In late November, I was invited to be a guest at Mak, Michelin recommended restaurant, located in the heart of Budapest. 

From the moment I stepped into the restaurant, I found the interior to be very cozy and interesting, with a captivating story behind it. We had an amazing experience at Mak, where we tried the winter menu consisting of a 9-course tour. Apart from the main menu, we were also presented with amuse-bouches and other transitions between courses that provided small surprises for the guests. The entire menu was paired with a selection of exceptional quality, biodynamic organic wines from small vineyards located in different regions of Hungary. The sommelier at Mak shared with us all the interesting details about the wines and how they complemented the various dishes we tried. One of the highlights for me was experiencing the fermentation program in the kitchen, which was relatively new to me. I enjoyed the fermented kombucha drink with different flavors that were paired with the menu.

To provide a complete MAK experience for our readers, I conducted an interesting interview with Gabor Koltai, the owner of MAK restaurant. I wanted to share MAK’s story from his own perspective.

Read the story below

How did you get involved in the hospitality industry, and what motivated you the most?

I’ve always had a deep passion for culinary arts. My journey began with a profound love for
food and the desire to share that passion with others. The hospitality industry, with its
dynamic and ever-evolving nature, provided the perfect canvas for me to express my
creativity and commitment to excellence. However, the actual story started 15 years ago when
I first had the chance to go to a high-level fine dining restaurant in Austria in a small village,
next to the Hungarian border. The name of the restaurant was Taubenkobel (nest of pigeons)
and the experience I had there was absolutely amazing, comparable to nothing I ever had
before. The moment I finished my dinner I decided that I wanted to start walking on this path
and do my journey in the world of gastronomy. At that time Hungary just started to have its
first notable culinary venues, yet compared to Austria and Western Europe it was way
underdeveloped. It was my personal mission to assist as much as I could in the Hungarian
gastronomic evolution, therefore I decided to participate in the founding of MÁK restaurant in
the very heart of Budapest. The rest is history.

How challenging is it to stay up-to-date with the latest fine dining trends and meet the
expectations of both the industry and guests at a global level?

Staying at the forefront of fine dining trends is indeed a challenge, but it’s a challenge we
wholeheartedly embrace at MÁK. We prioritize continuous learning, fostering a culture of
innovation within our team, and closely monitoring global culinary landscapes. This
dedication allows us to not only meet but exceed the expectations of our guests and maintain
our position as a trendsetter in the industry.

What does it mean to be a Michelin-recommended restaurant, and how much effort is
required to earn such a title?

Being recognized by Michelin is a testament to the unwavering dedication and meticulous
effort we invest in every aspect of MÁK restaurant. It signifies a commitment to culinary
excellence, exceptional service, and a memorable dining ambiance. Earning such a prestigious
title demands relentless dedication, creativity, and a team of passionate individuals who share
a common goal of elevating the dining experience to unparalleled heights. However we have
no intention to conclude our journey at this very level just yet, we foresee that after being

highly acclaimed by numerous international publications (New York Times, Le Monde,
Lonely Planet etc.), all the fantastic awards, the visits of a great number of international stars
(Ridley Scott, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Pattinson, Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes, Jessica
Chastain, Michael Madsen, Vinnie Jones, Harrison Ford, and Mel Gibson just name a few) and
the recognition of Michelin such as the Michelin Recommendation (continuously since 2011),
the Michelin Young Chef Award (2022) we hope we shall soon achieve the Michelin Star as

What are the key factors that contribute to the success of a high-end restaurant?

Success in the high-end restaurant industry hinges on a harmonious blend of exceptional
cuisine, impeccable service, and an inviting ambiance. Attention to detail, commitment to
quality ingredients, and a relentless pursuit of innovation are also essential. Equally important
is the cultivation of a team that shares the same dedication to excellence, as success is a
collective effort. Just like for a nice dish, for the whole entity of the restaurant we need to
focus on the key ingredients. We need to provide our guests with impeccable, high-end dishes
followed by extraordinary service in order to achieve a divine dining experience as a whole.
Talking about the key ingredients we need to have a head chef such as Mr. János Mizsei and a
restaurant manager we just recently hired (joining us at the end of March) Mr. Botond
Csernák gained his experience in such restaurants as the two Michelin-starred Alchemist
in Copenhagen as well as the three Michelin-starred Frantzen in Stockholm. With Botond
(totally accidentally) we even have a common history as it just turned out that he is the son of my
childhood friend in the city of my birth, Kaposvár. We haven’t been in touch with his dad for
a very long time, so it was an amazing discovery to figure this out.

Do you take pride in your restaurant, and has it exceeded your initial expectations?

Absolutely, MÁK is a source of immense pride for me. Witnessing the restaurant flourish and
surpass its initial expectations is truly gratifying. It reflects not only the hard work of our team
but also the warm reception and loyalty of our valued guests. MÁK has become a culinary
destination that consistently exceeds expectations, and that is a testament to the passion and
commitment we pour into every aspect of our operation.

Could you please share some unique features that set your restaurant apart from

MÁK distinguishes itself through a harmonious fusion of traditional Hungarian flavors with a
modern twist. Our commitment to using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients ensures a
unique and ever-changing menu. The meticulous attention to detail in both presentation and
service creates a dining experience that is not only memorable but also reflects the rich
culinary heritage of Hungary. Our program is to present the culinary values of the country and
the surrounding areas (the Carpathian basin) in the tasting menus we provide to our guests on
a region-by-region basis. Therefore we named our tasting menu program MÁKregions.

Lastly, could you tell us about some of your future plans with MÁK?

The future holds exciting prospects for MÁK. We are exploring avenues for culinary
collaborations, introducing innovative menu concepts, and further enhancing the overall
dining experience. Additionally, we are considering potential expansions to share the essence
of MÁK with a broader audience, and also to those who might not be able to afford the expenses
of a high-level tasting menu. In accordance with that, we have developed our street food segment
that involves (besides other amazing dishes) our version of the famous Hungarian flatbread,
Lángos (Langosh), called MÁKlángos, which has been extremely successful on some special
events where we have been providing it to our customers. Our commitment to excellence
remains unwavering, and we look forward to continuing to elevate the standard of fine dining
in Budapest and beyond.

More about MAK restaurant, you can find on

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