This wonderful time of the year got me really inspired and all I want to do is Christmas all day long (if Christmas was a verb). I love all the specific decorations, lights, mulled wine, homemade pies and evening reunions with my friends and family. But I love the most during this lovely season, is to wander beautiful cities, that dress up so very pretty for the winter holidays, and once in a while stop at a chic coffeehouse along the way to warm up and enjoy the cozy vibes inside.
Recently I’ve been on a journey to Austria where I spent a great week visiting Vienna, Salzburg and Hallstatt. I will share all the details in some future posts, because for the moment I want to tell you about my favorite coffeehouses in Vienna, just perfect for a quick stop or an elegant lunch/diner in this city.
So if you love coffee, delicious cakes and traditional Austrian dishes (mixed with Hungarian influences as well), you should definitely check out these gorgeous places which are also part of Vienna’s history.
1. There are coffeehouses and then there’s Cafe Central. Located inside Palais Ferstel, a palatial mansion house inspired by Venetian Trecento-era architecture, this cafe awaits its guests in an incredible setting beautifully decorated with lots of arcades and with an exceptional menu. Any respected Viennese coffeehouse, won’t serve you a pot of coffee and there certainly won’t be a frappuccino in sight. The Austrian capital has a coffee culture all of its own, with a few rather unusual creations: Kaffee mit Schlag (coffee with whipped cream) or Wiener Melange (a specialty coffee drink similar to a cappuccino, made with milder coffee). The menu includes a broad selection of classic Viennese dishes, traditional coffee specialties and sweet treats from the in-house patisserie. Viennese cuisine is a melange of different delicacies and it is also a reminder of just how huge Austria once was. Goulash came from Hungary and dumplings from Bohemia. “Wiener Schnitzel” actually originated in Italy. And the city’s love of “Tafelspitz” (boiled beef) was mainly down to Emperor Franz Joseph. Café Central is almost notorious for the excellent food served there, so why not try for yourself?
Also, the name is pretty accurate because Cafe Central is the real center if Vienna, not St. Stephen’s cathedral. The city’s best-known sights and museums and its most exclusive shopping streets – Graben and Kärntner Strasse – are all within easy walking distance. So after you regain your power you can continue your stroll in this elegant city.
We had a lovely lunch there and we served goulash soup and sauted calf’s liver with apple, bacon and fried onions, the traditional Apfelstrudel, petit fours and Wiener Melange. Everything was delicious and the waiter service was exquisite. It was definitely worth waiting in line for a table there and we will go back on our next trip to Vienna for sure.
Address – Corner Herrengasse / Strauchgasse 1010 Wien
Opening hours – Monday to Saturday 7.30 a.m. – 10.00 p.m.
Sunday and public holiday 10.00 a.m. – 10.00 p.m.
Piano entertainment daily from 5.00 p.m. – 10.00 p.m.
2. Demel k.u.k. Hofzuckerbäcker – the famous pastry shop and chocolaterie established in 1786 in Vienna, which bears the title of a Purveyor to the Imperial and Royal Court up to today. The building is located in the central Innere Stadt district on Kohlmarkt 14 near Hofburg Palace with a beautiful interior designed in a Neo-baroque style. Even before visiting this place with such a great history, something catches your eye: the most wonderful display windows of all. The lovely decorations are straight out of a fairytale and they meant to offer a preview of the classic interior and all of the treasures hidden by the head patissiere. Once you get in, you travel back to imperial times when the Empress Sissi and other famous guests used to come here and buy her favorite pastry…right at the entrance you will see a counter with delicious cakes, then there is a small shop where can buy pralines and chocolates to gift or to bring home and then at the end there are the tea rooms, which are elegant and tastefully decorated with red velvet chairs and cozy sofas, chandeliers and other impressive details. A typical Viennese Café is far more than a venue where one simply consumes – it is an extension of one’s living room. The only problem is that it is often very busy and it could happen that you need to queue to get in, but I don’t regret the minutes waiting because I had the best Black Forest cake ever! Although the cafe was crowded with people (especially tourists searching the Viennese vibes) we were lucky enough to find a lovely table by the window exactly where the Demel sign outside is set, offering a dreamy view over Kohmarkt and the bright Christmas lights.
