Everybody loves Italian food, and Hungarians are no exception. In Budapest, you will find everything from Naples-style pizzerias to elaborate northern-Italian restaurants, but most places don’t specialize in any particular region, instead putting out reliable, mid-range, pan-Italian fare along the lines of Caprese salad, pasta carbonara, saltimbocca, and tiramisu.
Opened in 1997 by owner-chef Graziano Cattaneo, an Italian native from Lombardy, Krizia is an elegant, below-ground restaurant hiding in a quiet street in Budapest’s District 6 near the city center. The snug space has less than a dozen tables—all of them covered in white linen—and adorably ceremonial servers, especially the older of the two long-time waiters.
Trattoria Pomo D’Oro
Pomo D’Oro, which opened in 2002, is a wildly popular and beloved Italian restaurant in Budapest’s downtown, marrying a red-sauce, old school Italian trattoria and a modern restaurant with gastronomic ambitions. This means it appeals equally well to middle-class Hungarian families looking for pan-Italian comfort food, foodies with more adventurous palates, business customers, and tourists. As a result, the ever-expanding space, which has retained a homey atmosphere, is packed to capacity with a mixed crowd every day of the week. While not cheap by Budapest standards—mains range from €10 to €20—price points aren’t outrageous for its calibre.
TG Italiano Budapest (Tom George)
TG Italiano (Tom George) is a pricey Italian restaurant on a tourist-heavy downtown street in Budapest. The spacious restaurant features a chic interior complete with an outdoor terrace that’s heated and covered in the colder months, making it a perfect spot for people watching.
Fausto’s Ristorante and Osteria
Fausto’s Ristorante, which opened in 1994, is a classic fine dining restaurant in Budapest specializing in northern Italian fare. Forget pizza and Caprese salad and instead think of meticulously plated dishes made from expensive ingredients like foie gras, scallops, flatfish, and venison loin. A couple of egg-based pasta and risotto options are also available, made with rich sauces.
Never mind the black-and-white photos of Italy on the walls, little of Alessio’s interior will remind you of an Italian restaurant. Instead, the densely carpeted space with crammed tables feels like a charming neighborhood joint tailored to the tastes of the middle- and upper-class residents of this elite Buda neighborhood. If you need a break from the bustle of the city center, Alessio is a perfect hideaway