Budapest for the Hungry
On the hunt for Magyar flavours? Look no further - we've gathered the best traditional restaurants in town for you. First up: Bock Bistro, the creation of an award-winning chef and a celebrated sommelier. The bistro was awarded the "Bib Gourmand" qualification by Michelin Guide and is among the favourites of foreigners searching for Hungarian flavours and an impressive offer of great wines. Museum Café and Restaurant is located next to the National Museum, where the most important events of 19th century Hungarian history have taken place. And historic is the keyword when it comes to the restaurant itself, as it has been the place for elegant dining Magyar-style since 1885. Before you lose yourself in the menu, make sure you check out the marvellous fresco of Károly Lotz and the beautiful tiles by world-famous Zsolnay tile manufacture. In the evening, the softly tinkling piano provides for a really relaxed atmosphere. Set in an 18th-century inn literally at the foot of Castle Hill, the over 300 year-old Aranyszarvas, or ‘Golden Stag' is particularly strong in game dishes. If you're strolling round the castle area, make sure not to miss Alabárdos, as it's one of the best restaurants in the city for getting a taste of Hungarian gastronomy. The location's exceptional (it's just in front of Matthias Church), the vibe is elegant with a historic interior and the menu is based on the broader traditions of Hungarian gastronomy with the aim to re-establish some forgotten flavours. The so-called Hundred Year Old Restaurant is not really 100 years old – it's much older. The restaurant was the very first to open in Budapest in 1831 in a tiny Baroque palace and hasn't changed much since. Enjoy a hearty Hungarian dinner at candle light accompanied by some fiery Gypsy music. Mátyás Pince is located on the ground floor of a beautiful house built by the Dreher brewery and offers good old-fashioned Hungarian cuisine side by side some contemporary creations. For breathtaking panorama, head to Icon located in Hotel Hilton up in the castle of Buda – the whole city will lie at your feet. If you'd rather stay close to the majestic Danube, stroll along the river bank where there are some great restaurants.
If you'd like to take a break from Hungarian flavours and navigate onto international waters, you'll have plenty to choose from as well. Luxurious Costes is aspiring to be best in town – and indeed, it was the first to gain a much-desired Michelin-star in 2010.. Runner-up in the best restaurant in town-category is Onyx, another Michelin-starred restaurant - the dishes effortlessly bridging traditional Hungarian flavours with contemporary international culinary techniques will leave you utterly satisfied.
It's not all fancy eating out in Budapest though, as you might have guessed. Home restaurants have mushroomed all over the city over the past years, pleasing those who like their dining experience to be a bit more personal. Family pictures on the walls, antique wooden furniture and the lace cover on the coffee table will make you feel like at your grandparents' house at Repeta - expect delicious food made of seasonal and fresh ingredients here. KitchenArt is the place to go for those into exclusive dining – chef József Bernáth comes home from London's Robouchon (proud holder of the most Michelin-stars in the world) about four times a year for 2-3 days to give a taste of the latest tricks he learned abroad.