Restaurant Ottimo, The Ritz-Carlton Budapest: excellent food, service not up to scratch

During our short stay in Budapest before heading on to Debrecen, we decided to have lunch at the restaurant of The Ritz-Carlton, the hotel we were staying in for the night, which offered a new concept in Italian dining.

As a reminder, here is the itinerary followed:

#TypeReview
1DiarySummer escape in Hungary
2LoungeBritish Airways Galleries Club, Boston Logan
3FlightBritish Airways Club World, Boston Logan – London Heathrow, Boeing 777-200
4LoungeBritish Airways Galleries First, London Heathrow T3
5FlightBritish Airways Club Europe, London Heathrow – Budapest Liszt, Airbus A320
6HotelThe Ritz-Carlton, Budapest
7RestaurantOttimo at The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest
8TrainMAV Start Intercity First, Budapest Nyugati – Debrecen
9TrainMAV Start Intercity First, Debrecen – Budapest Nyugati
10HotelMatild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Budapest
11RestaurantSpago by Wolfgang Puck at Matild Palace, Budapest
12RestaurantBistro Parísi, Budapest
13RestaurantThe Duchess Rooftop Bar at Matild Palace, Budapest
14LoungePlaza Premium Lounge, Budapest Liszt
15FlightBritish Airways Club Europe, Budapest Liszt – London Heathrow, Airbus A320
16LoungeBritish Airways Concorde Room, London Heathrow
17FlightBritish Airways Club World, London Heathrow – Boston Logan, Airbus A380-800
Today’s itinerary

The concept

The concept is simple: it’s a good-quality Italian restaurant, which normally has a large dining room behind the hotel lobby, and in summer, the outlet has a terrace, which is where we chose to have lunch.

The setting

The setting was quite pleasant, and the mild late spring weather in Budapest meant that we could take advantage of the sunshine to have lunch on the terrace.

The menu

The menu was quite interesting, offering quality antipasti and pasta dishes as well as grilled meats and fish.

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The meal and the dishes

For the main course, I chose the vittello tonnato, which was absolutely excellent, the tuna cream was perfect, the veal carpaccio thick enough to be chewy on the palate, and the capers in reasonable quantity ensured the dish’s balance.

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For dessert, I chose a chocolate entremets which was excellent, but which I couldn’t finish. The accompanying ice cream was absolutely perfect.

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The service

This was the black spot of our lunch: the service. Everything took an extremely long time, from setting the table to bringing the menu, then taking the order, then serving the dishes and finally the bill, which took forever to arrive. It’s not normal for a lunch to take more than 1h30. A lunch should be able to be served in 45 minutes, otherwise you wouldn’t attract the local office clientele. Urgent attention to detail.

The atmosphere

The atmosphere was pleasant, but that’s more down to the sun than the service.

Bottom line

The execution of the service does a disservice to the efforts and quality of the cuisine. Too bad!

Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier has been into airline blogging since 2010. First a major contributor to the FlyerTalk forum, he created the FlyerPlan website in July 2012, and writes articles with a major echo among airline specialists. He now co-runs the TravelGuys blog with Bertrand, focusing on travel experience and loyalty programs.
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