La Botte Budapest

I can’t blame you if your first instinct is to avoid all restaurants on Váci Street, Budapest’s version of La Rambla. You know it's time to move on when hostesses, dressed in folk outfits, try to lure you with "traditional Hungarian tourist menus." La Botte is somewhat of an exception. Only somewhat, because part of the restaurant mimics the neighboring places, serving goulash soup amid a rustic Hungarian countryside decor complete with red-and-white tablecloths.

But La Botte is no tourist trap. In fact, it's one of the better Italian restaurants in Budapest. Their handmade tortelloni stuffed with ricotta and spinach is perfectly al dente and comes topped with a tangy tomato sauce (€10). I only wish the plate contained more than five oversized pieces of the navel-shaped pasta. The oblong, medium-crust pizzas are made in a wood-burning oven and exhibit a soft dough and yeasty depth. The raspberry panna cotta (€4) is light with a creamy unlike the jelly-like versions so common elsewhere.

If you enjoy people watching—who doesn’t?—sit at the outdoor tables during the warmer months for a front-row seat of the throngs passing through Váci Street. Finally, a word to the wise: even if the Hungarian dishes pique your interest, you're better off sticking to Italian food here.

We visit all places incognito, pay for our own meals and drinks, and write independent reviews.