Gerbeaud is a historic pastry shop and café in Budapest anchoring downtown's Váci Street. It was Hungarian-Swiss patissier Emil Gerbeaud, who, after taking over the business in 1884, revolutionized Hungarian confectionery with inventive sweets and pastries. The place quickly became a see-and-be-seen hangout for the city's upper crust. Gerbeaud was nationalized during the communist era but even then it maintained an air of splendor, continuing to draw Budapest's high society, especially elderly ladies.

Today, still, Gerbeaud puts out some of the best traditional Hungarian and Austro-Hungarian pastries including Dobos, Esterházy, and Sacher tortes, 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 building lavishly decorated with crystal chandeliers, marble-topped tables, and cherrywood paneling (Onyx restaurant, with two Michelin stars, is next door and run by the same owners). The place is mainly a tourist attraction these days as locals have been priced out of both Gerbeaud and the neighborhood (a cappuccino costs €6).

But if it's your first time in Budapest, I do recommend that you stop by here for the delicious pastries and a glimpse of the city's now vanished coffeehouse culture. Part of the experience is basking in the historic glow of the space, but note that all to-go orders are half-priced at Gerbeaud.

We visit all places incognito, pay for our own meals and drinks, and write independent reviews.