Arany Kaviár

Tucked away on a steep side street within the Castle Hill lies one of Budapest's most expensive, special-occasion restaurants: Arany Kaviár. As you'd expect from a place that specializes in high-priced caviars, the exquisite dining rooms, lined with maroon and golden tapestry and heavy drapes, exude an air of opulence. Apart from fish roe, they offer two tasting menus — a “Hungarian Fish” and a “Traditional” Russian — and plenty of chilled vodka and premium wines for pairing.

Fish is normally an afterthought in Budapest restaurants because seafood is difficult to source in a landlocked country and many freshwater species are endangered and hence banned from fishing. Arany Kaviár has a fish farm in the Hungarian countryside populated with species like sturgeon that were once common in the local rivers. 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 roasted sturgeon served with vegetables and topped with caviar. The 5-course menu runs €70 per person (€110 with wine pairing).

Be sure to come with a full wallet if you're also eyeing the caviars. Entry level chum salmon sells for €23 (30 grams), and prices quickly reach triple-digit territory, topping out at €330 for the DeLuxe selection (50 grams), which includes ossetra and Iranian beluga.

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