The 12 Fine Dining Restaurants In Budapest To Try Right Now

The restaurants below include the highest-end options in Budapest. Fine dining can mean many things these days beyond dimly-lit dining rooms with soft background music and white linen tablecloths. They all have one thing in common though: these restaurants serve some of the best food you can find in Budapest, be it a Hungarian tasting menu, Transylvanian flavors, or international dishes. Expect prices comparable to top restaurants in other major cities.

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#1 Babel Budapest

Bábel is one of a small number of true fine dining restaurants in Budapest. Chefs István Veres and Gábor Langer emphasize the Austro-Hungarian, especially the Transylvanian gastronomic heritage to give the dishes a local flavor, particularly in their use of herbs and vegetables.One of their best creations is the reimagined “tojásos nokedli” (egg noodle, or spätzle). Normally the simplest of countryside fare, at Bábel the dumplings are smothered with a beautifully creamy, truffle-filled egg spread and topped with sprinkles of egg yolk that have been dried and grated. Another highlight is the impossibly tender farm chicken, which includes a side of corn cream bedding, concealing a poached egg inside.The interior of Bábel checks all the boxes of an exclusive venue (white tablecloth, dimly-lit dining room with only a dozen tables, waiters making themselves available upon the slightest glance in their direction), and it does so without feeling overly formal or contrived.
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#2 Onyx

In Budapest, Onyx comes closest to meeting the standards of international fine dining. Playful textures, beautiful visuals, and elaborate plating go hand-in-hand with delicious food at this Michelin-starred downtown restaurant. You can decide for yourself how you feel about the opulent, over-the-top interior (two enormous chandeliers hang in the dining room), but the food should be your focus here anyway. Chef Ádám Mészáros, who has been in charge of the kitchen since 2016, is a daring cook.
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#3 Costes Restaurant

Costes was the first restaurant in Hungary to receive a Michelin star (in 2010). And even though Budapest now has four Michelin-starred restaurants, Costes remains in a league of its own. The same is true when it comes to prices, making the restaurant prohibitively expensive for locals; on many nights, there isn’t a single Hungarian patron in sight (the five-course tasting menu with wine pairing comes out to over €150 per person). The food? Dinner at Costes feels like a promotional campaign for Hungary’s most popular dishes and drinks.
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#4 Costes Downtown

This 2015 offshoot of Costes, the first Michelin-starred restaurant in Budapest, is a more relaxed version of its older sister (and also a tad cheaper). The main difference is the interior: instead of a formal setting with white tablecloths, here a sleek, rustic look featuring wood finishes and greenery, with an open kitchen, dominate the atmosphere. The food is outstanding (the restaurant has had its own Michelin star since 2016), and mainly international. The goose liver, one of the best items on the menu, is perhaps the only obvious gesture to Hungarian culinary traditions.
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#5 ESCA studio restaurant

ESCA is a tiny, 16-seat restaurant offering a dinner-only tasting menu in District 7, also known as Budapest’s party district. The intimate space, which features sleek, dark wood finishes and plain walls, couldn’t be more different from the kitsch ruin bars nearby. This open-kitchen studio restaurant is run by young chef/owner Gábor Fehér, who gained experience in Copenhagen and at leading Budapest restaurants before setting up shop here. He is a skillful cook.
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#6 St. Andrea Wine & Gourmet Bar

Location is unfortunately a challenge for St. Andrea Wine & Gourmet Bar, a fine dining Budapest restaurant. It occupies the ground floor of a luxury office building, just off the reception area. As a result, high-power executives from the offices upstairs make up the core of the patrons, which leads to an overly formal atmosphere, particularly at lunchtime.And the upside? It's the food.
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#7 MÁK bistro

The good news is that the food here is on par with the Michelin star restaurants in the city, even though MÁK bistro hasn’t yet joined the club. More specifically: "while respecting the culinary traditions of Hungary and local ingredients, MÁK’s style of creation and presentation as well as simplicity can be originated from the best practices of Scandinavian Cuisine". The not so good news is that the service staff appears at times to be too focused on “upselling” rather than the customer experience. When dining at MÁK bistro, one gets the impression that a bit of background music and less intense lighting could extract more charm from the otherwise artfully prepared rustic interior and vaulted ceiling.
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#8 La Perle Noire

You’ll need to escape the heart of the city to unearth this restaurant, which serves refined modern Hungarian cuisine infused with French flavors. La Perle Noire is located on a peaceful section of the grand Andrássy Avenue peppered with residential villas and embassies. Take a look at the quirky modernist building from 1937 (now a hotel), amid the eclectic, predominantly 19th century street view. The kitchen is run by a heavyweight, which is obvious as soon as the dishes arrive.
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#9 Fausto’s Ristorante and Osteria

Hands down, the finest and most expensive Italian food in Hungary. They rightfully claim that their courses are “sprinkled with the latest arts of contemporary cuisine” - don’t expect pizza and spaghetti Bolognese. But do expect a menu with depth over breadth and such delicacies as the green tagliatelle with duck ragout and goose liver or the tender lamb loin with fried polenta and black beans. The elaborate dishes pay homage to and are reimaginations of the rich northern Italian gastronomic traditions.
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This exclusive bistro with a panoramic vista is located inside one of the most imposing buildings in Pest. A grand art nouveau construction with a glass-roofed arcade, it was the headquarters of the London-based Gresham Life Assurance Company at its opening in 1906. Even if you're on a tight budget, try to stop by for coffee to experience the grandeur of the building and the stunning view of the Castle Hill across the river. Make sure to walk through the main entrance (not via Zrínyi Street) to see the royal-looking lobby with multicolored Zsolnay tiles and ask for a window seat overlooking the Chain Bridge.
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#11 Nobu Restaurant

Thanks to a well-connected Hungarian businessman, Budapest is home to the one and only Nobu restaurant in Central Europe (the closest one is in Milan). The upscale restaurant is located inside the downtown, five-star Kempinski hotel. Visitors familiar with Nobu restaurants elsewhere in the world should rest assured that, in Budapest too, they will find all of Mr. Matsuhisa’s signature dishes.
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#12 Prime Steak & Wine

This chic downtown steakhouse is on par with the top steakhouses anywhere in the world, not only in terms of quality, but unfortunately prices too. Go for the szürkemarha (Hungarian Grey cattle) filet mignon if you want to try a breed indigenous to Hungary and with a depth of flavor one rarely experiences, and select a fine bottle of Hungarian red from the extensive wine list to wash it down. The setting is formal and the interior a bit overdesigned, but the dim lighting helps to create a more relaxed, intimate environment that's best enjoyed during the evening. You can build up a buzz at the cocktail bar, the centerpiece of the space, while waiting for your table..
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Rankings are based on a combination of food/drink, atmosphere, service, and price.
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