Fausto’s Ristorante and Osteria

Opened in 1994, Fausto’s Ristorante is a classic fine dining restaurant in Budapest with some nods to northern Italian cuisine. Fausto's claims that its dishes are “sprinkled with the latest arts of contemporary cuisine.” What this means is that instead of the standard caprese- and pizza-driven menu, Fausto's prepares meticulously plated dishes made with a host of fancy ingredients that include scallops, flatfish, and venison loin, and served in a classic fine dininig setting. Those looking for simpler Italian fare, a couple of pasta options are also available: tagliatelle and risotto plates made with rich, heavy sauces.

Under the vigilant eyes of owner Fausto Di Vora, dressed in chef's coat, an army of waiters quietly run around the dozen or so tables that tend to fill up on Friday and Saturday evenings. The standout appetizer comprises two lightly browned scallops sitting atop a soft bedding of beef cheeks. Of the main courses, go for the John Dory fish filet, which has a clean, pure taste and a slight caramelized flavor from the quick sear in the pan. It comes with two pieces of calamari filled with a seafood-based spread as well as beets and fennel. Despite the well-presented plates, however, Fausto's dishes don't always meet the level of sophistication found in other fine dining Budapest restaurants.

Be sure to bring a full wallet to Fausto's as it charges some of the highest prices in the city. In fact, you can easily rack up a bill for the equivalent of €60 per person after a 3-course a la carte meal even without alcohol, which, when compared to similarly-priced 6-course tasting menus offered elsewhere in Budapest, makes Fausto's particularly pricey.

Osteria, located on the left side of the entrance and under the same umbrella brand, is a somewhat cheaper, more laid-back alternative with a reasonably-priced three-course lunch prix fixe (HUF3,600, or €12).