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What Makes Budapest’s Restaurant Scene Stand Out?
Budapest is no ordinary city, and its culinary scene is a testament to that. A blend of traditional Hungarian dishes with a modern twist, international cuisine and inventive fusion concepts – the city’s restaurant landscape is as diverse as it is delicious.
Traditional Hungarian food includes beef stew, pasta dishes, and traditional dishes such as paprika chicken and Hungarian goulash. Homemade bread, fair prices, and modern interpretations of Hungarian meats make the Budapest dining scene truly unique.
15 Best Hungarian Restaurants in Budapest You Need to Visit 2024
We’ve put together a list of the top fifteen restaurants in Budapest. You can find luxury dining experiences, traditional meals, classic dishes, and international dishes from all over the world. There are a huge range of restaurants, which means you can fine one that matches your idea of affordable prices, too.
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1. Onyx: A Michelin-Starred Delight
Onyx, one of Budapest’s Michelin-starred restaurants, prides itself on its “Within our Borders” philosophy. This approach involves reinterpreting traditional Hungarian dishes with a contemporary twist, utilising exclusively local ingredients.
Onyx boasts an elegant, neo-baroque dining room. Their attention to detail is awe-inspiring, and the level of service is immaculate, truly making every dining experience exceptional.
Their tasting menu is an absolute must-try, with dishes such as Hungarian Grey Cattle Tartare and Lake Balaton Pike Perch taking you on a culinary journey through Hungary’s rich landscape.
2. Costes Restaurant: Budapest’s First Michelin-Starred Restaurant
Costes, the first restaurant in Budapest to be awarded a Michelin star, offers a world-class dining experience. The restaurant is famous for its innovative culinary approach and its commitment to the highest standards of quality.
At Costes, expect a warm, intimate setting with tastefully minimalist decor. The service is unerringly professional, yet friendly, ensuring a relaxed dining experience.
The menu at Costes, crafted by chef Eszter Palágyi, combines French techniques with Hungarian traditions and ingredients, resulting in dishes that are as visually stunning as they are delicious.
3. Stand25 Bistro: Comfort Food at Its Finest
Stand25 Bistro is the brainchild of Szabina Szulló and Tamás Széll, the duo who previously earned a Michelin star for Onyx. This casual eatery in the Hold Street Market serves Hungarian comfort food with a refined touch.
For a taste of authentic Hungarian cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere, Stand25 Bistro is a must-visit. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy local dishes like goulash and lángos (deep-fried dough) amidst the bustle of the market.
Their Hortobágyi pancake, a savoury crepe filled with veal stew and covered in paprika sour cream sauce, is arguably one of the best dishes in the city.
4. Borkonyha Winekitchen: Where Wine Meets Gastronomy
Borkonyha Winekitchen, another Michelin-starred restaurant in Budapest, fuses Hungarian gastronomy with an impressive wine selection. The result? A symphony of flavours that’s a feast for the senses.
The restaurant’s USP is its extensive selection of wines. Here, diners can choose from a whopping 200 Hungarian wines, ensuring the perfect pairing for every dish.
The duck liver with Tokaji aszú, a traditional Hungarian dessert wine, and the Mangalica pork are standout dishes worth trying.
5. Rosenstein: A Family Affair
Rosenstein, a family-run restaurant, has been dishing up traditional Hungarian and Jewish cuisine since the late 90s. This place is all about hearty, homemade food served with a side of love.
If you’re after a homely, laid-back dining experience that oozes authenticity, Rosenstein is your spot. Tucked away from the city’s hustle and bustle, this restaurant feels like a well-kept secret.
Their cholent, a traditional Jewish dish prepared for the Sabbath, is an absolute must-try. Trust me, you won’t leave Rosenstein disappointed – or hungry!
6. Arany Kaviár: A Taste of Russia in Budapest
Arany Kaviár (Golden Caviar) offers a culinary voyage to Russia, with an exquisite menu brimming with luxury ingredients and impeccable flavours.
This upscale restaurant is located in a lovely residential area of Buda, with a charming, elegant ambiance. Their Russian-Hungarian fusion dishes are meticulously crafted, each a work of art on a plate.
The restaurant’s namesake, caviar, is a star here. You can indulge in a decadent tasting, or opt for a caviar-topped dish like their blinis or Beef Stroganoff.
7. Kőleves: Trendy Dining in the Jewish Quarter
Kőleves, which translates to “Stone Soup”, is a trendy restaurant located in Budapest’s Jewish Quarter. This spot is popular with both locals and tourists, serving up modern Hungarian dishes in a cool, laid-back setting.
With its eclectic decor and buzzy atmosphere, Kőleves is the perfect place for a fun, casual meal. In the summer, their garden is a wonderful place to relax with a drink and enjoy the vibrant street scene.
Their menu is packed with delightful dishes, but their grilled goat cheese salad and mangalica pork dishes are real winners.
8. Mák Bistro: Hungarian Cuisine Reimagined
Mák Bistro, tucked away in the heart of Budapest, serves up modern, innovative Hungarian cuisine that is a delight to both the eye and the palate.
The restaurant’s minimalist decor, friendly service and focus on local, seasonal ingredients make it a standout choice. The creative menu keeps diners guessing, with unexpected flavour combinations and beautiful presentation.
Try their forest mushroom soup or the duck with purple cabbage for a truly memorable meal. Their creative cocktails also deserve a special mention.
