Da Mario Budapest
Da Mario is a pricey modern Italian restaurant in Budapest, set on a precious piece of downtown real estate between the Hungarian Parliament building and Liberty Square, with views onto both from its outdoor terrace. Instead of a trattoria vibe, the polished, high-ceilinged space features sleek leather banquettes and dark furnishings. Being within the city's financial and government district, business meals here are more typical than date nights.
Executive chef Alessandro Smanio is a native of Ferrara in Emilia-Romagna, which explains why northern Italian classics like the ricotta and spinach-stuffed tortelloni (€12) and the creamy risotto with parmesan (€12) are among the top dishes. The long menu also features grilled meats, wood-oven pizzas, pastas, and seafood. The Instagram-friendly fish soup arrives teeming with crustacean — langoustine claws project out of the plate — black mussels, squids, and octopus (€25). But not all dishes are hits: the strozzapreti pasta with pesto and shrimp was unremarkable, and the standard Italian desserts (tiramisu, panna cotta, profiterol) tasted no better than elsewhere.
To remain unbiased, I visit all places incognito and pay for my own meals and drinks. I also never accept money in exchange for coverage. But this means I must rely on readers to support my work. If you've enjoyed this article, please consider making a donation.