Babel is a Michelin-starred restaurant in the heart of Budapest's downtown with a classic fine dining setting: the dim dining room with soft background music has only a dozen tables, all set with thick, white tablecloths. Babel prides itself on serving dishes inspired by Transylvania. The proof that this is more than empty marketing slogan is young head-chef István Veres himself, who hails from the Carpathian Mountains.
The standout of the five-course tasting menu is the reimagined “tojásos nokedli” (egg dumplings, or spätzle)—normally the simplest of countryside fare, here the dumplings are blanketed in a luscious, truffle-laced egg cream and sprinkled with dried and grated egg yolk. I also enjoyed the tender, lightly seared venison loin paired with profoundly earthy vegetables like celery-root cream, carrots, and mushroom.
The service can include a bit of theatrics, especially in the presentation of the amuse bouches, like the bite of mushroom wrapped inside a fermented grape leaf and served on a granite board. Both the five and 10-course tasting menus run €80 per person (the longer one comes in smaller portions), or €120 / €140 if you opt in for the wine pairing, which comprises excellent local Hungarian wines.