One of the most beautiful buildings in Budapest’s city centre, the Párisi Udvar reopened as a luxury hotel this spring after five years of renovation. Once lined with busy boutiques, this elegant arcade also now houses the Párisi Passage Café & Brasserie, as ornate as the new hotel alongside. We paid it a quick visit.
Accessed via the main entrance of the Párisi Udvar Hotel or through its own doors facing Ferenciek tere, the Párisi Passage Café & Brasserie sits under a glass dome, draped in decorative elegance.
Separated from the lobby and dining area of the hotel by a divider and maître d’, this newly opened coffeehouse and eatery echoes the era in which the Párisi Udvar itself was built.
Begun in 1909, this grandiose edifice was completed in Moorish-Gothic style by 1913 to house the Downtown Savings Bank. Ceramics were created by the celebrated Zsolnay factory in Pécs. Architectural detail includes decorative bees, a symbol of thrift.
A century down the line, by 2014 the building was in pretty bad shape. Much of it was empty, its fin-de-siècle sheen long worn off.
Renovation soon began and in May 2019, renowned American brand Hyatt unveiled the Párisi Udvar as part of its Unbound Collection by Hyatt portfolio, operated by Mellow Mood Hotels.
And now on the ground floor, the Parisian Passage Café & Brasserie has just opened, its hexagonal floor tiles mirroring the bee theme of the original main building, the verdant houseplants and dark-wood furnishings lending a tone of decorative gravitas to this otherwise open space.
Judging by the starters alone – beef tartare with quail egg, mixed-leaf salad with smoked duck breast – it’s immediately obvious that you’re travelling upscale in terms of dining class, accentuated by mains such as suckling pig belly with scallops and Omaha rib-eye steak with truffle-mashed potatoes.
With a 12% service charge slapped on top, your credit card is going to take a hammering but this is the kind of place for which the word ‘unique’ might have been invented.
Drinks-wise, it’s 1,590 forints for a lemonade, 1,450 forints for a flat white and mocktails (eg a Passion Fashion of maracuja, Valencia orange, wild blackcurrant, lime and orgeat) come in at around 2,800 forints. Mixed drinks with a kick start at 3,000 forints.
For a classy afternoon treat, you can choose between half-a-dozen cakes, including the signature chocolate Párisi cube.
District V. Petőfi Sándor utca 2-4
Open: daily 6.30am-midnight