Are you planning to have your meal while enjoying panoramic views in Budapest? Would you like more than having a picnic basket on the Citadel or climbing the Fisherman’s Bastion lookout tower to get stunning views? Here are some of the top viewpoint restaurants in Budapest, the ‘Paris of East’ divided by the river Danube into Buda and Pest – both magical at night.
Having a great meal in Budapest is not so difficult in one of the best Budapest restaurants. That said, having a great meal in a good restaurant possibly with river views might not be so easy, which sounds strange and with all that water flowing through between Buda and Pest it is downright contra-intuitive. Still, having a good dinner while enjoying the attractions by the river Danube is a sort of rarity in Budapest.
The river views and the Danube promenade in general – with the historical bridges – in Budapest are worth a visit for themselves. After all even the UNESCO found the glittering beauty of the most beautiful river views and its attractions along the river Danube worth adding to the World Heritage Site list: the Hungarian Parliament, the Buda Castle, the Chain Bridge, the Gresham Palace (Four Seasons Hotel Budapest), the Gellert Hill, etc. are all fantastic and provide the most romantic and beautiful background for a nice dinner in Budapest – when the sights get illuminated at dusk, the riverside becomes one of the best scenic and romantic places in Europe.
Needless to say, you will have to pay a bit more to enjoy the views alongside your meals, but we think it would be worth the splurge. The snag is that, strictly speaking, there is currently no top notch restaurant with really top notch views over the river Danube and the best attractions along the river in Budapest.
There are either great restaurants with some good river views or good restaurants with good / great river views. In addition, there are Budapest dinner cruises where the boat tour is enhanced by buffet dinner options, which are usually decent but not outstanding five star dinners.
Great restaurants in Budapest with good river views
Trattoria and Taverna are only a few minutes walk from each other by the river Danube (not right near the river, but about 45 steps from it). Booking is needed, especially in high season (July and August) when most tourists seek out the best Budapest restaurants (both are often reviewed on Budapest travel forums with very satisfied ratings)
Trattoria Toscana Restaurant – Budapest restaurant with terrace and river views
Trattoria Toscana: the terrace of this restaurant has some astonishing river views, and you will definitely get one of the best Italian dishes in this lovely and highly popular restaurant. The atmosphere of Trattoria Toscana is very Italian, cosy and warm, very casual and truly Mediterranean ambience. Tourists are usually surprised how good Italian foods you can get in Budapest. But Budapest is a very cosmopolitan city with all sorts of restaurants (from French, Italian, through Russian or German or Indian to Argentine and Mexican). Please note that reservation is a must. And be prepared for extra waiting time on busy days.
Taverna Dionysos Restaurant – Budapest restaurant with terrace and river views
Taverna Dionysos: this restaurant has been amongst the best restaurants in Budapest for several years.
The cuisine, as the name suggests is Greek not Hungarian. Its outdoor seating makes the restaurant a great place for a bit of splurge (e.g. for a romantic dinner in Budapest, to celebrate an anniversary or your spouse’s / friend’s birthday). The terrace of the Greek Taverna Dionysos provides good views of the Buda side and some of its sights like the Citadel and the Statue of Liberty atop Gellert Hill and the Buda waterfront with churches and 19th century residential buildings. While indoor the restaurant is typical white-blue Greek, the outdoor is undeniably more of Budapest due to the attractive sights and the city atmosphere. Service on busy days may get quite slow with lots of waiting time (for a seat, for the food, for the bill).
Good restaurants in Budapest with good / great river views
Citadella Panorama Restaurant, Budapest
Some of the tables at the restaurant by the Citadel on top of Gellert Hill called Citadella Panorama restaurant have beautiful night views over the river Danube. As this is the top of the Gellert Hill is THE most panoramic viewpoint in Budapest, you can easily get great views of both the Buda and the Pest side and their attractions (the Chain Bridge, the Parliament, the Gresham Palace, the dome of the St Stephen’s Basilica, the Buda Castle, etc.). The restaurant got good (but not excellent) reviews. The prices are expensive. The opening hours of the panorama restaurant are somewhat limited: Monday – Friday 5pm – 11pm, and at weekends open from noon to 11pm.
A38 Restaurant with panoramic views in Budapest
A38 is a ship permanently anchored by Petofi Bridge on the river Danube: while A38 is widely known as a cool and vibrant music club, its upper deck is in fact a trendy modern restaurant. The prices range from mid range to expensive and the restaurant is not superb but it is very good. You can have views over the river, the southern attractions of Budapest by Rakoczi Bridge (the Palace of Arts and the Hungarian National Theatre). A good choice if you want to see one of the concerts on A38, or join the night party after dinner (one of the stars of Budapest nightlife).
Columbus Pub – standing ship with great views of Budapest
Columbus Pub might be a perfect choice for having a drink if you want to have a really wide panoramic view.
For dinners the restaurant seems to be a good but hit and miss choice. The reviews of the dishes and service on Columbus Restaurant on avarage are good or very good. An often recurring remark is overpriced (but this could be said of most panorama restaurants in Budapest). Columbus is oftentimes picked as the wedding party scene of foreigners in Budapest.
Spoon Restaurant – Budapest river views
Spoon Restaurant is a two floor standing ship turned into a stylish cafe / modern restaurant. Spoon is docked by the Chain Bridge on the river Danube in central Budapest. Its location and its amazing river views and views over the Buda side attractions, make the place quite popular amongst tourists and expats. The quality of the foods is average or good, and the prices are quite high in light of Hungarian standards, similar to western prices (like in London). You may feel a bit hurried when dining so if you want to take your time, and sit back, it may not be the best place.
Budapest Dinner Cruises and Lunch Cruises
There is no doubt about it, having a great dinner on a fantastic ship in Budapest could be the most memorable thing to do in this romantic city. Currently we cannot recommend you five star river cruises in Budapest, but if you are OK with a 3-4 star dinner experience and a 5 star sightseeing opportunity, taking a nice boat tour on the Danube is a viable option – with or without dinner (or lunch, or cocktail, or beer, or party, what have you): see Budapest dinner cruises here.
For some tourists, especially tourists who are on a Budapest whistle tour or have a 2 day Budapest visit as part of a European tour, enjoying a dinner cruise in Budapest also saves time. It is indeed and interesting way to see the city of Budapest, learn about Hungary, the attractions, marvelling at the sights by the river and listening to live music (including Gypsy music).
However, if you are a foodie, or a picky eater, or someone who is only happy about five star dining experience, you may wish to take a drink only river cruise, and enjoy the dinner at one of the best restaurants in Budapest (see the Michelin starred Budapest restaurants here)