Known to every local resident, Gerbeaud is an iconic café and pastry shop in Budapest's downtown. It was Swiss patissier Emil Gerbeaud, who in 1884 transformed the space into a confectionery famed for its inventive sweets like the konyakmeggy, a brandied sour cherry enclosed by a chocolate shell, and “macskanyelv,” a milk chocolate shaped like a cat’s tongue (both of them are still produced). Gerbeaud also makes some of the best traditional Hungarian (or Austro-Hungarian) pastries such as Dobos, Esterházy torte, krémes, and the namesake Gerbeaud cake. If you order them to go, all cakes are half-priced.
Gerbeaud is located inside a gleaming white, lavishly-decorated Renaissance Revival building with crystal chandeliers, marble-topped tables, and cherrywood paneling (Onyx, a two Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant, is next door and run by the same owners). Although mainly a tourist attraction today, for much of the 20th century Gerbeaud was a favorite haunt of elderly middle-class ladies. But don't go searching for locals here now—they've been priced out of both Gerbeaud and the neighborhood (a cappuccino costs €5).
If it's your first time in Budapest, however, I recommend that you stop by for the delicious pastries and a glimpse of the city's now-vanished, turn-of-the-century coffee house culture.