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New York Café, Budapest - The world’s most beautiful coffeehouse

There are a few things that are absolute musts when you visit Budapest, like the Fisherman’s Bastion. And then there is Budapest’s New York Café. It’s packed with history and art. Then to top it off, you are treated like a king and a queen with top-notch service and the tastiest of tasty ‘delectables’, beautifully presented and professionally served.

It may not be the oldest coffeehouse in Hungary, but it sure is the most beautiful coffeehouse in Hungary. And for that matter, also the most beautiful coffeehouse in the world! And we have the photos to prove it!

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The New York Café was built by the same architect who re-designed the Buda Castle in Budapest, namely Alajos Hauszmann. A striking architectural feature to look out for is the entrance, which is guarded by two devilish statues holding lanterns, old symbols for coffee and thought.

Created in the Neo-Renaissance style, the building was meant to host a coffeehouse on the ground floor and for New York Life Insurance Company to take residence in the rest of the building. Today, the space once occupied by an insurance company has become a sought-after accommodation reservation at the five-star luxury hotel, the Anantara New York Palace, Budapest (You may click on the link to view their stunning gallery photos).

Although construction is recorded to have occurred from 1891 to 1895, the coffeehouse already opened its doors to the public in 1894. Don’t you just love such preservation of history, right?

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There are many legendary stories that are still being told today. Like, it was THE place to be for young writers spending many hours dreaming and smoking endless cigarettes. They would exchange poems for coffee!

Another narrative is that the famous playwright Ferenc Molnár of Pál Street Boys fame, was so besotted with the coffeehouse that one night, to prevent them from ever closing their doors, he threw the keys in the river Danube!

As colorful as its past, so is it today. Guests make online reservations to skip the line upon arrival. We did not make a reservation. Consequently, we had about 10 minutes of waiting in line, which was offset by appreciating the interior design’s opulence and mellow piano sounds, perfectly compatible with the smooth and melodious violin sounds that followed during intervals.

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Travel Tip(s)

Make an online table reservation if you want to skip the line.

Travel and Home Challenge

When in Budapest, go to the intersection of Dohány and Osvát utca (utca, meaning street). Spot the work of urban sculptor Mihály Kolodko atop a fire hydrant, namely a diver with a key in his hand which he presumedly salvaged from the Danube River! Take a photograph and post it to Travel and Home’s Facebook!

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