Dining
Luxurious lunch menus at Budapest’s high-end restaurants
Photo : Balkányi László / We Love Budapest
Luxurious lunch menus at Budapest's high-end restaurants

Well-priced daily lunch specials, known in Hungarian as the “napi menü”, are increasingly popular in Budapest – and not just among bistros, street food vendors and pubs. Now, many of Budapest’s more expensive, high-end restaurants await guests not only with à la carte options but also with a lunch menu. These special meals make fine-dining more accessible but also mean a celebration can be enjoyed during the busy working week. In this compilation, we introduce the set menus of some of Budapest’s finest restaurants. And just as you begin to decide where to have lunch, remember most of these restaurants require a reservation in advance!

Arany Kaviár ÉS Bistro Gresham Restaurant Gundel Restaurant Lou Lou Larus Restaurant MÁK Bistro Olimpia Restaurant ONYX Tanti Restaurant ZONA

Arany Kaviár

In addition to a changing weekly menu, the bistro menu of Arany Kaviár offers guests fixed classics as well: Russian meat salad, herring with beetroot and horseradish, salmon fillet with risotto, and typical Russian delicacies for dessert. Only expect Russian flavours here as they do not do fusion. Unfortunately, their charming garden is not available in the colder seasons but the rather exclusive red-gold interior area is luxurious. The lunch menu includes a 0.75l mineral water but we recommend ordering a glass of kvass. Arany Kaviár is listed in the Michelin guide and has two Gault Millau toques. An important plus is that the special lunch menu is available every day of the week except Mondays.

Chef: Szása Nyíri
Price: 3 courses 3,900 HUF (with 0.75l mineral water) 
When: Tuesday to Sunday, 12pm – 3pm 
We recommend: this is the perfect spot for a lunch work meeting or a quick date. As a great bonus Russian cuisine lovers can enjoy Arany Kaviár’s lunch specials even at the weekend.

Arany Kaviár Restaurant

ÉS Bistro

We always liked the strange duality of ÉS Bistro: it offers an easy-going, casual experience, as well as excellent foods and drinks, under an elegant hotel. Their menu has the name ‘power lunch’ and includes two courses, a soft drink plus a cup of tea or coffee. There’s also free parking during lunchtime. The dishes change every other week. In case you think an entrée and main, or a main and a dessert could not possibly be enough for a hearty lunch, we have to disappoint you – the portions are quite large. The skin of the roasted pig with cumin snapped between our teeth like hair-thin brittle, and another one of our favourites was venison loin with cranberry sauce, Brussels sprout leaves, chestnuts and dumplings. The fig and cheese dessert was a real surprise: even those who don’t have a sweet tooth will likely appreciate this delicacy.

Chef: Zsolt Litauszki, Tamás Vajna, Holzer Roland
Price: 2 courses for 5980 HUF (with coffee or tea, a soft drink and free parking in the hotel’s garage) 
When: Monday to Friday, 12pm – 3pm 
We recommend: this is great for a downtown business lunch, while tourists might also enjoy its location and exploring the Váci Street area.

ÉS Bistro
  • 1051 Budapest, Deák Ferenc utca 12-14. (Kempinski)

Gresham Restaurant

The Gresham Restaurant’s so called ‘power lunch’ is served within 15 minutes of ordering but while waiting we can enjoy the view of the Chain Bridge and the Buda Castle. The Italian influence on the menu at the elegant restaurant of the Gresham Palace is obvious, while the menu itself does not change too frequently. Among the appetizers there is mozzarella cheese with oven baked tomato and pesto sauce. For the main course we ordered homemade Mangalitsa jaw ravioli with ratatouille sauce and eggplant parmigiana. The dishes on the lunch menu are all light meals that go well with one another. We can choose cakes from the counter, which are all first rate. The menu is available on Saturday, as well.

Chef: Leonardo Di Clemente
Price: 6,700 HUF (with a soft drink and one hour free parking in the hotel’s garage)
When: Monday to Saturday, 12pm – 3pm 
We recommend: perfect for busy people who would like to talk business over lunch.

