One of the grandest cities in Europe, Budapest has opulent buildings at every turn and a romantic vibe on both sides of the sweeping Danube that divides the historic city into Buda and Pest. Besides making a pilgrimage to the Great Market Hall over a century old, a glorious marketplace for local goods such as foie gras, cheese and tokaj wine, gourmands can dine at more Michelin-listed restaurants in the city.
The Hungarian capital now has two additional one-Michelin-starred restaurants, Stand and Babel, which was awarded the honors in this year’s MICHELIN Guide Main Cities of Europe. In its 38th edition, the guide is targeted at business travelers who regularly travel throughout Europe and tourists who wish to discover the continent's most romantic and culturally stimulating cities.
Of the 26 dining establishments from Budapest in the guide, half are contemporary Hungarian restaurants, breathing new life in a cuisine that is known for its heavy flavors and the generous use of paprika and pork fat.
We rounded up our inspectors’ comments on the contemporary restaurants that are making their mark in the burgeoning Budapest dining scene.
What Our Inspectors Say: "In the city's heart is this glitzy restaurant where you sit on gilt chairs, under sparkling chandeliers, surrounded by onyx adornments. Passionate, highly skilled cooking keeps classic Hungarian flavours to the fore but also has interesting modern twists. Dishes are precisely prepared and intensely flavoured."
What Our Inspectors Say: "A stylish, intimate restaurant run with a real passion by the owner and his young team. Cooking is innovative and flavourful: dishes on the Babel Classic menu are informed by the chef's Transylvanian heritage and each has a story to tell, while dishes on the Tasting Menu are more ambitious, with some playful elements."
What Our Inspectors Say: "A bustling wine-orientated restaurant close to the Basilica. The fortnightly menu features well-executed dishes with an elaborate modern style and subtle Hungarian influences. Top ingredients are sourced from the surrounding countries. 48 of the 200 wines are offered by the glass; many are from local producers."
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What Our Inspectors Say: "A sophisticated restaurant with immaculately dressed tables, run by a confident, experienced service team. The talented chef uses modern techniques and a deft touch to produce accomplished, innovative dishes with clear flavours. Most diners choose the four- to seven-course set menus and their interesting wine pairings."
What Our Inspectors Say: "Costes' more relaxed younger sister is set on the ground floor of the Prestige Hotel; ask for one of the booths or a table with a view of the kitchen. Quality produce comes from local suppliers and the creative modern dishes are full of colour, with distinct textures and flavours."
What Our Inspectors Say: "A smart, formal restaurant with contemporary monochrome styling and a kitchen on view behind glass. The cooking is modern, but the unfussy dishes have their heart in the Hungarian classics; the confident kitchen taking a just a handful of top quality ingredients and allowing them to shine."