Sushi Ocean is a pricey below-ground sushi restaurant on a downtown side street in Budapest. As you enter the premises, don't flinch if the staff, donning traditional outfits, greets you cheerfully in unison (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.

The 10-piece sushi plate includes salmon, tuna, octopus, squid, and seaweed. Fattier fish like mackerel and tuna receive a slight sear from a blowtorch to bring out their flavors. Besides sushi, I also enjoyed the hearty ramen, and the katsudon, which consists of breaded slivers of pork over rice. The takoyaki — octopus balls — are some of the best I've had. Plenty of sake and two types of Japanese beers (Asahi and Sapporo) are available for the full experience.

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