If you like Italian food and need a break from the bustle of the city center, head over to Alessio. With densely carpeted floors and crammed tables, this charming neighborhood restaurant is tailored to the local residents of this elite neighborhood on the Buda side. Little about the interior will evoke the Tuscan countryside, but the dishes here are better than in most Italian restaurants of Budapest.
Alessio’s claim to fame, the garlic shrimp, is actually a Spanish classic (gambas al ajillo). It arrives in a sizzling sauce of olive oil, chili, and garlic (€11), and it's practically impossible to stop eating; use the bread to mop up the rich leftover sauce to the last drop. The grilled octopus, arriving with a charred crust and a perfectly chewy flesh, is another standout (€15). Too many kitchens serve a desiccated fillet of branzino, but not Alessio where this Mediterranean sea bass is tender and moist (€17). Also good is the pappardelle drizzled with slices of filet mignon and porcini mushroom (€12).
The only dud I came across in Alessio was the tiramisu of all things—it was too crumbly and the ladyfingers weren't integrated in the mascarpone—but when I ordered it on another visit, it was much better.