Arán, which means "bread" in Old Irish, is a craft bakery in Budapest's hip Jewish Quarter run by Kinga and Attila Pécsi, a couple who spent a decade living in Ireland (it was there that Kinga mastered her baking skills). Arán lives up to its moniker: the toast-crisp sourdough loaves are delightful. There's whole wheat, rye, and white breads, all of them imparting the signature, slightly sour taste of long-fermented sourdough.
But there's more to arán than breads: pastries. A classic since the opening has been the cinnamon bun — it's light and moist and sugary and impossible to stop eating (and the first thing they tend to run out of). My personal favorite is the cruffin, a half-croissant, half-muffin concoction, made with a rotating set of stuffings, most recently a sweet black sesame paste. Don't miss it. A word to the wise: go in the morning for the best selections.
Sadly, despite my regular pleas, arán is unwilling to extend its pasty repertoire to Hungarian classics like the cottage-cheese bun (túrós batyu) and the chocolate roll (kakaós csiga). But maybe one day my lobbying will bear fruit.