Café New York – the world’s most beautiful cafe

Café New York

Keeping tradition in literature, art and gastronomy between the historical walls of the most beautiful cafe of the world.

What is the story of the building?

It opened more than 120 years before on the 2nd of October, 1894, it was the Hall of the New York Life Insurance Company, The building was designed by the plans of Alajos Hauszmann, Floris Korb and Kalman Giergl. These well-known architectures designed other wonderful buildings all around Budapest, such as parts of the Buda Castle, Academy of Music and the Clotild palaces.

It was built for representative purposes; agents called their clients to the cafe to write and signs contracts. All the materials were real they would not use anything cheap... there is nothing there but first rate material… this luxury shown how the company was so trustworthy and their value on the market, so the clients could trust them.

The decorated interior was so well made that according to articles from that time, they needed two troopers to guard the building and get rid of all the crowds admiring the magnificent glass windows. There were so many bystanders that they were blocking the traffic on the boulevard.

Dog’s tongue and ink

As the centre of literature the New York cafe hosted some of the most famous Hungarian writers such the a group of writers called the Nyugat (that era’s most prominent group of writers whom created a journal, they had a permanent table there) At the café writers could always get this very long piece of paper which was called ‘kutyanyelv’ Dog’s tongue. Rumour has it that in the basement they had kegs full of ink.

What is the writer's plate?

The writers and poets had cafes as their second homes, spending most of their time there so they used to have meals there as long they had enough money in their pockets to afford it, they would usually have a tab at the cafe, so to make their financial situations better the owners created a so called writers plate which very cheap and was only available for writers... It contained a few slices of cheese or salami and cheese nicely served on a plate.

Famous guests, Casablanca and our new word Mozi

Around the famous marble tables once sat many world famous guests or had a permanent table. The cafe hosted Josephine Baker, Thomas Mann, Mihaly Kertesz who was later known as Michael Curtis who was nominated for an Oscar for directing Casablanca and he later won the Oscar.

Probably this is very Jeno Heltain invented the hungarian word for cinema which Mozi.

The cafe today

It has still its old glory; the frescoes on the ceiling are illuminated with chandelliers from Venice.

It has a wide variety of different coffees and cakes; according to some this is the best place to have the perfect coffee.

The New York cafe is very committed to keep up the traditions of literature, arts and gastronomy by having an art box which organizes very successful events.



icon infoAt Blaha Lujza square


1073 Budapest, Erzsébet krt. 9-11.

How to get there?

Take the tram Nr. 4/6 in direction Széll Kálmán tér, and get off at the 4th stop “Blaha Lujza tér” where the café is located.

Opening hours


icon sziv2Our tip: there are different deals available at the cafe for example an afternoon tea with champage for two!