Four Seasons Hotel - Gresham Palace

Gundel Restaurant

This famous, first-class Gundel Restaurant is not one of the most popular places in the city nowadays. Nonetheless it offers its guests a lunch menu because after all not everyone likes the bistro style and daring pairings. The interior is elegant as is the service. Silver cutlery and Zsolnay on the tables, bread on the serving cart and the dishes arrive to our tables in cloches. We can choose from two menus: ‘From the Chef’s Table’ and ‘Luncheon Temptation’. The first course of the former is one of the yummiest soups of all that we tried: sauerkraut cream soup with smoked ham chips. This is followed by breaded chicken breast with sautéed seeds and mixed salad. The chefs brought out a surprising amount of flavour from the ingredients. The other menu starts with marinated pikeperch with root vegetable salad, followed by rose-seared duck breast, potato noodles and sautéed Brussels sprouts. The white chocolate and walnut soufflé with blue grape sorbet is among the best desserts, but we can also find a poppy seed cake and other desserts on the menu.

Chef: Gábor Merczi
Price: From the Chef’s Table is 3,900 HUF, Luncheon Temptation is 6,500 HUF 
When: Monday to Saturday, 12 pm – 3pm
We recommend: great for a more traditional feel. Fans of soups and less bold, classic dishes will enjoy this experience. It’s also lovely if you have time for a longer lunch.

Gundel Restaurant

Lou Lou

The small restaurant nestled between Gozsdu Udvar and Andrássy Avenue is one of the favourite spots of French gourmets. The food’s quality is outstanding, even at lunchtime, and while the menu is not tremendously long, it is still difficult to choose at Lou Lou. From the appetizers the salmon sashimi is definitely worth a try, but the duck foie gras mousse did not disappoint us either. Between the appetizer and the main course we can choose to have a soup, which is usually a French classic. This time, creamy garlic soup. As for the main course, we cannot go wrong with the duck leg, served with Robuchon mashed potatoes and jus, or the slightly oriental navarin d’agneau with tomatoes, soft polenta and ras-el-hanout. The sophisticated crème brulée is a fine end to the meal, so is the apple terrine with cinnamon and cider.

Chef: Attila Nagy
Price: 3 courses for 4,350 HUF, 4 courses for 5,550 HUF 
When: Monday to Friday, 12pm – 3pm
We recommend: lovers of French gastronomy or lovers of quiet, friendly restaurants. Perfect for either professional or private appointments too.

Lou Lou Restaurant (closed)
Address: 1061 Budapest, 2 Székely Mihály Street

Larus Restaurant

The signature style of the Larus kitchen is the use of a wide range of ingredients, deliberate pairings based on French cuisine and food prepared in the highest quality. We began with rabbit soup, served with rabbit liver semolina dumplings and vegetables. The carrots were not overcooked and the green peas remained tender and crisp, as if they were harvested just a few minutes beforehand. The vegetables served with the salmon fillet we tried gave each bite a different flavour. For us, the real surprise was the brown butter pumpkin cream with fragrant mushroom salad. A memorable dish and definitely a great choice. The dessert we tried was pancakes with cinnamon plum stew and plum sorbet. It had a less intense flavour and thus does not suppress the memory of the main dishes.

Chef: Péter Várvizi
Price: 2,900 HUF or 3,600 HUF with a glass of wine
When: Monday to Friday, 12pm – 3pm 
We recommend: an excellent choice for business people, office workers,and even families who would like to enjoy a light yet fulfilling meal in this quiet, yet central restaurant in Buda.

Larus Restaurant

MÁK Bistro

We thought we were likely to taste something special if the “young chef talent of the year” prepared our lunch – and we did not leave MÁK Bistro disappointed. The pairing of flounder fish and greengage plum was a surprising start. As for the main course, we get ox cheek and salmon trout: the former falls apart under our fork, just as it should, while the fish goes perfectly with the sweet potatoes, couscous and marinated pearl onions. Dessert is ‘császármorzsa,’ which is a shredded pancake with quince sorbet and rice pudding.

Chef: János Mizsei
Price: 2 courses for 2,800 HUF, 3 courses for 3,500 HUF
When: Tuesday to Friday, 12pm – 3pm
We recommend: A lovely meal in a graceful bistro style. A great option for anyone open to daring food pairings that are nevertheless delicious.

