Babka is a Middle-Eastern restaurant in Budapest named after the Ashkenazi Jewish bready cake originating in Eastern Europe. Perhaps the restaurant's moniker is a hat-tip to the neighborhood, which is home to much of Budapest’s middle-class Jewish residents. The snug, dimly lit interior — complete with vintage furnishings and hardwood floors — will make you want to enter.

The Israeli and Middle Eastern dishes, unfortunately, are a bit hit-or-miss. On my most recent visit, the lamb kofta (€13) arrived 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 cult status around the world. All this at prices that are high by Budapest standards: mains are €7-13. Among the better plates are the cauliflower sabih, the mango-curry hummus with grilled chicken, and the shakshuka (€7).

There's also Hungarian wines, beers, and bespoke cocktails. Thanks to a prime location and inviting interior, Babka could become a perfect neighborhood restaurant, but the kitchen has room to improve currently.

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