Sushi Ocean Budapest

A Chinese businessman from Shanghai set out to open Budapest’s best sushi restaurant. The result is Sushi Ocean, a pricey, below-ground spot on a quiet downtown side street. Upon entry, don't be surprised when the entire staff, wearing traditional outfits, cheerfully greets you in Japanese.

If sushi is what you came for, try to sit at the counter to appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into transforming the raw fish and grains of rice into beautifully shaped nigiri. Fattier fish, like mackerel and tuna, receive a slight sear from a blowtorch to bring out their flavors. The 10-piece plate costs €20 and toppings include salmon, salmon roe, tuna, octopus, squid, and seaweed. Plenty of sake, both filtered and unfiltered, and two types of Japanese beers—Asahi and Sapporo—are available for the full experience.

Besides sushi, I also enjoyed the katsudon, breaded pork and eggs over rice, but the €15 price point for this everyday Japanese rice bowl is bizarrely high. I had similar feelings about the ramen (€9), which was nonetheless hearty and generous. The takoyaki (octopus balls) were some of the best I've had in Budapest. All in all, Sushi Ocean can be worth a visit, just be mindful as you order because it's easy to rack up a hefty bill.