Reopened in June 2019 after a long, meticulous and expensive renovation, the spectacularly revived Párisi Udvar houses the high-end 110-room Hyatt Hotel, only the fourth property in Europe to join the group's prestigious Unbound Collection. Within this fin-de-siècle masterpiece, the ground-floor café and brasserie seems to attract just as many camera-toting tourists, idly passing through, as it does dedicated diners.

The site originally gave home to Budapest's first modern shopping mall, inspired by the Parisian Passage des Panoramas, the first covered passage in the French capital, built in 1799. In those early days in Hungary, poets and politicians, writers and rebels of an artistic kind were among the upscale crowd.

In this spirit, the modern-day equivalent in its iconic setting aims to evoke the vibrant atmosphere of the turn-of-the-20th-century Parisian and Hungarian cafés in the daytime and transform into a lively bar with piano music and artisanal cocktails at night; Paris chic meets old days Budapest and contemporary gastronomy.

Sit in the Párisi Passage and imagine you are in Les Deux Magots or the Café de Flore, with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simon de Beauvoir debating, and Hemingway, Camus and Picasso all rubbing elbows. Or in Le Fouquet's where Chaplin, Churchill and Chevalier were among the illustrious visitors. It doesn't hurt to daydream when you are in such a grandiose edifice.

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The Parisian Passage Café & Brasserie has hexagonal floor tiles to mirror the bee theme of the original main building, begun in 1909 and completed in Moorish-Gothic style by 1913 to house the Downtown Savings Bank, with bees apparently being one symbol of thrift.

The tables have mottled black marble tops and the chairs have wickerwork backs, with verdant houseplants and dark-wood furnishings lending some decorative gravitas to what is otherwise an open space with entrances at both ends.

Of course, what you eat and drink is as important as where you choose to do so, and the Párisi Passage Café and Brasserie is suitably alert here. For a classy treat, for instance, the alluring choice of cakes includes the signature chocolate Párisi cube consisting of coffee-rum ganache, milk chocolate mousse, chocolate pearls, coffee ice-cream and a small jug of hot chocolate that, when applied, melts its way through the thin chocolate slab on top and into the hollow centre.

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Or there are a Coconut Banana Tart, macarons, a Chestnut-Plum Dome Cake and more sweet temptations, with premium coffees. Another signature item is the Midnight in Budapest cocktail, which is a combination of Martell VSOP cognac, Márton és Lányai apple pálinka aged five years, pear, honey and rosemary, served with a complementing selection of Hungarian cheese.

This cocktail is the Párisi Udvar bar's best-seller, and the cognac and pálinka represent the two worlds of France and Hungary. At a Hyatt gathering in Cannes on the French Riviera in December 2019, Midnight in Budapest triumphed over all rivals in a cocktail contest.

In the adjacent brasserie, the five starters include baked sweet Jacket Potato with figs and buckthorn, Spinach and Plum Salad with optional added smoked duck breast, a Mini Burger Duo, Autumn Porcini and Sea Trout “Párisi” style, which means sous-vide (“under vacuum”) cooked sea trout, marinated beetroot salad, calamansi horseradish and fennel-yuzu granité.

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Soups run to Sunchoke Velouté with nut granola and crispy grapes, Pheasant Consommé with parsnip puree, marinated mulberry, Brussels sprouts and cherry vinegar tapioca pearls, and finally Traditional Gulyás with Hungarian Grey calf, confit potato, grilled celery and carrots.

Specialities in the brasserie are Foie Gras Brioche with goose liver parfait, homemade brioche and quince variations, and a second item, Homemade Agnolotti with stuffed agnolotti noodles, truffle, cheese and pickled pumpkin.

The Budapest Times' two mains were Smoked Cod with a fillet in chervil oil, grapefruit dressing and black salsify, and secondly, Grilled Quail with the crispy bird complemented by smoked corn cream, lentil salad, buckwheat popcorn and red onion jam. This meant missing out on the three others: Beef Flight, Mangalica Pork Steak and Wiener Schnitzel.

In these rarified confines the kitchen team emphasises their use of exemplary suppliers of top-shelf Hungarian terroir ingredients. In the Selection of Local Cheese and Cold Cuts, for instance, we find Mangalica ham and sausages, Hungarian Grey bresaola and spicy salami, plus truffle honey from Tokaj alongside Swabian hard cheese, goat Roquefort and young cheddar among others.,

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The three desserts are Honey, with honey mousse, poppy seed sponge, passion fruit glaze and ginger jelly, or Almond, with almond parfait, pomegranate and raspberry bits, or finally Smearcase Mousse, a pear and goat cheese mixture with Williams pear ragout.

Paris Courtyard is an architectural and applied arts treasure – even in its earlier era visitors were dazzled by the ornamental details and decorations. Today, whether it attracts diners concentrating on what they are consuming or dabblers more interested in where they are, they are sharing an upscale experience. Perhaps for another hundred years.

Párisi Passage Café and Brasserie
District V, Petőfi Sándor utca 2-4
Tel.: (+36) 70 702-4088
Café: Daily 9am-8pm
Restaurant: Daily noon-11pm
Dress code: smart casual


Starters HUF 2990-4290
Soups HUF 2890-2990
Mains HUF 4990-10,990
Desserts HUF 1990
Foie Gras Brioche HUF 5990
Homemade Agnolotti HUF 4590
Midnight in Budapest HUF 5990
Párisi Cube HUF 1990


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