Similar to Vienna, Budapest enjoyed a thriving coffeehouse culture during the Austro Hungarian Empire. Around the turn of the 20th century, more than 500 cafés swarmed across Budapest. Apart from low-priced caffeine, coffeehouses offered a home away from home to the city's fast-growing populace. These high-ceilinged spaces became the center of social life—many artists and journalists camped out for the whole day, even directing their mail to their favored café.
Most coffeehouses shuttered during the communist era (1947-1990). The few that reopened since have become popular popular tourist destinations, especially the New York Cafe, with higher-than-average prices points. But I do recommend that you visit for a coffee, a cake, and a travel back in time. If you're also curious about the contemporary "coffeehouses" of Budapest, drop by some of the best specialty coffee shops, too.