BUDAPEST AND ITS CAFÉs
If you're looking for the true café experience Budapest is a good choise!
While many of the late 19th-century coffeehouses are now long gone, some such as the NEW YORK and GERBEAUD uphold the fine tradition (both cafés are must visits!), retaining much of their period charm and elegance.
You'll also realise that Hungary is a nation of coffee drinkers. Consumed throughout the day with alarming frequency, tiny glasses of super-strong black expresso (kávé) are the most popular. For a milky coffee, ask for "tejeskávé", while "tejszínhabbal" comes with whipped cream.
Tea, which is popular with younger Hungarians, is enjoyed in the (usually laid back) surroundings of a teaház. In recent years, these have popped up all over the city and offer a wide variety of teas, along with light snacks and pastries.
Budapest's cukrászda's (patisseries) are the place to go for calorific mouth watering cakes, pastries and ice cream. Choosing isn't easy though. Most have a selection of well over a dozen cakes (dobos, dios and feketeerdo torta being among the favourites), while there are also pancakes (stuffed with fruit or nuts) and strudels (rétes) containing cream cheese, cherries or other fillings.
NEW YORK Café : D7 Erzsébet körút 9-11,M2 to Blaha Lujza ter, Tram 4, 6
Discover the wonderfully lavish neo-Baroque interior of this turn-of-the-20th-century building. The café was once the haunt of Budapest's most famous poets and playwrights now the New York Palace (in which the café is housed) was bought and rebuilt by Italian hotel group Boscolo. Having spent 8 Billion HUF on restoration work alone, they have transformed the building into a luxury 235 room, five star hotel. Oozing style from every fixture and fitting, the New York Kávéház is a now must visit for anyone touring Budapest.
GERBEAUD Café: D5 Vörösmarty tér 7, Open: 9am 9pm daily, M1 to Vorosmarty ter
The most famous of Budapest's 'old style' coffee houses, the Gerbeaud has been in the business of creating mouth-watering cakes and pastries for over 140 years.
Originally established by the innovative Swiss confectioner Emil Gerbeaud, the interior of this turn-of-the-20th-century building creates a wonderfully lavish setting in which to sample the coffee culture of the city's 'golden era'. Next door, the new Gerbeaud restaurant promises to offer culinary delights to the same high standard. Another must visit.