If you're looking to immerse yourself in a lively, deeply local, communist-era neighborhood bar that doubles as a breakfast joint, I can't think of a better place than Bambi Eszpresszó in Buda. What makes Bambi the real deal? It isn’t trying to show off an artificial (retro), unremembered past—it’s a genuine throwback.
Most patrons consist of local residents, with a high concentration of graying, beer-drinking men, who read the paper with an increasingly disgruntled expression on their faces. The waiters, who wear outfits that haven't been in vogue for at least 30 years, are nice only to those customers whom they find likeable. The Thonet look-alike chairs with red, faux-leather upholstery have been in place since the opening in 1961.
The limited food selections consist of a pair of frankfurters with a side of mustard and a slice of bread (€2.5), scrambled eggs (€2), various toasted sandwiches (€1), and Hungarian pastries. Yes, the prices are rock-bottom. Although it gets liveliest in the evenings, I most enjoy Bambi for breakfast during the warm-weather months, when the crammed tables on its south-facing terrace are bathed in sunshine.