Al Amir Arabic Restaurant

Unhurried groups of elderly Arab regulars tend to socialize at Al-Amir, surely a good sign for a Syrian restaurant in downtown Budapest. Al-Amir marries a counter-service with a sit-down restaurant (most upscale is the downstairs section, usually taken up by hookah-smokers during the cold months; hookahs aren't allowed in the summer).

The dishes are far from memorable here, but you can find fresh and fluffy pitas — most Levantine restaurants in Budapest serve bland discs of flatbread — and tasty mezzes including hummus, baba ghanoush, and matbukha. Also good is the falafel, and the shish taouk. Baklava fans heads-up: these dessert pastries are perfectly moist and flavorful here. Al-Amir doesn't serve alcohol, but a range of teas and coffee are available.

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