You have to enter one of the historical inner-city residential blocks to find this tiny cafe in the courtyard, but the sign in the street will make sure you don’t miss the gate. Fekete opened as a “new-wave” cafe specializing in quality espresso, but since then, it’s become one of Budapest’s best breakfast spots, with organic ingredients, pastries, waffles and homemade cakes. If you like a hearty and savory start to the day, don’t miss the homemade quiche.
BTW: You can watch as the barista makes your coffee from scratch.
1053 Budapest, Muzeum korut 5, Hungary
This Parisian-style cafe and restaurant is near the “Budapest Broadway” and is popular with actors and actresses from nearby theaters. In addition to classic Hungarian dishes, Ket Szerecsen has the best of international food: French croissants, Spanish tapas and Italian pasta. The breakfast menu is wider than you’ll find at most similar cafes, too.
BTW: For breakfast, try the “eggy bread.” It’s Hungary’s savory take on French toast, served with sour cream and chives.
1065 Budapest, Nagymezo utca 14., Hungary
The name comes from our term for a school cafeteria, and while Menza looks nothing like one, it does serve comforting Hungarian basics during the lunch hour. Ask your waiter about the daily meal deal, which might include the local version of the chicken noodle soup, the sweet tomato soup, vegetable stews, fried meatballs or cottage-cheese dumplings with sour cream.
BTW: Don’t be discouraged if there’s a wait at lunchtime. The place is spacious, and the line moves fast.
1061 Budapest, Liszt Ferenc ter 2., Hungary
Pork holds a special place in Hungarian culture: Everyone has a story of attending a rural “pig killing,” where a family processes an entire animal and turns it into sausages, smoked ham and other products. On a more typical day, going to a butcher shop for fried sausages is a popular and cheap lunch option here. Chef Peter Andras Bekesi’s seasonal menu builds on the latter tradition but adds a modern twist.
BTW: Pesti Diszno may specialize in pork, but it offers poultry and vegetarian options, too.
Nagymezo street 19, 1065 Budapest, Hungary
Rumor has it that the food and wine at Cafe Kor, long favored by the top management at the nearby National Bank of Hungary, have assisted in several crucial monetary-policy decisions. The great menu by chef Adam Repas includes both international cuisine and Hungarian favorites, such as green peppers stuffed with meat or layered cabbage. Not just for financiers, the elegant but cozy restaurant draws a steady group of regulars.
BTW: Always check out the daily specials, handwritten on a huge sheet of paper on the wall facing the door.
1051 Budapest, Sas u. 17., Hungary
Hungarian-born Csaba Domonkos and his Thailand-born wife, Ole, started their first Thai restaurant in 2007 and opened the country’s eyes to quality Thai cuisine. Today they own three restaurants under the same name, and they are still providing the best Thai food in town. Kis Parazs, the little sister to the first sit-down restaurant, Parazs, gives you a quicker dinner option but the same great food.
BTW: The curries have amazing taste and fragrance. If you want a less spicy but still flavor-rich option, try the Panang curry.
1075 Kazinczy utca 7, Budapest, Hungary
This bar is in the middle of Erzsebetvaros, Budapest’s “ruin bar” hub. However, instead of masses of tourists looking to get rowdy, you’ll find students, political analysts and journalists here debating politics. Other factors that distinguish Kisuzem from the usual ruin bar: concerts, contemporary art exhibitions and an international food menu.
BTW: Kisuzem doesn’t have a garden, but in the summer, patrons just walk out to the sidewalk with drinks in hand to continue their conversations in the open air.
1077 Kis Diófa utca 2., Budapest, Hungary
It’s extremely hard in Hungary to get a license for a food truck in a public space. A few restaurants answered the legal riddle by banding together five years ago and renting an empty lot in the Jewish quarter to set up their trucks, with tables and benches in the middle. On your way home from a late-night party, this is the place to stop for quality burgers, burritos, pizza, langos (Hungarian fried bread) or a fried cheese sandwich.
BTW: Karavan only shuts down for the coldest months. It’s usually open from March until the Christmas season.
Budapest, Kazinczy u. 18, 1075