The 2016 Michelin Guide – the oldest European hotel and restaurant reference guide, which awards Michelin stars for excellence to a select few establishments – was published just hours before this edition of The Budapest Times went to press, and not only did the four one-star restaurants in Budapest manage to hold on to their honour, the editors at Michelin decided that Costes Downtown also deserves to have a star. So now there are five such restos in the Hungarian capital, which makes Budapest the undisputed champion in the CEE region. Most of the people who come here or live here do not eat at these mostly high-priced restaurants because they either cannot afford it or are unwilling to spend that much money on food. But the Michelin revolution of the past years is good news not only for deep-pocketed foodies but for the average folk as well. I remember that ten years ago ordinary slices were the top of the world and the closest you could get to a decent burger was by telling the vendor not to put “csalamádé” – basically mixed pickles – in your cheeseburger. Not any more. Now you can choose whether you want your slice to be Northern or Southern Italian style, some places sell such great hamburgers that my American friends are giving thumbs up, and there are food bars specialising in soups, desserts, pastas… the list goes on. There are still a number of places where they think that it’s ok to sell crap for cheap, but I noticed that a lot of these are quickly disappearing. People want more now. A little while ago another Turkish place opened near Blaha Lujza tér and when I was in the neighborhood running some errands and I was hungry I checked it out. Horrible. Horrible pizza, horrible meat, horrible chicken wrap. I was pretty disappointed but here’s the good news: I was in the area just last week and you know what it said on the front door? Retail space to let.

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