Parázs Presszó Thai Restaurant (Jókai Street)

Budapest's Thai restaurants can be grouped into two categories: there are a few formal establishments with a service staff and a comprehensive drinks menu, while most others comprise mom-and-pop takeouts with slim menus and operating out of small, undecorated spaces. Parázs is the best representative of the former genre, so if a proper, sit-down Thai meal is what you're after, head to Parázs Presszó Restaurant in District 6, not far from downtown. Know before you go that Parázs isn't cheap by local standards; main dishes are €9-15.

Since its opening in 2007, Parázs has grown into a chain restaurant with three locations across the city, but this one, in Jókai Street, offers the most complete food and drinks menu. Apart from familiar Thai classics like pad thai and drunken noodles, the menu pays respect to regional Thai fare, too. No matter what you order, the kitchen puts out composed, elegantly plated dishes, many with spice levels that are on the higher end.

I can recommend the buttery, electrifying green curry with a prominent, though not uncomfortable pungency (€9). The highlight is the deep-fried, whole tilapia fish (€17); it's crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and comes blanketed in a sweet-spicy sauce spiked with green herbs. The dishes from the Isan region, best known for their chili heat, are also balanced: both the grilled pork (nam tok; €9) and the green-papaya salad (€8) were refreshing and tasty.

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