The ever-bustling area of the Basilica is almost becoming the “Little Italy” of Budapest, considering the many enticing Italian eateries of this part of District V ranging from grand restaurants to tiny trattorias, alongside plenty of pizza places and gelato shops found around here. The quality varies greatly; we have our favorites, and also know which places are less proficient. Gustolato opened one month ago in this area on Hercegprímás Street, where everything that is Italian can be found, so they are definitely facing some stiff competition... but it seems this newcomer has what it takes.
First of all, it is important to list all the services Gustolato has to offer: it is a breakfast place, a confectionery, a chocolate store, an ice-cream shop, and a restaurant, all under the same roof. According to our judgment, all of this is on a truly high proficiency level. Such an extensive service is often disorganized and dreamy, but this is definitely not the case at Gustolato. Guests can experience well-thought-out, high-quality gastronomy here. The first restaurants of this brand were opened in Croatia, and now it was time to extend the business a bit further. The members of the management are all Italian, and the chef comes from the land of perfect pastas, too.Gustolato’s seating area does not follow the rustic trend of trattorias, but rather emphasizes a more sophisticated interior. Upon entering, we immediately notice the enticing gourmet chocolate boxes lined up on the shelves, and the sizeable ice cream and cake counters, as the restaurant area is found at the back. Interesting graphics – especially designed for Gustolato – hang on the walls, and their patterns keep coming back in the different details of the restaurant. This unit also has a terrace, where during nice weather guests can enjoy their coffees and ice creams in sparkling sunshine. Even though the opening was only a few weeks ago, there is no trace of any initial mistakes; there is no “soft”, or test period, everything is at the right spot, and it is all going fine.We started with the breakfast selection, from which we only tried one option, but that was so convincing that we didn’t even turn towards the savory sandwiches. We ordered a croissant with homemade pistachio filling (600 HUF). Imagine a creamy filling, with a familiar Italian peanut-butter-like consistency, entirely made of pistachios; sweet but not smothering, and it is wrapped in a warm, thin, crispy, but melt-in-the-mouth butter croissant. The cream also comes in different peanut flavored versions, and it is also sold as a spread on its own. We suspect that as soon as Gustolato becomes more well-known, it will be a popular Budapest program to have a creamy pistachio croissant while sitting on the steps of the Basilica. Their coffee collection is also impressive; they have everything on offer from a plain espresso (390 HUF) to an affogato served with ice cream (800 HUF).
Around noon they offer lunch specials; guests get two courses for 1,590 forints between noon and 3:30pm. We chose from the à la carte menu in order to try the permanent courses of the restaurant. The menu does not include too many options, they obviously put a lot of thought into it, and also aimed at including Italian-Hungarian fusion options in the repertoire. This is how the Magyar-bred Mangalicapork with a honey-orange dressing (2,800 HUF) made it on the menu. After this divine dish, we felt that trying out a homemade pasta was highly necessary, so we chose a penny bun tagliatelle (2,800 HUF). The eye-catching yellow color of the pasta comes from the healthy eggs it’s made of. Obviously, we could not miss out on a pizza either; the capricciosa, (2,400 HUF) generously packed with artichokes, is thin, with crispy dough, an excellent sauce, and plenty of cheese.Their confectionery is a heavenly haven for countless cup desserts and slices of cake, but considering that it is summertime, we tried their ice creams. They prefer a more neutral line, which is evident from the color and taste of the icy treats. They do not contain anything that shouldn’t be in ice cream; the fruity treats are water-based, whilst the others are milky. The portions are huge (7.5 dkg/scoop!), and the flavors are flawless – mango, coconut, almond, doughnut, Italian Baci chocolate, and regular chocolate are all found among the assortment, just to mention a few. For only 700 forints you can almost overdose on this ice cream, but it is worth trying different flavors, as they taste truly exciting.
As we mentioned before, they also feature chocolates; their self-made concoctions come in beautiful boxes, and it is also possible to buy them by weight. It is a truly exclusive present, especially for sweet-toothed friends and family members. Besides all that, their wine selection is also wide, and in the future we can also pop in to sip on special cocktail concoctions. Thus, in an part of Budapest loaded with specialties from Italy, Gustolato stands out by providing a little bit of everything that we could possibly crave from Italian cuisine.