Baraka Restaurant in Budapest is a favorite for people who rely only on TripAdvisor for dinner recommendations. Visitors should know, however, that there are plenty of other fine dining restaurants in the city, some even with Michelin stars, that offer better dishes than Baraka at a more reasonable price point.
Brazilian-native André Bicalho is a skillful chef, but since his cooking style is based on both molecular and contemporary techniques, portions are smaller than one might be used to in other fine dining restaurants (for example Michelin-starred Onyx, located around the corner from Baraka). Some of the main courses on the tasting menu could even pass for amuse bouches, like the bite of tofu topped with coconut sorbet.
Baraka’s seasonally changing menu blends French cuisine with notes of Asian, particularly Japanese flavors. For example, the bouillabaisse at Baraka is a rich fish soup made of sea bream and sea perch with a crab-filled gyoza placed at the center. While it’s one of the best items on the tasting menu, diners are left wishing, as with other dishes, for a heartier portion.
The Nicoise salad presents plenty of playful textures (olive oil puree served as salad, anchovy as parfait, and tomatoes as chips) but the flavors didn’t exactly come together on my visit. The foie gras, the signature dish in all high-end Budapest restaurants, was unusually sinewy. The main act of the tasting menu, the red mullet paired with spinach and a bulgur bedding, was clean and light, though the €30 a la carte price tag for this plate seems excessive.
A highlight at Baraka is the professional service staff, which is still too rare in Budapest. American owner David Seboek runs a tight ship, and waiters at Baraka are poised, kind, and informed. If you have to wait for your table, the cocktail bar at the entrance serves a range of top shelf drinks. But overall, it's difficult to justify Baraka's steep prices: the undersized 6-course tasting menu, excluding alcohol, comes out to over €110 per person including the mandatory service charges (€200 with wine pairing).