Babka is a Middle-Eastern restaurant in Budapest named after the Ashkenazi Jewish bready cake originating in Eastern Europe, perhaps as a hat-tip to the neighborhood, which is home to much of Budapest’s middle-class Jewish residents. Babka's dimly-lit, homey interior, featuring vintage decor and hardwood floors, will make you want to enter the space.
The Israeli and Middle Eastern dishes, however, often fall short. The hummus (€5) was dry; the dolma (€5), grape leaves stuffed with rice, bland. The lamb kofta (€13) arrived with a distractingly sour side of parsley salad. 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 (mains are €7-13). Among the better mezze were the mango-curry hummus with grilled chicken (€5), and the zucchini pancake stuffed with vegetables and a side of garlicky sour cream (€7).
They also serve Hungarian wines, beers, and bespoke cocktails. Thanks to the location and the inviting interior, Babka could become a perfect neighborhood restaurant, but there's room to improve for the kitchen.