Viennese coffee houses and dining

“The coffee houses are a place where time and space are consumed, but only the coffee is found on the bill” – description of the Viennese coffee houses by UNESCO

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When in Vienna, not visiting a traditional Viennese coffee house or a restaurant to enjoy in the Viennese cuisine equals a serious sin.

While the Viennese coffee culture is an institution where the coffee drinking is worshiped as an art, the Viennese cuisine is the only cuisine in the world named after a city. For centuries the coffee houses have been playing an important role in social life of Vienna. These Viennese ‘city’s public living rooms’ are places where people sit for hours enjoying chats with friends and acquaintances, re-telling the latest news and gossips, reading newspapers, magazines and literature, playing chess, billard and cards, or simply just people watching. During rich Viennese history the coffee houses have been meeting points of Nobel prize winners, writers and critics, philosophers, composers, bohemians, artists, politicians and businessmen for having more or less serious discussions and debates.

European coffee culture started with opening of the first coffee houses in Venice (Italy), Oxford (England) and Vienna (Austria) in 1600s. But the bloom happened in late 1800s when the Viennese-style coffee houses opened in Venice, Trieste, Verona, Prague and Zagreb. Typical Viennese coffee houses adorn sophisticated interiors with wooden floors, high ceilings and large windows, crystal chandeliers, marble tables, iconic bentwood Thonet chairs and red velvet seats. In 2011 even UNESCO listed Viennese coffee culture as the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Viennese coffee houses

1. Viennese coffee houses and dining:

Cafe Central

Viennese coffee houses

This is one of the most famous Viennese coffee houses for its refined interior and exquisite service. The former Vienna stock exchange premises with stone columns and high vaulted ceiling, decorated with large paintings and a piano in the centre create an imperial atmosphere. The Cafe Central guested many notable historical figures in the past such as Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, Leon Trotsky, Josip Broz Tito and Vladimir Lenin.

Viennese coffee houses

On my visit to the Cafe Central I treated myself with a traditional Viennese breakfast including a hot drink (coffee with milk in my case), croissaint, roll, apricot jam, butter and soft boiled egg.

Cafe Central: Herrengasse 14, 1010 Vienna; Mon – Sat 7.30 am – 10 pm, Sun 10 am – 10 pm; https://www.cafecentral.wien/en/

 

2. Viennese coffee houses and dining:

Cafe Museum

Viennese coffee houses

This coffee house is well-known as a meeting point of many famous Viennese artists. Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, Egon Schiele and Otto Wagner have been the regular guests.

At cafe Museum the coffee is served according to the Viennese coffee tradition: with a glass of cold tap water, a silver spoon, sugar cubes wrapped in paper and all served on a silver tray.

Cafe Museum: Operngasse 7, 1010 Vienna; Mon – Sat 8 am – midnight, Sun 10 am – midnight; http://www.cafemuseum.at/en/the-cafe.html

 

3. Viennese coffee houses and dining:

Cafe Landtman

Viennese coffee houses

Another traditional coffee house has been a popular gathering spot of many industrials and politicians, as well as artists. Among many prominent guests who enjoyed in its classy atmosphere were Gustav Mahler, Marlene Dietriech and Romy Schneider.

Viennese coffee houses
Newspapers holders at Cafe Landtmann

Wooden newspapers holders are a compulsory accessory of a typical Viennese coffee house.

Cafe Landtmann: Dr. Karl Lueger Ring 4; daily 7.30 am – midnight; http://www.landtmann.at/en/thecafe.html

 

4. Viennese coffee houses and dining:

Cafe Hawelka

Viennese coffee houses
Extra large Austrian daily newspapers on the typical wooden holders

This family run coffee house has been the favourite meeting point of bohemians and artists of all kinds due its cozy atmosphere. Among its numerous prominent guests were Peter Ustinov and Andy Warhol, just to name a few.

1939 Leopold Hawelka opened the bar and since then it is run by family Hawelka. Until 2012, the year when Leopold Hawelka died, every day the owner used to stand on the entrace to the bar to greet his guests.

Cafe Hawelka: Dorotheergasse 6, 1010 Vienna;  Mon – Sat 8 am – 2 am, Sun 10 am – 2 am, Tue closed; http://www.hawelka.at/cafe/de/

 

5. Viennese coffee houses and dining:

Palmenhaus

Viennese coffee houses and dining

If you are a sea-food lover like me and you look for great value for money, the Palmenhaus should be on your Vienna bucket list.

Its popular restaurant and bar offer unique dinning atmosphere while sitting among the palm trees in the elegant Art Novuea (Jugendstil) building.  This greenhouse with high ceilings was built in 1822 and remained its looks since 1901 when it was renewed. The Palmenhaus is placed near Albertina and the State Opera. During sunny days the visitors enjoy the terrace overlooking the Burggarten, the park connected to Hofburg (the Imperial palace).

Viennese coffee houses and dining

Traditional Viennese cuisine is based mainly on meat meals, such as Wiener schnitzel (fried veal coated in breadcrumbs) or Selchfleisch (smoked meat). But as a pescatarian, I voted for something more international. I took tasty grilled Norwegian cod fillet with corriander-tomato crust, chickpea ragaout and wild basamati rice. It was divine!

