Are you looking for a good cup of coffee, or a fantastic cake in Budapest? Now, that won’t be a problem, as Budapest is full of good cafés, mouth-watering pastries, marzipans, etc.
You will find high-end coffee houses, mid-range popular cafes, historical cafe and confectioner’s – look at the list and pick the best for your tongue & style. To learn more about the basic info, see the individual articles about each cafe for opening hours, prices, addresses, phone numbers and more: click on the name of the cafe in the title. Or if you want full meal, read about the Best Restaurants in Budapest here.
Some High-end Cafés
Cafe Gerbeaud is one of the most elegant historical cafes in Budapest. The café was founded by Henrik Kugler in 1858 in Viennese style during the high times of the of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and expanded by its later owner, Emil Gerbeaud. Sumptuous interior with graceful chandeliers, marble-topped tables, lavish fine wood paneling, gold-plasters and statuettes, etc. It is also a restaurant and a bar. Great place to ‘people watch’. See its location, opening hours, prices, address, phone number and more here on Cafe Gerbeaud.
New York Cafe is in the recently renovated opulent five-star hotel, in the New York Palace, in a busy part of Budapest (easily reached by the red line metro at Blaha tér, or the trams 4 and 6). It is a historical venue where the big names of Hungarian literature and movie making got together and an opulent coffee house and bar – one of the oldest grand cafés of the fin de siecle Budapest. Both smoking and non-smoking parts. For your coffee, I suggest trying the Tiramisu in real Italian style, or just sipping a glass of Tokaj aszú – according to totally unscientific studies it helps to feel the grandeur of the café. :) OK, this is my invention, but it has some truth in it. See its location, opening hours, prices, address, phone number and more here on New York Café.
Café Callas: café and bistro
Café Callas is a hip cafe and restaurant right at the Opera House. From strudels and coffees to sushi or Hungarian dishes, you will find all kinds of dishes and rinks on the menu. Nice interior, big windows, prices towards the higher end.
Some Popular Cafés
Cafe Gerloczy: a place to have an ideal breakfast in downtown Budapest. Cafe Gerloczy is a coffee house and a restaurant at the same time, with fresh, fresh, fresh croissants. See its location, opening hours, prices, address, phone number and more here on Cafe Gerloczy.
Café Centrál has a good central location on Ferenciek tere, and it is also spacious and bright. Insert it in your Váci utca and Central Market Hall shopping program or just a walk along the River Danube on the Pest side of Budapest. See its location, opening hours, prices, address, phone number and more here on Café Centrál.
Café Daubner or Daubner Cukrászda (cukrászda means confectioner’s in Hungarian). Your can read Fodor’s review here. OK, it is not easy to get there by public transportation if you don’t know the city at least a bit. Take a cab if you want to know why people are lining up – regularly. We had our hundreds of snacks called Pogácsa (approx. cheese scone) for our wedding from Daubner. Delicious!
There are several Szamos branded cafes in Budapest (one even in the Zoo), and probably the most conveniently located Szamos kávézó is on the grand boulevard, Erzsébet körút 43-49., within the luxury hotel, Corinthia Hotel Budapest. The Szamos brand is primarily associated with marzipan but the coffee houses & confectioneries serve a wide range of cakes and pastries alongside the marzipan figures. The Szamos business was founded in 1935. Cafe Szamos in the Grand Royal is open from 10 am to 8 pm all week. phone: 00-36-1-413-7968.
Old Grandeur Cafés (Antique Furniture, Old Family Recipes)
Café Ruszwurmis a 2 min walk from the Matthias Church and you should not miss it. Confectioner Ferenc Schwabl started the business in 1827. Great pastries and beautiful Biedermeier interior with remnants of the old confectionery industry, glass cabinets, etc. (officially declared to be protected as the most important confectionery complex in Hungary). There are also various porcelain figures from the sweet past e.g. bishops with sweets under their high cap, with a red flag in their hands and a prayer book under their arms; pretty horses whose neck can be taken off to offer candies from their belly, etc. See its location, opening hours, prices, address, phone number and more here on Café Ruszwurm.
Here’s a photo of the biedermeier cabinet in Cafe Ruszwurm. Looks beautiful, doesn’t it?:
Café Auguszt has three different locations in Budapest. One is next to Astoria square (red line metro) in Kossuth street in a closed courtyard of a 19th century house – the coolness of the courtyard is a true relief in hot summers! See its location on the map. Now, we have to admit that this is our favourite hangout for a cuppa and a cake…
The other is behind one of the most popular shopping mall in Budapest, the Mammoth (Mammut), in Fény utca. Take a seat upstairs. And the third one is next to one of the most reputable cemeteries in Budapest (at Farkasrét) off the city centre. Personally, I am a great fan of Auguszt pastries and salty yummies. Old recipes refined through several Auguszt generations. Their only mistake is the short opening hours (closes at 6 pm!) and the lack of a good website. One more thing, the founder of the Szamos business used to be an apprentice of József Auguszt. See Café Auguszt locations on the Budapest tourist map.
Other admittedly subjective choices
Café Csészényi (Csészényi kávézó) is a lovely little cafe on Krisztina körút with reasonable prices and a special design (a slew of colorful coffee grinders and old Budapest notices, advertisements on the wall). The name means ‘cupful’ and the place is indeed smallish. No internet.
Café Créme: on the left side of Gellert Hotel and Spa bath, there is also a nice little cafe with free wifi, Although the cafe is small, it has also a terrace, great to sit in/ out and have a good café latte. Dark wooden tables and chairs, smallish in size. Good to have a rest before or after a walk on the Gellért Hill, a visit to the quirky and special Cave Church, the Citadel and the Statue of Liberty.
PS: One of the TripAdvisor visitors wrote:
Coffeehouses deserve a special mention. Budapest is the heaven of pastries. Great, beautiful, coffehouses are everywhere, and pastries are excellent and cheap. For 800-900 HUF you can have coffee ot hot chocolate of highest class and pastries that are out of this world. Wow. If you are a serious pastry lover I can recommend staying at the Corinthia Grand Hotel with access to the Executive Lounge. Here, they have miniature pastries of many different kinds, and you can have as many as you like. And truly, these pastries were the best we had in Budapest. I believe that it is the coffehouse next to (or even inside) Corinthia that delivers these pastries, so if you do not live at Corinthia, you might want to try this coffeehouse. There are some old coffeehouses that are often mentioned in guidebooks. Of these, we found Central Kavehaz fantastic in terms of beauty, but less so in terms of the quality of the pastries. Worth going still for the beauty of the place. Cafe New York is equally beautiful, but is now under the ownership of a large hotel chain and is rather expensive, and staff is not very friendly. (emphasis added by me)