So, if you plan a trip to Vienna soon, don’t hesitate and book a table at Demel and you will spend delightful moments in a historically rich atmosphere because at Demel you can find everything to satisfy your sophisticated taste buds.
Address – Kohlmarkt 14 A, 1010 Vienna
Opening hours – Daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Christmas: 24 December 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
3. In order to discover Vienna piece by piece you must stop at least daily to a different coffeehouse. On a snowy December evening Cafe Mozart seemed like the best idea and it was for sure. We entered the beautifully illuminated building just around the corner from Hotel Sacher, took (a very comfortable) seat and enjoy ourselves with a yummy meal. The cosmopolitan Viennese coffee house behind the Vienna State Opera has been in existence since 1794 and it hosts daily, Viennese fans and culture lovers from all over the world. Located in the heart of the city, near the famous Albertina museum , this intimate cafe offers great hospitality and a true Viennese charm and also the perfect place to charge your batteries after a long walk on Kartner street (full of shops and bright lights during the winter holidays). We couldn’t leave the cafe without discovering the fine art of sweet temptation. The dessert menu makes you wanna order everything so it’s pretty difficult to decide especially when they spoil you with cakes and pastries from Landtmann’s fine patisserie, daily fresh from the bakery.
We had the salmon with grilled vegetables, roast chicken (the Viennese style), Apfelstrudel and Mozart Tarte (AMAZING! it has pistachio cream).
Address – Albertinaplatz 1, 1010 Vienna
Opening hours – open daily from 8:00 a.m. until 12 a.m.
4. If you love art and impressive buildings and you are in Vienna, you must pay a visit to the Kunsthistorisches Museum. After seeing the Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection and the Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities (aka on big floor), take a break in the museum’s Cafe-Restaurant in the magnificent Cupola Hall. The elegant interior fits perfectly to the amazing art objects and paintings displayed in the museum and the comfortable velvet sofas are a great place to relax while sipping a good coffee and having a snack. Treat yourself with a delicious specialty at a high table by the window and soak in the great view of Maria Theresien Platz. There is much to discover and marvel at in the museum (especially the Rubens collection and the other delightful paintings on the first floor) but a few moments of high quality Viennese coffee assortments will make you feel even more the cosmopolitan vibes of this city – the former capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Address – Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Vienna
Opening hours – June to August – Daily, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Thu, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
September to May – Tue – Sun, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Thu, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
5. Cafe de l’Europe – I don’t know about you, but my favorite place in Vienna is definitely Graben. I adore that elegant street style with the baroque buildings, small but impressive fountains, shops and cute cafes. But most of all I love Graben in December because the most wonderful Christmas lights are set up here: huge chandeliers hanging above the pedestrian zone. These bright decorations are representative for Vienna during the winter holidays and are probably the most photographed in the entire city. They fit perfectly with the architecture and the entire panorama of the place and give everyone the Christmas vibes. Cafe de l’Europe is the best location from which to observe the hustle and bustle of city life during the day and even better, during the night, when the massive chandelier lit up and transforms the street into a winter fairytale from imperial times. The coffeehouse offers its own, homemade coffee mix with an unique flavor. So you just have to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and take a lot of photos with the spectacular view.
Address – Am Graben 31, 1010 Vienna
Opening hours – Monday – Saturday 07:00 – 00:00, Sunday 08:00 – 00:00
I hope you enjoyed the reading and the lovely pictures! If you know other inspiring cafes in this city, feel free to share some thoughts in the comment section below as well as any question you might have if you plan a visit to Vienna soon.