Café Gerbeaud

In this year's SAVEUR 100, we take stock of our favorite things: recipes, people, places. We consider every last one a new classic.

Todd Coleman

It seems every great European city has its pastry palace, and in Budapest, that place is Cafe Gerbeaud. Located in the elegant Vorosmarty Square since 1870, the space is nothing short of spectacular, a gilded hall with a swirling rococo ceiling, rich wood paneling, and a 40-foot marble counter showcasing classic Austro-Hungarian layer cakes. Cafe Gerbeaud belongs to the grand legacy of Mittel-European coffeehouses that once served as gathering places for the intelligentsia, who, over cups of strong coffee and pieces of cake, plotted the course of culture. Though Cafe Gerbeaud is more likely to be populated by tourists today, the cakes are still exquisite. Esterhazy torte (pictured), named in honor of the 19th century Hungarian prince, features six slender layers of walnut-rich dacquoise interspersed with brandy-scented vanilla butter cream, and crowned with fondant icing. The very special blueberry poppy seed cake, meanwhile, contrasts the intensely floral fragrance of wild berry jam with the earthy richness of the poppy seeds in the dense flourless cake. Perhaps the most famous is Dobos torte, the quintessential Hungarian creation of vanilla sponge cake stacked with rich chocolate butter cream, and capped with caramel, an indulgence that's hard to resist.

__Cafe Gerbeaud_
(36/1/429-9000; gerbaud.hu)
0201 Vorosmarty ter 7
Budapest, Hungary_