Allatkerti ut 2, Budapest, 1146
- Recommended for:
- Business travellers, Couples, Foodies, Honeymooners, Live entertainment, Relaxation, Romance, Sightseeing
Best for Romance - Expert review of Gundel
I’d say this is one of Budapest’s top-three restaurants. That’s a less-fashionable view than it used to be; a recent, short-lived experiment with ‘molecular cuisine’ didn’t go down well, and some critics have claimed the Gundel reputation is over-stated. However, I’m sticking to my guns. The dining room is an Art Deco beauty, the service is impeccable and the food is top-notch. The restaurant has a tradition that dates back over 100 years, and has fed luminaries including Queen Elizabeth II. It has an impressive pedigree.
The menu reflects refined Hungarian classics and twists on international dishes. I’ve never been disappointed by the quality. There is an extensive selection of wines, including those from its own vineyards.
Don’t miss out on a goose-liver starter - these are a particular speciality of the restaurant. The dishes marked with an elephant symbol on the menu are those that were created by Károly Gundel - the most-lauded of restaurant’s proprietors - in the early 1900s. King of the desserts is the classic Gundel pancake, filled with rum and walnuts and topped with chocolate sauce.
The popularity of Gundel lies as much in its ambience as in its food. It’s a highly elegant spot, with polished wood columns, and Art Deco lamps and expensive paintings hanging on the walls. While things are slightly less formal at lunchtime, you’ll be expected to dress smartly in the evening - gents should wear a shirt and jacket, for instance. A superb gypsy band entertains diners, with the lead violinist wandering the room to serenade diners at their tables. You’ll find dignitaries and celebrities here, as well as Hungarians celebrating special occasions. While Gundel is refined, it is lively and colourful too.
The service is spot on. The waiters are very happy to offer recommendations, and they unveil dishes from beneath silver domes with a real flourish.
In City Park, it's beside the Budapest Zoo (the restaurant was once invaded by a troop of monkeys that had escaped their enclosure!) and a short walk from Heroes’ Square.
If you dine here in the evening, you’ll spend more than at any other restaurant in Budapest - you’re unlikely to get change from 20,000 forints, and will very probably pay more if you have three courses with wine. There are a few set-menu options, including a five-course romp through some of the restaurant’s classic dishes (with four glasses of wine) for 29,000 forints. If you’d like to go easier on your wallet, then come to Gundel at lunchtime (when the set menu with a glass of wine is under 6,000 forints) or for Sunday brunch (an all-you-can-eat buffet costing 6,400 forints).
The adjacent sister restaurant - Bagolyvar - offers a less-formal dining experience.
More information on Gundel:
- Price guide:
- Allatkerti ut 2, Budapest, 1146
- 1 889 8100
- Brunch, Lunch, Dinner
- Opening times:
- Mon-Sat noon-4pm, 6.30pm-midnight. Sun 11.30am-3pm, 6.30pm-midnight.
- Accepts Credit Cards: