Hands up, I confess I am now a fan of this establishment, as the title says this is one of Budapest’s best kept secrets. This is actually part of a chain, but the restaurant I am talking about for this revue is the one in the Arena Plaza Mall, on the first floor (second to Americans).
I have had three meals here so far, over three months and happy to report that all three have been excellent. Good customer service, good value and great food having been to Italy, several times you get a bit suspicious of Italian restaurants outside of Italy. But whilst there are regional differences in Italy with their food and I am by no means an expert on Italian foods, Okay Italia strikes a good balance. I know an Italian may beg to differ on that, but I when I was there back in July, an Italian couple were on the table next to me and the chef was fussing about their meal, I am assuming it was a good meal.
If I had one criticism, it would be that the table are a bit on the small size and tightly packed together, but this is after all a restaurant in a shopping mall. I have tried their pizzas, pasta dishes and baked pasta plus breaded veal cutlets. I am happy to report that all meals were fine. My wife mentioned that the pizza reminded her of Da Michele, in Naples, which is a big compliment. The menu offers an extensive range of foods, that somewhat took my wife back, because as anyone who has been to Italy will tell you some of the good restaurants offer a very limited food choice.
This place does get busy, but the staff have always been pleasant and accommodating, what is impressive is that the three times I have been there the food has always arrived at a consistent speed, and is hot, in fact I could say that compared to many places they beat many on speed of service, ordering and receiving your meal. I could happily eat all my meals in Budapest here, but as they say man cannot live on pizza & pasta alone. I have often looked at the deserts on offer but to be honest the meals have always filled me up sufficiently.
So what do I like about Okay Italia, good customer service, consistent food that always arrives speedily once ordered and the icing on the cake are the prices are good value. But also whenever I ask for another drink or look over at the waiting staff they get it and my drink arrives straight away, which has been one of my frustrations in many other places. With all that going for it what else do you need? The only other way you can find better Italian food in Hungary is by walking out of the Arena Plaza, crossing the road to Keleti train station and jumping on the first available train to Italy.
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