Hungary, and especially Budapest, are famous for their truly rich history and thereby for its historical buildings. Hospitality has always played an important role in the life of our capital city. Nothing proves this better than the numerous catering dynasties that provided gentlemen and their ladies with the finest snacks counting from the beginning of the last century. As times have changed, eating and catering trends, as well as the restaurants, have also developed, but there are a few that have retained their former state. Please join me and get to know Budapest’s history through its oldest restaurants.
The Százéves Restaurant, meaning the “100-year-old restaurant”, is the oldest inn that can be found in Budapest. It was opened in 1831 on the ground floor of a small baroque palace in the heart of the city. It is furnished with beautiful rustic pieces and features 80 Hungarian and international cuisine specialties with the finest wines from Hungary's most popular and less-known wineries - including the unmatched Tokaji aszú. During the evenings, candlelight and pleasant Gypsy music complete the whole experience.
The history of New York Café counts more than 120 years, and blends with literature, as one of the most iconic Hungarian poets, Sándor Márai used to write his engaging poems here. It is also commonly titled as "the world's most beautiful café". New York Café has undergone several periods, political systems and historical changes, but it always managed to revive. Nonetheless, it is still waiting for guests who demand luxury and pomp. The old building unwaveringly sticks to its character even in the 21st century. Namely, it offers elegance and charm, the two untouchable concepts that were better sought at its beginnings, in a world that craved much more beauty. New York Café is definitely the Queen of Budapest's cafés.
The famous restaurant called "Marble Fiancée Restaurant" in Márvány Street is considered one of the most popular entertainment venues in Christina-Town of Budapest. It is located near the Buda Castle, in the middle of the historical Buda. Its history dates back to 1793 when this part of the city began to develop. After several renovations and additions, the old-school restaurant gained its current appearance in 1997. Márványmenyasszony has a huge garden with shaded horse-chestnut trees as well as a barbecue terrace. It's really a charming place for dining.
Built in 1894, the Gundel Restaurant is one of Budapest's best-known restaurants, famous mainly for the Gundel pancake. It is located in the Városliget or City Park, not far from the Heroes' Square and right next to the famous Budapest Zoo. Born at the dawn of the 20th century, Gundel is considered an exclusive restaurant and has survived the storms of history, namely two world wars, economic crises, and decades of nationalization. Gundel perfectly represents the history of Hungarian gastronomy and hospitality.
These catering units were founded 100-200 years ago, and all of them are still operating. Naturally, they are very proud of their traditions, their places' spirit and food that attract both locals and tourists. In case you explore Budapest and would like to get to know its history better, visiting the capital’s oldest restaurants could be an excellent option.
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