Autentico Italiano© by John Axelrod Contact

where to find the best italian food outside Italy

Fausto´s- A Devilish Delight in Budapest

When one thinks of Faust, the recurring theme of making a deal with the devil is the most dominant image. When one eats at Fausto´s in Budapest, I cannot help but wonder if this chef made a deal with Mephistopheles just to be able to prepare food so decadent and delectable. Natually, Fausto is the Chefs real name, but given his personal attention AND the number of waiters per table (I had 5 different waiters throughout my meal and one head waiter who was incredibly helpful with recommendations), I understood how this Italian expatriate in Hungary has managed to make his restaurant probably Budapest´s best. Of course, there is Grundel, for the local specialties, but Fausto´s is a reminder that Italian food is gourmet. With a wine list and a 4 course treatment, I was reminded of Florence´s Enoteca Pinchiorri, considered by many to be the best restaurant in Italy. Well, in my quest to find the best Italian food outside of Italy, I think Fausto´s should be near the top.

What makes it so special? Personal service, selection of food and wine, fresh ingredients, attention to detail, and a beautiful atmosphere in one of Europe´s grandest cities.

The amuse-bouche was a succulent piece of grilled mozzarella on a light basilico dressing. Just enough to whet the appetite. This was followed by a pasta of pappardelle with short beef ribs and a ragu of tomato, rosemary and even a hint of mint. I was surprised how light it was, the pasta was al dente, the beef small and tender and the sauce needed help from the bread choices to finally disappear. Finally, the rack of New Zealand agnello was a perfect compliment. I thought the pasta with beef would be too much for the lamb, but the head waiter reassured me, and I was very happy to have listened. Among a bed of grilled vegetables, including red carrots, the lamb, roasted to a perfect pink, with succulent meat and almost no fat, was almost straight from a Tuscan kitchen. This was not the bread-crusted lamb one finds in Provence, but the flesh in pure form. Finally, dessert was a unique take on Tiramisu, but with Marscapone and not whipped creme, thankfully. The wine, a vintage Primitivo recommended by the waiter (Primitivo fever is now hitting Hungary where it has passed the rest of Europe) was actually wonderful to the last drop. Just as I finished, I thought again of poor Faust and all the suffering he endured at the hands of the devil. But perhaps Goethe´s Faust never ate so well, and the hands that made my dinner were delightfully angelic in their dedication to the art and craft of cooking.

Fausto´s Dohany utca, 5,
Budapest,
Tel: 36 1 269 6806

PS, there is a small Italian restaurant called Trattoria Toscana on the Belgrad Rakpart next to the river with an adjoining Wine bar. If Faustos is overbooked, you can go there, order in the restaurant and eat in the wine bar for intimate dining with many wine choices for the meal. Highly recommended for families or romantic dates.

Trattoria Toscana V,
Belgrád rakpart 13
Tel: 327-0045