TioFelipe: Spanish Tapas Bar with an Italian Twist | Budapest Local TioFelipe: Spanish Tapas Bar with an Italian Twist | Budapest Local
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TioFelipe: Spanish Tapas Bar with an Italian Twist

tiofelipe

Nagysándor József is a short, scruffy street, just behind the lovely green Szabadság tér and close to the fresh produce mecca Belvárosi Piac. But with the arrival of the sleek Spanish-meets-Italian restaurant TioFelipe, the quiet block now flaunts a welcome jolt of energy.

Tapas is beloved among Budapest diners—just look at how the spaces swell with locals at mainstays like Pata Negra on Kálvin tér, or Padron near the Hungarian National Museum. So when TioFelipe made its debut earlier this month, the promise of classic, meant-to-be-shared dishes like crispy ham croquetas, tomato bread and salty blistered peppers enticed.

121A5410_wsPhoto: Árpád Pintér / PIXELTASTER

However, chef Fabrizio Caldarazzo illuminates a more ambitious approach to traditional tapas at TioFelipe. Reared on the Amalfi Coast, Caldarazzo is passionate about the foods of his native Italy. Yet his attraction to Spain’s cuisine is equally mighty thanks to the influence of “Uncle Philip,” the Spaniard who introduced Caldarazzo to the cooking of his own homeland when he was just a curious child—and serves as the restaurant’s inspirational namesake.

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Caldarazzo most recently helmed the kitchen of the Oak, a Mediterranean concept in London’s Notting Hill. Instead of wood-fired pizza, at TioFelipe he subtly delineates his mutual love for Italian and Spanish flavors through such creations as a creamy disc of pine nut-studded burrata cheese served over zucchini and spiked with a generous smattering of chile peppers. Beef carpaccio, dressed in mustard sauce, is first marinated in mocha and hazelnuts, while a mess of chorizo, tangy with sherry vinegar, sits over a bed of braised fennel.

tiofelipe

Photo: Árpád Pintér / PIXELTASTER

To match the contemporary menu, the dining room is a sexy one. Decked out in whitewashed brick, communal tables and industrial lighting, the vibe is decidedly reminiscent of Barcelona or Milan. But it’s also relaxed. Get comfortable on the pillow-strewn banquette and keep reaching for the pitcher of signature sangria. This version of the fruit-laden Spanish specialty is naturally made with Italian Prosecco, and it’s refreshingly versatile enough to drink alongside both the custard-like Andalusian gazpacho foam and the farewell mound of chocolate mousse accompanied by crunchy, cinnamon-dusted churros.

tiofelipe

Photo: Árpád Pintér / PIXELTASTER

tiofelipe

Photo: Árpád Pintér / PIXELTASTER

Practical information:
Address: 1 Nagysándor József Street, 1054 Budapest
Opening hours: 11:30am –12am Mon–Sat, closed on Sunday
For more information, visit their website.
Feature image: Árpád Pintér / PIXELTASTER

About the author: A native New Yorker, Alia Akkam is a food, drink, travel and design writer now living in Budapest.

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