While everyone makes “hungry in Hungary” jokes in their Instagram captions (cue eye-roll), the real gem of Budapest are the cafés. Hungarian food may be great, but the coffee is even better. Hungary’s variety of cafés range from traditional, old European to new, funky and bright. Whether you’re looking for an amazing aeropress, a decadent hot chocolate or a simple cappuccino, Budapest cafés have what you want. Exploring both sides of the Danube river in search of the best cafés Budapest has to offer is certainly reason enough to make Hungary the next stop on your Eurotour.
It’s unexpected to see an Australian coffeehouse in Hungary, but I’m so happy I stumbled upon this place. The minimalist aesthetic drew me in and their sick acoustic playlist and chai latte kept me there. The café is cozy, the coffee is fresh and their pastries are to die for. For those who truly love the finer cups of coffee, My Little Brew Bar is next door and makes a sick aeropress. With their motto out front claiming “we love to make coffee for coffee lovers,” you know you’re in the right place.
2. The Sweet
Just like its name, this tucked-away café is overwhelmingly full of pastries, macarons and sweet treats for takeaway. Drawers are filled with cookies and the entire shop looks like it belongs in a Martha Stewart ad. While seating is somewhat limited, everything is available for takeaway and wrapped in cute brown paper baggies. For an on-the-go treat, their cappuccino pairs amazingly well with their rose macarons. It would be impossible to order wrong even if you don’t know what you want.
The buildings of Budapest have been reduced to ruins at various times throughout the city’s history, but traditions surrounding coffee culture have remained incredibly strong. Gerbeaud—in the center of the ever-so-touristy Vörösmarty tér—boasts over 150 years of coffee expertise. It’s safe to assume they know what they’re doing by now. Not only is their coffee great, but you’ll feel incredibly elegant while sipping your brew under a chandelier in any of their gilded rooms.
#SpoonTip: Split the famous Gerbeaud Galuska, which is soaked in chocolate and tastes like the closest thing on earth to actual heaven. Just do it.
4. Kávé Műhely
While Pest is the “cooler” side of Budapest, there are definitely some gems on the Buda side. Kávé Mühely is totally one of them. Not only do they make a killer espresso, but they offer vegan, paleo and gluten-free options for all of the picky eaters out there. No matter who you’re with, you’re bound to find something for everyone at this budaful bar.
5. Tamp & Pull
Located right next to the Danube river, Tamp & Pull definitely offers the best pick-me-up after exploring the inner city of Pest. Their espresso and brews tend to lean on the stronger side, so you can always pair them with one of the café’s sweet cakes. My personal fave is the almond cake. Their larger location, Tamp Lab, even offers coffee workshops. Yes, those are apparently a thing now. Cool beans.
This storefront doubles as both a design store and café and has even become a favorite of Vogue. To be honest, it totally deserves the hype. Printa makes some sick designs and sells cooler T-shirts than any “I Love Budapest” tourist trap. Stop by for your souvenir and a cuppa Joe. Two birds with one stone, right?
Espresso Embassy is consistently ranked as some of the best coffee in Budapest, and for a good reason. Their menu is minimalist, short and simple. But because it is so limited, the baristas really know how to make a great brew. The embassy is most definitely keeping foreign relations positive, one espresso at a time.
This french-inspired café and bakery is a favorite of university locals, since they can easily leave their lectures and indulge in Amber’s fresh-pressed juices, cakes and, of course, coffee. It’s right across from both the Central Market and the Chain Bridge, making it an easy-to-find rest stop. My recommendation? Play tourist and walk through the market, but skip over to Amber for the local fresh eats.
#SpoonTip: Not feeling coffee? Try one of Amber’s delicious milkshakes or smoothies instead.
Though this café is tucked behind a small corner, it’s bright blue doors make it a bit easier to find. And it’s certainly worth finding; Blue Bird hosts roasts from all over the world. The baristas are incredibly friendly, but you might want to consider buff up your coffee knowledge before entering the colorful café.
10. Hadik Kávéház
Like Gerbeaud, this is another traditional coffeehouse championing Hungary’s coffee culture. However, this one is on the Buda side and offers a quirkier atmosphere. In keeping with tradition, Hadik often has literary nights and hosts tons of artists. Think Brooklyn coffee shops (obviously) with a Hungarian twist. I didn’t understand what was going on, but I’m pretty sure it was really hip and cool and I totally pretended to get it. Hadik is 10/10 worth the trek to Buda for the atmosphere and the brew.
This café (not) surprisingly serves some kick-ass donuts and encourages its customers to stay for a light read, hence the name The Donut Library (shocker, I know). While America has some pretty strange donuts, The Donut Library boasts funky flavors of its own. The cutest? Popsicle-shaped donuts to beat the summer heat. Nothing cures American homesickness like a donut and a cup of coffee.