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. It's an osteria-type casual eatery in Budapest's charming Palace Quarter serving Italian classics and regional specialties from Puglia (the head chef is from Bari in southern Italy).

Despite the long menu, these Italian dishes taste exactly as they should. The tagliatelle with cubes of beef tenderloin and porcini is excellent, but the ever-changing daily meat, seafood, and vegetarian pastas are also cooked simply and well. Of the Roman-style thin-crust pizzas, go for the "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. Note that Al Dente doesn't take reservations, so you may have to wait for a table. While waiting, grab a drink at Lumen, a hip bar down the street from here.

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