Viennese coffee houses and dining

Palmenhaus: Burggarten 1, 1010 Vienna; Mon – Fri 10 am – midnight, Sat 9 am – midnight, Sun 9 am – 11 pm; http://www.palmenhaus.at/

6. Viennese coffee houses and dining:

Cafe Sacher

Viennese coffee houses

Finally, I have ended my day with a coffee and piece of Sacher-torte at glamouros Sacher cafe of worldwide known Hotel Sacher.

The Viennese cuisine is best known for its cakes, such as Apfelstrudel (pastry filled with apples), Palanschinken (pancakes with apricot jam) or  already mentioned Sacher-torte, probably the world’s most famous chocolate cake.

Cafe Sacher: Philharmonikerstrasse 4, 1010 Vienna; daily 8 am – midnight; www.sacher.com

Viennese coffee houses and dining

Have you been in Vienna?

Have you visited some of the Viennese coffee houses and restaurants? 

No matter when you visit charming, imperial Vienna; Vienna in autumn, Vienna in winter, Vienna in spring or Vienna in autumn will always welcome you with the old-world cozy coffee houses and restaurants.

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Viennese coffee houses and dining

41 comments

  1. These places all look amazing. I’m such a sucker for a good coffee and love places like this. I sadly never got to Vienna when I travelled round Europe but hopefully one day I’ll go back and get to appreciate the coffee and cakes!

  2. I am not a coffee drinker but I would enjoy visiting all those places to see those gorgeous buildings!! And maybe have a slice of cake or two as well 🙂

  3. Vienna is an angelic place. On top of that if you can indulge in Coffee and food in such lovely environs, the experience would be on a different level altogether. Nothing like nursing a cup of Coffee and spending a lazy day in this lovely city.

  4. One of the best parts of Vienna is its culture of coffee houses, and it looks like you did a fair share. I love Sacher Torte so will have to check that out.

  5. I didn’t realise there was such a coffee culture in Vienna! (I don’t drink tea/coffee which is probably why I missed it!) But all those little foodie treats look great!

  6. Aaaahhh, Vienna ‘s cafes . . I can say I was not a sinner I was at Cafe Central (and at other cafes) and I still check the cakes pictures from time to time! Your post was “sold” as soon as I saw the “Sacher sweet treat” picture!

  7. If you like good coffee, it looks like Vienna is a must. The cafes look incredible. So quaint, but also prestigious at the same time. Not a bad combo – especially while enjoying a cup of java.

  8. This is basically the number one reason why I want to go to Vienna – to experience the cafe scene! It’s really quite something and seems like quite a culture there. I would spend all day going from cafe to cafe if I was there. Great guide!

  9. I would love to spend a few days in Vienna! I don’t drink coffee but would definitely enjoy hanging out in those cafes with some of those crossiants!

  10. Perfect timing! I’m headed to Vienna April 4-6th so this will come in handy. I’ve already shared it with my girlfriends to pick out the perfect coffee house for us non-coffee drinkers. 😉 I would think Palmenhaus will be our first choice.

  11. Vienna has a strong coffee-house culture, I’ve been to a few of them while was there earlier this year. Viennese coffee-houses were also featured in a book I was reading recently – “The geography of Genius”, and the author was stating that coffee-houses might be reason of having so many geniuses in Vienna (Freud, Einstein, Klimt…), he pointed out that coffee-house atmosphere was encouraging creative thinking and that they were home to so many discussions and debates among geniuses living in Vienna.

  12. Wow! the last time I was in Vienna I only visited the Christmas market.But next time I will not bereave of a pilgrimage in these cafes. Especially the Cafe Museum because klimt and Kokoshka are my favorite artists

  13. While I must admit, I’m not much of a coffee lover, I think I would be attracted to the Viennese coffee houses purely on aesthetics alone. Certainly, some of the shots you captured are really beautiful and the atmosphere in them seems entirely unique. And, as a few commenters have stated before, it’s incredible the amount of esteemed people who frequented these places. Great post

  14. Coffee makes my day and Viennese coffee looks quite tempting. It is interesting to know they are named after the city and it is worshiped as an art. My all meetings be it professional or personal to start with a coffee. That chocolate cake too looks quite yummy.

  15. These places all look great, especially the Palmenhaus. The history that these places have is fascinating and I love how they’ve kept their authentic look. I can’t function without coffee I might have to make a pilgrimage to Vienna…

  16. I went to Vienna a few years ago for the Christmas markets – can’t believe I didn’t realise what a great cafe culture they have, especially when it involves cake! Will definitely have to return so that I can experience some of these elegant cafes and the sacher torte

  17. To be honest, I don’t know much about Vienna. But I’ve heard amazing things about the coffee! To be honest, I would visit solely to try the coffee haa

  18. Sacher is a dream of mine!I really want to go.
    I heard so much about the coffee and cake culture in Vienna and I’m envying everyone who could try it.

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