Babka is a Middle-Eastern restaurant located at the entry of the trendy Újlipótváros neighborhood. The restaurant is named after the Ashkenazi Jewish bready cake from Eastern Europe, perhaps as a hat-tip to the neighborhood, which is home to much of Budapest’s middle-class Jewish residents. Babka's interior features a vintage decor with old radio and TV equipment scattered throughout, complete with hardwood floors and dim lighting.
The food at Babka, unfortunately, can often fall short - many of these Israeli/Middle-Eastern dishes are on the bland side. The hummus and the tabbouleh salad lack flavor, and the dolma, grape leaves stuffed with rice, would be unremarkable without the yogurt the brightens up the dish. The lamb balls arrive with a distractingly sour side of parsley salad, and the namesake Babka dessert is a far cry from the moister, richer, and softer versions that catapulted this baked good into public awareness. All this at prices that are expensive by Budapest standards (main dishes run between €7 and €11).
Among the better plates are the mango-curry hummus topped with grilled chicken, the chicken satay, and the zucchini pancake stuffed with vegetables and a side of garlicky sour cream.
Babka has a great location and an inviting interior, now they need to level up the kitchen's performance to become a perfect neighborhood restaurant. With a full-service cocktail bar and a range of Hungarian wines, the space also works well for drinks.