The most beautiful café in the world

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Café New York in Budapest

Budapest is truly one of my favourite cities in Eastern Europe. This city on the banks of the Danube River has a rich and colourful history, an amazing array of architectural styles, stunning monuments and many atmospheric nooks and corners. It’s no wonder that Budapest is often called the ‘Paris of the East’. There are many places and sights I can recommend but one place I always visit whenever I’m in town is the splendorous Café New York, according to many, ‘the most beautiful café in the world’ – and I wouldn’t disagree.

The café forms part of a larger complex called the New York Palace. Commissioned by the New York Insurance Company in the late-19th century, the palace was opened in 1894 and the magnificent café soon received the billing as the most beautiful in the world and artists, writers and royals flocked to it.

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The café with its frescoes and Venetian chandeliers

The mix of styles, predominantly Renaissance and Baroque, is absolutely breathtaking. The rich use of marble, gold, bronze, silk and velvet combined with splendid Venetian chandeliers and the gorgeous frescoes on the ceiling are guaranteed to impress. One of my favourite things to do whenever I visit the café is to look at people’s faces when they enter the door. The look of awe and wonder never fails to make me smile.

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The stunning ceilings

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Full view of the lower floor

I discovered this café by chance during my first visit to Budapest in the early-1990′s. The café then was clearly in need of a make-over and a thorough cleaning but even then, its grandeur shone through the layers of soot. Smartly dressed elderly waiters marched around proudly and served with distinct elegance. I’ll never forget that first visit.

The hotel and café underwent a major renovation between 2001-2006. These days, the Café New York forms part of the five-star Boscolo Budapest New York Palace Hotel but even if you’re not staying there, you can have a drink or a meal at the café for an opportunity to marvel at the amazing interior. I highly recommend this to anyone visiting Budapest as it’s simply an unforgettable experience. The café can get crowded around meal times so make a reservation if you plan to have a meal there. An alternative is to drop by for a coffee and cake in the morning or late-afternoon when it’s quieter.

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Try the cake selection

If you’re in Budapest, the Café New York truly is one place you cannot miss!

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16 Responses to “The most beautiful café in the world”

  1. Sylvia 16/10/2012 8:47 pm
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    I was there in 1999 and it was magic… Loved all the old patina. Almost sorry to see it gone….

  2. Rajul 02/10/2012 10:17 am
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    When I saw the title of this post, I was secretly hoping it would be this cafe which I discovered by chance in Budapest when wandering around the city with a friend. I didn’t even remember the name but recognised it instantly from your photos. I had an impeccable iced coffee and cake there on a summer’s day. It’s the sort of place where minutes merge effortlessly into hours. The locals arrive all dressed up while tourists stumble in and immediately say “wow”. A spectacular venue – thank you for bringing back great memories!

  3. rob hermans 17/09/2012 6:13 pm
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    The New York Cafe is indeed amazing….it’s like going through a time warp…one can easily imagine people from an other century, all dressed up in Victorian style robes enter the café, it’s beautiful..

  4. crazy sexy fun traveler 16/09/2012 1:13 am
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    I was meant to go there but never made it there as I stayed in Aquaworld longer instead! Looks very pretty though!

  5. Joy At Cheap Car Hire 10/09/2012 11:12 am
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    My goodness! This is one majestic cafe I’ve ever seen. Superb!

  6. Lorenzo Gonzalez 09/09/2012 7:43 pm
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    Ok, I need to go there!

  7. Andrea 09/09/2012 7:09 pm
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    I didn’t visit this cafe, but chose Gerbeaud like Sophie as well…. Next time, New York will be on my list, it looks just gorgeous! The cake I had looks pretty similar to the one you had. Such beautiful presentation and great quality!

  8. Jessica 07/09/2012 9:30 am
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    I was in Budapest in May as part of our opening there and was wowed by Budapest’s cafes. My favorite was inside the bookstore at the Parizsi Department Store. I’ve been to some beautiful cafes in Vienna and Prague as well, but Budapest tops it for me.

  9. Raul (@ilivetotravel) 06/09/2012 1:30 pm
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    Wow, those cakes look delicious. And I can see that watching people’s faces as they enter would be a fun thing to do – a photo essay of them would be cool!

  10. Simon 05/09/2012 11:05 am
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    I visited Budapest many years ago, when I was a teenager and Communism was still in place.

    Now that I think of it, the tripp was rather funny as I was traveling with a small group of people fans of the Esperanto language (wonder if it still exists, Maybe I should write about that some day!).

    After such a long time, my memories are rather blurred but one thing that impressed me were the cafés, so wonderful and aristocratic. I think that the two best cities in the world to this respect are Budapest and Vienna.

  11. velvet 05/09/2012 10:23 am
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    Hi Sophie,
    Thanks for your comment. Gerbeaud is certainly another gorgeous café! Haven’t been there in ages though. Will make a note of it next time I’m there.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  12. Sophie 05/09/2012 9:17 am
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    Love old-world cafes, so atmospheric. All the times I’ve been in Budapest, can’t believe I’ve missed this gorgeous one. Gerbeaud is another traditional, old-world-beautiful cafe in town where I always try to stop by. Will absolutely check out New York next time. Thanks for sharing :)

  13. Jenna 05/09/2012 2:47 am
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    Wow, what an amazing place! There are some gorgeous cafes in Prague, too, but this one tops those, I think. That ornate cake looks too good to eat.

  14. Meeah 04/09/2012 5:46 pm
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    I definitely agree!! :) Budapest is amazing :) Great post!

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