With the possible exception of “who makes the best curry in Budapest?”, “who makes the best pizza?” is the question that seems to draw the most heated and wide-ranging answers among internationally-minded gourmand-types in the Hungarian capital. We’re not going to tell you who we think does, because in all honesty we don’t know. But we do know that a lot of people, including some Italians we know, think the honors belongs to Pizzeria Da Lello.
In January, the owner of Pizzeria Da Lello, which sits on a gritty corner on Buda’s Alkotás út, added a second outlet – Trattoria Da Lello – just down the road in the not-at-all gritty MOM Park shopping mall. We haven’t been to the trattoria, and for some reason we’d never made it to the pizzeria until this week, despite all the raves we’ve heard about it. Before getting to the pizza, here’s what else we had:
First was an order of the house’s seafood antipasto (Ft 2,000/€7.80), half of which is pictured above. Very tasty, even given the use of Surimi instead of real crab. Though that’s probably nitpicking.
Then there was a nice plate of bavetti with scampi (Ft 2,200), which was similarly tasty. No factory-made fake fish food product there.
So now for the pizza. We honed in on a Pizza Napoli, the great salty classic with anchovies, and asked that capers also be added (we love salt). Auspiciously, our waitress didn’t even blink at the request. And sure enough, the pizza showed up with a wonderful mess of both capers and anchovies. Again, we’re not sure if this was the best anchovy and caper pie we’ve ever had in Budapest, not to say the best overall pizza, but for sure it was damn good, with a nicely crisped crust (see arrow). It ended up costing Ft 1,600, though we’re not sure if this included the price of the capers, or whether they were thrown on for free. (But what was thrown on the bill “for free” was a service charge of 10%. Grrr.)
Meanwhile, the restaurant itself – which has smoking (above) and non-smoking areas, both featuring the obligatory oversized posters of impossibly beautiful Italian vacation spots – is very agreeable. The table next to ours was occupied by an almost comically “authentic” group of Italian diners, including a bunch of cute rowdy kids who called out “Ciao!” to their friends as they were leaving. And just like back in the old country, the proprietor (we think) held court at a table near the entrance glad-handling patrons. Nice touches.
So there you have it. We’re not willing to say Da Lello is the best Pizzeria in Budapest. But based on our one trip we’re not willing to say it’s not the best. So feel free to go check it out, and to continue arguing amongst yourselves.