With the right background, we can swing any promising date or potential business partner toward a favorable point of view. Now that Budapest is enveloped by nice summer weather, we visited restaurants with the most beautiful vistas over our favorite city, and while stylistic splendor and a nice panorama do not necessarily guarantee good service and high quality (sometimes despite high prices), we recommend all of these lookout locales for a variety of occasions.
As one of Budapest's postcard superstars, Fishermen's Bastion on Castle Hill is admired by virtually every Budapest visitor, but not everyone realizes that this is also a popular restaurant. Named Halászbástya ("Fishermen's Bastion" in Hungarian), this elegant eatery boasts incredible views over all of downtown and beyond, while the structure's grand arches almost beg us to eat here. From the tiny upstairs balcony reached by climbing a narrow spiral staircase, we see every prominent building of the Pest cityscape, some of which are much more beautiful when illuminated in the evening. The kitchen features innovative Hungarian flavors, perfectly fitting the historic ambience. Traditional regional dishes are created in accordance with expectations of modern cuisine, all served with fine-dining style. We ordered goat cheese polenta soufflé in raspberry-vinegar beetroot soup with English celery (2,860 HUF), ricotta-flavored potato dumplings (2,860 HUF), butter-fried sea bass with grilled shrimp and homemade noodles (6,500 HUF), the duck selection (5,460 HUF), and a cup of Somlói cream (2,340 HUF) for dessert.
This pleasure ship anchored near the Danube Promenade is famous for its excellent cuisine and unrivalled views. The experience is ensured by the sleek interior and deck tables, providing stunning perspectives over Castle Hill and the Chain Bridge while eating. The atmosphere is best in the evening after floodlights shine across the surrounding landmarks.
Spoon's food only enhances the romantic experience: the cuisine here is prepared with an international fusion style. We tasted a bitter-lettuce salad with mango and coconut (2,190 HUF) and the grilled king prawn with chili-seasoned pineapple and coconut jelly (5,890 HUF). Before ordering, we were given piping-hot ciabattas with balsamic vinegar, which really put us in the mood to eat.
An interesting fact about the boat is that it is absolutely inoperable under its own power – the kitchen occupies one of the former engine rooms, so it can only be moved with the help of a towboat.
Newly declared as the world's third-best hotel by Travel + Leisure magazine, the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace glitters at the Pest side of the Chain Bridge. This spectacularly restored Art Nouveau landmark earns its reputation not only because of the building's impressive architecture, but also because of its premier location. Many guest rooms here offer excellent views over the Danube riverscape and Castle Hill, although the views are somewhat obstructed from the Gresham restaurant on the ground floor. Nonetheless, between the eatery's stylishly graceful interior design and a waitstaff that pays attention to every guest, this is still a preeminent site for culinary delight. Italian chef Leonardo Di Clemente mixes classic Hungarian flavors with fresh gastronomical trends, and loves to combine local traditions with Mediterranean tastes. We visited for Steak Night, which consists of an appetizer, a 250g rib eye, and a cake of our choice, all for 9,500 HUF.
Budapest's Hotel President is famous for its unique luxury amenities, including a bulletproof suite and a helicopter-landing site on the rooftop. During summer months, the latter feature serves as the setting for an open-air restaurant mostly used for events, romantic dinners, receptions, galas, and weddings. From this city-center vantage point, the Parliament, Basilica, Citadel, and Royal Palace all provide breathtaking background scenery, instantly transforming any visit here into a special occasion – especially at sunset.
The kitchen's style focuses on Hungarian and international gastronomy, but we soon discover that our wallets are slimmed down here primarily for the visual experience (an appetizer costs about 4,000 HUF, a salad goes for 4,500 HUF, and main dishes are priced between 4,000-10,000 HUF). However, the views from here are priceless, as watching the sun descend behind the Parliament's dome enriches our memories considerably.
L'Occhio di Stile ("The Eye of Style" in Italian) is on the fourth floor of the Andrássy Avenue luxury emporium, il Bacio di Stile. Through huge picture windows we admire the panorama of rooftops around the Basilica while lounging amid an environment that, while upscale, presents a rather laid-back atmosphere. The restaurant's chef, Fernando Trump (who moved to Budapest after working at the eatery on top of the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai), features elements of French and Southeast-Asian flavors in his dishes, and makes everything from the highest-quality ingredients, all infused with an essence of modern European cuisine.
L'Occhio di Stile Lounge & Restaurant (closed)
Address: 1061 Budapest, 19 Andrássy Street
The terrace of Locavore is located on the roof of Buda's Oxygen Wellness Center, with a superb view over Gellért Hill and Erzsébet Bridge. From the beginning of July, it also functions as a temporary barbeque terrace, which makes the place perfect for family events or a romantic date amid a green environment. Here hospitality happens in the spirit of health, and the restaurant strives to use ingredients produced by local farmers, thus they completely rethink traditional Hungarian cuisine. We tried a creamy raspberry soup, duck breast with beetroot and grilled bok choy as a main dish, and a vanilla panna cotta for dessert. Despite devouring plenty of food, somehow we felt that we remain in the spirit of being at a gym, because no matter how much we ate, we did not experience any uncomfortable feeling of fullness.
Address: 1016 Budapest, Naphegy Street 67.
At the peak of Hármashatár Hill, Udvarház Restaurant has incredible potential. The eatery's location could not be better: from up here we can see the whole city; the terrace and the inn have a countryside atmosphere, but the restaurant itself feels a bit neglected and the service is not the best, either. However the food is all right, even though the quality ranks nowhere near fine dining, but this is compensated with large portion sizes. We ate Transylvanian eggplant cream with roasted pita bread (1,990 HUF), followed by venison with bread dumplings (4,690 HUF) and paprika-flavored catfish with garlic noodles (3,690 HUF). We undoubtedly left with a full stomach.
Address: Buda III, Hármashatárhegyi Street 2.
Opening hours: Monday - Friday, 12:00 - 23-00
The city's most charming restaurant is definitely Robinson, in operation since 1989 and surrounded by City Park Lake, ducks landing on the water, Heroes' Square, and Vajdahunyad Castle, combining to create the most romantic and intimate atmosphere in the city – especially after the floodlights are turned on. The menu is Hungarian and international, while the staff obviously has years of catering experience. The restaurant's upper level puts even the coolest foreign places to shame with its unique design and open kitchen centred by a new Josper oven. This is the kind of place where we could sit around for hours with one or two glasses of wine after dinner.