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 reliable, pan-Italian fare, but I’m hard-pressed to single out an unforgettable dish that would make it worth crossing the Danube from Pest. So, it’s fitting that most patrons are well-heeled local residents at this spacious, two-story restaurant boasting a sizeable outdoor patio and even a private playground for small children.

Among the better dishes were the tomato bruschetta (€5), the wood-oven pizzas, and the seafood spaghetti (€15). Notwithstanding the tableside spectacle, however, the salt-crusted branzino (sea bass) stuffed with lemon and herbs was a bit dry (€20), the flavors in the “Livorno” fish soup (€14) never came together, and the tiramisu and the panna cotta (both €5) were unremarkable.

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