The 11 Hottest Brunch Spots in Budapest, Spring 2020

We all know the magical healing powers of a hearty brunch following a night of drinking. The restuarants below meet three critically-important criteria: they’re open on weekends, serve breakfast foods well into the afternoon, and offer alcohol in case that's the road you decide to take. Are you past brunch hours? Try the trendiest dinner places instead.

#1 HILDA

HILDA is a chic downtown restaurant on the increasingly fashionable Nádor Street, an area that has come to life as a growing number of tourists and international students from the nearby Central European University pass through. HILDA boasts a perfect curb appeal and Instagrammable interior: An oversized stained glass mosaic covers one of the walls in its entirety, and the bar is studded with dark blue, glazed Zsolnay ceramic tiles, the same brand that decorates the lobby of the Four Seasons around the corner from here.

#2 À la Maison Grand Budapest

À la Maison Grand is a chic breakfast restaurant in the middle of Budapest's downtown, occupying the ground floor of a 1906 art nouveau building (take a glance at the striking glass mosaic perched atop the building). Fashionable, tourist-heavy crowds flock here for the breakfast-all-day and brunch offerings that include reliably prepared croque madame (€5), eggs Florentine (€7), waffles, and also zeitgesty items like acai bowl and avocado toast (€7). The only letdowns are the the undersized and forlorn-looking English (€10) and Hungarian breakfast plates (€12).

#3 Portobello (Coffee & Wine)

Budapest has plenty of specialty coffee shops, several cool wine bars, and an increasing number of hip breakfast restaurants, but Portobello is the first that triples as all three at once. This high-ceilinged space is tucked away on a cute downtown cobblestoned street. A sleek coffee machine, blond wood, oversized windows, and a communal table dominate the beautifully polished interior.

#4 Kaptafa

For the better part of the past two decades, Akácfa Street in Budapest's party district was best known for Fogas ruin bar, but recently new places have popped up at a head-spinning pace. One of my favorites is Kaptafa, a hip breakfast-all-day restaurant. The space used to be home to a shoe repair shop, hence "kaptafa," which means shoe tree in Hungarian. Yes, you could take issue with the cliched design elements — chipped walls and Edison bulbs — but Kaptafa exudes effortlessly chic vibes nonetheless. There are relaxed-looking, millennial waiters who kindly chat with customers while indie-pop is drifting through the speakers.

#5 Törökméz

Törökméz is a cute restaurant perched on Rózsadomb, the steep hill on the Buda side of the Danube. They specialize in breakfast foods that are inspired from around the world: there's everthing from tasty huevos rancheros to acai bowl, avocado toast, Cuban sandwich, and English breakfast (all €7-9). If you'd prefer something more indigenous to the region, go for the snappy frankfurters (€5), or the bundáskenyér (€3), which is similar to a savory French toast. Local Hungarian wines are also available. Being on the Buda side, away from the tourist-heavy areas, Törökméz draws a mainly local crowd.

#6 Double Shot Partisan Coffee

Double shot is a hip breakfast-all-day restaurant and coffee shop in Budapest’s downtown, hiding on a quiet side street. They serve the usual suspects of trendy international breakfast foods here, including avocado toast, yogurt with granola, and turmeric latte. They’re all reliably good and beautifully plated, even if a bit too predictable. Best of all are the scrambled eggs with pan-roasted mushrooms. Cocktails, craft beers, and Hungarian wines are also available. Note that the prices here reflect a bit of downtown mark-up — a capuccino runs €3.

#7 STIKA Budapest

In New York or London, this hip breakfast restaurant would be just another fashionable crowd-pleaser: the type of place where tattooed and bow-tied servers scurry around a sleek space with vintage light bulbs and greenery while fresh R&B tunes drift from the background. In Budapest, many places have tried to emulate this concept, but STIKA, this pocket-sized restaurant in the old Jewish Quarter, was the first to get it right. Note that the food here is far from memorable, but the atmosphere and reasonable prices more than make up for it.

#8 Felix Restaurant

With stunning views onto both the Castle Hill and the nearby Danube river, the location of Felix is hard to beat. The restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, is located inside a refurbished landmark building from the 19th century designed by Miklós Ybl, the head architect also behind the Budapest Opera House. In terms of prices and ambiance, Felix is a notch above trendy spots but it's also more casual than stiff-lipped fine dining establishments.

#9 Déryné Bistro

Curious where the top one percent of Buda residents hang out? Wonder no more. The owners of Déryné Bistro were ahead of the curve when in 2007 they opened this chic restaurant featuring a Balthazar-like interior straight out of the Keith McNally playbook. Back then, few places in Budapest offered this brand of casually-hip-but-classy vibes. Déryné has managed to remain popular for all these years, even as similar restaurants have sprouted up on the other side of the Danube with comparable offerings at lower prices.

#10 Fekete Café

Escape the noisy downtown street and enter through the yellow ceramic tiles into the 19th century courtyard of Fekete, a hip café and all-day-breakfast restaurant. The marble well in the center of the tranquil courtyard is one of those Budapest surprises hiding behind many sooty facades. Weather permitting, enjoy your morning coffee in the open-air courtyard.

#11 Kollázs Brasserie & Bar (Four Seasons Hotel)

Kollázs Brasserie & Bar is a fine dining restaurant and cocktail bar on the ground floor of the swanky Four Seasons Hotel Budapest. The restaurant, which is inside a beautiful Art Nouveau building, offers prime views onto Budapest's Castle Hill. It's the type of place where dark-suited waiters scurry around with tableside carts and pricey bottles of Bordeaux while soft jazz is drifting from the speakers. There's a discernible air of affluence here but without the stiffly formal setting of a fine dining restaurant.

Rankings are based on a combination of food/drink, atmosphere, service, and price. The author visits all restaurants incognito and pays for his own meals and drinks.