If you’re thinking it's just goulash, carp and stew, think again. Budapest and Hungarian cooking has seen a bit of transformation recently, with lighter dishes and international influences finding their way into the local cuisine. There are 4 Michelin-starred restaurants in the city, and prices are always very reasonable too.
Let’s start at the top. Costes is ranked as one of the best Budapest restaurants, and has a Michelin star to show for it. Try the tasting menu for a 6-course flavour extravaganza. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, and the service is exceptional.
4 Ráday Street
How authentic do you want to go? For the full Hungarian experience, book a table at Gundel. You’ll eat to the strains of a live orchestra, and you might be able to see some folk dancing while you’re here. The dishes are all traditional fare, based on original recipes, and Gundel has won a number of awards over the years.
4 Gundel Károly út
The restaurant takes its name from the Hungarian word for a school canteen. But the food is in a different class. Situated on one of Budapest’s busiest squares, you’ll find a lively atmosphere when you step inside. The locals love it, so it’s worth booking ahead.
2 Liszt Ferenc Tér
4) Csalogany 26
A taste of modern Hungary, served up in classic 8 course tasting menus. Make sure to have the recommended Hungarian wine with each dish. The setting is intimate, the waiters are helpful, and the prices aren’t bad either.
26 Csalogany utca
5) Rosé Restaurant
Gypsy music played live. Goulash cooked just right. And the atmosphere relaxed and informal. This is a classic Hungarian restaurant in an attractive part of town. They say they cook the best goulash in Budapest. But the Rosé isn’t the only restaurant to say that – so we couldn’t comment!
24 Akácfa utca
Like Costes, Borkonyha has a Michelin star. The philosophy here is Transylvanian flavours with hints of Spanish, French and Italian ingredients. Despite the upmarket food, the dishes very well priced. And there are nearly 200 wines to choose from, mostly Hungarian.
3 Sas utca
Contemporary Hungarian cuisine in a light, airy and informal atmosphere. Borbírósag claims to get most of its ingredients from the nearby Great Market Hall, and the food is certainly lovely and fresh. Duck is a bit of a signature dish here, and there are plenty of Hungarian wines behind the bar.
5 Csarnok tér
There’s a lot of Jewish history and heritage in Budapest, and if you’d like to sample Jewish cuisine then Rosenstein is a great place to come. It’s still family run, and you’ll be greeted with smiles. Why not come for lunch and try something from the daily specials board?
3 Mosonyi utca
Every step down into Aranyszarvas seems to take you back further in time, until you arrive in what looks to be an 18th century inn. Meat dishes reign supreme here, and if you want to take a breather step out onto the covered terrace. The views of the Royal Palace are superb.
1 Szarvas tér
Foie gras, pork, ragout - there’s plenty of traditional fare on the menu at Klassz. But that’s not the only reason why so many people come and enjoy the atmosphere here. This is a restaurant owned by a local wine society, so as you can expect the dining is enhanced by some of Hungary’s best wines.
41 Andrássy út