Onyx Restaurant is one of the very few Michelin star restaurants in Budapest, Hungary, and one of the few non-smoking restaurants. Despite the 1 Michelin star, business lunches are in fact at an affordable price, the weekly special is a 3-course menu for 7,990 HUF (approx. 25 Euros), which sounds OK for money, right?
Especially if you read in guest reviews that “I opted for the six-courses of the Hungarian Evolution menu with sommelier recommended wines, and will savour the memory of an exquisitely creative menu and outstanding presentations for time to come…”, “If you are a foodie and in Budapest this is a must! ” or “I will bring all my friends to discover this gem, really worth the trip to Budapest.” (more reviews on Tripadvisor travel site: Onyx Restauramt Reviews)
Onyx, the white gloved gourmet restaurant was the second culinary establishment in Hungary which was given a Michelin star (the first being Costes Restaurant in Raday street, Budapest). Before the well deserved star fell in its lap, Onyx started to grab other prestigious national awards like the Number 3 rank in Hungary in the Hungarian Best Restaurant Guide for 2010, which is a remarkable restaurant career taking into consideration that the restaurant only opened in 2007.
Portions at Onyx Restaurant
As for the sizes of portions, tourist reviews vary, but most found them good size, while few were complaining about tiny portions. One of the guests remarked ” In my opinion, you need to have many courses to truly appreciate the quality of this restaurant.” And another TripAdvisor reviewer wrote “If you’re from Texas and looking for a big steak, this probably isn’t the place for you. ”
Prices at Onyx Restaurant
Although lunch menus are definitely cheap for a Michelin starred restaurant (7,990 HUF for a 3-course menu), a la carte meals are not so inexpensive, ranging between 6,500 and 12,500 HUF. There are 2 kinds of tasting menus (taking 2-4 hours to go through them) priced at 27,900 and 30,900 HUF. And let’s not forget about the 15% service fee added to the bill automatically.
Is Onyx Restaurant truly Michelin?
The answer is a definite ‘yes’, foodie tourist reviews support the rating of the restaurant too: “We have dined in a number of Michelin starred restaurants in the UK, including the Fat Duck, La Manoir aux season and La Gavroche. I would have to say that the food in Onyx is easily up to the standard of all of them with the possible exception of the Fat Duck.”
Cuisine of Onyx Restaurant
The cuisine is Hungarian reinterpreted with modern twists and elements, “effortlessly bridging the traditional flavors of the country with contemporary international culinary techniques.” (New York Times – Travel). Or to quote the Via Michelin diner guide ” Traditional Hungarian and European flavours to fore but with interesting modern twists and some unusual combinations.”. Nevertheless, there are several international meals as well. “Visitors to Onyx’s swish dining room can expect a startlingly original gastronomic experience: goose liver with cacao bean sautéed medallion; terrine with Tokay jelly; lobster-filled ravioli with salmon caviar; sweet pea cannelloni with curry and ginger-raspberry salad; duck leg with foie gras on coffee sauce and purple cabbage jam. It sounds strange, but it works.” (Devanshi Mody in the Telegraph travel section).
“The city earned its second one-star restaurant with Onyx, a high-end establishment where white-gloved servers present dishes like rabbit served with balsamic marinated mushroom salad and black root puree; free range chicken sausage with duck liver, sour cabbage sauce, scrambled egg and candied bacon.” (The Independent on Onyx). The specialties of Onyx Restaurant are Goat’s cheese ravioli, baked tomato and basil oil. Fillet, knuckle and leg of veal with celery purée. Somlo sponge cake (‘Somloi galuska’).
There is an extensive wine card featuring mainly Hungarian wines. “I was especially delighted by the wide variety of remarkable local wines available by the glass.” (Stephen Reiss PhD, author of WineEducation.com). Onyx has a wine collection of approx. 130 varieties of the best Hungarian vintages, plus some selected French and Italian wines.
Interior and Decor of Onyx Restaurant, Budapest
Onyx Restaurant has a trendy neo-baroque interior, which is romantic and sumptuous enough for couples who wish to splurge a bit, and sober enough for relaxed business lunches.