MÁK Bistro

Olimpia Restaurant

Every day there are new dishes to choose from at Olimpia, a restaurant located in the basement of a VII. district side street. While keeping the menu diverse is no easy task, the chefs offer lunch menus of outstanding value. At Olimpia Restaurant our porcini soup was delightful with some olive oil and leek on top and gnocchi at the bottom. The Japanese-style soba noodles and St. Michel clams proved to be an exciting introduction, as well. The pullet breast is crispy outside and soft inside, served with kohlrabi in ball and foam form, accompanied by mashed potatoes and Hokkaido pumpkin. The restaurant is very strong in fish foods: the combination of Norwegian mackerel, zucchini, marinated pearl onion and eggplant is again a well thought-out dish, showing some Asian influence. The desserts are more traditional with great ‘császármorzsa’ and creamy floating island.

Chef: Csaba Ádám
Price: 2 courses for 2,150 HUF, 3 courses for 2,350 HUF (with free soda water)
When: Tuesday to Friday, 12pm – 3pm 
We recommend: this is excellent for people who want to discover something new; Olimpia is a friendly, informal restaurant with Asian-style, thought-out dishes.

Olimpia Restaurant

ONYX

We do not eat lunch in a Michelin-starred restaurant every day. However we were delighted to find that Onyx – operated by executive chef Szabina Szulló and sous-chef Tamás Széll – offers lunch menus as well. This is the kind of lunch that can become a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Beautifully presented dishes, a real feeling of luxury, and carefully composed, clean flavours. We almost ate our whole meal with our eyes closed enjoying the taste of each bite. The bakery selection, the foie gras and sour cherry as our appetizer, the St. Peter’s fish, bouillabaisse sauce and potatoes as our main dish, and the caramel, chocolate and salted peanut dessert. Naturally, a lunch at Onyx is even more memorable with matching wines. This high-end gastronomy lunch menu we will remember for a long time.

Chef: Szabina Szulló and Tamás Széll
Price: 3 courses for 7,990 HUF
When: Tuesday to Friday, 12pm – 1:30pm 
We recommend: try this if you want to impress your partner, gourmet family member or if you want to experience one of Budapest’s finest high-end restaurants.

Onyx
  • 1051 Budapest, Vörösmarty tér 7-8.

Tanti Restaurant

We can find this restaurant that changed its name and profile recently in the Hegyvidék Center. At Tanti, chef István Pesti mixes up new flavour combinations and dishes as beautiful as paintings. For lunch, we can choose two or three courses – we obviously chose the latter option. We can choose from two appetizers, four main dishes and two desserts. We decided to have American beef and chocolate cake with passio sorbet. The interior and the atmosphere suggest modern elegance, but don’t worry – this isn’t the kind of place you’d be frowned on for using the wrong fork or spoon.

Chef: István Pesti
Price: 2 courses for 2,600 HUF, 3 courses for 3,200 HUF
When: Monday to Friday, 12pm – 3pm
We recommend: try this if you’re a business person on the Buda side or if you’re a Pest-dweller looking for a different environment.

Tanti (ceased)
  • 1124 Budapest, Apor Vilmos tér 11-13.

ZONA

ZONA is just two minutes away from the Chain Bridge and is favourite of the young, trend-conscious set. Checking in here is chic. The kitchen is rather vegetable- and fruit-oriented with fresh, crispy and healthy ingredients. We are more likely to meet various kinds of amuse-bouche tasters, chervil foam or green apple soup here than classic carbohydrate bombs. Our favourite dish of the absolutely Instagram-compatible lunch was the red snapper with porcini and green beans. The menu changes by the day, and we can choose from one appetizer, two main dishes and one dessert.

Chef: Krisztián Huszár
Price: 2 courses for 2,800 HUF, 3 courses for 3,500 HUF 
When: Tuesday to Friday, 12pm – 3pm 
We recommend: the type of place that suits the freelancer/creative type or meet your partner for a quick lunch.

ZONA
  • 1013 Budapest, Lánchíd utca 7-9.