If you are travelling to Budapest to celebrate Christmas here, good choice. If you live in the Hungarian capital but haven't figured out what to do at the weekend, worry not. Whatever the reason, if you find yourself in the city on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or Boxing Day and have no specific plans or obligations, we might be able to fill your festive calendar. Think rich cinnamon rolls, Eggs benedict with prosecco, Hungarian fisherman's soup, stuffed cabbage, roast turkey, or lamb hummus bowl laid out on the table. See our list of the best Christmas brunch and dinner options in Budapest.
Saturday, 24 December
Lucky for us, some bakeries will still be open until early afternoon on December 24th, offering rich chocolate rolls, golden croissants, and fragrant cardamom buns. Head to Tradi (8 am–2 pm), nor/ma grand (7 am–2 pm), VAJ (7 am–4 pm), or Panificio il Basilico (9 am–11 am) to start your Christmas with a combo of pastry and flat white.
Of course, a fancier, egg, salmon, and prosecco involving brunch is also an option. Go to Babka Deli (9 am–2 pm), Baba (9 am–2 pm), Villa Bagatelle (8 am–12 pm), or Flava Kitchen&More (10:30 am–4 pm) for such morning feasts.
For Hungarians, Christmas Eve is the highlight of the festive celebrations. That's why you will find an array of beautifully looking and tasting meals at InterContinental Budapest on December 24th. You will have a generous selection of traditional Hungarian and Lebanese dishes laid out in buffet style, which you can wash down with unlimited local wine, beer, soft drinks, and coffee.
At ÉS Bisztró a 4-course meal will be on offer, including such delicacies as lobster ravioli, venison with pumpkin bread dumpling, or beetroot carpaccio and barley risotto with truffle, porcini, and sweet potato for vegetarians. Ask for wine recommendations too.
Try a big classic at downtown SZÉK Restaurant & Bar - their stuffed cabbage, a traditional Hungarian Christmas dish, is based on a Transylvanian recipe. The restaurant will be open as usual all weekend.
Hit Why Not Budapest for a cozy and welcoming gathering. Besides a delicious festive meal, you will be rewarded with a sense of community too. Their Christmas event (starting at 7 pm) is especially for those who otherwise would be alone during the holidays. Everyone is welcome, dogs included.
Sunday, 25 December
Start Christmas Day on the Daube bank. The Christmas brunch at elegant DNB Budapest (available on December 25th and 26th) will consist of an array of traditional dishes you would likely find in the kitchen of Hungarian grandmothers. Fisherman's soup, stuffed cabbage, roast duck leg, and bejgli (poppy seed or walnut roll) for dessert.
At InterContinental Budapest, you can pick from a buffet selection, including Hungarian and Lebanese dishes, while live music plays in the background. Booking is recommended.
The Jewish District's popular bar Mazel Tov celebrates a unique holiday called Hanu|Christmas. They have hosted a matching fair and concerts too, and now a festive chef offer has been added to the menu. Spice up your traditional Christmas dishes with flavours of the Middle East, and try the Jerusalem artichoke soup with orange, the Lamb hummus bowl or the Baked peach with cardamom mascarpone, pistachio, and figs. Mazel Tov is open both on December 25th and 26th (from midday to midnight) and also on December 24th (between 12 pm - 6 pm).
Another great option is to head to the Buda Castle and settle down at one of the inviting tables of neighbouring Pest-Buda Bistro (booking is advised). Your uphill walk not only will be rewarded with stunning views but a hearty meal as well, including fisherman's soup, homemade pasta with bacon and cottage cheese, or stuffed cabbage.
Monday, 26 December
Iconic Central Grand Café might be the oldest café in Budapest, but it has recently got a refreshing facelift. This means that if you decide to treat yourself to a brunch here, you will be in for an experience infused with Parisian chic. We would not disregard the champagne bar, located in one of the wings, as a glass of bubbly will be a great match to your Eggs Benedict or cabbage cvekedli (Hungarian noodles).
If you are after another gorgeous brunch location on Boxing Day, you will be pleased to settle down at Gerbeaud, Café Liszt or Párisi Passage Café & Brasserie. All these places offer lovely coffee, cakes, and other breakfast treats alongside a fascinating setting.
By the evening of Boxing Day, several restaurants will return from their Christmas break, just in time for your last Christmas supper of the year. If you are gathering with friends or family, Dobrumba and Kismező will be great choices, offering flavoursome sharing plates. If you are after a hot dinner spot close to the Basilica, pick Bestia ('Beast'). And if you would not mind a vibey concert as the cherry on top of your hearty meal, head to Jedermann (book a table by dropping a text to +36 30 4063617)