At the turn of the 20th century the New York Café (New York Kávéház) was the most beautiful and the most beloved coffee house in Budapest. It was a popular place among writers and editors, in fact, the most influential newspapers were edited here, upstairs in the gallery. After World War II, the once famous café fell into disrepair and it served as a sporting goods shop. Although the café reopened in 1954, under the name of Hungária, it wasn’t until 2006 that the New York Café was restored to its original splendor.
Today, the New York Palace, built between 1891 and 1895 in eclectic Italian Renaissance-style, gives home to the New York Palace Boscolo Hotel. The café, along with a restaurant and a cigar bar are now part of the hotel. The menu recalls the multicultural cuisine of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Classic dishes like Beef Goulash, Fishermen Soup, Chicken Leg Paprikash-style, Wiener Schnitzel and Grilled Foie Gras are served along with famous desserts such as Dobos, Sacher and Eszterházy cake.
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New York Cafe
This is the hotel’s beating heart: like a precious jewelry box on four floors, it retains the decorations which made it famous all over the world.
The ceiling is adorned with marvelous frescoes by Gusztav Mannheimer and Ferenc Eisenhut, dating from the mid-XIX century. Sumptuous Venetian chandeliers produce a magical light, and golden stucco work covers the twisted columns: the effect is enchanting.
Entering the New York Café means taking a step back into the past: visitors are overwhelmed by the whim, opulence and refinement of the place. The more time spent in these rooms, the more one begins to appreciate the fascination of the Belle Époque. While outside the bronze Luciferes, symbols of artistic spirit, recall the many painters, actors and intellectuals who have always frequented the café, inside one can appreciate both the proverbial affability of the water and the delights offered by barmen or chefs.
It is a precious piece of Budapest and of Hungarian literary life, once the offices of the magazine ‘Nyugat’.
One anecdote tells of how the famous writer Ferenc Molnár, on the day the café opened threw the keys into the Danube so that it would never close.