Very important travel information needed! I’m heading to Vienna this fall, please cast your vote for best coffee. And best pastry.
No matter where you go in Vienna best pastry will be everywhere you go especially coming from America. Coffee is excellent in all coffeehouses.
Agree. As long as you avoid the Starbucks it's hard NOT to find great coffee and pastries.
Despite that most tourists name Demel and Sacher this is the place with the real best patries (IMHO):
Go to the place in the very city, i.e. 1st borough, 5 minutes from St. Stephen's cathedral. After having finished your coffee and pastries, consider a take-away from the counter on the ground floor. They have more than 30 variants of hand-made chocolates. For travelers there are pre-packaged selections in different sizes. I bring them as a gift, never had a problem with US customs.
Oberlaa also offers a three course lunch special for about €13 which I can fully recommend.
Private message sent (with tips on how to avoid the dreadedly dry Sachertorte)...
The pastries at the Wien Oberlaa Café in Neuer Markt (off of Kartnerstrasse) and at Café Landtmann on the Ringstrasse are outstanding. We try to go to both every time we are in Vienna.
It is a shame that you don't want to share your tips with us all, Emily. I would have really enjoyed that, and it would have helped me.
We also enjoyed Oberla last year -- relying, as I recall, on a Forum tip from WMT1 and others. I'd been scoffing at the sachertorte for 40+ years based on experience at Demel's in the 1970s. Oberla changed my thickheaded notion that sachertorte was among the world's most overrated food items. Salivating just typing this.
Better yet, why post that you've sent a private message? The recipient will see your pm in their inbox, so really, you are only let us know you sent it, cause she will know it's there when she gets an email telling her..
Just send it and don't tell us.
Peter and Nigel - private messages sent...
Thanks to all for your ideas!
Emily's favorite coffee shops from another thread:
"First, let me say that all the suggestions so far are good, but they couldn't be more different from each other. I think that something to keep in mind is the fact that all coffeehouses in Vienna have a very different character.
Hawelka is brown, smoky, dusty, frayed and filled with memorabilia from literary stars of the past. This is not a "cake" place as they only serve Buchteln (rolls filled with jelly, typically plum) late in the evening. Honestly, I don't even know if they serve tea here.
Demel is the complete opposite. Royal, glass chandeliers, gilt everything, gorgeous mahogany cake cases, desserts made from violets. This was the royal bakery of the Habsburgs and they claim to have invented the Sachertorte. Sit upstairs, look in the kitchen as you go up and eat something dainty with chocolate.
Cafe Sperl is probably what you think of when you think of a Viennese cafe. Rounded edges, good strudel, stacks of newspapers, velvet seating. This is in my top 5 for sure.
Cafe Diglas is quaint and centrally located with the absolute best cakes in Vienna. They have cafe curtains, a cake case that you can easily get acquainted with at the door and good hot drinks. They have the standards, but also have very interesting desserts that I haven't seen anywhere else.
Cafe Gerstner has the most divine sour cherry strudel (apricot is also good) that their lack of atmosphere makes up for.
Café Prückel has mirrors, chrome and newspapers galore and it is one of the only cafes in the first district where you will find Viennese actually having their daily cafe ritual.
Veering out of travel book range:
Vollpension is just off the Naschmarkt, so still very central. They only employ grandmothers to make their cakes, specifically so that old recipes can live on. Plus they taste great and the cafe itself it the sweetest place in town - they have a model car racetrack which has grannies in wheelchairs racing instead of cars.
The cafe in the Kunsthistoriches Museum serves Gerstner pastries. Yes, I know the KHM is definitely on the tourist radar, but its cafe is not.
Cafe Wortner has a fountain, flowers and charm with a good lunch menu. Just off center situated on a great corner square for people watching.
Joseph Brot at Landstrasse/Mitte has the best Chai Latte and beautifully hand-crafted baked goods. This is the "it" bakery in Vienna at the moment.
Any cafe stall at the Karmelitermakt or Brunnenmarkt on a Saturday morning. Any single one of them.
Cafe Neko in the first district. It is a Japanese cat cafe and they serve a cake in the shape of a cat. Need I say more?"
