Apart from the imperial palaces, Vienna is also globally known for its coffee culture. Through centuries, the Viennese has elevated the hot beverage into art and its consumption into a delightful way of life. And a traditional Wiener Café (Viennese cafe) is more than an ordinary coffee shop. It is a cultural establishment in which Vienna’s dolce vita is reflected.
Described as a place “where time and place are consumed, but only the coffee is found on the bill” by UNESCO, Wiener Café is an oasis of cosiness. For the price of a cup of coffee, one can freely linger under the high ceiling and elegant interior decoration for hours (even the entire day) to talk, write, and above all to study the omnipresent newspapers. In some cafes, guests can also enjoy piano music or participate in social events such as literary readings.
There are dozens of traditional coffee houses in Vienna’s Old Town. But none has claimed (or I could say… dare to claim) itself as the best establishment in town. Everyone has their own favourite, and the sympathy is often to the point of obsession. For me, the legendary Café Central is the preferred location. I like it so much that I visited the place every single day during my stay.
Opened in 1876 at one of the most prestigious corners in Vienna, Café Central is perhaps the city’s most monumental coffee house. The cafe is characterised by impressive stone columns that support high vaulted ceilings. There are marble tabletops and a grand piano sitting in the centre of the room. The menu includes a wide array of Viennese dishes, coffee specialities, and pastry creations from the in-house patisserie. The sweet treats are eye-popping, flavourful, and melt-in-the-mouth. Additionally, you can find at least one new sort of cake in the vitrine each day. However, one of their best-sellers (and my absolute favourite) is the Schokoladenzauber – magic made of pure dark chocolate.