No diet is a good-enough reason to resist the gastronomic pleasures the holiday season brings. This is the time of the year when it is okay to succumb to seasonal treats, and it is even better when they come in the form of a three-course meal. Preferably at a fancy restaurant, just to add to the festive vibes. If you are on holiday in Budapest, we might not need to urge you to treat yourself to a lovely dinner. But if you live and work here, this is your sign to slow down and book a table. We have some fantastic recommendations for those who are open to gastronomic experiences and want to enjoy a hearty meal with friends and loved ones. And don't mind a romantic setting.
Párisi Passage Café & Brasserie
No comment needed: we can't think of a more impressive interior than the magnificent Párisi Udvar, where you can spend an entire tea party or a dinner in celebration, courtesy of the Párisi Passage Café & Brasserie. In the menu, designed for cosy December days, you will have traditional flavours (such as fisherman's soup from Baja and stuffed cabbage rolls) alongside the novelties (such as salmon jalousie). If you'd only prefer a sweet treat, settle down for a hot chocolate, mulled wine or a Festive Afternoon Tea (coming with zserbó cake and gingerbread). It takes some serious self-discipline to stop yourself from constantly gazing in the dome's direction, but it's safe to say that the dishes are also sublime.
Stand25 Bisztró has been around since 2017. Szabina Szulló and Tamás Széll received great reviews for their goulash soup, potato casserole, and sponge cake 'Somlói' style, and have kept that standard ever since. You can have well-known Hungarian and international classics (such as French onion soup or cordon bleu) in top quality. We are introduced to their interpretation of excellent bistro gastronomy, and their impeccable versions of traditional dishes. A must-try.
In the most diligent cellar room of the inner 7th district, the work in Ádám Mede's kitchen is not only precise but also soaringly creative. One tends to throw around the unkept promise that a fine dining restaurant should be casual, but at Laurel, you won't need to worry about seeing a cloche (a metal cover placed over food during serving) or white gloves, they have a different approach to elegance – served in a dish or a wine pairing. There's a selection of vegan and meat-tasting menus, and for Christmas, you can even give a carefully assembled gourmet box of Laurel experiences, accompanied by some ready-to-eat delicacies.
SHO restaurant, bar & cafe
SHO restaurant, bar & café is just taking its first steps at BudaPart, but it's worth paying attention to it. The bright, airy interior, rich in natural materials switches to a more intimate atmosphere in the evening. At SHO, you'll be served exquisite dishes dreamed up by Krisztián Huszár in his own unique and truly memorable way. They have excellent cuisine that goes against trends, and their flavours are unforgettable, especially if you prefer a more progressive style. The fine bistro character guarantees that you'll be full, there are no small plates. (x)
There's not a lot of media hype around Caviar&Bull, even though the restaurant, which has been operating since 2017, is a favourite among style-conscious foreigners and locals too. Those who decide to entrust themselves and their dinner partners to chef György Tivadar and restaurant manager Tamás Hegedűs, won't be disappointed. Regarding the menu, you might have already guessed that the focus is on the caviar and steak selection. In addition to the degustation menus, which are labelled contemporary and cosmopolitan, the restaurant also offers à la carte. The dishes are made from premium ingredients and are tastefully presented, often paired with a matching drink. Pick the Tokaji Mangalica Pork or the iconic Lobster Popcorn as companions for a laid-back but elegant evening. The service is top-notch too, and the waiters will happily give you recommendations.
The teamwork at the Michelin-starred SALT Budapest results in huge success every night, and guests love to watch the spirit of the restaurant and the workshop work that goes on in the dining area. Szilárd Tóth is a real magician, creating memories for life. Whether it's a smoky taste, an unprecedented texture, an herbal touch, or a homely aroma. The restaurant also has a special offer that includes dinner, a night in the boutique hotel above, and breakfast at SOLID on the rooftop.
The Bobo Restaurant at Haris Park is much more than an ideal garden and wedding venue, as the former neo-Renaissance building of the Member’s Gun Club of Budapest has been transformed into a lavish, stylish space for intimate, bourgeois lunches and dinners. And attention, Sissi fans: the Austro-Hungarian empress also held a ball in the building of Bobo. Their Christmas menu draws on modern fantasies alongside the classics (for example: catfish soup with offal, cabbage casserole from Cluj, duck breast with hazelnut gnocchi, and clove-ginger jus). If you arrive by car, which you can park in the private parking lot, you can choose from Bobo’s non-alcoholic cocktail line. If you do decide to have a cocktail, we recommend Haris Gin as a base, which can also be bought as a souvenir in a gift box.
For more than 30 years, Árpád László and the Robinson in the City Park have been proving that every city needs a waterfront restaurant that is surrounded by parkland yet remains urban. They've seen many eras, trends come and go, but the enthusiasm, the good quality, and the legend in Budapesters' minds that this place is classy and fit for all occasions has remained eternal. We can't complain about the view, the recently modernised restaurant space is cosy enough, and the Robinson has also always been at the forefront of lighting, so festive vibes are guaranteed. Their Hungarian classics are decently prepared, but their "big meats" and steaks prepared in a Josper are also worth trying.
You couldn't ask for a better panorama: the view of the Aranybástya (Golden Bastion) changes from season to season, just as Budapest changes its face. It's an experience in itself to sit in a restaurant with such a favourable view, let alone pick it for a quiet dinner in the Advent rush or for a relaxing day during the holidays. Master Chef Zsolt Papdi draws on both international inspirations and local ingredients. His personal favourite from the current selection is the beef cheeks with red wine and potato dumplings. The acidity of the dish is provided by Moroccan salted lemon and tarragon, and it's accompanied by a side of parsley root mash. Pastry chef Péter László also follows the transnational creed: he adds his own Paris-Brest for the feast, where the creamy nuttiness of the burnt dough is refreshed by mint lemon sorbet. (x)
Whether you're here for brunch, lunch, or dinner, Déryné in Buda will soon get you in the festive mood. There's no shortage of decor and the smell of pastries, but luckily no Mariah Carey filling the air. The restaurant, always elegant and renowned for its outstanding service, guarantees your satisfaction, and the staff is genuinely curious about your opinion. There are plenty of international touches to please everyone (without crossing over into Hungarian, but also avoiding the Asian trend). At the moment, you can order octopus salad, Mykonos lamb ragout, lobster spaghetti, or classy steaks if you decide to spend your long-awaited evening there.
Prime Steak & Wine
There aren't many steakhouses in Budapest, but the ten-year-old Prime on Sas Street, however, has never wavered, never deviated from the path of premium meat, and never changed its concepts. Its glamorous interior and succulent meats are prestigious, but at least for a few hours, they transport you to a world where meat reigns. You can try Australian wagyu, but they also have the best of South America's exquisitely delicious beef. If on a special occasion, you've chosen the premium Tomahawk beef cutlet with a "handle", you'll be dazzled. Prime follows a special serving style, which alone makes it worth a visit.
A legend in Budapest, a must-see if you're a fan of Japanese cuisine and sushi. Trust the celebrities, who are also enthusiastic about the NOBUs. The restaurant chain is present everywhere except the Australian mainland and South America, with 50 establishments at present. We are fortunate to have the luxury brand's excellent Japanese cuisine available here, as well as some of the so-called Nikkei cuisine (a Peruvian-Japanese fusion).