Porcellino Grasso Ristorante

Porcellino Grasso is a popular Italian restaurant on Rózsadomb (Rose Hill), the most exclusive neighborhood on the Buda side of Budapest, if not the whole city. Accordingly, grand, secluded villas line the streets that surround the restaurant. Porcellino serves a range of reliable, pan-Italian dishes, but I’m hard-pressed to single out an unforgettable plate that’s worth crossing the Danube from Pest. So it’s fitting that most patrons are local residents at this spacious, two-floor restaurant, boasting a sizeable outdoor patio and even a private playground for small children.

If I had to single out the best dishes from the ones I tried, I would go with the tomato bruschetta (€5), the pizzas from the wood-burning oven, and the seafood spaghetti (€15). Notwithstanding the tableside spectacle, however, the salt-crusted branzino stuffed with lemon and herbs was a bit dry (€20), the flavors in the “Livorno” fish soup (€14) never came together, and the tiramisu (€5) and the panna cotta (€5) were bland.

With a pretty, hillside location and attentive service staff, Porcellino could easily become a sought-after destination for Italian food in Budapest. But for that to happen, the kitchen would need to offer more nuanced and convincing flavors.