Dining
4 deluxe Budapest restaurants offering low-cost lunch specials
Photo : Hartyányi Norbert - We Love Budapest
4 deluxe Budapest restaurants offering low-cost lunch specials

Every weekday, many Budapest eateries offer cheap “napi menü” lunches, which usually include soup, a main course, and dessert or a drink for as little as 850 forints (less than three euros) – but the midday specials of these four fine-dining destinations all provide amazing value for money. At La Perle Noire, Márga, TÁBLA, and ZONA, most of the dishes of their lunch-special menus are also offered on their à la carte menu, providing an affordable way to savor each restaurant’s top-quality cuisine, while the most expensive lunch in this list costs only 3,900 forints (less than 13 euros).

La Perle Noire Márga Budapest TÁBLA by Esca ZONA

La Perle Noire

This restaurant on Andrássy Avenue is not only popular because of its delightful garden: the kitchen of László Koncz elegantly combines Hungarian flavors and ingredients with French gastronomy. This is a truly tasteful union, which already has been recognized by the Michelin Guide and the Gault & Millau guide. About half a year ago they decided, partly due to their downtown location, that they will start offering business lunches, as regular guests were looking for more sophisticated lunch offers that change every week. Before the menu even arrives, they serve a bread selection with luscious French butter – but we have to be careful not to spoil our appetite, because here they serve one of the most abundant lunches of our list. We had the avocado-salmon ceviche for a starter, with crispy salad on the side. Goulash was also on the weekly menu – this course was traditional in its flavors, yet it was innovative. From the three possible main courses, our two favorites were the pork with mustard, grilled eggplant, and braised cabbage, and the swordfish steak with “paprikás krumpli” (traditional potato stew) and cornichon. Although the serving was much simpler than the courses from the à la carte offers, we still received special plates. The chocolate cake served with cognac and cherry sauce was a dessert built around sweet and sour flavors, while the chestnut soufflé with crème fraiche ice cream was a real autumn treat.  

When: on weekdays from noon to 3pm
How much: 2 courses for 2,900 forints, 3 courses for 3,900 forints
Why: for the hearty portions and quality courses
Extras included: bread selection, a glass of lemonade

La Perle Noire Restaurant and Lounge

Márga Budapest

The beloved Márga restaurant of Csopak has arrived to Budapest, which means we no longer have to travel at least an hour to visit this bistro of Lake Balaton. Of course, the panorama is more modest here than the one by the “Hungarian Sea”, but the cuisine is delicious and reliable. During their opening at the end of the summer, they decided to launch a conscious and refined business-lunch offer at their Székely Mihály Street location. Their chef is Ákos Horváth, who previously worked at Onyx, Arany Kaviár, and in the team of Lou Lou. The service is quick and smooth, so this place is very suitable for a classic business lunch. The chicken liver paté with onion and grape confit had a strong flavor; the main course was pearl barley risotto with chicken, forest mushroom, tomatoes, and goat cheese. The peach with rose dessert was a hit with its gorgeous colors, and its taste was divine.  

When: on weekdays from noon to 3pm
How much: 2 courses for 2,850 forints, 3 courses for 3,450 forints
Why: because of the Lake Balaton vibes
Extras included: a glass of homemade-syrup soda or a glass of Szent Donát wine

UPDATE: Closed

TÁBLA by Esca

Gábor Fehér’s Esca in District VII has become a favorite among foodies citywide, and we constantly keep an eye on it. Although they had a lunch offer when they opened, it was replaced by dinners at Esca, so the studio restaurant on Dohány Street wasn’t an option during lunchtime. However, they opened their sister eatery called TÁBLA in September, to continue the popular midday-meal concept. The name, which means “board”, refers to the surface that displays the current lunch courses each day. The interior is cozily Scandinavian as it builds on the white-black-wood trio. During lunchtime, there are three to four appetizers, three main courses, and two desserts to choose from; they change these regularly depending on the ingredients. One of our favorites during our first lunch at TÁBLA was the mackerel paté, but the pumpkin cream soup also impressed us. Their risotto also has a perfect flavor and consistency, and their Thai pork chop is also noteworthy. Everything is great dessert-wise: the ice creams and various pies all taste great at TÁBLA. Their daily offers are usually posted on their Facebook page.  

When: on weekdays from 11:30am to 3pm
How much: 2 courses from 1,200 forints, 3 courses for 3,000 forints
Why: for a youthful atmosphere and exciting flavors

TÁBLA
  • 1074 Budapest, Dohány utca 29.

ZONA

ZONA introduced its “quick lunch” menu during the summer of 2016, which is created by chef Levente Kovács and changes every week. The restaurant on Lánchíd Street calls their lunch offer quick for a reason; their aim is to provide a great experience with dynamic service and abundant courses for those who only have an hourlong lunch break. While the weather is good, guests can have lunch on the terrace, but the atmosphere of ZONA’s interior is always so cosmopolitan that anyone can have a good time while having lunch indoors. There are always two types of appetizers on the menu, as well as soups, and three main courses each week, and of course there are desserts to choose from, too. The red tuna with Japanese salsa and smoked potato was our favorite; from the main courses, we tried the confit duck leg which arrived with orange polenta and pepper sauce, while the chicken breast in cornflakes coating with pesto and cheesy mashed potatoes was delicious. After their chocolate and almond brownie one doesn’t even need coffee, as the chocolate is quite energizing.    

When: on weekdays from noon to 3:30pm
How much: 2 courses for 2,290/2,990 forints, 3 courses for 3,290 forints
Why: for the Hungarian flavors as well as specialties, and they are really quick

ZONA
  • 1013 Budapest, Lánchíd utca 7-9.