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Photograph: Courtesy DobrumbaDobrumba

The 10 best restaurants in Budapest right now

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

Written by
Georgina Lawton

Smack-bang in the heart of Europe, the best restaurants in Budapest celebrate cuisine from all corners of the continent. Eating in the Hungarian capital is a real joy, whether you find yourself in a Michelin-star stunner or picking up delicious street food after a night in one of the famous ruin bars. Eating well is an integral part of the perfect day in Budapest: once you’ve check out all the things to do and relaxed in an outdoor spa, it’s time to get your sustenance before hitting up some of the best nights out in Europe. And of course, make sure to sample some traditional Hungarian paprika dishes while you’re at it. Egészségére!

Best restaurants in Budapest

Photograph: Courtesy Rosenstein

1. Rosenstein

What is it? An award-winning, family-run hole-in-the-wall.

Why go? Rosenstein prides itself on its extensive menu, a hybrid of Jewish classics and Hungarian favourites. It’s casual yet classy, offering fabulous pairings such as catfish fillet and homemade noodles and chicken and dumplings. Something to please pretty much all palettes.

Photograph: Courtesy Szeráj Török Étterem

2. Szeráj

What is it? Fresh, moreish Turkish grub in a relaxed setting.

Why go? Budapest’s Turkish influence isn’t just evident in its opulent bathhouses – there are plenty of places to taste it, too. Szeráj serves speedy, inexpensive stews, salads, side dishes and baklava. Great for any time of day.

Photograph: Courtesy Dobrumba

3. Dobrumba

What is it? A lively and trendy 7th District restaurant that looks to the Middle East and the Mediterranean for inspiration. 

Why go? If you’re looking for a break from traditional Hungarian, this Middle Eastern and Mediterranean-leaning restaurant should be one of your go-to's. The influences span far and wide, picking up on Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Moroccan, Israeli, Lebanese, Georgian, Armenian and Turkish flavours. Patatas bravas sit next to hummus, shakshuka and Piri Piri chicken. The drinks menu is equally varied. 

Café Kor
Photograph: Courtesy Café Kör Restaurant

4. Café Kor

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

Why go? Just around the corner from St Stephen’s Basilica, the popular Café Kor is busy from breakfast through lunch to dinner. Make a reservation or arrive before the evening rush – daily specials are served only until they run out, usually around lunchtime.

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Andrew Nash

5. Borkonyha

What is it? A Michelin-starred restaurant with meat-laden dishes and more than 200 wines.

Why go? This restaurant isn’t just for Michelin glory-hunters – foodies will love the first-class menu, too. Although a trip here won’t be the cheapest meal of your Budapest break, it’s hard not to be impressed by what’s available on the five-course and à la carte lists, whether the lettuce soup with scallops or quail with pearl barley and cranberries. The simple but flavourful desserts aren’t to be missed. 

Mazel Tov
Photograph: Wikimedia Commons / Thaler Tamas

6. Mazel Tov

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

Why go? If dining in a huge open-plan courtyard peppered with plants is your thing, head here. 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. 

Photograph: Courtesy Borbíróság

7. Borbíróság

What is it? An understated restaurant with a select Hungarian menu and more than 100 excellent wines. 

Why go? The rave reviews are well deserved. Opt for the exquisite tuna tartare to start, juicy pork tenderloin as a main, and ambrosial lemon tart for dessert. We suggest you take your meal out on the terrace (you’re welcome). Reservations recommended. 

Photograph: Courtesy Menza

8. Menza

What is it? A kitsch café with a modern menu and a few unusual twists.

Why go? Enjoy contemporary dining in a retro setting. Menza means ‘canteen’ in English, and the hip décor is a nod to the country’s Socialist era. But don’t let that throw you – the food is anything but basic, with highlights including cold strawberry soup, duck leg with ratatouille, and oven-baked kohlrabi stuffed with minced veal.

Divin Porcello
Photograph: Courtesy Divin Porcello

9. Divin Porcello

What is it? An Italian with ambience.

Why go? Stylishly-presented small plates, charcuterie, pasta dishes and cheese boards make this restaurant stand out among the plentiful Italian offerings in the city. Pick at the melt-in-the-mouth arancini to start, and later, prepare to be utterly mesmerised by a hearty portion of duck pasta. Good value and ridiculously moreish. 

Vakvarju E’tterem
Photograph: Courtesy Vakvarju E'tterem

10. Vakvarju E’tterem

What is it? Impeccably blended flavours in a cosy, sophisticated setting in the heart of the city’s trendy Jewish quarter in the 7th District. 

Why go? The seafood dishes are beautifully presented and packed with light, delicate flavours that won’t break the bank. Try the salmon with sweet potato mash or grilled pike with cauliflower risotto. Your tastebuds will thank you for it.

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