A local’s guide to the best restaurants in Budapest (2024)

A local’s guide to the best restaurants in Budapest (1)

Carnivores, herbivores and omnivores, rejoice. The best restaurants in Budapest are absolutely freakin' delicious.

Photograph: Kata Balogh / Socially

Written by Peterjon Cresswell

Editor, Time Out Croatia

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Whether you’re after classic Hungarian grub or something more out there,you’ll find what you’re craving inBudapest. It might be known for its ruin bars, thermal spas and fabulous architecture, but the food scene here is second to none – and it’s only getting better.

New to our list is Tati, a new-ish farm to table restaurant that got appeared on the Michelin guide in its second year running, as well as a brand-new review for our reigning number one, the Michelin-starred Borkonyha. From classic gulyás (beef stew) to chicken paprikás (and plenty more), here are the best restaurants in Budapest right now.

RECOMMENDED:🏰 The bestthings to do in Budapest🍻The bestbars in Budapest🏛️The bestmuseums in Budapest🏘️ The bestAirbnbs in Budapest🍽️ …and we’re opening a Time Out Market in Budapest!

Words byPeterjon Cresswell, original photos bySzabó Gábor, both based in Budapest. At Time Out, all of ourtravel guidesare written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see oureditorial guidelines.

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Where to eat in Budapest

1.Borkonyha
Photograph: Szabó Gábor for Time Out

What is it?A Michelin-starred restaurant whose inventive dishes are paired with specific wines –hence the name, ‘Wine Kitchen’.

Why go?This restaurant isn’t just for Michelin glory-hunters – weekenders will love the first-class menu, too. Although a visit here won’t be the cheapest meal of your Budapest break, it’s hard not to be impressed by what’s available onBorkonyha's five-course and à la carte lists, whether the lettuce soup with scallops or quail with pearl barley and cranberries.Open evenings only during the week.

2.Rosenstein
Photograph: Courtesy Rosenstein

What is it?A perfect little Hungarian local, offering up classic dishes and more.

Why go?A chalkboard-menu restaurant featuring tables with white tablecloths, bare brick walls and waiters who always seem to be rushed off their feet.RosensteinisJewish and Hungarian cuisine at its finest – for which you should definitely book.

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3.Essência

What is it?A culinary love story, between a Portuguese chef who earned his spurs at Michelin-starred Costes, and his Hungarian wife/co-restaurateur.Essênciais Tiago and Éva’s culinary baby, and it earned its own Michelin star in 2021 (which it retained in 2024).

Why go?For genuine warmth and a successful marriage on a plate between Hungary and Portugal in the form of a tasting menu. Themangalica, a revived variety of high-quality Hungarian pork, is superb, as is the octopus, a rarity in Budapest.

4.Mazel Tov

A local’s guide to the best restaurants in Budapest (8)
A local’s guide to the best restaurants in Budapest (9)

What is it?A spacious glass-roof restaurant serving a moreish hybrid of Israeli-Mediterranean food and totally on-point co*cktails.

Why go?If dining in a huge open-plan courtyard peppered with plants is your thing, head to Mazel Tov. Opt for the falafel burger in a sweet potato bun or the chicken shawarma. Oh, and don’t scrimp on the selection of fresh, zingy dips and salads either – we say go for anything with beetroot and aubergine.

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5.Gundel

A local’s guide to the best restaurants in Budapest (10)
A local’s guide to the best restaurants in Budapest (11)

What is it?Hungary’s most emblematic restaurant, established by the gastronomic dynasty of the same name in the city’s Golden Age, and recently revived by a new ownership.

Why go?To dine where the Queen once did, while enjoying what the incoming management terms ‘affordable luxury’, with particular reference to their Sunday lunchtime deals. Gundel's location beside City Park and next door to the Zoo lends itself to making a day of it, although prices for the classic main courses are by no means outrageous, whichever day of the week you visit.

6.Felix

A local’s guide to the best restaurants in Budapest (12)
A local’s guide to the best restaurants in Budapest (13)

What is it?An award-winning restaurant set in a former pumping station for the Royal Palace, built by the Danube by Miklós Ybl of Opera House fame.

Why go?Casual luxury sums up the approach in this elegant heritage building whose terrace spreads beneath Buda Castle. Named after the only son of the architect responsible for it, Felixprides itself on using prime, mainly locally sourced ingredients to create cosmopolitan/Hungarian dishes best sampled on the seasonal menu. An extensive wine list, inventive co*cktails and regularly changing art exhibitions complete the picture.

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7.Tati

A local’s guide to the best restaurants in Budapest (14)
A local’s guide to the best restaurants in Budapest (15)

What is it? A top-quality farm-to-table restaurant on the edge of the city’s nightlife quarter.

Why go? When this fashionable yet informal restaurant says it’s farm-to-table, it means it –as most of the ingredients come from their own farm, just outside Budapest. Chef Gábor Soóky rekindles Hungary’s culinary heritage as he conjures up inventive dishes for brunch (8am-3.30pm) and dinner (from 5pm). He must have impressed the men from Michelin, who recommended the place in 2023 when Tatihad only just opened.

8.Café Kör

A local’s guide to the best restaurants in Budapest (16)
A local’s guide to the best restaurants in Budapest (17)

What is it?A popular all-day spot with impeccable service and typical Hungarian dishes.

Why go?In the city’s hub of upscale gastronomy, the popular Café Kör is particularly busy at lunchtimes when the business crowd flocks here from nearby offices. Make a reservation or get here as close to noon as you can – daily specials are served only until they run out.

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9.Babel Budapest

A local’s guide to the best restaurants in Budapest (18)
A local’s guide to the best restaurants in Budapest (19)

What is it?A Michelin-starred beacon of fine dining, underscored by an Austro-Hungarian concept, right in the city centre.

Why go?To experience what a wide-ranging culinary region the former Austro-Hungarian Empire was, where Ukrainian and Serbian dishes combine with Viennese and Budapest favourites in a series of servings with wine pairings. Babel's surroundings are equally elegant.

10.Kőleves Vendéglő

A local’s guide to the best restaurants in Budapest (20)
A local’s guide to the best restaurants in Budapest (21)

What is it?A justifiably popular Jewish-Hungarian restaurant, Kőleves Vendéglősits alongside its own outdoor bar and two Synagogues in Budapest’s nightlife vortex.

Why go?For eminently affordable lunches whose quality matches those of the evening meals six days a week, traditional favourites served in modern garb, in a building dating back to the mid-1800s.

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11.Bobo Restaurant

What is it?An elegant restaurant created out of neo-Renaissance leisure palace for the aristocracy of the late 1800s, in its own verdant grounds.

Why go?For the Austro-Hungarian menu, yes, but also to spend your evening where Hungarian counts and Habsburg empress Elisabeth graced the ballroom dancefloor. Classic mainslike Bobo's pike-perch and duck leg confit won’t break the bank, nor is this Buda landmark a trek from central Pest.

12.Két Szerecsen

What is it?A reliably excellent restaurant in Budapest’s theatre quarter, open from breakfast to bedtime, on the same street as the city’s two most prominent photo galleries.

Why go?The Two Moors is where you can tuck into the traditional Hungarian dish you’ve wanted to try while you’re here – the beef cheek is excellent –or opt for something more international. Few will come away disappointed. Két Szerecsen's
weekday lunchtime menu is a steal for the quality. Diagonally opposite the Liszt Music Academy, close to the Opera House, if you’ve cultural plans for the evening.

Been there, done that? Think again, my friend.

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