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The 10 best restaurants in Budapest right now

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

Peterjon Cresswell
Written by
Peterjon Cresswell

Budapest has made a name for itself as the home of ruin bars (derelict buildings made into poppin’ clubs), thermal spas and baths, admirable architecture and seriously affordable attractions. But whatever you’re in the Hungarian capital for, don’t sleep on its many and varied offerings for absolutely exquisite cuisine.

Of course, there’s a load of great Hungarian food on offer, from classic gulyás (beef stew) to chicken paprikás with nokedli or rice. Then there’s the lángos, deep fried bread covered with sour cream and cheese, best enjoyed late at night after one too many drinks. But Budapest does a number of cuisines very well, including Turkish, Italian and Portuguese. Ready to eat? Us too. Here’s the best restaurants in Budapest right now. 

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🍻 The best bars in Budapest
🏛️ The best museums in Budapest
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Peterjon Cresswell is a writer based in Budapest. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines

Where to eat in Budapest

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Andrew Nash

1. Borkonyha

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 on Borkonyha'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.

Photograph: Courtesy Rosenstein

2. 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. Rosenstein is Jewish and Hungarian cuisine at its finest – for which you should definitely book. 


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. Essência is Tiago and Éva’s culinary baby, and it earned its own Michelin star in 2021.

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

Mazel Tov
Photograph: Kristijan Dimoski/Shutterstock

4. 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 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. 


5. Gundel

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.

Café Kor
Photograph: @cafekorbudapest/Instagram

6. Café Kor

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.


7. Babel Budapest

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.

Kőleves Vendéglő
Photograph: @koleves_vendeglo/Instagram

8. Kőleves Vendéglő

What is it? A justifiably popular Jewish-Hungarian restaurant, Kőleves Vendéglő sits 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.


9. 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 mains like Bobo's pike-perch and duck leg confit won’t break the bank, nor is this Buda landmark a trek from central Pest.

10. 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.

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