Can’t resist trying a rich dessert and accompanying cup of coffee? Indulging in sweet treats and specialty drinks at Vienna’s legendary coffeehouses is a must-do activity when visiting this Austrian city.
A piece of cultural heritage, Viennese coffeehouses date as far back as the late 1600s. Legend says when Turkish forces retreated from a surge in Vienna, they left behind bags of coffee beans. Fact or fiction, the story about their start goes to Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki, a soldier who claimed the bags and said to have opened the first coffee house.
From basic to grandeur in setting, each café has its special atmosphere, history, and comforts. Dessert choices can include chocolate cake, Linzer tortes and apple strudel. Even ordering a cup of coffee could be an adventure with options ranging from coffee with frothy milk (called Melange) to a double expresso with whipped cream (known as Einspänner).
If planning a trip to Vienna, or dreaming of these delights, here are recommendations on coffeehouses definitely worth seeing:
Quintessential in the traditional style of Viennese coffeehouses, Café Sperl takes diners back in time with its plush setting. Enjoy sitting at a marble table, reading newspapers while enjoying local dishes. The coffeehouse is also featured in the film "Before Sunrise." Even play billiards here, too.
Located in the Sacher Hotel, Café Sacher’s claim to fame is Sache Torte, a famous Austrian chocolate cake with an apricot jam filling invented here. The recipe remains a well-kept secret, yet the cake is labeled with a trademark: A chocolate logo. The café’s red walls and cushioning made this café a relaxing place.
Known as the oldest surviving coffeehouse in Vienna, Café Frauenhuber has a musical legacy in its living room setting. Mozart and Beethoven performed for guests here in 1788.
This coffeehouse was a happening place for Viennese’s intellectual scene, as noted patrons including Sigmund Freud and author Peter Altenberg made frequent stops here. In the thirties, it was nicknamed “Chess school” because many chess players came here. Now more a tourist spot, Café Central still has a valid mark in Vienna’s history.