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Michelin-star experiences in Hungary

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Even the owners of the world's best fine dining restaurants consider it an honour if the Michelin guide awards them a star or a recommendation. And no wonder, as this recognition means diners can be sure that they are being served the highest quality food. Many restaurants in Hungary can boast of being listed in the Red Book.

The Michelin Guide is the world's best-known and most prestigious restaurant guide. It was first published in France in 1900 by the Michelin tyre company to provide motorists with useful information and, of course, to encourage them to take more trips. Michelin has been giving restaurants stars since 1926. Guidebooks are separated by location, but not every country has its own guide yet. The legendary Red Book has included Hungarian restaurants since 1992, but the country has had its own national Michelin guide only since 2022, presenting recommended restaurants not only in Budapest but also in other towns and cities.

Incognito inspectors

How do restaurants get Michelin recommendations and stars? Stars are given to the most outstanding restaurants. If the head chef changes, the star remains – but the new chef has to prove they deserve it.

Michelin guide inspectors go incognito to selected restaurants worldwide. They book and pay for their meals just like anyone else, so employees have no idea when these highly trained professionals are eating at their restaurant. They have a real basis for comparison as they test hundreds of the best restaurants around the world every year.  After inspections in each region, the director of the Michelin guide and the regional inspectors make decisions on restaurant ratings at "star meetings", and the results are published in the guide of the country or region in question. 

One, two and three stars

Stars are the best known Michelin Guide ratings, but restaurants can also win other Michelin awards. The Michelin star is a guarantee of top quality. According to the guide, it's worth stopping at a place with one Michelin star if you come across one. Two-star restaurants are worth taking a little detour for, while restaurants that have been bestowed the highest three-star rating deserve a specially planned trip. The stars are awarded only for food, and the rating is not based on a single visit: inspectors eat at the restaurants several times before making a decision. Hungary boasts two restaurants that have won two Michelin stars: one is located in Budapest and the other one in Tata. Seven restaurants have one star: six in Budapest and one in Esztergom.

Recognitions and recommendations

But let's look at some other recognitions. Bib Gourmand recognises restaurants that are outstanding in terms of value for money, which means places offering a top-quality three-course menu at an affordable price. Currently, four restaurants at Lake Balaton, one in Encs and one in Eger hold this recognition. 


The Michelin plate, also known as the Michelin recommendation, is given to restaurants whose cuisine is not necessarily star quality even though the inspectors rate it as remarkable. In 2022, 47 restaurants in Hungary received this recognition. There are 21 of these in Budapest, 12 in Veszprém county, four in Baranya county and four in Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county.


The green Michelin star is a separate category: this is given to restaurants that already have a Michelin award and which operate ethically and sustainably, including working with local, seasonal ingredients, and have a small ecological footprint. In 2022 the inspectors, who are very strict, found four Hungarian restaurants worthy of this award: two in Budapest, one in Hosszúhetény and one in Poroszló.