Food at 21, Budapest, Hungary


Located in the hills of Buda, 21 serves upscale Hungarian cuisine. Adding gourmet flair to traditional specialties like goulash and chicken paprikash, the chef also creates delicious international dishes featuring duck, catfish and roasted foie gras. The restaurant boasts a long list of mostly local wines, and the servers are friendly and well trained. As a sign of its true authenticity, you will find very few tourists here.

Juice at 360 Bar, Budapest, Hungary

360 Bar

Rooftop bars are having a serious moment in Budapest—one that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. The city’s highest is located on the top floor of Paris Department Store, on the upscale fashion street Andrássy Avenue. The striking venue offers panoramic city views and an unrivaled atmosphere for a sunset aperitif.

BABEL Restaurant

The chef at Babel, Istvan Veres, draws on his Hungarian and Transylvanian roots in his cooking at this Budapest restaurant.
DInning Area at Bagolyvár, Budapest, Hungary


While Bagolyvar is owned by the folks behind Gundel, one of Budapest’s most sophisticated restaurants, it offers a cozier dining experience with significantly lower prices. Located in a beautiful manor house right next to its sister eatery, Bagolyvar serves upscale Hungarian cuisine that is comparable to that at Gundel. And its location in the serene City Park is delightful.

Book Café

This stunning café is worth visiting just to take in the opulent dining room. Located in a historic Art Nouveau and Neoclassical building on the Andrassy Ut, Book Café occupies the second floor of the Alexandra bookstore. It’s great for a coffee and cake, but is most famous for its amazingly high ceiling—an artistic masterpiece by Karolu Lotz and Arpad Feszty. Lotz was also responsible for the ceiling in the entrance hall of the Hungarian State Opera House, and the two are almost identical.

Food at Café Kör, Budapest, Hungary

Café Kör

Be sure to make a reservation at this intimate bistro near St. Stephen’s Basilica. The local favorite, which features a small dining room with a vaulted ceiling, faded peach-pink walls and wrought-iron tables, fills up fast, especially during lunch. The Hungarian-international menu runs the gamut from salads and omelets to heartier fare like beef tenderloin goulash and grilled goose liver served with roasted apples. There’s also a long list of daily specials and calorie-rich desserts, like the traditional gulácsi, a messy, delicious crêpe-like treat that’s stuffed with plum jam and served with whipped cream and poppy seeds. It’s an amiable atmosphere, with a nice mix of locals and visitors, and the food is consistently good.

Editors' Picks
Outdoor Lounge at Café Pierrot, Budapest, Hungary

Café Pierrot

If you’re touring Castle Hill, be sure to stop by this local favorite for lunch. Set in a landmark building that dates from the 13th century, Pierrot opened in 1982 as a coffeehouse, but has since morphed into a fine restaurant. Banquette seating lines walls adorned by Pierrot drawings, large mirrors and contemporary art. The menu offers an elegant mix of modern European and Hungarian dishes, such as grilled goose liver. Some bemoan that the restaurant has become too touristy, but it still draws both well-heeled locals and visitors, and the food is terrific.

Dinning Area at Callas, Budapest, Hungary


This Art Deco bar and café near the State Opera is transportive, thanks to a great design and Parisian ambiance. The bistro, located on the lovely Andrássy Boulevard, features a huge terrace that practically overflows onto the steps of the Opera. It is a classic spot ideal for coffee and a light bite, and during dinner there is live salon music.

Central Café

This expansive coffeehouse hails from the height of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (it opened in 1887, and to this day the menu features a selection of Viennese coffee drinks). After closing in 1949, the Café Central was bought in 1997 by a local businessman, and the restored main dining room, with its soaring ceiling, large windows, parquet floors and Art Deco–inspired lamps, reopened in 2000. Located in Downtown Pest, near the Central Market Hall and adjacent to the Ernst Galéri, the Café Central is a great place for coffee, hot chocolate or tea, accompanied by rich Hungarian pastries, of course. The service can be spotty, but it’s undoubtedly a classic.

Food at Cyrano, Budapest, Hungary


Serving delicious French and international dishes, Cyrano is the ideal spot to stop for lunch while traversing Budapest’s shopping streets. In warm weather, the outdoor terrace is prime people-watching real estate. The international wine selection is also very good.


The book-lined walls of this café/bistro/wine bar create a homey atmosphere where visitors can stop to warm up while walking around the Buda part of the city. Channel the great writers of the historic city and bring your laptop—the café offers free wifi and electrical plugs under every table.

Duran Szendvics

This sliver of a sandwich takeout shop near St. Stephen’s Basilica is a Budapest institution. You pick from a variety of open-faced canapés, including egg salad, ham and Brie, pickled herring and pepperoni topped with gherkins, that are lined up in the shop window and sell out daily. Pick up a selection and walk to the Danube or to the square in front of St. Stephen’s for a picnic.

Dinning Area at Gerbeaud, Budapest, Hungary - Courtesy Gerbeaud Gasztronomia


Founded in 1858, Budapest’s most famous coffeehouse sits on pretty Vörösmarty Square, and though it draws tourists, it’s worth a visit if only to sit in the beautifully restored 19th-century space and enjoy a coffee. The most popular pastry here is the Gerbeaud beigli, a rolled pastry stuffed with poppy seeds or walnuts. There’s also a to-go cart out front for those who want to eat in the park or grab a bite while shopping.

