LAST UPDATED: October 24, 2023Visiting Vienna, Austria can most definitely cause one to work up a gigantic appetite and I can personally vouch for this. Good news! There are many fantastic places to grab a bite. I would know since I did my best to eat my way through the entire city. So, I thought I would pass along my recommendations for the best cafes in Vienna to make sure you also experience the best food in the Austrian capital. Guten Appetit!
Thank you to Vienna Tourism for providing me with the Vienna City Card. As always, all opinions and recommendations are my own. This post also contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you book or purchase through these links. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
Best Cafes in Vienna
Vienna is highly known for its coffee houses and an assortment of famous desserts. For a well-rounded “tour” of the Austrian capital via its food, make sure you experience a little of it all!
I loved that there’s a “Café Mozart Waltz” and that the sheet music is framed and hanging on the wall!
Exhausted as we had just arrived, we ordered familiar comfort foods along with hot tea. I was sick with a sinus infection so the peppermint hot tea was fantastic. Be sure you leave room for the array of desserts they have!
Café Restaurant Residenz at Schönbrunn Palace
How pretty is this tea setting?
While I do admit that it’s touristy, I really enjoyed the food at Café Restaurant Residenz and therefore it made my best cafes in Vienna list. We stopped in for lunch during our visit to Schönbrunn Palace. I ordered peppermint tea again and thoroughly loved this sugar crystal stir stick!
To try classic Viennese cuisine, I ordered the Rindsuppe vom Tafelspitz which is a beef consommé with a semolina dumpling. Both the consommé and the dumpling were quite flavorful and this was the perfect choice for a classic winter day.
And yes, that is a Toasted Ham and Cheese with fries you see. Don’t judge. Besides the fact they are really good in Europe, I wanted comfort food again.
Thanks, Cindy, for ordering and eating the strudel but allowing me to photograph it!
Confession time: I am not a fan of apple strudel…mainly because I don’t like cinnamon (cue the gasps). Even more, I really don’t like the apple-cinnamon flavor combination. So, considering most people are normal and do like apple cinnamon, I highly suggest ordering the Apple Strudel as it is the house special!
The doorman makes the scene don’t you think?
Café Central is one of the most iconic, traditional Viennese cafes in the city. Dating back to 1876, the café is located on the first floor of the former Bank and Stockmarket Building.
Notice Café Central’s version of the Sacher torte on the far right
A sight to see in and of itself, the interior boasts beautiful European architecture with numerous gorgeous marble columns and arches.
I ordered the Alt Wiener Suppentopf or Viennese-style soup. I developed quite a fondness on this trip for the consommé with chicken, boiled beef, carrots, leek, semolina dumplings, and noodles.
Once again, don’t forget to leave room for dessert. As you can see, they offer an array including their own version of the Sacher torte.
Although we didn’t have time to eat here (and we were still full from Central Café), we did stop in to lay eyes on the goods in Café Landtmann. The (self-proclaimed) most elegant cafe in Vienna features inlay work on the walls and mirrors from the 1920s.
Whatever you are craving from breakfast until late-night dinner, you will find it at Café Landtmann.
You might also like: VIENNA TO SALZBURG: A DAY TRIP FOR THE SOUNDS OF MUSIC
Café Sacher Vienna
Café Sacher Vienna might have been my favorite for a few reasons…
such as the unusual but festive decor, the food, and our target, the Original Sacher-Torte! The cafe is housed in the famous Hotel Sacher and dates back to 1876.
Before you end your night in complete Sacher-Torte bliss, begin the experience with a meal as their food is amazing. I ordered the Seasonal Ravioli with tomatoes and Asmonte cheese.
The presentation is obviously beautiful, but it tasted even better!
Time for the Original Sacher-Torte, the most famous Viennese dessert of all time and the world’s most famous chocolate cake. Created in 1832 by Franz Sacher when he was only an apprentice, the dessert consists of chocolate cake spread with apricot jam and iced with chocolate. Still today, each cake is handmade according to Mr. Sacher’s sweet secret.
From the time Café Imperial Vienna opened in 1873 in the hotel that was the former residence of the Duke and Duchess of Württemberg, it was the place for high society and Viennese elegance.
I had the Risotto of Chicken with leek and mushrooms. I’m a sucker for risotto and it didn’t disappoint!
Café Imperial Vienna has its own cake, the Imperial Torte which rivals the Sacher torte.
