Italian cuisine is full of simple yet refined dishes that give you a joyous feeling, which is why they are so popular around the world. Budapest offers a handful of restaurants that are authentic representatives of the Italian world of delicacies, and Bottega di Brontolo in the heart of the capital is one of them.
If you are a motorsports fan, the name of Maranello may be familiar. The north Italian town with 17,000 inhabitants in Modena province has been the headquarters of Ferrari, a name associated with Formula 1 racing like no other, since 1943. Just opposite the Ferrari factory, where the pulsing heart of the town developed over the decades, is found one of the most famous restaurants in Maranello – the Il Cavallino.
This is where Alessandro Manfredini started his career as a chef and learned everything you need to know about Italian cuisine. This was about 30 years ago, since when Manfredini has worked for a number of renowned restaurants and was even employed as a private chef in the household of Italian opera star Luciano Pavarotti.
Manfredini also travelled the world, collecting inspiration from the cuisine of other countries, and finally he ended up in Hungary more than a decade ago – for the sake of love, of course.
How does Snow Whiterelate to Italian cuisine?
The chef opened his own restaurant, the Bottega di Brontolo, almost seven years ago. If you speak Italian, you might raise an eyebrow at this, since Brontolo translates as something like grumpy our grouchy. However, you don’t have to worry about being greeted by bad-tempered personnel upon your visit, particularly the name does not suit the temperament of the chef, who greets each client personally.
The name, Manfredini explains, refers to one of the dwarfs from the German fairytale about Snow White and the seven dwarfs, later filmed by Walt Disney. Manfredini was given the nickname Grumpy because of his resemblance to that dwarf – “grumpy” being Brontolo in Italian – and he named his restaurant accordingly. You can find small dwarf figures of many sizes hidden around the establishment.
Bottega di Brontolo is in Wekerle Sándor utca, only steps from Vörösmarty tér and the surrounding shopping streets. A view of the tasteful yet simple interior can be enjoyed from the street, thanks to the generously sized windows.
The design is dominated by a rustic brickwork wall with high ceiling and brickwork arches that feel a little like walking into a chapel. But there is no gloomy or dark atmosphere, rather a lot of light, warm wooden tones and simple furniture. The pictures on the walls fit in nicely with the overall Mediterranean concept but all in all this is a very modern restaurant.
If you listen closely, you will recognise quite quickly that this is a “real Italian restaurant” – even if it misses the folklore kitsch and chequered tablecloths. From the kitchen they are calling out for “Marco”, who is standing behind the counter making wide hand gestures. At the table in front of the window are two older gentlemen discussing the news in the paper in Italian, and from the radio full-blooded guitar music fills the air.
Daily fresh and daily new
The menu has everything that Italian cuisine can offer in terms of delicacies: ranging from antipasti such as Insalata Caprese or a selection of Italian cold cuts, to pasta in all the possible versions right up to the classic Tiramisu.
If you are visiting for the first time, then trying one of the numerous pasta dishes is a must because, as chef Manfredini says, he prepares most of the pasta specialties each day fresh in his kitchen.
However, if you would like to try something other than the classics, you are recommended to opt for the tenderloin steak with balsamic and parmesan, the duck breast alla Modenese, or the branzino. These are available each day.
The best thing though is to put the menu card aside and let Manfredini advise you about the newest offer, as there are new culinary creations each day in addition to the listed dishes, always prepared with ingredients from the market hall that day.
Bottega di Brontolo is one of those restaurants that you can recommend to almost anyone who likes to eat out in a not too glamourous yet elegant environment, choosing a satisfying and uncomplicated meal. You can organise everything here ranging from a romantic dinner to a family dinner for ten people or a business lunch.
However, you should not expect any culinary surprise. Even if chef Manfredini likes to experiment with exotic ingredients, pasta is just pasta – and this is exactly why we like it, after all.
Bottega di Brontolo
5 Wekerle Sándor utca, District V
Open Tuesday to Sunday
11.30am-3.30pm and 6.30-10.30pm
Reservations at (+36) 70 611-4970
See website at www.bottegadibrontolo.hu