Grabbing a Drink at This Stunning Budapest Coffee House Is Like Stepping Back in Time to the Early 1900s

Matild Café & Cabaret, one of Europe's most resilient cultural institutions, has been revived to its former glory, complete with Hungarian cuisine from Wolfgang Puck.

Matild Café & Cabaret
Photo: Courtesy of Matild Palace

Everything old is new again in Budapest, thanks to the Matild Café & Cabaret.

In 2022, the Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, opened its doors, welcoming guests to pure European glamor. The hotel is housed in a Belle Epoque-era building constructed in 1902 under the watchful eye of Her Imperial and Royal Highness Maria Klotild of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Then, it was meant to be the social epicenter of the city, and really, not much has changed, especially with the opening of Matild Café & Cabaret.

The café, the hotel explains on its website, is "a dramatical reimagination of a historical café originally opened in 1901." The space has played a significant role in the city's history, acting as a meeting point for public figures, journalists, writers, and artists, who mixed and mingled with the working class, everyone sipping on an espresso or digging into a simple meal.

Matild Café & Cabaret
Courtesy of Matild Palace

However, living through history, the café closed and reopened several times due to World War 1 and World War 2. However, it became the first café in Budapest to reopen its doors after World War 2, solidifying its place as a cultural institution.

Now, it's going even bigger under the gastronomic direction of Wolfgang Puck, who also oversees Spago by Wolfgang Puck at the hotel.

"The opening of the Matild Café & Cabaret is a joyful return to my Austrian roots, recalling the taste of my mother's classic pastries from my childhood. And from today, the residents of Budapest can also discover these special tastes through the traditional cakes of the historic café," Wolfgang Puck shares in a statement provided to Food & Wine.

But just because the café has been renovated doesn't mean it's lost its charm. Inside, guests will find a sprawling two-story, 300-seat restaurant that is entirely based on the building's original plans, thoughtfully paired with contemporary drawings and photographs.

Matild Café & Cabaret
Courtesy of Matild Palace

Along with a stellar cup of coffee, guests can enjoy delightful bites during the day, including artisan bonbons made at the café's chocolate atelier, alongside traditional cakes and pastries. For a heartier taste, guests can dig into the Hungarian beef stew with homemade spaetzle or the homemade sausages Krúdy style. And, those looking to pair their meal with a show can head to the café when the sun goes down to watch cabaret shows performed on the hydraulic stage located in the heart of the venue.

"Not only has a traditional Hungarian café been reborn, but the entertainment and gastronomic palette of the city has been further enriched," Selim Olmez, the general manager of Matild Palace, says. "I believe that the venue's unique atmosphere, the culinary art of Wolfgang Puck, and the special cabaret shows will shake up the social life of Budapest."

See more about the café and book a stay at the hotel so you can enjoy it for days on end here.

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