Thanks so much!! Fantastic!!!
ok, now I am ready.
Who cares how much weight I've lost in the last year (lots). I just put on 10 just reading that........
Wow, yes, thanks. I've cut and pasted this into our Vienna trip itinerary for early October this year.
We found that even the chains like Anker had good coffee and pastries - and they're everywhere.
Went to Demel for its history, but agree the sachertorte was very dry. The other pastry was fine. If I make it back, I’ll go someplace different.
Thanks again to all, I’m saving calories for this trip!!
I now know and understand why Emily is currently sending PMs. I'm very glad that her previous comments have been saved and redistributed. Thanks....
Heiner at Wollzeile. While Demel was the imperial pastry provider, Heiner was the imperial cake provider. But they have managed not to be overwhelmed by tourists like Demel.
The Coffeehouses mentioned in my local (London) free paper the Metro are:
Except for Sperl and Hawelka these are different from those mentioned above - any comments?
I'm revising my June road trip and strongly considering swapping Vienna in and Venice out.
Is the little place with the tiny open faced sandwiches still going? I remember that favourably....
This list mentions traditional Viennese coffehouses. But the message thread was about best pastries and cakes. Those two types of places do not necessarily align.
Is the little place with the tiny open faced sandwiches still going?
Yes, best Viennese fast food since 1902: https://www.trzesniewski.at/
Pam, way too subjective. You're going to have to find that answer for yourself.
As wmt1 notes, the list provided by Nigel are traditional coffeehouses, which are not necessarily the best places for cake, etc. If you want the Viennese UNESCO protected coffeehouse experience, then these are good choices. I have recommended Prückel frequently on this site as it is one of my favorites, but the cakes are secondary.
So, easy. I'll go to coffeehouses for atmosphere and coffee and the other locations for cake? That's good, because I lost a lot of weight and want to keep losing, so I can go for coffee and only occasionally go for cake.....
So, to take this off in another tangent, as the OP did ask for the best coffee and the best cake in the post, just not the title, which of the many choices of style of coffee do you prefer? Or do local Viennese prefer?
In Italy I prefer a simple espresso (caffé), in England I like a skinny cappuccino. In Haarlem I like Koffie Verkeerd. In France since a real café au lait with the two jugs is nearly impossible to find I don't drink coffee.
Here's a list of common coffee orders put together by Julius Meinl, famous purveyor of coffee in Austria. A visit to the Meinl am Graben shop is a must in Vienna. The Melange is the most Viennese and most classic.
Thanks for all of the responses. Going to be in Vienna next week for the first time. Will definitely try several of these places.
Thanks Emily. These are fabulous!
Viennese melange is my kinda happy.
A fun read: The A•B•C of Viennese Coffee & Tea
I know I am late in joining this thread.
I was in Vienna last year. I had high expectations for their pastry and elegant cafes. Sadly, I was quite disappointed.
First, many elegant, grand cafes (such as Cafe Mozart) are now corporate-owned. They have the same menu printed identically except for the cafe name and prices. Second, their cakes are mostly baked off-site. I could taste it. I even saw delivery trucks during off-hours. I understand that Austria is not alone in this regard: many pastry shops in France and Germany have the same practice. In fact, in Germany, a lot of bread dough is shipped frozen all the way from countries like China.
Of course, outsourcing everything is nothing new in the US. (According to Trader Joe's flyers, most salmon caught in Alaska is processed in China.) I was expecting Europe to be different. Perhaps I was just naive. In the EU world, outsourcing/corporatization is the "new normal". Most so-called German cars sold in the country are assembled outside Germany.
Back to pastry--I would like to re-visit Vienna. I would like to taste freshly-baked pastries made by the mom-and-pop shops. I would like to discover more of these.
You had been at the wrong places, alas.
"Best pastries", "best coffee", and "most traditional coffehouse" are what most tourists are looking for, not being aware that these are three separate items which do not align, i.e. you wouldn't find in one place altogether.
Well, Barinpark, sounds like if Cafe Mozart was on your list, you didn’t properly research. Plenty of excellent cafes and konditerei with cakes made in-house.