Old and new is wittily combined (by Zoltan Varro), like the Venetian chandelier and the ‘vibrant paintings’ of the 21st century, the flat screen TVs on the wall. Here’s how a tourist described it “Inside, the restaurant is luxurious and the tables are well spaced with seating for about 30-40 in the main room and further in a second room. The decor was a little bit of a mix of old and new with high ceilings with gold leaf and a chandelier then hung from the ceiling a modern polished wood square rack filled with spot lights. The back of the room was filled with wine racks and serving areas, the entrance to the kitchens being shielded by what I can only describe as a gold coloured mattress, upended and bent into a semi-circle. ” Finally, Deadly Bunny Chubby Penguin tasting blog points out “The restaurant may look small in the first place but it should hold up to 50 customers comfortably, giving it has large table for more than 10 people within the restaurant.”
Location of Onyx Restaurant & nearby Attractions
The luxurious Onyx restaurant is located in the very heart of the city, in a pedestrian only zone: it fits well among the nearby five-star hotels in Budapest (like the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, the Sofitel Hotel Chain Bridge, the Hotel Marriott and the Hotel InterContinental Budapest). Onyx Restaurant is located in a nice central square called Vorosmarty ter, close to the river Danube, the Chain Bridge, the legendary confectionary of Cafe Gerbeaud (founded by a globetrotter Swiss in 1858), and last but not least Vaci utca shopping street (with very nice 19th century buildings, and a couple of Art Nouveau buildings in Budapest too). See Onyx Restaurant on Budapest Tourist Map:
Vorosmarty square was named after a Hungarian poet, Mihaly Vorosmarty whose statue made of Carrara marble is in the middle of the square. There are many cultural events on the square all year round, most importantly the Budapest Christmas Market, the Book Fair, and the opening ceremony of the Budapest Spring Festival promenades.
Address: Vorosmarty square 7-8. Budapest H-1051 (entrance from the Harmincad Street)
Getting there: by metro on the yellow line (M1) getting off at Vorosmarty ter metro station, or by tram number 2, which goes along the river Danube. Vorosmarty square is about a 5 minute walk from Deak square or Ferenciek tere (bus number 7), so it is very easily accessible.
Table reservation form: Onyx Restaurant Table Reservation: max 6 people for a la carte meals, over 6 people parties can choose from the fixed menus. Regarding online reservations, they only accept same day reservations until 11:30 am for lunch, and until 5:30 pm for dinner (well, that’s on the official website, yet a tourist on TripAdvisor wrote in his review in July 2011 that “I booked the table a couple of weeks beforehand using the website which also gives menus and other information. They rang me on my mobile on the afternoon of the booking and all went smoothly.”. Note for late arrivals: tables are held for half an hour.
Special lunch offer at Onyx Restaurant Budapest (tables need to be reserved, dress code is business casual): you may choose from 3 appetizers, 4 main courses, and 3 desserts.
Miscellaneous info about Onyx Restaurant Budapest
- Dress code at Onyx Restaurant Budapest: semi-formal for dinners, business casual for lunches
- 2 tasting menus / degustation menus: 4 courses + 3 wines chosen by the sommelier or 7 courses + 5 wines chosen by the sommelier
- There is a vegetarian menu – changing with the seasons to offer fresh produces
- No pets are allowed
- Not child friendly (“In our experience, young children are not capable of enjoying a culinary journey that may last 3 – 4 hours. If possible, please arrange for child-minding”)
- Dinners are aimed to take you on a gastronomic journey, so they may last 2-4 hours
- 15% service fee is added
- Closed on Sundays, Mondays, during the second week in January, and for 3 weeks in August (recreation and professional courses)
- Special dinners are offered on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day
About the Chef of Onyx Restaurant
What they focus on is ‘continuous renewal, creativity and innovation’, according to Szabina Szullo, the Hungarian chef whose work with his lifetime partner and sous chef Tamas Szell have been awarded by the Michelin guide editor with 1 star on March 16, 2011. Szabina’s mum is a cook too. She started her chef career in Hotel Kempinski, the five star hotel in the city centre of Budapest where French, German, Austrian chefs were rotating.
In 2013 January, Tamas Szell was competing in the prestigious chef competition called Bocuse d’Or – apparently the Oscar Award contest for Chefs. He and his team received the 10th placement, the Hungarian team was thus the 7th best in Europe out of the 24 teams competing. The Hungarian chef team included Lajos Biro from Bock Bistro, Adam Garai, the cook in Onyx Restaurant and Zoltan Hamvas (Gerbaud Gastronomy)