Back to food and more food… today you get double since I went off topic yesterday. So here are four of my favorites.
3. Arriba Taqueria – Prepared to order, before your very eyes, with real pico de gallo (that’s tomatoes, onions and fresh coriander) and smoky corn salsa… I don’t care if this place is cafeteria-style, I simply love it. Everything about it, from the tin trays to the wacky cartoonish murals and the mustachioed Frida Kahlo eyeing you from everywhere. I’m also thrilled that there are two of them, one at Oktogon and the other at Széna tér, perfect locations. This is the Tex-Mex every American loves, from a huge burrito stuffed with rice beans, spicy meat and your hand-chosen veggies and condiments, to fresh, light tortilla chips with salsa that cannot compare with anything that comes in a jar. Try the fish tacos, or hot made-to-order quesadillas oozing with cheese. My kids and I love to indulge in horchata, a drink that tastes like rice pudding, which Arriba introduced us to. And I have been known to indulge in a few too many margaritas here as well, though I will spare you the details… http://www.arriba.hu/en/
4. Taj Mahal – It’s tough to choose the best Indian restaurant in Budapest, but I’m loyal to this one, which delivered sumptuous saag paneer (spinach with homemade cheese) and garlic naan to my home for years before we moved out of town. Now, a pilgrimage to the Taj Mahal is an excuse to go into Pest, into a not-so-great neighborhood, but that’s part of the journey. Taj Mahal’s food seemed spicier than I remembered on my last visit, but the waitress said there are several chefs, and they each cook differently. So I guess it’s the “box of chocolates” deal here, but I’ve never been disappointed. www.tajmahal.hu. If you’re looking for a more central location, and possibly a slightly cozier atmosphere, then Indigo is the place to go. At either place, be sure to have a mango lassi. It will put out any fire, ensuring you enjoy your meal, no matter how spicy. http://www.indigo-restaurant.hu/
5. Millennium da Pippo – My favorite Italian in Budapest. Sicilian, to be exact. The owner learned to cook from his mother, as it should be in Italy. We always begin with the amazing vitello tonnato (thin slices of veal in a tuna sauce). We could follow with wonderful fish dishes like branzino and orata, but we usually opt for the homemade pastas. They say you can always tell a good Italian restaurant by the simplest dish, spaghetti all’aglio, olio e peperoncino, pasta with garlic, oil and hot peppers. It’s rarely on the menu, but my husband makes a point of ordering it everywhere, and here it is perfect. There’s fresh pizza as well, and cheeses, and if you take a look at the desserts cooler on your way to your table, you’ll remember to save room. For all of them. And I haven’t even mentioned the adorable decor, modeled on the Millennium metro station’s quaint tiling… http://www.millenniumdapippo.hu/
6. Hummus Bar – These delightful Israeli culinary cubbyholes pop up so quickly I can’t keep up. Apparently the latest one is in my old ‘hood, District XIII, on Hollán Ernő utca. Anyway, I stick to the original, the hole in the wall on Alkotmány utca, equidistant from Parliament and Nyugati station. Slide into a seat at the bar for your free sweet mint tea, and sip while you watch the creation of your hummus plate. We usually take home some shakshuka, a saucy tomato and egg concoction, and at least 20 falafel, with lots of hummus and laffa bread. The location on Október 6. utca has meat dishes, but we don’t miss them. But heck, you could try them all. www.hummusbar.hu
See you tomorrow for more fresh foodie-ness.