Similar to the Original Sacher-Torte’s history, the Imperial Torte was created by a young up-and-coming, Xaver Loibner. However, unlike the Original Sacher-Torte, the Imperial Torte consists of layers of whipped chocolate cream, sliced almonds, marzipan, and a chocolate glaze.
There are two other versions of the Imperial Torte, the Black Orange with orange marzipan and dark chocolate and the Feine Himbeere with a raspberry paste and dark chocolate. Unique to all three of the Imperial Tortes is its square shape.
And last, but certainly not least, we tried out Demel. Holy cow, brunch here is a must!
Founded in 1786 by the confectioner, Ludwig Dehne, the café became the Demel known today in 1856. Just like other cafés in the area, it was an instant hit with the Viennese elite
Bread basket with butter/jam/honey and hot chocolate, fresh OJ/soda, sparkling wine
We each had the Großes Demelfrühstück (Great Demel Breakfast). This was the start of the spread and yes, the variety of different beverages you see here was included.
The rest of the spread included eggs made to order, ham and cheese plates, and yogurt parfaits with fruit/granola. I substituted cottage cheese in place of the yogurt parfait.
As I’m sure you expected, Demel has its own selection of cakes. We tried the Annatorte which is a chocolate nougat cake and loved it.
But, of course, there’s the Demel Sachertorte if you fancy it!
Although the Original Mozartkulgen (Mozart Ball) is packaged in silver and only available in Salzburg where it was created, you can get copycats in various locations around Vienna.
If at all possible, I do recommend getting them in Salzburg; however, don’t miss out on grabbing the delicious pistachio marzipan nougat balls dipped in dark chocolate in the capital city if it’s your only choice!
And if you are visiting in DECEMBER…
You must try ALL the food at the Christmas markets around Vienna.
Don’t miss things such as Viennese hot dogs and the famous gluhwein which is a mulled or spiced wine. They come in cute mugs unique to the particular Christmas market you are visiting.
Baked goods like these gingerbread cookies are not only great desserts and snacks but also make fabulous gifts too!
Where to Stay in Vienna
There are plenty of fantastic hotels and Airbnbs in Vienna. We stayed in this Airbnb that I absolutely adored with the best and nicest hosts I’ve EVER had! We each had our own bedroom and an entire apartment to share!
However, these are the two hotels I want to stay in when I return to Vienna.
Hotel Sacher Vienna
Without a doubt, I fell in love with Hotel Sacher Vienna. Was it the beautiful Christmas decor? The fantastic culinary experience?
Or the luxurious chocolate treatment in the spa? Hint: It was phenomenal!
Perhaps it was the combination of the three. I must admit that the grand, over-the-top style is totally me!
And an interesting thing happened while we were there…
We arrived for our spa appointment to the biggest sea of people occupying every inch of space not roped off by police. We had no idea how we were going to get to the hotel without people thinking we were trying to “cut” or if the police would even believe we really had a spa appointment.
Thankfully, people were too crazy-excited to even notice us and the police waved us through where we were met by hotel security who escorted us to the door. This wasn’t the first time I found myself needing a hotel police escort. For some reason, surprise hotel police escorts seem to be my thing around the holidays.
I am happy to report that the hotel did its job and remained tight-lipped with us about the celebrity for whom the maddening crowd had gathered. Having worked with celebrity clientele in the past myself, I can tell you this is a HUGE deal!
Only later, after we both finished our Taste of Chocolate experience and had eaten our fantastic meal at Café Sacher (thank you to the Sacher Boutique Spa Vienna for making reservations for us) did we learn that the celebrity was none other than…Sir Paul McCartney! 😱
The other hotel that completely impressed me was Hotel Imperial. Admittedly, I didn’t have as much experience (or excitement) as I did at Hotel Sacher, but nonetheless, it made an impression on me.
It, too, has such a grand visual upstairs…
However, if you aren’t able to see upstairs at least don’t miss the gorgeous grand staircase leading from the lobby to the second floor!
As you can clearly see, we had the best time eating our way through the best cafes in Vienna. Relaxing in Vienna wasn’t too shabby either! Hopefully, this post convinced you to make splurges in the Austrian capital. Also, don’t miss my guide to Vienna Christmas markets!
Have you been to Vienna? Where is your favorite place to eat? Favorite food? Favorite hotel? You know what to do below! 😉👇
‘Til next time…