Arany Kaviár Restaurant

Tucked away on a steep side street in Budapest's Castle Hill lies one of the city's most expensive, special-occasion fine dining restaurants, Golden Caviar (Arany Kaviár). The exquisite dining rooms are lined with maroon and golden tapestry-like walls and heavy drapes, exuding an air of opulence. In addition to a range of high-priced caviars, Golden Caviar offers two tasting menus: a “Hungarian Fish” and a “Traditional” Russian. Plenty of chilled vodka and premium wines are available for pairing.

Fish is normally an afterthought in Hungarian restaurants because seafood can be difficult to source (we are a landlocked country) and many freshwater species are endangered, hence banned from fishing. Golden Caviar farm-raises its fish in a Hungarian countryside lake, populating it with varieties once indigenous to the region (several other fine dining restaurants in Budapest source their freshwater fish from Golden Kaviár's fish farm). The highlights of chef László Kanász's fish tasting menu are the sterlet terrine stuffed with foie gras, presented playfully as maki rolls, and the seasonal roasted sturgeon served with vegetables and caviar. The 5-course menu runs €70 per person (€110 with wine pairing).

Naturally, Arany Kaviár has several types of fish roe too, just be sure to come with a full wallet. Entry level wild keta salmon/chum sells for €23 (30 grams), and prices quickly reach triple-digit territory, topping out at €330 for the DeLuxe selection (50 grams), which includes the most prized varieties like ossetra and Iranian beluga.