- 16 Aug 2023 4:33 PM
In the space of 90 seconds, you’re whisked through some of the most elegant interiors Budapest has to offer, this a city with many an elegant interior. First comes the Gerbeaud, of course, occupying an entire side of showcase main square Vörösmarty tér, where it has stood since 1870.
Actually founded 12 years before, this landmark confectionery is synonymous with the Gerbeaud szelet, a layered delight of apricot, walnut and almond, dressed in a sumptuous chocolate ganache.
A treat in summer when the terrace comes into its own, the Gerbeaud is most atmospheric in the run-up to Christmas, when its decoration form part of the Yuletide market scenes.
Next up is the Centrál Café which, as its name suggests, is in the heart of town on Károlyi utca, behind Ferenciek tere. Dating back to 1887, this beautifully designed establishment later became the meeting place for writers involved in seminal Hungarian literary publication Nyugat, with which it is indelibly linked.
Tastefully renovated in modern times, it now operates more as a restaurant, offering superb signature breakfasts.
Queen of the coffeehouses, the New York Café has visitors queuing out of the door these days. Once part of insurance company offices when it was opened in 1884, it topped all its competitors for elegance and style.
Famously, playwright Ferenc Molnár threatened to throw the keys into the Danube so that it would never close – an urban legend reflected in a little statuette by Mihály Kolodko showing a diver rescuing the item from the river depths.
Awash with gilt, marble and glittering chandeliers, the New York still operates as a café but is today part of a five-star hotel since built around it in recent times, the Anantara New York Palace Budapest. The café dominates a prominent corner of the Erzsébet körút, near Blaha Lujza tér.
Words by Peterjon Cresswell for Xpatloop.com
Peterjon has been researching the byways of Budapest for 30 years, extending his expertise across Europe to produce guidebooks for Time Out and his own website liberoguide.com