Opened in 1968, Ibolya Espresso is an iconic café and bar in Budapest's downtown. Ibolya is deeply anchored in Budapest's collective memory as two generations of local residents have been coming here for everything from first dates to business meetings for over half a century. The interior furnishings are a genuine throwback to the communist era, featuring Mid-century modern-inspired light fixtures with orange plexiglass and curvilinear chairs topped with red faux leather upholstery.

Despite being in the heart of tourist-heavy downtown, most people here are still locals, many of whom come here to watch soccer games projected on a big screen or to wolf down a grilled ham and cheese sandwich blanketed in ketchup before calling it a night. Teenage lovebirds from the neighboring high schools often occupy the secluded upstairs tables. Before you leave, be sure to observe Ibolya's timeless typography above the entry door.

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