Nobu, Japanese Restaurant, Budapest, Hungary

6,5 points

Many of you have heard of the fashionable chain of modern Japanese restaurant and Sushi place called Nobu. The most of Nobus are in top metropolises as Los Angeles, New York, London, Moscow and Tokyo and many more but some selected ones are in rather different places as Istanbul or Johannesburg. Really surprisingly there is a Nobu in Budapest which is a beautiful city but certainly not a cosmopolitan town. Located at the Kempinski Hotel and owned by no one else than film mogul Andy Vajna this restaurant is exceptional and a pearl among Budapest’s gastronomical offers.

The only Hungarian about this Nobu is the wine selection which contains a small variety of local wines. The rest is obviously like all other Nobu as it is a chain which is recognizable at any location and follows one general concept.

Although you might think because it is a chain the food would be less interesting or unique I like to object. The quality of food in regard to freshness and also selected ingredient is remarkable and in particular in comparison to other restaurants in Budapest exclusive. The success of the chain is huge. If you consider that it isn’t cheap many people really appreciate it. Of course classic and straight forward sushi is very often a good choise. Nobu does not claim to be the straight forward kind of sushi restaurant. The philosophy is the combination of basic Japanese cuisine and global tasting experience. It is a very American version of Japanese cooking: it is universal like American movies are universal. This is the advantage of this place as it is at the same moment the disadvantage. Even I am giving only 6 points I would award the place with 7 points if I would compare it with all other restaurants I know in Budapest.

The offer of the restaurant reaches out from classic sushi to extravagantly hot dish creations from the grill. You even can get a wonderful piece of Wagyu beef.

The best what you can do is to ask for a place at the bar in front of the kitchen. This is better than many movies as you are able to watch the chefs – who are all masters of the usage of knifes!

I never ordered something from the menu but ask the supervisor of all chefs (usually there is one person coming from another chain to keep the local crew motivated and supervised, I guess) to prepare somethings he likes me to eat. Therefore I sometimes get something which isn’t usual and you could not find it on the menu. Unfortunately therefore I am sometimes even not knowing what exactly I am eating because descriptions are giving hushed – so it was difficult to understand what I was eating. However I never got anything twice or a second time during my few experiences at this very nice place.

WP_20150525_005greeting from the kitchen: scallop with some tomatoes, onion topper


Japanese Carpaachio


very shortly heated salmon, sliced string been, the sauce was very spicy, sesame


Chu–Toro sashimi in a sweat, creamy sauce


Slow Cooked Chilean Seabass with Ginger Soy Sauce


Hot stone grilled pieces of Wagyu beef with some Foie Gras Gyozas


and finally a selection of desserts – hard to describe all of them.


the best surprisingly was this strawberry ice-cream

Except one German Riesling (Robert Weil) they offer not enough wines which are really suitable in my point of view to this kind of food. At the end we had an New Zealand Rosé which wasn’t too interesting but I may report it separately.

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I believe such a place would not exist if there wouldn’t be an engaged owner behind. Perhaps this is why I mentioned the owner of the place, Andy Vajna. For all who don’t know him he is a very impressive and most successful film producers in the last 35 years. Films likes “Die Hard” or “Rambo” ( has been produced by him. He lived for many years in Los Angeles, returned to Hungary some while ago and tries to import American values, experiences but also ideas to his home country. Although he would call himself a Hungarian patriot I rather think he is still a very typical US immigrant – successful because of a multiple culture background, extremely talented due to historical experiences, inspired by the freedom only a country as USA can offer and finally very self-assured due to his indubitable and huge success. I would hope others in Hungary, in particular members of the government would appreciate such a story since they nowadays rejecting to welcome refuges from Syria and Africa. If great people as Andy would not have had the chance to move to USA during communistic times we would may would have some one else running a Nobo in Budapest, but with much less engagement. It once was an enjoyable moment while I was sitting in the lobby of the Kempinski in Budapest waiting for someone when suddenly a very characteristic person crossed the lobby: Andy Vajna with a big box of fresh exotic fishes in his arms!