Everybody with a reputation in the field appeared at the "Oscars of the Hungarian gastronomy branch", ranging from chefs and gastronomes to trendsetters and merchants to media personalities. They all came to celebrate the best of the best.

Few changes in the TOP 10

Reaching 94+ of the 100 possible points during the evaluation by Hungarian and international testers of Dining Guide – this year including Michelin judge Fausto Arrighi and Italian star chef Enrico Crippa (who is interviewed on Page xx ) – Stand earned the title "Restaurant of the Year".

Szabina Szulló and Tamás Széll returned to fine-dining with Stand after diverting to streetfood (Stand25 in the city centre market hall). The former chef of Onyx and Bocuse-d’Or winner and his partner opened the awarded luxury restaurant only in mid-2018.

Except for this newcomer there were only a few changes in the TOP 10 of this year’s Volkswagen-Dining Guide. The far-eastern fusion restaurant Fáma led by chef Krisztián Huszár said goodbye to the circle of the very best and was replaced by the newly opened Textura restaurant. Due to some candidates being tied, 12 Hungarian restaurants actually shared the TOP 10 places again this year (read more about them in the information box on Page xx).

# Tamás Széll and Szabina Szulló successfully returned to fine-dining with Stand

Three brand-new awards

Besides the main award, several companies earned other prizes: for the first time this year, not only the contents of plates were evaluated but also the contents of cups. The award "Coffee offer of the year" sponsored by the Manufacturer of Nespresso was given to the noble Stand restaurant. It serves an aromatic black coffee made from the beans of One Eleven, an artisan roaster from Sopron, and brewed by four times Hungarian barista champion Attila Molnár.

Another novelty was the "Cocktail bar of the Year" Prize sponsored by drink manufacturer Royal Bliss, won by Hungary’s most famous bartender and owner of the popular Boutiq’Bar, Zoltán Nagy.

It’s well-known that besides the dishes it’s the atmosphere and first of all the high-class service that create a good restaurant experience. Still, this was the first time when the award "Service person of the Year" was awarded to this formerly rather under-represented section of the industry. The prize sponsored by spirit brand De Luxe Brandy was given to Miklós Lizsicsár, a restaurant manager who is famous for his cordial manner, making a visit to the St. Andrea Restaurant in Budapest even more valued.

From the best alternative kitchen to the best wine selection

Instead of the former "Streetfood of the Year", the Dining Guide awarded the "Best alternative gastro-offer" this year. The winner was Pizza, Kávé, Világbéke from Miskolc, convincing the jury with fresh and unusual recipes.

The "Young Chef of the Year" sponsored by Miele went to Richárd Farkas from the eco bistro Pajta in Őriszentpéter, west Hungary. However, the "Chef of the Year" was found in the Hungarian capital. Ákos Sárközi, television celebrity and chef of the Michelin star-awarded Borkonyha and the newly opened fine-dining restaurant Textura, took the prize, sponsored by drink manufacturer Römerquelle.

The title of "Most Innovative Kitchen of the Year", supported by wholesale company METRO, was won by Tiszavirág Étterem from Szeged. Unicum Riserva sponsored the "Most Exciting Kitchen of the Year" again, which was also given to Sárközi’s Textura restaurant.

2019 was the second year when the Hungarian cake shops and the best wine selection were recognised. The first prize went to Mihályi Patisserie in Vác, and the second – with the support of Zwack Izabella Borkereskedés winery, a member of the Zwack family – to Arany Kaviár, the noble restaurant specialising in Russian cuisine.

Lajos Bíró awarded for lifetime achievement

The Dining Guide awarded a prize for lifetime achievement again this year, to chef, author and restaurant owner Lajos Bíró. He has worked more than five decades in gastronomy and was one of the first people to bring the fine-dining sector to Hungary. As was stated during the award ceremony, he might be one of the old-timers of Hungarian gastronomy but at the same time he is a "modern and always contemporary" person.

The chef of Bock Bisztró and many other restaurants is also known for his eccentricity, and true to form he accepted the prize with the following words: "I was never too modest, I never had to be. Besides wives I only collect knives. Who is the king here?"

# Chef, author and restaurant owner Lajos Bíró received the lifetime achievement award in 2019

The gala was also the occasion where the foundation of the "Made in Hungary" gastronomy alliance was announced. The organisation was founded by the Hungarian Academy des Bocuse d’Or, upon the initiative of the Dining Guide. This alliance uniting the 20 best Hungarian restaurants aims to bring more international prestige to Hungarian cuisine, to typical Hungarian ingredients and to the best Hungarian kitchens.

As one of its first campaigns all participating restaurants must include a dish with the "Made in Hungary" logo on their menu. Every restaurant should interpret this to its own cooking style, the only condition being that it has to contain two typically Hungarian ingredients: duck liver and Tokaji Aszú.

And finally, the guests at the gala had the opportunity to taste the culinary art they had heard so much about.

These are the Hungarian TOP10 + 2 Restaurants of the Year (in alphabetical order):

Anyukám Mondta with chef Szabolcs Dudás
Arany Kaviár with chef László Kanász
Babel with chef István Veres
Borkonyha with chef Ákos Sárközi
Costes with chef Eszter Palágyi
Costes Downtown with chef Tiago Sabarigo
MÁK with chef János Mizsei
Olimpia with chef Csaba Ádám
Onyx with chef Ádám Mészaros
St. Andrea Restaurant with chef Ádám Barna
Stand with chefs Szabina Szulló and Tamás Széll
Textura with chef Ákos Sárközi

To read about all the TOP100 Hungarian restaurants, see the “Volkswagen-Dining Guide TOP100 Restaurant Guide” available at bookstores, selected news-stands and petrol stations.

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