Trattoria Venezia

A restaurant located along Budapest’s car-saturated Grand Boulevard may not be your dream dinner venue, but diners who come to Trattoria Venezia will find outstanding Italian dishes at somewhat lower prices than those served in downtown.

The best appetizers at Trattoria Venezia include the cozze alla marinara, which is a generous serving of mussels in their shells blanketed in a rich white wine-based sauce (use the bread to mop up the leftover), and the squid-, mussel-, and shrimp-infused creamy fish soup imparting a peppery and garlicky tang.

The main courses are a reliable collection of the usual suspects of Italian fare, be it pasta carbonara (the original, no-cream version), veal saltimbocca, or the Roman-style oven-baked pizzas. The only obvious nod to the restaurant’s moniker is the black risotto, the stereotypical Venetian dish. It owes its color to squid ink and arrives with bits of the mollusk and, honest to its origins, a soupier texture.

Ear-catching English and Italian cover songs comprise the repertoire of the daily live music performances at Trattoria Venezia, which, to me, detracted more from the dining experience than enhanced it - the cozy trattoria-like interior alone is sufficient to evoke the Italian vibes.