner menu consists of small plates, many of them vegan. Be sure not to miss the fried and marinated sweet-sour eggplants.

Note that 101 Bistro isn't cheap — a dinner with drinks will set you back by about €30-35 per person. If you'd like the fun to continue after your meal, drop by Nemdebár next door, one of the coolest bars on the Buda side.

N28, a casually elegant restaurant just off Andrássy Avenue, is the project of Márk Molnár, the son of Tamás B. Molnár, who is a revered gastro journalist in Budapest. Márk spent the better part of the past two decades working in Spain, and the menu is a collection of Spanish and Hungarian dishes. N28 doubles as a boutique wine store, meaning that you can pair your food with an enviable selection of Hungarian wines, sourced from all the major wine regions (Tokaj, Somló, Eger, Balaton).

Of the tapas and aged meats, the star of the show is the Mangalica ham, sitting on toasted bread and layered with foie gras and pieces of tender shrimp. From the mains, I’d return for the gambas al pil-pil, sweet-saline prawns doused in a rich, buttery sauce spiked with chili peppers. The goulash, made from deer meat, is also very good. Vegetarians shouldn’t miss the brie salad with black truffles. Mains are €15-20 and there's a more wallet-friendly weekday lunch prix fixe.

Curious where the top one percent of Buda residents hang out? Wonder no more. The owners of Déryné Bistro were ahead of the curve when in 2007 they 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 brand of casually hip but classy vibes. Déryné has managed to remain popular through all these years, even as comparable restaurants have sprouted up on the other side of the Danube with lower price points.

The lunch and dinner menus skew French, featuring pricey bistro staples. If steaks are more your speed, you can choose from prime cuts of dry-aged Angus and Wagyu. Eggs benedict, shakshuka, and avocado toast are just a few of the exhaustive breakfast offerings along with delicious homemade breads and breakfast pastries. A note of caution: beware Déryné's service staff, which can be over-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 from the meat plant are used as design pieces, including a well-worn, leather-bound ledger book and a weathered Talmud. Kőleves pays homage to the building’s past by serving a few Jewish-Hungarian dishes, such a matzo ball soup and cholent, the typical Sabbath bean stew.

As other high-turnover tourist-heavy restaurants, Kőleves aims to please all tastes with a hybrid menu. Hungarian bean goulash, avocado salad, ribeye steak, and a New York cheesecake appear side-by-side on the menu. Almost all dishes are reliably good, but far from memorable and made without culinary flourish. Although mainly a tourist destination, locals also appear during lunchtime for the wallet-friendly 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. 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. For example, I've had delicious paprika-strewn veal bone marrow here, and also pork brains poached in red wine. If you don't find these appealing, try the duck breast with cabbage and quince, or the Hungarian beef stew. 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. For curious minds, 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 Courtyard, Spíler is one of the most popular restaurants within Budapest's buzzing Jewish Quarter. The massive space features three highly-Instagrammable dining rooms that operate at capacity most evenings. The menu comprises reliably made international staples — think nachos, wings, burgers — and also traditional a few Hungarian classics such as goulash and roast sausages. Local wines, and almost thirty kinds of bottled craft beers are available to pair. With most dishes €12-17, prices are not unreasonable for this prime location.

Tangentially related to Spíler is the fact that its owner, a successful Budapest restaurateur, was publicly accused of gaining unfair commercial advantage over other restaurants using political connections. This doesn’t lessen Spíler’s merits as a restaurant, but something to keep in mind as you decide where to spend your money.

Oriental Soup House is a hopping Vietnamese restaurant in Újlipótváros, a residential neighborhood a bit outside the city center. As soon as you enter, you'll notice the Asian cooks scurrying behind the open kitchen, always a good sign for a Vietnamese restaurant. The menu features 11 types of soups, of which the traditional beef pho (pho bo) sporting a gleaming, flavorful broth is among the best I've had in Budapest, especially if you get it with thinly sliced tenderloins that quickly cook through in the steaming broth.

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. Oriental Soup House is very popular, so 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 draws more locals.

Sáo is a chic pan-Asian restaurant located right in the center of Budapest’s party district. 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 hopping spot with loud music and reliable dishes, Sáo could be the place for you.

Bestia is an industrial chic restaurant in the heart of Budapest specializing in pricey grilled meats. With a picture-postcard view of the St. Stephen’s Basilica and crowd-pleasing hits blasting through the speakers, it has quickly become a tourist-favorite. The menu is a mishmash typical for city center, tourist-heavy restaurants. Premium cuts of steaks, barbecued pork ribs — made in a Josper charcoal burning oven — burgers, pastes, and salads are all available. The full-service bar serves craft beers, customized cocktails, and Hungarian wines.

Babka is a Middle-Eastern restaurant in Budapest named after the Ashkenazi Jewish bready cake originating 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 my most recent visit, the lamb kofta (€18) arrived with a distractingly sour side of parsley salad, and the namesake Babka dessert is 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: mains are €15-20. Thanks to the prime location and the inviting interior, Babka could become a perfect neighborhood restaurant, but the kitchen has room to improve currently.

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).