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Elegant Greek by the Opera

When passing the Opera House in Budapest on the right side, one will bump into a very elegant, authentic Greek restaurant. Don’t be afraid to enter despite all the classy look, it is paired with very kind waiters eager to explain which specialty could be your choice this noon or evening.

The name Ellinon Jefseis, or Greek tastes in English, reads on the pretty sign above the door. The terrace tables are already outside, too. Sitting out there and having dinner in the evening, watching people go by and enjoying the summer milieu can absolutely be on a Budapest night wish list.

The stylish interior is somewhat misleading for those who mean to enjoy a good old hearty moussaka or a fresh original souvlaki, since these two favourites are also available here. But the more curious types are also welcome here of course with lamb, shrimps, octopus and squid among the range of choices.

Authenticity is guaranteed not only by Greek recipes, but also ingredients wherever possible. The two chefs, Christos Gremos and Antonis Panousiades insist on ordering some of their favorites from Greece, such as real feta cheese, olives, olive oil and herbs. Fresh ingredients such as meat and vegetables come from Hungary, from sources tried, tested and trusted.

As to what to try here, one of the most exciting dishes here is rizogalo with mastiha, a milk rice dessert seasoned with a true delicacy. Mastic is the resin of a special tree that only grows on one side of Chios island, and is sometimes referred to as the "tears of Chios." The flavor is refreshing, reminds one of pine or cedar, and comes in tiny droplets from Greece.

During the day, the venue offers business lunch with two-or three-course options (soup or cold starters, a main meal and a dessert) for HUF 2,490 or 2,990, changing weekly. Meals offer a peek into the full menu but at a discount.

But the best time to try Ellinon is when it celebrates its first birthday between May 7-13. On this occasion, the restaurant is throwing a Greek culinary party, offering a three-course meal for HUF 4,490. This event could be an exciting tour into something new for dinner, or a rendezvous that evokes nostalgia of a holiday in Athens.