Central Cafe is one of the few remaining coffeehouses dating back to Budapest’s golden era, before WWI. At the time, the city was swarming with cafés like Central that stayed open around the clock and attracted artists who've spent endless caffeine-fueled hours working and socializing under the sky-high ceilings. Today, one of Central's walls is blanketed in framed photos of prominent writers, poets, and editors who were once regulars.
The stunningly elegant space, complete with mahogany wall paneling and red leather banquettes, didn’t escape Budapest’s tragic post-war history — for a short period it even housed a gambling den. But in 2000, Central was restored to its former glory, preserving an essential slice of the city's cultural history. The place wears many hats these days, being a café, a bar, and a restaurant all at once. Most people come here for breakfast, coffee, or cakes, and also to people-watch from the outdoor tables. Note that the pastries are among the best in Budapest.