Gerlóczy Cafe

I stumbled upon Gerlóczy Káveház by chance—in a desperate attempt to find an open restaurant around Váci Utca on a Sunday—and ended up returning twice in the course of my weeklong trip. Located on the ground floor of a residential building on leafy Kamermayer Square, the restaurant serves delicious Hungarian-French fare, including daily specials that are fresh and simply prepared. After returning home, I learned that Gerlóczy was featured in the Steven Spielberg film Munich, so it’s not a totally undiscovered find, but I barely heard a word of English spoken here; instead, the place drew a mix of local families, couples and groups of friends.

Editors' Picks
Dinning Area at GOAMAMA Coffee, Budapest, Hungary


This small café in the Jewish Quarter serves decadent pastries and a small lunch menu, making it a good place to stop if you’re craving non-Hungarian dishes or something sweet. There are a couple gourmet treats—a chocolate risotto kit and various jams—available for purchase that make great hostess gifts. The little café is attached to a home décor store, GOAMAMA, which is worth perusing after eating.

Bar at Gresham Bar, Budapest, Hungary

Gresham Bar

If you’re sightseeing in the neighborhood (St. Stephen’s Basilica is nearby), stop by the Four Seasons bar in the Peacock Passage for a cocktail. The surroundings make the somewhat hefty bill bearable: the lounge’s velvet-clad seating areas, under a magnificent glass cupola, feature Zsolnay tile-covered walls and lead to wrought-iron gates depicting peacocks, a popular Secession-style motif.

Exterior View - Gundel, Budapest, Hungary


Budapest’s most famous restaurant is a bit touristy, but definitely worth a visit. The fine-dining spot occupies a picturesque spot in City Park, and the food and service is reliably excellent. A less expensive offshoot, Bagolyvár, is next door.

Aerial View - Halászbástya, Budapest, Hungary


With fantastic views of Budapest, Halászbástya offers an unforgettable dining experience and is the perfect spot for a special occasion, whether it’s a romantic dinner for two or a birthday party for dozens. The restaurant has multiple dining rooms and terraces, including the Danube Terrace, where guests can enjoy gypsy music during the spring, summer and autumn, and the Margareta Terrace, which offers panoramic views of Pest. The menu mixes traditional flavors with modern techniques, and changes regularly to incorporate seasonal items. The sizable wine list includes bottles from different Hungarian wine regions.

Dinning Area at Innio, Budapest, Hungary


Steps from St. Stephen’s Basilica lies this casual wine bar, perfect for a low-key evening with spectacular vintages and tasty tapas (each night’s menu also offers two entrée-sized options). All bites, like truffled potato mousse and paprika sausage, come with a recommended beverage from the lengthy list of international wines. While the patio is the preferred seating for a summer evening, the dining room is also chic with vaulted brick ceilings, modern light fixtures and cowhide barstools.

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Lobby Café & Bar

The Hilton, one of few hotels in the Castle Hill district, has a lovely bar with floor-to-ceiling windows. It offers breathtaking views of Pest as well as the well-preserved remains of a medieval Dominican churchyard that the hotel kept intact. It’s one of those unexpected sights where the layers of Budapest’s history unfold right in front of your eyes.

Macesz Huszár

From lamb goulash and goat cheese-spinach soufflé to its roast goose platter for two and a beef-laden bowl of mouth-watering matzo ball soup, Macesz Huszár fires on all cylinders. Despite the mostly traditional menu and white-lace tablecloths, international inspiration comes through in the duck with latkes and spicy plum sauce, and décor is subtly inventive (the chandeliers are decorated with stacked teacups). The Jewish-Hungarian restaurant, which serves dishes based on recipes from the chef’s grandmother, is charming and friendly, making it a staple on the Budapest dining scene.

MáK Restaurant

Touted as one of the best restaurants in Budapest, Mák serves a sophisticated degustation menu but in a rustic, relaxed setting.
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Young, fun and inexpensive, Menza is right on buzzing Liszt Ferenc Tér and draws a 20- and 30-something clientele with its modern and traditional Hungarian fare. It has two levels (for a quieter dining experience, ask to be seated on the mezzanine) and a 1960s design with black-and-white floral wallpaper, high ceilings, an entirely ivy-laden wall and a retro bar. Skip international fare in favor of Austro-Hungarian specialties, like Wiener schnitzel, homemade goulash and stuffed cabbage (töltött káposzta).

Dinning area at Múzeum Café & Restaurant, Budapest, Hungary

Múzeum Café & Restaurant

For authentic Hungarian food, try this local favorite, which is near the Hungarian National Museum. Meals are served in a dining room with a gorgeous frescoed ceiling.

New York Café

One of the city’s most famous coffeehouses, the New York Café was the preferred meeting place for intellectuals and artists in the early 1900s. Closed on and off since World War II, it was reopened for good in 2006. It’s an awesome, soaring space that looks like a cross between a Baroque church and a Viennese Käffeehaus, with pastel-colored ceiling frescoes, gilt-framed balconies, sculpted putti and red velvet fauteuils. While it is a bit touristy, the café has a nice selection of teas and coffees as well as homemade cakes and pastries.

Ambience : Onyx Restaurant, Budapest, Hungary - Photo Courtsey : Gerbeaud Gasztronomia

Onyx Restaurant

The atmosphere and food are both neo-Baroque at this Michelin-starred Hungarian restaurant. The “Hungarian Evolution Menu” showcases seasonal, local ingredients prepared in a traditional style with contemporary twists. The chic black, white and yellow interior is cozy and refined and the excellent service has resulted in Onyx being named the best restaurant in Hungary. Be sure to also check out Gerbeaud patisserie and coffee shop, located in the same building.

Rosenstein Vendéglö

Locals adore this venerable restaurant, on an unassuming street near Keleti Palyaudvar train station. It’s a bit out of the way, but the hearty, traditional Jewish-Hungarian fare is spot-on.


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