Babel is a Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant in the heart of Budapest. The hushed, casually elegant dining room has only a dozen tables, set with white linen and overlooking the neighboring Gothic cathedral bathed in soft light (the Danube is just a stone's throw away).

Swedish celebrity chef Daniel Berlin has fine-tuned the menu while the day-to-day kitchen duties are carried out by a quintet of local chefs under Kornél Kaszás. The 8 and the 12-course tasting menus draw inspiration from Austro-Hungarian cuisine but the kitchen chases purity of flavors rather than a complete loyalty to traditional dishes or ingredients. Exquisite foods abound, from black caviar to truffles. What unites the plates is their near-uniform excellence (that flavor-bomb of guinea fowl broth, oh my). The service staff is notably competent – no matter how mundane or technical your question, they'll have answers for you.

The 12-course menu runs €180 per person or €270 with pairing, either with Hungarian wines or a smart selection featuring craft vermouth, local beer, Normandy cider, and an idiosyncratic Tokaj szamorodni. Babel is currently the priciest of Budapest's Michelin-starred restaurants, but also one that offers an all-around, two-star experience (despite having only one Michelin star currently).

To remain unbiased, I visit all places incognito and pay for my own meals and drinks. If you're enjoying this article, please consider supporting me by making a one-time payment (PayPal, Venmo).