Below is a selection of unpretentious Budapest cafés and breakfast restaurants, in case you like to start your day in a relaxed environment, without the buzz of hyped-up places. They each serve excellent breakfast dishes, and draw a laid-back, mostly local crowd.
Hans van Vliet, the owner of Jedermann Café, is a legendary restaurateur in Budapest with a genius for creating atmospheric, all-inviting places for everyone to enjoy (hence "Jedermann", which translates to "everyone"). On any given day, tables might be filled with senior citizens fiercely debating Hungarian politics, students gossiping over a cup of coffee, and a theater director mapping out upcoming projects with the staff. Jedermann, which marries a café with a bar, is hiding in a quiet street in District 9, not far from the city center, but away from the throngs clogging the party district. .
Head to Lumen Café if you'd like to avoid the tourist-heavy streets of the Jewish Quarter, but still get a cup of specialty coffee or craft beer in a hip neighborhood. With egg-based breakfast dishes (served until noon), a full-service kitchen, and a sleek interior featuring concrete and wood finishes, Lumen is more than your average neighborhood café and bar. But it's the patrons, artists and neighborhood bohemians, who give soul to the place..
Kino is a laid-back, breakfast-all-day restaurant set along Budapest's Grand Boulevard. The interior is draped in movie posters as Kino occupies the ticketing area of an independent movie theater. The low-priced and tasty breakfast dishes are served seven days a week—when in doubt, go for the hearty "Hungarian" scrambled eggs packing bacon, sausage, tomatoes, and a sprinkle of grated cheese (€3). Also, the ever-changing selection of cakes taste just as good as they look..
Csiga is a popular café and restaurant in the increasingly trendy outer District 8, a bit outside the city center. The neighborhood, situated just beyond the Grand Boulevard, is rising to cool-status as locals are starting to eschew the throngs of the party district. .
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..
Breakfast places in Budapest are few and far between, and the ones that do exist are mostly in downtown, catering to tourists. This isn't the case with Café Panini, a chic neighborhood breakfast restaurant inside the secluded world of Újlipótváros. .
If you ever wondered what a Chinese breakfast was like, Hong Kong Büfé in Budapest's Chinatown (Monori Center) offers a chance to find out. For less than €5, you can try classic Chinese breakfast staples here including cong you bing, congee, and youtiao. .
For a truly, deeply local experience, make your way to this bare-bones food stall inside the Rákóczi Market Hall in Budapest's District 8. Hiding in the back of the building is JóKrisz Lángos Sütöde, a mom-and-pop, standing-only eatery that specializes in lángos, a traditional, deep-fried Hungarian flatbread. I usually visit Jókrisz early in the mornings when the colorful cast of characters flock here from the mainly working-class neighborhood..
Három Tarka Macska is an artisan bakery on the tastefully upscale Pozsonyi Road in Újlipótváros, a well-heeled area I think of as the “West Village of Budapest.” Step in, and a paradise of aromatic and still-steaming sourdough, whole wheat, and rye breads, brioches, and rolls in all shapes and sizes await you. The two must-try local favorites are the túrós batyu (a sweet-tart cottage cheese-filled laminated pastry) and the kakaós csiga (a snail-shaped chocolate pastry roll), which go down especially well with flavored yogurts that Három Tarka Macska sources from a local family-owned producer..
If you’re looking for tasty and wallet-friendly Chinese food in Budapest, HeHe is one of your best bets. They serve an array of authentic Chinese dishes from a relatively modest, undecorated space in Budapest's Chinatown (Monori Center), which takes about 25 minutes to get to by public transport from the city center. .
La nube is a café and tapas bar tucked away in a side street in the increasingly hip Újbuda neighborhood on the Buda side. The main appeal of this Hungarian-Spanish, family-run operation is the welcoming, homey atmosphere and mixed group of patrons. On a typical day, customers might comprise parents with young children, hipsters typing away on their iPhones, and aging locals sipping glasses of draft San Miguel..
Al Dente is one of those under-the-radar neighborhood restaurants in Budapest you hope others won't find out about so as to keep it all for yourself. It's an osteria-type casual eatery in Budapest's charming Palace Quarter, serving Italian classics and regional specialties from Puglia (the head chef is from Bari in southern Italy; you will note the Italian chatter wafting from the open kitchen through the dining room, always a good sign for an Italian restaurant). .
Opened in 1951, Balla-Hús is one of the few remaining standalone butcher shops in downtown Budapest. Balla's business model has evolved over the decades: instead of meat, today they mainly serve low-priced breakfast and lunch dishes to the shrinking number of local residents (Airbnb, I'm looking at you). .
This cute little café with rustic furnishings isn't to be confused with Szimpla Kert, the world-famous ruin bar, which is a few doors down from here and run by the same owners. Szimpla Háztáji specializes in breakfast food, organic fruit juices, home-made syrups, and cakes with a "fresh-fresh-fresh" mantra: they source all ingredients from local farmers, whose produce you can also find at Szimpla Kert's farmer's market on Sunday mornings. .