9. Babel Budapest: The Pinnacle of Fine Dining
Last but certainly not least, Babel Budapest offers an unrivalled gastronomic experience. This Michelin-starred restaurant features a modern, minimalist interior and a menu that can only be described as culinary poetry.
Babel’s atmosphere is peaceful and contemplative, allowing diners to fully focus on the food. With the kitchen visible through a glass wall, you can even watch the chefs at work.
Babel’s menu is a masterpiece, with each dish reflecting a story or memory from the chef’s past. Whether you opt for the fisherman’s soup or the venison, be prepared for an unparalleled culinary journey.
10. Karaván Street Food: An Oasis of Flavours
Karaván Street Food is a lively food court tucked in the heart of the city’s Jewish Quarter. A veritable oasis of flavours, this spot offers a host of food trucks each serving different international and local delights.
Karaván’s bustling and laid-back vibe is just as inviting as its mouthwatering array of food. It’s a fantastic place to soak up Budapest’s vibrant street food culture while tucking into some tasty grub.
Lángos, the classic Hungarian street food, is a must-try here. Head to the Retro Lángos food truck for a delicious lángos topped with sour cream and cheese. Simply divine!
11. Bors GastroBar: The King of Soups and Baguettes
A hidden gem in the heart of the city, Bors GastroBar is known for its fantastic soups and baguettes. This little spot is always bustling, which is no surprise given the quality of the food!
Despite its small size, Bors GastroBar is big on flavour. Their menu may be simple, but every dish is made to perfection. And with such friendly prices, it’s no wonder locals love it!
Their French Onion Soup and BBQ Chicken Baguette never fail to impress. But really, you can’t go wrong with any choice here. Just be prepared to queue – it’s worth it!
12. Zing Burger: For the Love of Burgers
Zing Burger has taken Budapest by storm with its gourmet burgers. If you’re a burger enthusiast, this place is not to be missed!
Zing Burger prides itself on its quality ingredients and creative recipes. Whether you’re a classic cheeseburger fan or fancy trying a lamb or duck burger, there’s something for everyone here.
The Classic Zing and the Mr. Zing are absolute fan favourites. Vegetarian? No problem! The Veggie Zing is just as tasty.
13. Kazimir Bistro: Affordable and Delicious
Located in the Jewish Quarter, Kazimir Bistro is a great spot for an affordable and delicious meal. This trendy bistro serves up Hungarian dishes with a modern twist.
With its cosy, laid-back atmosphere and friendly service, Kazimir is a joy to dine at. The prices are very reasonable, especially given the quality and portion sizes.
Their Goulash Soup and Chicken Paprikash are crowd-pleasers, bursting with traditional Hungarian flavours.
14. Fruccola: Fresh and Healthy
Fruccola is all about fresh, healthy, and tasty food. With several locations in Budapest, it’s an ideal spot for a light and affordable meal.
If you’re looking for a break from heavy Hungarian cuisine, Fruccola is the place to go. They offer a range of salads, sandwiches, and soups, all made with fresh, wholesome ingredients.
Their Mediterranean Chicken Salad and Fresh Lemonades are popular choices. For a sweet treat, try their homemade cakes – they’re a delight!
15. Borsso Bistro: Where Tradition Meets Innovation
Located in the heart of Budapest, Borsso Bistro is a hidden gem that serves up street food with a gourmet twist. This is where traditional Hungarian cuisine meets modern cooking techniques, resulting in something truly exceptional.
Despite its modest exterior, Borsso Bistro has earned a reputation among locals and travellers alike for its innovative food. From hearty soups to indulgent desserts, everything is prepared with an impressive attention to detail.
The menu here rotates, reflecting the seasons and the chefs’ creativity. However, their Goulash, a Hungarian classic, is always a hit. And don’t miss their range of baguette sandwiches – filled with everything from succulent roast pork to creamy camembert, they are a meal unto themselves.
Are reservations required at these restaurants?
A: Yes, reservations are typically necessary, especially for the Michelin-starred restaurants. It’s best to book well in advance to avoid disappointment, especially for restaurants in the city center.
What is the dress code at these restaurants?
A: While each restaurant has its unique ambiance, the dress code generally leans towards smart casual. However, it’s always best to check the restaurant’s website for specific guidelines.
Are these restaurants vegetarian or vegan-friendly?
A: Most of these restaurants offer vegetarian options, and some have vegan choices as well. Again, checking the restaurant’s menu online is advised.
Do these restaurants offer wine pairings with their meals?
A: Absolutely! Restaurants like Onyx, Costes, and Borkonyha Winekitchen are known for their excellent wine selection and pairings.
Are these restaurants kid-friendly?
A: While all these restaurants welcome families, some fine dining establishments may not be ideal for very young children. Casual places like Stand25 Bistro are more kid-friendly.
Are these restaurants suitable for special occasions?
A: Undoubtedly! Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, or just a special night out, these restaurants provide the perfect setting for a memorable evening.
The Final Course
You can taste the elegance of Michel-starred dining or the marbled meat of a traditional Hungarian restaurant. Whatever you want to eat, Budapest can offer you. So, when you’re planning your tour of ruin bars or the party district, be sure to make time for traditional food.
Not sure which one to choose? Turn to stag do companies, like Stagmadness, to help you plan your entire trip. We can organize your itinerary and make sure you enjoy every glass of wine, hit every popular spot, and guide you to the most friendly locals you’re ever going to meet.