Arany Kaviár Restaurant (Golden Caviar)

Tucked away on a steep side street in the Castle Hill lies one of Budapest's most expensive, special-occasion restaurants: Arany Kaviár (Golden Caviar). As you'd expect from a place that specializes in high-priced caviars, the exquisite dining rooms, lined with maroon and golden tapestry-like walls and heavy drapes, exude an air of opulence. Apart from fish roe, Arany Kaviár offers 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, hence banned from fishing. Arany Kaviár has a fish farm in the Hungarian countryside populated with species once indigenous to the region such as sturgeon (many fine dining restaurants in Budapest buy their freshwater fish from Arany 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).

Be sure to come with a full wallet if you're also eyeing the caviars. 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 caviar varieties including ossetra and Iranian beluga.

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