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During Budapest's golden age of coffeehouses, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they functioned as second homes to artists, poets, and journalists, who could be found laboring at their wobbly marble tables. The coffeehouses were institutions, each with their own set of regulars whose names are now important parts of Hungarian literary and artistic history. Stories abound of headwaiters supplying writers with paper, running their errands, and even accepting their mail. Centrál was one of the finest cafés of the era. Later most coffeehouses were shut down by the Communists, who were suspicious of places where intellectuals gathered, and most of them never reopened.  Centrál, however, did, and has been restored to look just as it did in its heyday. There are massively high ceilings, antique concrete tiles, delicate floral motifs on the ceilings, lots of brass fixtures, and enormous Art Nouveau–style chandeliers. Like any good coffeehouse, Centrál is open for breakfast and serves food throughout the day. This is a good place to try some classic dishes like cold foie gras, Hortobágyi palacsinta (pancakes stuffed with chicken stew and topped with paprika sauce), or chicken paprikás. Though there is a full lunch and dinner menu, Centrál is also a fine place to simply sit and sip coffee (and perhaps nibble on a slice of the house-made desserts (the Dobos torta and the Eszterházy torta are good choices) while admiring the surroundings.