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A meat dish at Rosenstein
Photograph: Courtesy Rosenstein

The 10 best restaurants in Budapest right now

Carnivores, herbivores and omnivores, rejoice. The best restaurants in Budapest tick all sorts of boxes.

Written by
Georgina Lawton

When you think about a visit to Budapest, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it the increasingly famous nightlife? Possibly. Or maybe the relaxing outdoor spas take precedent in your ideas? The Hungarian capital is known for both, so either would be a more than acceptable answer. You’ll likely leave the city with fond memories of both too, but we’re happy to put a sneaky forint on the delicious food being your favourite takeaway from this marvellous city.

Not that you’re going to want to eat takeaway too much. The best restaurants in Budapest are as likely to tickle the aesthetic tastebuds as much as the literal ones. Eating in Budapest is a joy, be it in a Michelin star stunner or a cheerful vegan bistro. Character and cuisine go hand in hand here, and hungry visitors are the winners. Everything also veers to the more affordable side of the ledger, which is never a bad thing. Egészségére!

Eaten somewhere on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutEatList.

Best restaurants in Budapest

What is it? A spacious glass-roof restaurant that serves 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 in it. 

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 it’s lettuce soup with scallops or quail with pearl barley and cranberries. The simple but flavourful desserts aren’t to be missed. 


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.


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-tos. The founders’ 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.  

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. 


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.

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.


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. 

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, which is usually around lunchtime.

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You’d struggle find somewhere more laid-back – or rather, permissive – than central Budapest. Curfews that feel non-existent, venues popping up in abandoned buildings, drinkers spilling out on to pavements, street food whichever way you turn. It all makes for a fun (and fascinating) city break for families, friends and couples alike.

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