The 6 Italian Restaurants To Try In Budapest

Everyone loves Italian food, and Hungarians are no exception. The Italian food scene in Budapest is extensive, ranging from mom-and-pop osterias to seriously elaborate operations with inventive Italian dishes. See which one strikes your fancy.

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#1 Pomo D'oro

Pomo D'oro is a golden apple that’s popular for the right reasons. One of the forerunners of higher-end Italian restaurants in Budapest, which, surprisingly, has managed to sustain high quality food and a friendly yet professional service over the years (it opened in 2002). Despite being an upscale restaurant, it retains an intimate, friendly atmosphere and isn't prohibitively expensive for its calibre (main dishes generally range between €10 and €20). Dishes not to miss include the wonderfully uncomplicated strozzapreti (priest choker) hand-rolled pasta, and the seabass fillet filled with bacon and black mussels ragout.
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#2 Ristorante Krizia

One of the upscale Italian restaurants that's been around since 1997. Ristorante Krizia is a popular lunch destination for Italians living in Budapest, and an Italian restaurant hardly needs a better reference than that. The underground premise with a reserved atmosphere has less than a dozen tables, all elegantly covered in white linen and occupied by well-to-do families. Their magnificent weekday three-course prix fixe lunch for the equivalent of €5 (HUF1,500) is probably the best value for money you'll find in the city.
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#3 Fausto’s Ristorante and Osteria

Hands down, the finest and most expensive Italian food in Hungary. They rightfully claim that their courses are “sprinkled with the latest arts of contemporary cuisine” - don’t expect pizza and spaghetti Bolognese. But do expect a menu with depth over breadth and such delicacies as the green tagliatelle with duck ragout and goose liver or the tender lamb loin with fried polenta and black beans. The elaborate dishes pay homage to and are reimaginations of the rich northern Italian gastronomic traditions.
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#4 Al Dente

Italian chatter is filtering through the open kitchen, a rare but highly welcome phenomenon for an Italian restaurant. This osteria-type eatery is one of those under-the-radar neighborhood restaurants you hope others won't find out about so as to keep it all for yourself. Despite the relatively exhaustive offerings, these Italian staples taste exactly the way they should. The penne speck with mascarpone and truffle oil alone is worth the visit, but the ever-changing daily meat/seafood/vegetarian pastas are also cooked simply and well.
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#5 Caffee GianMario

As soon as you enter this place, it will conjure the images of your stereotypical family-owned Italian restaurant. A charming man in his 60s, wearing a finely cut wool jacket and a smile on his face that hints of a life well lived, is usually in charge of greeting and seating guests. The service staff, most of whom are also Italians, peripatetically hurry and shout half-uttered words to one another over the cramped tables. Despite the seeming chaos, food arrives quickly, and servers manage to spare a kind word to every guest.
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#6 TG Italiano

TG Italiano is one of those places you pick when you don't feel like leaving the highly touristed downtown areas but want to eat something good. Good, and somewhere other than the dime a dozen “traditional Hungarian” goulash-oriented tourist traps. Instead of goulash, you'll find a broad range of Italian staples here, some of which are prepared on the open grill by (Italian) chef Sergio Viti. TG Italiano isn’t cheap, but the food is consistent, the interior designed, and the service attentive and professional.
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Rankings are based on a combination of food/drink, atmosphere, service, and price.
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