You will need leave the heart of Budapest to unearth La Perle Noire, a high-end restaurant serving French cuisine and revamped Hungarian classics. La Perle Noire is located on a quiet section of Andrássy Avenue, also known as Budapest's Champs-Élysées, peppered with residential villas and embassies in District 6. The quirky modernist building from 1937 that houses the restaurant, now also a hotel, stands out from the predominantly 19th century street view.
La Perle Noire's seasonally-changing menu includes typical French fine dining dishes such as foie gras (€26), lamb saddle (€23), and braised pork cheek (€19). In-line with contemporary fine dining practices, light vegetable creams and sauces accompany most dishes. The kitchen also make several forays into reinvented Hungarian classics, but the veal paprikash (€18) and the goulash soup (€8) didn't leave much of an impression, especially for these prices, and felt more like afterthoughts added to the menu to please tourists looking for local flavors.
La Perle Noire's €13 weekday three-course lunch prix fixe is the most economical way to get a taste of Chef Árpád Kovács' elaborate dishes. The best part about La Perle Noire is its green terrace overlooking Andrássy Avenue which offers an exclusive dining experience in the warmer months (and a striking contrast to the dark and corporate-looking dining room inside.)
La Perle Noire is rarely more than half-full, but no one, least of all the ever-present owners, seems to mind. Note that groups of hotel guests from upstairs occasionally pop in for a drink to the lounge tables located in the side of the restaurant, which can detract from a true fine dining experience.