Babel Budapest

Babel is one of a small number of classic fine dining restaurants in Budapest: it's a dinner-only tasting menu venue in the heart of downtown featuring a dimly-lit dining room with only a dozen tables, all set with white tablecloths. Babel prides itself on serving dishes inspired by Transylvania. Although this is more of a catchy soundbite than a real commitment to the food of the Carpathian Mountains, Babel's young chef, István Veres, hails from Transylvania and makes some of the most elaborate dishes in Budapest.

The standout of the 5-course tasting menu is the reimagined “tojásos nokedli” (egg dumplings, or spätzle). Normally the simplest of countryside fare, at Babel the dumplings are smothered in a creamy, truffle-laced egg cream and sprinkled with dried and grated egg yolk. I also enjoyed the lightly-seared and tender venison loin paired earthy vegetables including celery-root cream, carrots, and mushroom.

The service at Babel includes a bit of theatrics, particularly in the presentation of the amuse bouches such as the bite of mushroom wrapped in a fermented grape leaf and served on a granite board. Both the five and ten-course tasting menu runs €80 per person (the longer one has smaller portions), or €120/140 if you opt in for the wine pairing, which consists of local Hungarian wines.