Da Mario Budapest

Da Mario is a modern Italian restaurant in Budapest, set on a precious piece of downtown real estate between the 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 inside the city's financial and government district, business dinners 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 best 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) are no better than elsewhere. Overall, Da Mario serves reliable, though not exceptional, Italian dishes at above-average price points.

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