The flavours of yesteryear, specialities from Austrian, Hungarian and Italian kitchens, premium delicacies by small producers and popular treats by well-known baker Szabi Szabadfi – you can find all these at his latest Panificio il Basilico, adding to a series of similarly named ventures across Budapest.

Some people just keep on creating and creating, no matter what the circumstances – even in the middle of a pandemic. Szabi Szabadfi surprises us with something new almost every month. After outlets in Király utca and the Downtown Market, plus a pizzeria in Buda, he has just come up with the idea of a bakery complemented by fine deli products.

The new Panificio il Basilico opened just before Christmas but Szabi has been toying with the idea for a while now – he would often notice at the ‘for rent’ sign whenever he drove by the place on his way to Városmajor.

“It’s a nice location overlooking Margaret Bridge, and I  could just imagine it post-Covid, with guests sipping coffee at terrace tables,” he says. A relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere can be conjured up even in these cold, gloomy times thanks to the half-moon awning over the door, like an Italian or French bakery. 

They’ve just finished the interior layout – Szabi still wants a few changes, but essentially, they’re all ready. The carved wood creates a cosy atmosphere, which will later be filled with the aromas of Italian cold cuts and other smoked goods. There are charming decorations everywhere, and the shelves covering an entire wall are packed with goodies even now.

The Bázsalikom Pékség is therefore not only a bakery – there are plenty of gourmet products to choose from to, from dry pastas to oils, vinegars and a variety of flours. Each has been selected to sit alongside the main feature, breads and pastries.

The Hungarian section includes homemade pestos and spice mixes by Fűszeres lány, cordials by Tamás Pince, jams and cordials by Mayer Szörp, homemade mustards, spices by small producers, beers by Zip’s, ciders by Budaprés and wines by Attila Vámos. The Italian section offers special rice and pasta products, balsamic vinegars and palm oil-free nut spreads, but they’re also experimenting with packaging-free olive oil, sunflower oil and pumpkin-seed oil varieties. The fridge contains smoked products by Püski, while dairy products by Élő Bolygó can be expected to arrive soon.

The other corner is dedicated to different kinds of flours, with almost 30 types – plain, spelled, wholemeal, rye and wheat, as well as others for Italian pizzas and pastas.

“A huge sourdough community came to life on Facebook during lockdown, and many have been baking at home ever since. People regularly ask me where they can buy good flour – that’s why we set up this shelf.”

To show support of baking at home, they have a sign with instructions how to create basic white bread next to the entrance – if they aren’t open, they still provide customers with a good recipe. 

The premium sandwiches deserve particular attention among the 40-50 kinds of baked goods on the counter each day. They represent three different cultures: Hungarian, Italian and Austrian, as Szabi used to work as a baker in Austria for many years.  

There’s no pizza but pesto focaccias and, soon, home-smoked fior di latte mozzarella. To honour Austrian tradition, the store offers the nation’s most popular breakfast dishes: leberkäse buns with liver sausage, served with mustard and pickles, and käsekrainer, a cheesy sausage. This specialty can be traced back to an Austrian butcher named Windisch, and is made with mangalica pork.

Another personal touch are the párizsi sandwiches from Szabi’s childhood in Szombathely. He created his own version in the bakery with homemade savoury buns, a generous amount of Püski párizsi luncheon meat, boiled eggs, mayonnaise and gherkins.

You can also expect to find another local favourite here in the near future, the giant meatball sandwich, which, similarly to leberkäse, will also be made with sourdough buns. If things go well and the storms of Covid pass, the bakery might flourish by spring – sat outside, you’ll be able to ask for our own selection of smoked goods and pastries to accompany the sandwiches, as well as coffee by Black Sheep.

Panificio il Basilico
District II. Bem József utca 2