Pasta, prosciutto, risotto… Italian food is popular the world over. Quality Italian cuisine now has a starring role in Budapest’s dining scene, and while you’ll still find mainstream chain restaurants are aplenty, there are also select establishments where you can taste la real dolce vita. Here we bring together the most splendido spots for great Italian eats – we’re still munching our way through the best pizzas in town, to be featured in a separate Ultimate Budapest list in the near future.
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Two lively Italian guys run this pasta-lasagne place at the Gozsdu Courtyard, awaiting guests with Italian pastas made fresh that day, on display in the counter. As it is meant to be, they learned all tips and tricks from their grandmothers, as nonne most certainly know best how to make that tagliatelle flat, ravioli nicely filled and spaghetti long and thin. After picking out your favorite shape, the pastas can be ordered dressed in creamy sauces on the spot, or if you feel like cooking up something at home, you can order them by gram. 2Spaghi’s pastas are heavenly, but don’t miss out on the tiramisu either!
- 1075 Budapest, Gozsdu udvar
Bottega di Brontolo
Bottega di Brontolo is a true trattoria and one of the most atmospheric Italian eateries in Budapest, operated by Sicilian chef, Vincenzo. Here the homemade pastas are divine, fresh ingredients such as fish and seafood make a regular appearance and they often have seasonal offers. Always a good sign, there are always a few Italians eating here, and Italian members of staff, proof of the high quality. Bottega di Brontolo makes one of the best carbonaras in town and make sure you spend a while perusing the impressive wine assortment – or let the expert waiter guide you.
- 1051 Budapest, Wekerle Sándor utca 5.
Fausto Di Vora’s restaurant in Dohány Street has always been that notch above, maintaining its status as the best Italian eatery in town. Fausto’s is open for lunchtime and evening service, awaiting guests with a finely crafted à la carte selection, as well as course tastings. Their pastas and risottos are exceptional, and the dishes here are made with the most modern of kitchen technology, combining tradition with the latest fashion and sophisticated style. The adjacent Fausto’s Osteria is open from noon to 11pm, and offers traditional Italian flavors amid a cozy and more laid-back bistro atmosphere.
- 1072 Budapest, Dohány utca 3.
Il Terzo Cerchio
Il Terzo Cerchio is a fuss-free Italian in Dohány Street near Blaha Lujza Square. Huge windows, rustic stone walls and arches provide a markedly Italian atmosphere, carried out over two invariably busy floors. Il Terzo serves standard Italian creations made from prime ingredients, and thanks to the open-view kitchen, you can even sneak peak into the creative process. This place is popular with tourist, expat and locals alike, and is perfect for a date or dinner with friends.
- 1071 Budapest, Dohány utca 40.
Chef Graziano Cattaneo opened Krizia with 30 years of culinary experience behind him, and the restaurant has been among the top Italian eateries ever since. Krizia truly has it all: amazing food, a cozy ambience, attentive staff and lovely wines. The menu does not feature the standard dishes you would find elsewhere – everything is offered with a twist. The service is super-friendly and the chefs always strive to satisfy the wishes of the diner, even with improvised creations.
Millennium da Pippo
Forza Juve! Sicilian-run Millennium da Pippo, its terrace occupying a prominent spot on Andrássy Avenue, has long been a favorite for those seeking authentic Italian cuisine in equally authentic surroundings. Many come here for the thin-crust pizza, the house selection named after Italy’s World Cup-winning team of 2006 – the Del Piero of Parma ham and rocket particularly recommended – but the rest of the menu merits investigation. Da Pippo makes good on its promise of delivering “The true tastes of Sicily” with varied antipasti of tuna-swordfish carpaccio, assorted cold cuts and mixed fried dishes, frittu S. Lucia. Soup concoctions were once created by the owner’s grandmother in Syracuse. Mains focus on escalopes, grilled sirloin steaks and Sicilian-style bream. Choose your dessert from the enticing display – Sicilian staple cannolo would be a wise buy. Sundays here are a treat, with Serie A games screened and Juventus wins celebrated.
Via Italia is Budapest’s own Little Italy on central Arany János Street, founded by Gianni Annoni, an Italian to the bone. Small signboards in the shape of a wine glass or an ice-cream cone indicate the character of each eatery, guiding you around the five venues of this Italian restaurant complex. A delicatessen lined with uniquely Italian ingredients, a smaller restaurant, a wine bar and an ice cream parlor all feature, but the most important element is Trattoria Pomo D’Oro. Here a wide assortment of authentic Italian dishes are created by Italian chefs using high-quality ingredients. The pasta and pizza selection is divine, but they are also justifiably proud of their gourmet courses.