Massolit Books & Café in Budapest

Combining an English-language bookstore with a café, Massolit is a snug hideaway within Budapest's old Jewish Quarter. The book-lined interior eschews the usual trappings of specialty coffee shops, instead featuring worn-out furniture and a well-earned patina. Fortified by caffeine, it's easy to spend hours in one of the nooks and crannies accompanied by a page-turner. That is, if you can find an open seat, which is rare during peak hours because local students and brainy tourists tend to monopolize Massolit most of the time.

The book selections span pulp fiction, history, biographies, classical literature, and English translations of Hungarian novels such as those by Ferenc Molnár, Sándor Márai, Magda Szabó, Péter Nádas, and László Krasznahorkai. A word to the wise: In the warm months, they open up the nondescript outdoor section in the back of the space.

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