You wouldn't guess that a truly excellent fine dining restaurant hides in a dim backstreet of Budapest's District 7, just blocks from the heart of the party district. The vibes here are casually elegant: cushy modern furnishings, sleek open kitchen, bare wooden tables, soft electronic music. Head chef Ádám Mede's below-ground kitchen sends out beautiful plates that are inspired by Japanese and Hungarian cuisine. Smoked trout on a bed of sushi rice; sturgeon filets in a mirin and yuzu-slicked sauce; ramen with homemade noodles and strips of Mangalica; catfish, in a paprikash sauce reduced to earthy richness.
The six-course tasting menu runs €125, or €195 with wine pairing. Apart from a memorable Champagne, the wines feature mainly Hungarian producers from Somló, Balaton, and of course the famous Tokaj region. Laurel's service team is among the best in Budapest – alert, knowledgeable, but unobtrusive.
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