Al Dente is one of those under-the-radar neighborhood restaurants in Budapest you hope others won't find out about so as to keep it all to yourself. This osteria-type casual eatery within Budapest's charming Palace Quarter serves Italian classics and regional specialties from Puglia (the head chef is from Bari in southern Italy). The ever-changing daily meat, seafood, and vegetarian pastas are cooked simply and well. Of the Roman-style thin-crust pizzas, go for "Bomba," packing salami, mozzarella, and mushrooms, or the vegetarian "Casanova" with eggplant and gorgonzola. Desserts, however, aren't Al Dente's strong suit — you're better off skipping the unremarable tiramisu and panna cotta.

Al Dente also serves Italian morning pastries like bomboloni and calzone. A few doors down, at #9 Krúdy Gyula Street, the same owners operate a small takeout spot ("Al Dente On The Road") specializing in a greater variety of Italian snacks and pastries including arancini, cannoli, and zeppole. Al Dente doesn't take reservations, so you may have to wait for a table. If that's the case, grab a drink at Lumen, a hip bar two minutes from here on Horánszky Street.

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