Craving some comforting bolognese just like mama used to make on your Budapest break? Never fear – for we’ve curated the very best Italian restaurants in the Hungarian capital for your feasting pleasure.
Caffé Gian Mario, Budapest
Pizzeria, Restaurant, Italian, $$$
This Italian restaurant, located close to the city center, is a great family business which offers all sorts of Italian delicacies from antipasti and bruschetta to cannoli and crostata. Pizza takes center stage though. There is also a ‘dish of the day’ which is always something new, sold for a discounted price. The Italian owners and staff are very friendly and welcoming, and though the place is small, it’s very cozy and has a good atmosphere.
Trattoria Pomo D’Oro, whose name gives credit to the most important ingredient in Italian cuisine according to the owners, the tomato, is a very homely restaurant located in the city center. The head chef, Rosario, prepares a lot of dishes from his own collection of recipes apart from traditional, well-known Italian meals. The dishes listed in the menu vary every day since the owners are fond of surprising patrons with new and unexpected combinations of traditional Italian ingredients. Every day there are at least 30 different wines on offer from the huge collection of over 100 types of wine owned by the restaurant. This is a true gem of an Italian trattoria where creativity in meals meets top-notch quality.
Considered the place to get pasta in the city, 2Spaghi isn’t exactly fine dining. All the same, the restaurant, founded and run by two Italians who moved to Budapest in 2011, produces a glut of pasta shapes, types and tastes to the exacting standards that you’d expect from Italian chefs. It isn’t lavish, but it more than satisfies the craving.
Perhaps not the grandest of dining experiences this one, especially considering the worse-for-wear buildings of the area. However, Most – meaning ‘now’ in Hungarian and pronounced ‘Mosht’ – blends high quality ingredients and presentation with a friendly service and setting. There’s a wide selection of options, with traditional Hungarian sharing menu space with American, Italian and even Indian. It’s particularly worth a visit in the warmer months when the huge terrace is open, perfect for enjoying their excellent cocktails with your meal.
Bar, Bistro, Restaurant, Coffee Shop, Hungarian, Mediterranean, Coffee, Tapas, $$$
Két Szerecsen offers a wide range of international dishes | Courtesy of Két Szerecsen
Set on what is known as the ‘Broadway of Budapest’ thanks to its numerous theatres, Két Szerecsen dubs itself “a coffeehouse in the old sense”. Mautner describes the venue as casual, and it is this relaxed vibe that makes Két Szerecsen such a great choice for any time of day. You can drop by the bistro for breakfast, lunch, dinner or coffee and expect to be captivated by the diverse array of flavours on offer. With options ranging from Spanish tapas to Moroccan-inspired dishes, the bistro’s changing weekly menus span global cuisines. If you prefer to stay local, Mautner suggests trying the chicken paprikash or the red wine-braised beef cheek with cottage cheese pasta – along with all of the desserts!
Though there aren’t quite as many options for enjoying a meal beside the Danube on the Buda side as there is in Pest, Zona is most certainly the place to do so. Its position close to Chain Bridge means you’ll get a view just as delicious as its food, which is always impossibly well-presented. There’s plenty of options to try, too, from grilled meats and risottos to gourmet burgers or a platter of cheeses.