Essência is the project of the Portuguese-Hungarian husband and wife duo, Tiago and Éva Sabarigo. Before venturing out on their own, Tiago was head chef at another Michelin decorated establishment, Costes Downtown, while Éva came from the hospitality industry. Essência is a casual fine dining restaurant: the high-ceilinged hall features exposed brick walls, plush mid-century modern furniture, and bare wooden tables.

The five or seven-course tasting menu is called “May 17th,” their daughter’s birthdate, and features Hungarian and Portuguese dishes. Highlights include the creamy foie gras, a traditional produce of Hungary, the grilled octopus with beluga lentils, and the tender mangalica heritage pork with a paprika sauce and a side of Portuguese bread salad. The seven-course tasting menu costs €130 per person (€200 with wine pairing). As with the food, the wines are sourced from Hungarian and Portuguese producers.

Tiago Sabarigo is a skilled chef who puts out eye-pleasing dishes, but there's room for creativity when it comes to assembling the menu; for example, by replacing some of the cliched fine dining staples with more exciting ingredients from Hungary or Portugal.

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