The city of Budapest has long been part of the Michelin Guide collection, but this year the Michelin inspectors are delighted to present the first county-wide Guide to Hungary.
Our inspectors have scoured the country, dining in cosy cellars, inns and farmhouses; on sun-drenched terraces beside turquoise waters; at wineries, overlooking the vines; and high in the hills at sustainable retreats. Their search revealed a wealth of amazing places to eat and, as such, this first country selection recommends 62 restaurants spread across 33 cities, towns and villages. Listed below are the restaurants which received distinctions and awards in this inaugural guide.
2 New Two MICHELIN Stars
Platán Gourmet, Tata
Hidden in the cellars beneath the walls of the castle, Chef István Pesti oversees a small team in this intimate restaurant, where the open kitchen is a feature. Dishes are creative and precise, delivering sophistication through the use of perfectly balanced flavours and textures, and this refinement has been recognised with the award of Two MICHELIN Stars, putting the restaurant firmly on the international culinary map.
The heart of chef-owners Tamás Széll and Szabina Szulló’s elegant restaurant is the glass-fronted kitchen; here they work closely with their team to create attractive dishes that deliver considerable depth and sophistication. The passion and respect they show for their Hungarian heritage is infused into every dish and the result is skilfully and sympathetically balanced dishes that, whilst modern, display the wonderful traditional tastes and textures of Hungarian cuisine.
7 One MICHELIN Stars – 2 New
42, Esztergom – New Star
Ádám Barna made the move from restaurant St Andrea in Budapest to this town in the north of the country, and has already made quite a name for himself. A townhouse with a modern makeover provides the backdrop, and diners can choose between two tasting menus that combine tradition with modernity. Ádám’s respect for Hungary’s roots is revealed in dishes that are creative, sophisticated and sometimes playful, but always full of flavour.
Rumour, Budapest – New Star
Having secured his first MICHELIN Star as Head Chef at Taian Table in Shanghai, Jenő Rácz had a desire to return home to Hungary and open his own restaurant. The setting, a counter wrapped around an open kitchen, allows diners to appreciate the calm and assured passion this chef demonstrates. Here the 11 course tasting menu of creative, modern dishes demonstrates sophistication and balance.
Babel represents the perfect blend of tradition and modernity. Its walls still show marks from the 1838 Great Flood of Pest, yet it’s also a chic, stylish place thanks to passionate owner Hubert Hlatky-Schlihter. Cooking follows in a similar vein: the multi-course tasting menu comprises refined, delicate modern dishes with subtle, carefully balanced flavours, which at the same time exhibit references to their Hungarian heritage.
Borkonyha Winekitchen, Budapest
This unassuming-looking restaurant sits not far from the Basilica, and while its traditional dining room may not promise all that much, to pass it by would be a mistake. The kitchen here sources top-class ingredients, treats them with the utmost respect and allows them to shine. Subtle Hungarian influences run throughout dishes which are well-conceived and skilfully executed, and have a notable intensity of flavour. Wines are key here too: they offer 100 labels, including around a quarter by the glass.
Elegance and sophistication lead the way at Costes, from the smart décor to the well-orchestrated service. Ask for a seat to the front of the main room for a feeling of space, then enjoy the eager anticipation as the sommelier presents an exceptional, mostly Hungarian wine selection. The modern six-course tasting menu skilfully combines flavours from around the globe to create memorable dishes which not only look stunning with their bright colours and artistic style, but are packed with vibrant, complementary flavours.
Portuguese chef-owner Tiago and his Hungarian wife Éva have created a warmly run and deliciously different restaurant in the heart of the city. A small, bright front room with arched windows leads past the prized tables by the open kitchen to a more intimate room where patches of blue and white tiling remind you of Tiago’s heritage. Choose either the Portuguese or the Hungarian menu, or a tasting menu which combines the two – literally the best of both worlds. Dishes are poised and elegant, and Tiago has a deft touch when it comes to seasoning and balance.
Within a boutique hotel sits this small, sophisticated restaurant, whose open kitchen forms an integral part of the stylishly lit room. Shelves are full of jars containing colourful preserved foraged fruits, vegetables and herbs, and the butter, lardo and Mangalitsa ham are all produced in-house. The surprise set menu is made up of intricate, exquisitely constructed dishes – many of which are updated versions of classic Hungarian recipes – and tables all face the wooden-clad ‘pass’, where the chefs assemble the dishes with skill and dexterity.
6 Good Value MICHELIN Bib Gourmands
The Bib Gourmand distinction highlights great quality cooking at a great price.
Anyukám Mondta, Encs
Casa Christa, Balatonszőlős
4 MICHELIN Green Stars
Green Stars identify restaurants at the forefront of the industry when it comes to their practices regarding sustainable gastronomy. Their initiatives could include: sourcing home-grown and local produce; performing their daily activities in a manner which reduces their carbon footprint; the use of clean energies, such as solar; or the sourcing of regional textiles and locally crafted ceramics for use in the restaurant. This year's recipients are:
Graefl Major Kétútköz, Poroszló
Onyx Mühely, Budapest
3 Special Awards
While the MICHELIN Guide’s culinary distinctions are awarded to a restaurant as a whole, the MICHELIN Special Awards are given to outstanding individuals who, thanks to their infinite passion and considerable skills, can make a restaurant experience unforgettable.
This year's winners are:
Welcome and Service Award – Flóra and Ferenc Kvasznicza (at restaurant Pajta in Őriszentpéter), who impressed the MICHELIN Guide inspectors with their genuine warmth and their ability to anticipate guests’ needs.
Sommelier Award – Tamás Langó (at restaurant Clarisse within the BOTANIQ Castle in Tura), for his infectious enthusiasm for his carefully selected wine pairings, which are hard to resist and in perfect harmony with the seasonal menu.
Young Chef Award – János Mizsei (at restaurant Mák in Budapest), for his ability to create balanced, flavourful, original dishes, which come with a subtle sophistication.