October 17, 2019
When I told my other half that I’d booked us a trip to Vienna, she was delighted. She also immediately hijacked the itinerary, insisting that the cafés she wanted to visit made it to the top of our sightseeing list! Despite my lack of interest in coffee (I’m firmly in the tea camp when it comes to hot drinks), I was still able to enjoy all of the places she chose and, as well as getting to learn more about the history of the city from the cafés we chose to visit, I tasted some amazing cakes. Vienna’s cafés are a brilliant way to soak up the culture of the Austrian capital, and great places in which to relax. Here are my recommendations… whether you like coffee or not.
Famous for its chocolate Sachertorte cake (created in Vienna in 1832 by pastry chef, Franz Sacher) we popped into Café Sacher to escape the rain. I enjoyed a warm and well-needed cup of tea as we peered through the windows at the Opera House, watching the crowds milling around Although the café was clearly catering for a tourist clientele, it was delightfully quiet inside and a welcome escape from the bustling city streets. The décor was elegant and in keeping with the style of the hotel while the cake, while surprisingly bitter, was delicious.
Located in the heart of the city, on the corner of Herrengasse and Strauchgasse, Café Central offers more tasty treats than just coffee and cake as well as a full table service. Established in 1876, the café has hosted historical figures such as Freud and Trotsky over the years, a fact which I found even more interesting than some of the palaces and museums I visited during our time in Vienna. I was able to enjoy another piping hot cup of tea and I wolfed down a chocolate cake bigger than the plate it came on. My top tip? Time your visit to avoid the lunchtime rush.
Tucked away in a side street, this café was by far my favourite of the four. Making our way to our seats, we were greeted by warm and friendly service. The conversation went as follows:
Me: “One coffee and one tea please”
The waiter didn’t ask what tea, coffee or cake we wanted, but he came back carrying a fresh-out-of-the-oven Victoria sponge and tea unlike any I’d ever had. There was no formality, no fake niceties just because we were tourists and the café was as far from a tourist trap as a place could be. The warmth of the people and place really resonated as we sat back and enjoyed the most characterful and authentic place we visited during our time in Vienna.
The grandeur of the Palmenhaus is very much on a par with that of the spectacular Hofburg Palace, in the gardens of which it is set. We decided to have lunch here, rather than just tea, coffee and cake, and admired the huge glass roof and plants inside whilst sampling traditional Schnitzel and drinking Austrian beer. The menu was diverse and delicious, and the prices were remarkably reasonable, given its location.
Visit Vienna with Kirker Holidays.
By: Joshua Cozens