The Best Coffee Houses in Budapest
It’s not possible to fly all the way around the globe in less than a month without a little caffeine boost here and there. Thankfully, Budapest possesses some of the best coffee houses in Europe. The brisk fall weather was a perfect excuse to talk my guide, Panka, into slowing down enough to sit and savour a cappuccino. Panka didn’t need too much convincing, since Europeans treat coffee as an unhurried social experience rather than just a way to fuel their day.
Our first stop was at the Alexandra Bookstore, a modern-looking shop until you ascend the escalator to Lotz Coffee House on the second floor. The ceiling is breathtaking, painted in a bold Renaissance style by Károly Lotz in 1910. While I gazed up at the gilded masterpiece, Panka explained that there were more than 700 similar coffee houses in the city during the 19th century. That’s my kind of social scene!
While Lotz Coffee House is known for its fine art, our second stop, Gerbeaud, is known for its cakes and pastries. I had just tasted a melt-in-your-mouth macaron when Panka insisted that I try Gerbeaud’s signature cake, which was more like a decadent pastry layered with cream. Since Gerbeaud is only a short walk away from the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, I could tell this was going to be a temptingly dangerous discovery.