The 11 Hottest Brunch Spots in Budapest, Winter 2020

We all know the magical healing powers of a hearty brunch after 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 lining 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 curb appeal and an Instagrammable interior, featuring an oversized stained glass mosaic that covers one of the walls in its entirety and 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 polished 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). Chic, tourist-heavy crowds flock here for the breakfast-all-day and brunch offerings that include reliably prepared croque madame, eggs Florentine, waffles, and also zeitgesty things like acai bowl and avocado toast. The only letdowns are the the undersized and forlorn-looking English and Hungarian breakfast plates.

#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 cobblestoned downtown side street, with a sleek coffee machine, blond wood, oversized windows, and a communal table dominating the 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 high-ceilinged 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 effortlessly cool vibes suffuse the place nonetheless.

#5 Törökméz

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

#6 Double Shot Partisan Coffee

Hiding on a quiet downtown side street, Double Shot is a hip breakfast-all-day restaurant and coffee shop in Budapest. They serve the usual suspects of popular international breakfast foods here, including avocado toast, granola bowls, and turmeric latte. They’re all reliably tasty and beautifully plated, even if a bit predictable. Cocktails, craft beers, and Hungarian wines are also available. Note that the prices here reflect a bit of downtown mark-up — for example, 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 fitted with vintage light bulbs and greenery while fresh R&B tunes drift from the background. In Budapest, many places have tried to nail the 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 the reasonable price points can make up for it.

#8 Felix Restaurant

With panoramic views onto the Castle Hill and the Danube, the location of Felix is hard to beat. The restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, occupies a nicely refurbished landmark-protected building designed by Miklós Ybl, the head architect of the Budapest Opera House. In terms of prices and ambience, Felix is a notch above the trendy spots but 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 as if 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 through all these years, even as comparable restaurants have sprouted up on the other side of the Danube with lower price points.

#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 quiet courtyard is one of those Budapest surprises hiding behind many sooty facades. Fekete serves a range of on-trend dishes like shakshuka, granola, and various quiches. Pricey new-wave coffee, both espresso-based and hand pour-overs, are also available along with bottled craft beers to help lift the mood.

#11 Kollázs Brasserie & Bar (Four Seasons Hotel)

Kollázs Brasserie & Bar is a fine dining restaurant on the ground floor of the swanky Four Seasons Hotel in Budapest. The restaurant, which is inside a beautiful Art Nouveau building, offers prime views onto the Danube and the Castle Hill across the river. 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, 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.