Centrál is a very elegant, old style coffee house and restaurant, a bit on the expensive side, but worth a look if you want to know what Pest was like a hundred years ago.
Thanks to Hungary’s proximity and, let’s say, historical contact with Turkey, coffee culture has always been big around here, but probably never so much so as in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Coffee houses were meeting points of the intellectual elite and the regular haunts of artists and journalists, some of who actually lived in coffee houses. Centrál Kávéház already existed back then, and even though it fulfilled other functions during the communist era, the new management is reaching back to the golden age for inspiration, and as far as looks go, they’re doing a good job.
The place looks exactly as it must have looked back then, and the selection of freely readable newspapers by the entrance is also a fitting touch.
The place is divided into a restaurant area, and a coffee house which is more appropriate for sitting down for a bit of a rest while sipping some tea or coffee. As for the food, it’s always been good when I tried it, but a bit pricey. However, if you want to sit down somewhere in the middle of the day to chat and look at passersby, Centrál has the perfect ambience for that – and a few teas or coffees won’t break the bank.