Budapest is best known for its baths and beautiful architecture, but its food packs a punch, too. In the capital, there is a new wave of Hungarian cuisine taking over that adds a modern twist on traditional dishes. Here are some of the best places to wine and dine yourself.
1. 21 Restaurant
Though it is set against a backdrop of traditional dark wooden tables and limestone walls, 21 Restaurant promises visitors a modern dining experience. Think historic Hungarian cuisine dragged into the present day, where all ingredients stem from local sources and hearty, cumbersome dishes are replaced by healthier alternatives to classic Hungarian dishes. And as for the wine menu? Expect to order only Hungarian varieties – and only the best Hungarian varieties at that. For a modern take on traditional Budapest dining, grab a table at 21 Restaurant.
Budapest, Fortuna u. 21, 1014 Hungary
This formal restaurant offers a suave backdrop against which you can enjoy some of the best gourmet Hungarian cuisine in the city. Alongside modern takes on classic dishes, you can enjoy an evening filled with live orchestra and folk dancing – a firm favourite way to combine cuisine with culture in the capital. When you’re not marvelling at the menu or the entertainment, soak up the creative environment, which is filled with framed artwork and an opulent touch that brings the old into the new.
Budapest, Gundel Károly út 4, 1146 Hungary
3. Costes Downtown
After the success of Costes, a favourite dining spot in Budapest, the team opened Costes Downtown, the very first Michelin-starred restaurant in Hungary (it also takes the 25th spot on the list of best restaurants in the world). Inside, you can melt into the smart, neutral décor while you peruse tasting menus that boast gourmet fish and meat dishes. Wash everything down with a glass of fine Hungarian wine and revel in the elegant atmosphere that only a Michelin-starred restaurant can bring.
Vigyázó Ferenc u. 5, Budapest, 1051 Hungary
Kacsa is best known for its array of duck dishes – a popular choice in Hungarian cuisine. Alongside a menu packed full of classic specialities, you can choose from no less than nine duck dishes. Accompanying this quack-ing selection of food, there is an excellent selection of exclusively Hungarian wine to wash down one of the 70 dishes on offer. If that wasn’t enough, Kacsa also promises a cultural evening filled with live gypsy music for an intimate encounter with Hungarian tradition.
Budapest, Fő u. 75, 1027 Hungary
Dine like a king (or queen) at Onyx, a gourmet affair set against a backdrop of regal décor – the high-ceilinged space is peppered with Regency chairs and other opulent offerings. The menu is regional, using only local, seasonal ingredients to create the Hungarian Evolution Menu. With this, you can tuck into the highest-quality cuisine made using new technologies and renovated versions of past Hungarian cooking techniques. The kitchen spends a lot of time researching the latest trends in regional cuisine, bringing you the best of Budapest every single day.
Budapest, Vörösmarty tér 7, 1051 Hungary
6. Borkonyha Winekitchen Restaurant
For another taste of Hungarian cuisine in the present day, grab a table at Borkonyha Winekitchen, which serves contemporary dishes in a classy, mirror-lined space. With more than 200 Hungarian wines on offer, there’s a bottle of tipple to suit every taste, while the French-style bistro backdrop adds a flutter of something different to the Hungarian dining scene. The name Winekitchen might seem odd, but it has been chosen to reflect the diverse wine list, the delicious food, and the personal service the restaurant prides itself on.
Budapest, 1051, Sas u. 3, 1051 Hungary
7. Fulemule Etterem
Inside, this tiled space is both refreshing and cosy at the same time, promising an intimate experience served up by a family-run business. Family photos line the wall, while the low-lighting and neutral colour tone make it an inviting space to try some of the city’s favourite flavours. Here, you can browse a menu filled with local Jewish-Hungarian dishes that specialise in local favourites, chicken and steak. Fulemule Etterem is the place for you if you want a friendly, intimate, and delicious encounter with Hungarian cuisine.
8. Bock Bizstro
For something a bit different, grab a table at Bock Bizstro, a stylish dining affair that serves up a menu filled with traditional Hungarian-style tapas dishes. Many of the country’s local dishes have been given a modern flare, bringing class flavours into the present day. Dine alongside live accordion music and traditional Hungarian dancing for a cultural evening to remember, and don’t forget to grab one of the many bottles of local plonk that adorn the mouth-watering menu.
Budapest, Erzsébet krt. 43-49, 1073 Hungary
9. Rose Restaurant
Goulash is the go-to dish in Hungary – it is hearty, it is semi-healthy, and, most importantly, it is delicious. Rose Restaurant specialises in traditional goulash dishes, as well as veal dishes. Its menu is a circus of flavours, ingredients, and styles, where class dishes have taken on a modern twist to regale the new era of Hungarian dining. The high-ceilinged space provides the perfect backdrop to tuck into a classic meal complete with local wine while watching a live gypsy music performance.
Budapest, Akácfa u. 24, 1072 Hungary
Step back in time into Menza, a retro restaurant boasting vintage furniture and wallpaper. Here, the menu is much like any Hungarian diner, offering traditional goulash dishes alongside beef stews and hearty classics. For a warming meal, you’ll want to check out this popular hotspot that sees both locals and tourists flock to its cosy patio in the summer months and its fun, retro interior in the winter. Don’t forget to try some of the local wines while you’re at it, for a true taste of Hungarian culture.
Budapest, Liszt Ferenc tér 2, 1061 Hungary