As much as I like to arrive at a place armed with a list of recommended eateries to try (yes, I am that person who will happily stalk local cafes and restaurants on Instagram for weeks prior to a trip), I am actually
very pretty good at finding those hidden gems too. I like to try both highly rated places as well as less lesser known options, and I find it fun to hunt down the best food as I love nothing more than feeling inspired by local cuisine. I spend a lot of time eating out (whether it be in my hometown of Manchester or whilst away on business or pleasure) so I have a good source of comparison.
Myself and Ahmed turned up to Budapest armed with a full list of eateries. Some quirky, some independent and some highly rated, so we were anticipating that our taste buds were going to be taken care of! Sadly we didn’t get to try a couple of places on the list as they were just too busy. It can sometimes pan out that way when cafes explode in popularity, especially where Instagram is concerned. But with hungry stomaches to fill, we moved on from the overhyped options and went off-piste. I have to say one thing Budapest isn’t lacking on is breakfast (or any food for that matter) options!
We stumbled across beautifully decorated cafes, hipster looking joints and other great eateries and as a result came across a few gems that I would really recommend.
The New York Cafe
Firstly, my absolute favourite place was the New York Cafe. This place is highly rated and hugely popular (not uncommon to see people popping inside just to take a photo of the decor), but rightly so. I read that at some point it had been voted as the World’s most beautiful cafe, and it’s easy to see why. The building is grand and opulent, graded from the 1920s (side note, perhaps I’m bias as I have a penchant for 1920’s era) and the decor is even more charming. Grand yet delicate, obvious yet intricate, but an all round experience reminiscent of a glamorous bygone era. The service was superb, and despite only ordering coffees and a small treat, we never felt rushed out of the door. The live pianist and quartet added that little touch.
The downside was the quality of the coffee. I’ve certainly had better and I LOVE my coffee so a bit of a minus point for me. However, the New York chocolate cake was arguably one of the best I’ve ever tasted. And trust me, I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate cake.
GO for… the experience
Green shirt: Zara
Mazel Tov was another of my favourites. We ate here in lieu of one of the busy options. Feeling too hungry to wait we headed here on a whim, going on nothing other than name. Mazel Tov was pretty perfect. Live acoustic music, a beautifully decorated garden theme interior and tasty Israeli food to match. We had Shakshuka with aubergine and Falafel with sweet potato fries. Good coffee too.
GO for… an all round winner
We tried Szimple for brunch on our first day, and despite its namesake and interior (it houses 6 tables and definitely sporting the minimalist vibe), the food was certainly anything but. Whether it was a language barrier or misunderstanding on our part, what we thought was going to be a sort of potato hash/pancake dish with eggs ended up being the most decadent cheesy/creamy potato fondue. topped with poached and quail eggs, nuts and seeds. I still don’t know what the fondue was and whilst it was decadent, rich and (I do admit) tasty, it was just a tad too rich as a breakfast option. Maybe that was just me but I think finishing this would have been enough to send me over the edge!
I wish I’d opted for one of the other options, they looked absolutely delicious and I had complete food envy. I was tempted to order again but that sort of seemed a bit frivalous. But if I was to go again I would definitely have the smashed avocado ❤
GO for… trying something a little different to your standard breakfast affair
AND.. Not necessarily brunch but a couple of noteworthy places…
This greek restaurant was gorgeous and as good as any local Cypriot restaurant I’d visited in Cyrpus). The food was amazing, the decor was very traditional (or perhaps traditional in the typical touristy Greek way) and the service was superb. We had squid, and greek salad to start and grilled skewers and baked Aubergine for mains. The aubergine was honestly was one of the best I’ve ever tasted. I forgot to take photos of the actual food (maybe because I was hungry but I believe it was because it was just too good!) The portions were pretty huge too.
GO for… another good all-rounder for taste and service
I’d recommend this place purely to admire the interior. It’s a Copenhagen inspired spot which essentially means the decor is fresh, quirky and funky that the Danish designers excel at. It expands into a lighting shop next door which I guess is probably good if you’re a local. In terms of food, the eggs were pretty standard but this place excelled on the coffee. Probably my favourite of the trip. We had a pretty weird take on french toast that consisted of a cheese infused eggy bread. With a lot of cheese. The Hungarian’s do love their cheese! I have to say I prefer a traditional french toast.
Go for… a good cup of coffee
Any other recommendations for Budapest? Please leave your suggestions below! 🙂