The best bistros are multifaceted venues putting great emphasis on multiple factors, and offer much more than drinks and dishes. The interiors of these spots are in harmony with the gastronomical philosophy they aim to express through various flavors. To save you some time and extended minutes of googling, we serve the best bistros of downtown Budapest on a silver platter. Read on, then choose as you will!
Pesti Disznó (Closed)
Pesti Disznó, situated in Nagymező utca (a.k.a. the Broadway of Pest), a lively street filled with theatres, bars, and clubs, serves mouth-watering Hungarian dishes in small, tapas-sized portions. Pesti Disznó can be regarded as the little brother of Bock Bisztró Pest and Bock Bisztró Buda, since chitterlings and meat-centric dishes play a major role on the menu. The kitchen is orchestrated by a renowned chef, Tamás Bereznay, who regularly stars in TV shows and publishes in magazines. Wines, beers, and pálinkas are aplenty, so, all in all, Pesti Disznó is a great spot to get acquainted with contemporary Hungarian gastronomy.
Kispiac Bisztró, located in the vicinity of Szabadság tér, offers traditional Hungarian dishes, homemade jams, freshly-baked pastries, pickles, vegetables, and all sorts of meat delicacies. Since Kispiac is the proud neighbour of Hold utca’s market hall, the source of fresh ingredients is literally right next door. Daily offers are absent from the menu, which, nevertheless, is rather diverse, and is characterized by wallet-friendly prices. The interior resembles your grandma’s dining room, so you’ll certainly feel at home.
Borssó, situated in a frequented area of downtown Budapest, a stone’s throw away from Károlyi-kert (Károlyi Garden), and cafés such as, say, Csendes, offers fusion dishes built on the foundations of Hungarian and French cuisine. The vintage, wood-dominated interior holds no surprises, though it is undoubtedly elegant, and, paired with the modernized dishes, creates a paradoxical vibe.
Mák Bistro, located within walking distance of both the Danube Promenade and Lánchíd (Chain Bridge), is pillared by pure brick walls, wooden furniture, and the concept of bistrot gastronomique. The knowledgeable crew aims to popularize high-end gastronomy by neglecting needless fancying and preferring an open-minded, creative attitude. The innovative menu is mainly built on Hungarian and Austro-Hungarian cuisine, although French and other international flavors are also noticeable. Mák is one of the most popular restaurants in Budapest, thus reserving a table is highly recommended!
Klassz Étterem és Borbolt (Closed)
Klassz Étterem és Borbolt (Klassz Restaurant and Wine Store), a renowned wine bar and restaurant situated on Andrássy út (Andrássy Avenue), offers approximately 50 types of wine you can taste on-site, or take home by the bottle. The interior is youthful and rich in patterns, while the arrangement of space might feel a bit crowded for the first look, but that's on purpose, and conjures a homely atmosphere and a bistro-vibe. Dishes come from various cuisines, and are addictively delicious, while the service is confusingly fast. All in all, Klassz is one of the best and least snobby restaurants in Budapest.
L’Enoteca has a number of tricks up in its sleeve to attract wine-enthusiasts and those with a knack for Mediterranean dishes. On one hand, it has a wine selection of 300 bottles from all over the globe, on the other hand, it’s interior and vibe resemble an Italian wine tavern, and so do the dishes. If that’s still not enough to pull you in, L’Enoteca is located on the Danube Bank, and opens a panorama on the Citadella (The Citadel).
Bock Bisztró (Closed)
Bock Bisztró, housed by one of the most elegant hotels of Budapest, Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal, and named after a renowned vintner, offers traditional Hungarian dishes with a slight contemporary twist. Bock’s vibe and interior hardly harmonize with the hotel’s high-class atmosphere, and is rather homely and dining room-like with its wooden chairs and wine-filled shelves. The menu consists of rustic Hungarian dishes, is determined by seasonalities, and is orchestrated by a masterful chef, Lajos Bíró.