Fuji Japanese Restaurant

When it opened in 1991, Fuji was one of the first Japanese restaurants in Budapest. From a tastefully upscale venue they served pricey Japanese fare to well-heeled locals and expats looking for exotic tastes in post-communist Budapest. Almost three decades later—an eternity in restaurant years—Fuji is still around.

After several visits, it seems that Fuji’s continued popularity stems more from its longevity and status symbol than the food. Their sushi and sashimi are very expensive (the sashimi selection costs €30), and not always very good (the only thing spicy about the €11 roll of bland spicy tuna maki was the pungency of the wasabi paste).

Fuji's non-fish dishes are hit-and-miss. The karaage (deep-fried chicken thighs; €8) and the yakitori (skewered chicken; €3 per skewer) felt like afterthoughts, added to the menu for sake of completeness, but the katsudon (€10), a rice bowl with fried eggs and pieces of breaded pork, and the tamagoyaki, the famed Japanese rolled omelette, were both excellent. Fuji is one of the few places that serves chawanmushi (€6), a savory, steamed egg custard with morsels of chicken thigh and shrimp, and one of the rare Japanese dishes eaten with a spoon. Plenty of sake and Japanese beers are also served.

Despite the inconsistent food offerings and at times brusque service staff, Fuji can be worth a visit for a special occasion. Otherwise, you're likely better off in one of the more humble and cheaper Japanese restaurants in Budapest.