Baraka in Budapest
In planning meals for our upcoming 3 days in Budapest, I booked one dinner at Baraka, a modern, newish looking Asian (Chinese) place that Zagat 09/10 showed as best (overall, not just best Asian) in Budapest. I have searched on this forum in vein for any mention of the place which seems odd. Has anyone dined there? How was it? Am I buying a pig in a poke?
Likely you know this by now, but you surely ain't buying what you think you are. Baraka is not Asian and not newish, and Zagat is an utterly useless source for Budapest restaurant advice. Having said that, your meal is likely to be excellent.
Baraka is owned by a Hungarian/Israeli couple and was the first really serious fine dining restaurant in Budapest with a modern feel and menu. LuLu, now defunct, was the first pretentious but wonderful classic restaurant in the city, and Baraka, then in the center of downtown, was started by an extraordinarily talented Hungarian chef (Viktor Segal)and a marvelous Israeli (I think) pastry chef. Segal, former executive chef in one of the 5-star hotel chains who had managed massive operations around the world, including Tel Aviv where he ran a kosher kitchen, came back to Hungary to cook and brought with him a sense of Asian ingredients that he uses with an incredibly deft touch on traditional Hungarian dishes and ingredients. He left Baraka long ago (now he's sort of a tv chef and celebrity), but the restaurant, which moved out to the periphery, did not change its vision, direction, or quality. Or high prices. Or smallish portions. Order several courses, through fiscal caution to the winds (it will still be orders of magnitude cheaper than Paris or even NYC, though not, say, Portland, and you will have (or will have had) a memorable evening in a very classy room.