Photo: © Onyx
Starchy food? Stuffed trotters? Goulash? Let’s set Hungarian culinary stereotypes aside for a moment and take a look at some of the best foodie hotspots in Budapest. Featuring the country’s exquisite indigenous ingredients– from world-famous paprika to mangaslitsa pork and foie gras, Hungary’s natural produce is creating a haven for culinary connoisseurs.
Follow our guide and swoon from the innovative Olimpia Etterem to the baroque Gundel, and back to the Michelin-star Borkonyha. We’re pleased to report that you’re definitely in for a treat – whether goulash is on the menu or not.
Receiving its Michelin star in 2010, Costes is the first restaurant in Hungary to earn this status. Seven years down the line, the restaurant is still as chic and savvy as ever. Its pièce de résistance takes the form of a series of prix fixe menus, which include a range of four to seven-course meals. Up for a treat? Choose the wine pairings, which focus on some remarkable local vintages.
Run by local chef-couple Tamás Széll and Szabina Szulló, Onyx is another of the few Michelin star eateries in the capital. Amid an extravagantly OTT neo-baroque interior, patrons are treated to a delicious selection of locally sourced dishes through its inventive Hungarian Evolution menu. This highlights a creative take on several native dishes and is an exceptional way of being introduced to the country’s fare.
If there was ever a Hungarian word you’d need to know, Borkonyha should probably be it – it means ‘wine kitchen’ after all. Though the French-inspired cuisine is definitely noteworthy, local wine is the star of the show here. With a menu of local bottles stretching to a list of 200, and 48 wines available by the glass, it’s almost a crime not to sample a few.
Located within Budapest’s hipster district VII, Budapest’s Olimpia Etterem serves creative and edgy dishes in line with its current setting. Interestingly however, while the dishes look avant-garde they’re mostly all rooted in the tradition of slow cooking. Creations such as duck gizzards with sauerkraut sauce and raisins, and goat served with a light soy-based sauce, rice and sautéed cabbage, are as stunning in real life as they appear on Instagram.
In terms of style, Vintage Garden lives up to its rustic name. Expect pastel colours, shabby chic furnishing, waiters clad in striped shirts and signature cocktails in mason jars. The restaurant is a living Pinterest page, but we were pleased to find out that its beauty runs way further than skin deep. Treat yourself to one of its French-influenced dishes, or indulge in a spot of high tea.
This eccentric, charming, and family-run bistro is located inside a brick cellar, but don’t let that put you off. Softly lit by candlelight and brought to life by the gentle guidance of its servers, Zeller Bistro serves a rendition of chicken paprikash that we’d bet is second to none in the capital.
Named after Fausto di Vora, its Italian founder, Fausto Ristorante is among one of the most popular restaurants in Budapest. Of course, with a name of that sort it comes as no surprise to learn the influence is predominantly Italian, serving a twist on local favourites such as deer loin served with Jerusalem artichokes and coffee cream, and lamb with fried polenta and black beans.
Receiving its first Michelin accolade a couple of years back, Tanti is the newest addition to the Hungarian dining elite. Unlike the interior of most places typical of Budapest, Tanti enjoys a fusion of lavishly continental yet rustic interiors. Its wide windows and high ceilings make it bright and airy, while its vibrant and attractive menu is definitely one to peruse at leisure.
To many, Gundel represents Budapest’s jewel in the fine dining crown. Originally opening its doors back in 1910, this chic eatery has served diners ranging from Angelina Jolie to the Archduke Otto of Austria. Not much has changed over time, so if you’re looking to experience the royal treatment this is definitely the restaurant for you.
Run by a dynamic father-son duo, Csalogány 26 assumes the guise of a humble bistro at first glance,; but there’s some serious cooking going on in here behind the scenes. Nestled along the steps of the Buda Castle right across the river, this restaurant attracts some of the most discerning diners, even from the Pest side of the city, in search of the ultimate beef cheeks served with picked cucumber and barley risotto.