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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Since opening in 2014, this airy eatery in Elizabeth Square has been a go-to spot for serious foodies. Located in the Design Terminal (a former bus station turned state agency that fosters Hungarian creative industries), the spacious restaurant features streamlined, modern décor and floor-to-ceiling windows. The focus here is decidedly on the cooking, which ranges from comfort dishes like saffron risotto and mascarpone pasta to delicate cuisine like king crab piri piri and rosé duck with quinoa and pomegranate.