We loved the cafes of Vienna. Everything about them. The look. The waiters. The coffee. The cakes. How you could sit there all day. The newspapers. The wifi access. We sampled a few. Cafe Griensteidl on Michaelerplatz was the first one we went to – maybe your first Viennese cafe one is always your favourite. This one became ours and we visited often. Lunched here on our first day in Vienna and had breakfast of ham and eggs on our last. A few coffees and strudels in between. This cafe is a reconstruction – same location and same design to one that was destroyed. It was frequented by authors and artists and the general literati of turn of the century Wien. Including Victor Ephrussi. Now, while there are lots of tourists it seems there are also plenty of Viennese meeting over coffee and cake.

Cafe Hawelka was our second favourite. Just around from our pensionen. We first came one evening and the waiter recommended the cafe’s plum cake – warm and delicious. It had a nice outside area in a tiny lane and was always pretty full. It was also very pretty inside with lots of posters on the walls – advertising old and current artistic events. And I assume the founders of the cafe. Again, a mix of tourists and locals.

We also liked Cafe Braunerhof which was to the left of Michaelerplatz. Very pretty. Although the waiters were pretty scary. We went one day for breakfast – very strict about the times for breakfast and lunch here. The menu is all in German. We identified omelettes, asked advice about flavourings. Answer all in German so we were none the wiser – ordered anyway and they were delicious! Mostly locals frequent this cafe and while we were there it was never very full, but they were the same customers. So a loyal following.

We were quite fond of Cafe Central too even though it was quite touristry. But there were still a good smattering of locals. Just down the road from Michaelerplatz but towards the right. Old building, very ornate both outside and inside. This was another where Victor was an habitue. We had a wonderful lunch here once. Soup for Joe – a wonderful clear beef broth with dumplings and noodles. Calves liver with onions and mashed potato for me – perfectly, pinkly cooked!

We only got to Cafe Sperl once, on a Sunday, really crowded. Coffee and really good topfenstreudel. It was a bit further away. Beautifully appointed. A pianist playing. Quite lovely.

Here ends my short and inadequate paean to the cafes of Vienna.


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