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How is it there are so many coffee houses in Vienna? Is it the coffee or is it the conversation that people come for? On my visit to this truly remarkable city, I decided to investigate what some people think are the best cafes in Vienna.
Staying at the Park Hyatt hotel, the concierge gave me this list of what he thought were the best cafes in Vienna. I’m not sure how he wrote down three names immediately when there are so many to choose from, but I mapped them out and embarked on a quest to find out for myself!
Cafes in Europe are notoriously busy. All. The. Time. I do wonder who has time to sit and lounge at a cafe all day? People are drinking beer along with an espresso and a dessert at ten in the morning! Yep, one of the reasons it’s on my bucket list to move here, if only for a couple of months. Just not sure my scale would like all these desserts.
All three of these cafes are within the ring, therefore we walked to each of them. No need for any public transportation.
1. Café Demel
We waited about 10 minutes for a table to open on the patio. This was an ideal location as the street was a pedestrian shopping mecca and away from any cars.
I ordered the classic Melange which is similar to a cappuccino in Italy. Mine was very smooth with light foam – just the way I like it. My husband ordered the Einspänner which is a large espresso in a glass and whipped cream. Too bitter for me, but something he enjoyed.
Unfortunately, the apple strudel didn’t compare to the one I had previously at Schönbrunn Palace. Had I not had something to compare it to, this one would have been fine. But, the one near the palace was just amazing with its soft buttery texture and heapings of apples.
Inside Café Demel is a long bar in addition to several tables. It was quite dark in here due to all the wood, but it was nonstop movement with people coming and going all the time.
I thought this café was mediocre. It didn’t impress me, but then again, I don’t shop in the Golden Quarter either! It is high priced (ok, all of Vienna is high priced) and the atmosphere didn’t seem too exciting.
Café Demel, Kohlmarkt 14, 1010 Wien
Open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
(including Sundays and all Holidays)
2. Café Landtmann
Café Landtmann calls itself the most elegant coffee house in Vienna. Located directly on the ring and it’s easy to find as its name is splashed across a large patio awning.
First thought as we sat down is that we do not belong here. Maybe it’s because we are tourists, have a child, not dressed to the nines or a combination of all of them!
I felt out of place in my leggings and tank top toting a camera – even though all we came for was coffee and dessert.
We sat outside on the patio, but the inside was quite large and stylish. Here, the waiters seemed pretentious and stiff. Maybe it was due to its location on the ring, but the patio was filled with men dressed in formal, business attire.
I ordered my usual, Melange, which was a little stronger than I liked, however, the Mozart torte was delicious. I even liked the chocolate medallion on top. This was the best pastry I had.
Check out the colorful menu of desserts! I don’t think you could go wrong with any of them.
Café Landtmann is the most expensive of the three cafes we visited as well as the most uptight. While I’m sure it is perfectly suitable for those conversing about business, I would not recommend it for the average tourist.
Cafe Landtmann, Universitätsring 4, 1010 Wien
Open daily 7:30 – 24:00
3. Café Central
My favorite of the three. Café Central opened in 1876. Back then, it was a popular meeting point for Sigmund Freud and Leon Trotsky. It still remains popular as, at lunchtime, there is a long line of people waiting to get in.
We opted to go for a mid-morning snack (before it became too busy) and sit outside. There are about 10 tables and the waiters are very attentive. However, Café Central sits on a popular corner, so there is quite a bit of noise from cars.
Not until we went inside to look at the desserts did we see the full beauty of the café. The soaring cathedral ceilings reminded me of an old, stately bank building. The seating area inside is quite large and airy. It was breathtaking. Of course, the desserts were fun to look at, too.
I didn’t have my usual Melange but instead ordered a hot tea with a scrumptious looking pastry. Go inside to see the desserts and tell your waiter the number next to it.
No disappointment here! My raspberry, custard and pistachio dessert was mouth-watering good. The waiter brought three forks, but he obviously doesn’t know me because, when it comes to dessert, I don’t like to share!
Café Central’s broad menu consists of traditional Viennese dishes, coffee, beer and desserts. Come here for a light breakfast or mid-day snack.
Of the recommended cafes, Café Central is the one I would love to hang out in. The waiters were not pretentious, the prices were not extreme and the atmosphere exuded fun.
Café Central, Corner Herrengasse / Strauchgasse, 1010 Wien
Monday to Saturday 7.30 a.m. – 10.00 p.m.
Sunday and public holidays 10.00 a.m. – 10.00 p.m.
Piano entertainment daily
from 5.00 p.m. – 10.00 p.m.
What is the best cafe in Vienna?
Vienna has countless cafes. It would be hard to choose the best cafe in Vienna unless you went to all of them. These were ones recommended to me, so I tried them. It was fun to see the differences and compare them.
Have you been to any of these cafes in Vienna? What is your favorite? Please let me know in the comments!
For more European tips, check out the following posts:
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