Café Gerbeaud

Gerbeaud is a historic café and pastry shop in Budapest, anchoring downtown's Váci Street. It was under the helm of Hungarian-Swiss patissier Emil Gerbeaud, who took over the business in 1884, that the confectionery became known across the city for its inventive sweets. Gerbeaud was nationalized during the communist era but even then it retained an air of opulence and was a favorite haunt of Budapest's upper-middle-class, especially of elderly ladies.

Today, still, Gerbeaud puts out some of the best traditional Hungarian and Austro-Hungarian pastries including Dobos torte, Esterházy torte, krémes, and the namesake Gerbeaud cake. You should also try two of their signature sweets: konyakmeggy, a brandied sour cherry enclosed by a chocolate shell, and macskanyelv, a milk chocolate shaped like a cat’s tongue. Gerbeaud is inside a gleaming white, lavishly-decorated building outfitted 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). The place is mainly a tourist attraction these days as many locals have been priced out of both Gerbeaud and the neighborhood (a cappuccino costs €6).

If it's your first time in Budapest, I do recommend that you stop by here for the tasty pastries and a glimpse of the city's now-vanished, turn-of-the-century coffee-house culture. Part of the experience is basking in the historic glow of the space, but it's good to know that all to-go orders are half-priced at Gerbeaud.