When Baraka opened on Magyar Utca in central Pest in 2001, it quickly established itself as one of the city’s top restaurants as well as a local favorite, and getting a table in the small space was a feat. Since 2006, Baraka—owned by David Seboek, an American expat who moved to Budapest from New York almost a decade ago—enjoys new, more spacious digs on the ground floor of the Andrássy. The slender dining room done in black with deep-purple velvet accents, pendent chandeliers wrapped in translucent cylinders and tall calla lily arrangements, is very chic if a touch too severe (I would have liked to experience it packed with guests for dinner). Original chef Viktor Segal has since left to run his own venture, but the young Hungarian Norbert Biró has taken over seamlessly, overseeing an ambitious menu that draws from a variety of cuisines but is mainly Asian-inspired. It changes seasonally but might include beef tartare–stuffed ravioli, black tiger shrimp poached in Kaffir lime juice and a beautifully presented trio of scallops. Equally fabulous are the homemade breads and desserts, created by Sebeok, who originally came to Budapest to learn how to bake. Don’t miss the passion-fruit mousse with a chocolate ganache and caramelized peanuts (a friend of Sebeok’s calls this “Snickers on crack”). It remains to be seen if the insidery location is a good match for this excellent restaurant (some locals I spoke with bemoaned the move to the bigger space), but considering the talent and dedication behind the venture, one can only wish it success. If you’re in the area for sightseeing (City Park and Heroes’ Square are nearby), stop in for lunch. The two-course prix fixe, at forint 3,500 (about $20), is a terrific value. Closed Sunday.
Margaret de Heinrich, a co-owner of Omorovicza spa, recommends Gundel, Budapest’s most famous restaurant co-owned by George Lang (of Café des Artistes in New York). “It’s a bit touristy but definitely worth a visit,” she says. “The food and service are great.”
TIP: A less expensive offshoot of Gundel called Bagolyvár, run by an all-female staff, is next door.
One of the only two restaurants in Hungary to have a Michelin-star, the atmosphere and food are both neo-Baroque at this modern Hungarian restaurant. The Hungarian Evolution Menu showcases seasonal, local ingredients prepared in a traditional style with contemporary twists. Additionally, the chic black, white and yellow interior is cozy and refined and the excellent service have led the Onyx to be named the best restaurant in Hungary. Be sure to also check out Gerbeaud patisserie and coffeeshop, in the same building.