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Coffee Houses in Vienna

Going to Vienna in September. What are your favorite coffee houses and why? I actually don't drink coffee, tea I love but I do love cakes and pastries and cafes. Looking for nice cafes or coffee houses with good pastries and pretty atmosphere. Please let me know where you went and what you enjoyed. Will be spending four days in Vienna after the GAS tour. Thank you for your help.

Posted by
1757 posts

When we were there last December, we enjoyed Cafe Demel. Try to get upstairs seating.

Posted by
781 posts

Go to Cafe Hawelka near St Stephens Cathedral,I met the owner and his wife in 2007 and they were in their 90s,went back last fall,great coffee and pastries,not fancy like Cafe Demel or Sacher Cafe but authentic.
Mike

Posted by
31473 posts

Ann,

I would also recommend Café Hawelka. I believe it's one of the oldest and most historic coffee houses in Vienna, and I'm sure they will have some kind of "alternate beverages" to serve you. It's very popular and often a bit crowded, but really nice.

As you like cakes, a really good choice is the café in the Hotel Sacher, where you can enjoy the decadent https://www.sacher.com/en/original-sacher-cake/

Posted by
4695 posts

I've lived here in Vienna for 9+ years and have had lots of practice eating cakes and drinking tea (I'm also not a coffee drinker).

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.

The Standards:
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?

Posted by
852 posts

It has been years, but I will add Cafe Sacher in the Hotel for the experience. Famous for the chocolate Sacher torte.

Posted by
4695 posts

Yes, Sachertorte is very dry and, honestly, I can't stand it. Most cakes here, unfortunately, are very dry as they were meant to have a long shelf life - thus slim on eggs and other perishables. That's why the recipes here are big on layering thin slices of cake between layers of cream or jam. I'll take a strudel or an ice cream any day over cake here.

Posted by
1176 posts

I want to thank everyone for all the information, advice and help! This will be very helpful in my search for the best cafe! Looking forward to trying out one each day I am in Vienna!

Posted by
6872 posts

Ann,
Have you been to the Neue Gallerie in Manhattan, by any chance? I loved their coffee house and the building itself (very reminiscent of Vienna and Prague)...delicious desserts including hazelnut torte. Just thought I'd ask since it's not too far from you.
http://www.neuegalerie.org/cafes/sabarsky

Posted by
178 posts

We tried to get into Demel on 3 occasions. It was always full and quite frankly,crowded and noisy. Any cafe or coffee house in Vienna is great. We ended up at the Sacher Hotel one evening. Nice but really, the sacher cake wasn't anything special. I've had better.

Posted by
3463 posts

Neue Galerie at Fifth Avenue and 86th Street ( just a few blocks from the Metropolitan Museum of Art ) is also the home of Klimt's " Adele Bloch-Bauer 1 " AKA " The Woman in Gold " . The stunning café shown in James' post is " The New York Café " in Budapest ,and is indeed ,one of the finest . It appears in " Casablanca " as Rick's Café Americain . Read this - http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/07/books/07mart.html

Posted by
13569 posts

Steven, good article. Sorry, I guess I got my forums confused again. That just keeps happening :-)
Since you put the article up, there are two related books that if you have any interest in the region are very worth reading and are interesting in what they reveal.

First you read The Forbidden Sky: Inside the Hungarian Revolution by Endre Marton. This is a first hand account beginning at the end of WWII and continuing through his family's escape from Hungary in 1956.

Then you read Kati Marton's; Enemies of the People: My Family's Journey to America which is the result of her memories of her father (Endre) and the secret police records she searched after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Comparing two perspectives on one event and one family is fascinating. Then you take a day away from Vienna and visit Budapest........

Posted by
9736 posts

Back to the original post....Ann, thanks so much for starting this and thanks to those that offered some nice options in Vienna! I am taking notes for my time in Vienna on the GAS tour. These look like fun!

Posted by
7 posts

I just returned from Vienna and found the Kurkonditorei Oberlaa at Neuer Markt 16 had fabulous pastries/cakes. A large selection.(mentioned in Rick Steves' Eastern Europe guidebook) Nice outdoor seating as well.

Posted by
4695 posts

Oberlaa is a chain with locations all around Vienna. Their chocolate mousse cake is about 1,000x better than a Sachertorte. Aida is also a popular chain of cake/pastry cafes in Vienna.

Posted by
671 posts

Oberlaa in Neuer Markt is one of our favorites, along with Café Landtmann on the Ring near the Burg Theatre. We went to both last August, but especially loved the eierschwarmmerl (Chanterelle mushrooms) in a crème sauce at Landtmann, along with the amazing pastries.

Posted by
4695 posts

That is is not dry like a stale loaf of bread. I'm also not find of the apricot/chocolate combo.

Posted by
1176 posts

Thank you all for your response to my Vienna cafe question! I found it most helpful!! Looking forward to my cafe time while in Vienna.

Posted by
9736 posts

That looks lovely, James. What is the name of it and where is it located, please?

Posted by
13569 posts

Revised for Pam (below)

Matt, See, now I am in trouble, but since you asked about chess: Its called the New York Café and its about 3 hours south of Vienna.

http://hungarytoday.hu/news/one-worlds-prestigious-cafe-cafe-house-budapest-35005

Opened October 23, 1894 it became the literary hangout of the city. Two great Hollywood film-makers misspent their youth here: Alexander Korda (“The Thief of Baghdad”) and Michael Curtiz (“Casablanca”). Poet Dezső Kosztolányi one of Hungary’s top Shakespearean translators ate and drank here – literally to death (he died of cancer of the palate). Imre Kálman wrote many of his operettas sipping a coffee here. And Gyula, the Maitre D’ With No Surname, was ever so trusted and trusting: it is said that a customer ran a tab over 23 years. When he asked for it, Gyula reproduced it with every item accounted for.

Posted by
9736 posts

OK then. While I am sure the coffee houses in Budapest are nice, I guess I just don't understand the relevance of posting pictures and what seem to be recommendations for coffee houses in Budapest when the OP was asking specifically for Vienna as she Will be spending four days in Vienna after the GAS tour.

Posted by
724 posts

I will be very excited to hear about everyone's cafe experiences come October!

I hope everyone will come back and relay their Viennese coffee stories before I leave in November, lol!

Posted by
13569 posts

Pam, Matt's question reminded me of a special afternoon I spent with my boys, watching them at the chess board in a beautiful setting, in a beautiful town. A town I wouldn't have considered visiting if someone hadn't suggested it as a one or two night visit when I asked about things to do in Vienna a dozen years ago.

Posted by
2098 posts

Ann,
On my RS Tour of Berlin, Prague and Vienna last June, we took a break near the Imperial Hotel on the Ringstrasse. A group of us sat at tables at a cafe next door to the hotel and had coffee and delicious pastries. I stayed in Vienna after the tour an extra 2 days and took coffee breaks at several places, a cafe near the Albertina Museum and the cafe in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, 2 places I recall. I savored each moment I was there. I don't remember the names though.
You will love your time there!

Judy B

Posted by
4695 posts

None of the places I have suggested will be smoky. Hawelka is now smoke free.