Owner-chef Graziano Cattaneo, an Italian native from Lombardy, opened Krizia back in 1997. It's an elegant, below-ground restaurant hiding in a quiet street off the grand Andrássy Avenue in Budapest's District 6. The snug space has less than a dozen tables—all of them covered in white linen—and adorably ceremonial servers, especially the older of the two long-time waiters.

The menu features seafood (branzino, gilt-head bream, salmon), and typical northern Italian dishes of which the made-to-order foie gras-stuffed tortelloni is a special treat (€12). I also enjoy Krizia's perfectly creamy risotto (€10)—eat it with a spoon—and the sliced filet mignon paired with porcini mushrooms and a side of creamy polenta infused with stracchino cheese (€22). It's as delicious as it sounds. The wine menu features both Italian—Lambrusco, Chianti, Barbaresco, Super Tuscans—and Hungarian bottles.

Krizia offers a weekday three-course, fixed-priced lunch for a mere €5, which is an economical teaser for the dinner menu. On a typical day, they might serve a small portion of homemade ravioli in a sage-butter sauce, followed by sweet-and-sour pork ribs, and tarte tatin—life could definitely be worse.