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Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Waltzing through the Grand Cafés of Vienna - Page 6

Written by John M. Edwards
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2. CAFÉ MOZART: (1794): (2 Albertinaplatz): This traditional  

“kaffeehaus,” is one of the oldest cafes in Vienna, and also one of its  

most famous, perfect for writing in your moleskin notebook, even though  

the radio speakers no longer play much Mozart (“Eine Kleine Nachtmusik”  

anyone?), but instead blast at low volume Soundgarten’s “Black Hole  

Sun” and Beck’s “Dark Star.” Try, a “cappuccino” which comes with a  

gratis glass of “Wasser” (tap water) and a chocolate amuse bouche  

called “Mozart Kugelyn” (Mozart Candies), little golf-ball-shaped  

Marzipan sweets which Germanic peoples pop like Prozak addictions.


3. CAFÉ HAWELKA: (1939): (6 Dorotheestrasse): This charming café, with  

so-called Jugendstil décor, feels a little like an “extended living  

room,” a place to be alone, but with company, and a touristy soundtrack  

from both Strausses: Johannes and Ricard. Try, the “Buchteinn” (sweet  

buns), with a strong shot of espresso.


4. CAFÉ SACHER: (1880): (4 Philharmonikerstrasse): This lesson in  

Mittel Europa opulence is less dangerous than one would think, until  

the bill arrives at least. Try, the chic pulled 100% Arabica shots in  

small cups along with the--yeah, you guessed it—signature jammy or  

creamy “Sacher Torte”: the forerunner of modern-day bodega-bought  

chocolate Yodels ™.


5. CAFE LANDTMAN: (1873): (4 Dr. Karl Lueger-Ring): This landmark  

coffee stop right behind the Burgtheater is perhaps the least romantic  

café in Europe, even though it was once a favorite of Marleine Dietrich  

(and more recently incognitoed Paul McCartney and Hillary Clinton),  

still with brisk waiters and bored baristas in starched-white aprons  

and Prussian “Walrus” mustaches. Try, the ghoulish “ghoulash,” which  

resembles cannibalism on spaetzle.


6. CAFÉ GRIENSTEIDL: (1847): (2 Michaelerplatz): This utopian Belle  

Epoque pretender is one of the most storied of utopian kaffehauses,  

claiming that Checkov once arrived here with a female companion: a lady  

with a lapdog. Try, the Austro-Hungarian-style “Linzer Torte.”


7. PRINCE COFFEE CLUB: (2013): (8-9 Hoher Markt ): This “functional”  

recently revamped and reopened Space Age “moderne” café was built by  

the architect Peter Døllman and boasts probably the best regular joe in  

Vienna, as well as “Kapuziner” and “Einspanner,” better even than  

McDonald’s. Try, the “Wiener Blut” (Vienna’s blood sausages with  

“kraut”—whoops, “No have. . . .”).


8. CAFÉ SCHWARZENBERG: (1890): (17 Kartner Ring): This storybook  

“Bohemian” grand café is popular with perpetual students and local  

flaneurs practicing Import-Export—euphemistic slang for “chronic  

unemployment. Try, the “mokka” (chocolate and coffee), along with a  

hookah smoke (allowed here).


9. CAFÉ ALT WIEN: (1936): (9 Båckerstrasse): This dark and gloomy  

film-noir café, founded by Leopold Hawelka, owner of the famous “Café  

Hawelka,” pretty much sums up what life is all about: doing absolutely  

nothing in particular. Try, “Fruhstuck” (breakfast) along with some  

dynamite joe, again served up with a glass of water and a freebie  

chocolate turd.


10. CAFÉ PRUCKEL: (1950): (24 Stubenring): This mockup of a grand café  

from the era of B-flicks, is a corner café which corners the market in  

people watching, mostly dapper old men and femme fatales, right on the  

legendary Ringstrasse. Try, the Austrian version of creampuffs filled  

with clotted crème fraishe.


11. CAFE SPERL: (1880): (11 Gumpendorferstrasse): This eye-opening  

“sitch” with a Waspy yellow-and-black exterior is a good-enough reason  

to expatriate yourself here for a year or more, maybe washing dishes,  

what George Orwell called being a “plongeur.” Try, the bratwurst with  

whatever you want, maybe a “Brauner” (milky espresso) or “Verkherter”  

(foamy latte).


12. CAFÉ CENTRAL: (1876): (14 Herrengasse): This opulent classic café  

evokes time travel at its best, with a literary scene bar none, and  

most foreigners personal fave upon the lively Viennese café scene. Try,  

the “Flaker” (coffee with rum and whipped cream) and fly like an  

eagle--or perhaps, make a monarchical game of cards with an obvious  

“Damen und Herren” pickup.






1.    SCHWARZER (espresso)

2.    BRAUNER (espresso and warm milk)

3.    VERKHERTER (latté)

4.    MELANGE (cappuccino)

5.    VERLANGERTER (Americano)

6.    FLAKER (coffee with rum and whipped cream)



John M. Edwards, an award-winning travel writer and Mayflower 

descendant directly related to William Bradford, has written for such  

magazines as CNN Traveler,, Islands, and North American  

Review. He turned down a job as lead bassist for STP (The Stone Temple Pilots) way back when before they were big, plus he helped write  “PLUSH” (the opening chords), voted The Best Song of the 20th Century by Rolling Stone Magazine.


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Last modified on Friday, 02 May 2014

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