You can’t visit Vienna and not spend time sampling the fare from the best Vienna cafes. The Viennese coffee culture is so central to Viennese culture that it is UNESCO protected. During our week in Vienna, we made it a priority to sample coffee and cake across the city to put together our guide to the best coffee shops in Vienna.
Before you go, there are a few things that you should know. First, not many coffee houses accept reservations so to avoid a line, plan to arrive before noon. Next, many (such as Cafe Diglas) are cash only — so be prepared. The classic Viennese coffee is a melange, which is an espresso with steamed milk and topped with milk froth. In many coffee houses, when you want to order a pastry, you will go up to the pastry counter and make your selection. They will provide a little slip with a number on it that you leave on the table for your server, who will then bring you your selection.
If you are looking for more than cake at a Viennese coffee house, some of the typical dishes you will encounter include various breakfast options, soup, goulash, wiener schnitzel, sausages, dumplings and tafelspitz (boiled beef.)
Best Coffee Shops in Vienna
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We discovered Cafe Sperl at the start of our Vienna food tour and we were so glad we did! This is one of the only coffee houses in Vienna that still makes their own cakes and pastries. We voted their Sperl cake, which uses chocolate and almond flour (although it doesn’t taste like almonds), the best cake in Vienna. Their apple strudel was quite good as well (although my favorite was still at Griechenbeisl.)
First opened in the 1880s, Cafe Sperl was a favorite amongst composers, singers, writers and artists. Today, it maintains an authentic and historic atmosphere, right down to the smoke stained walls and dark wood paneling.
Gumpendorfer Str. 11, 1060 Wien, Austria
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My favorite Viennese coffee house is Café Central. It is grand and elegant, with high ceilings and spacious banquettes. The center of Café Central is the extensive cake and pastry display. They may not make pastries in house, but they are still delicious. It also offers a full menu with a very tasty schnitzel.
Glenn found the Salon Einspänner to be the best coffee in Vienna. It is a large espresso served mit schlag (with whipped cream.) The thing to know about Café Central is that it is one of the most popular coffee houses in Vienna and if you don’t get there before noon, you will be standing in a long line out the door.
Herrengasse 14, 1010 Wien, Austria
Located close to the opera and the Albertina, Café Mozart has remained popular with musicians, locals and tourists. While overpriced and lacking the charm of either Sperl or Central, the food is quite delicious, making it one of the best Vienna cafes.
Cafe Mozart’s kaiserschmarrn, a torn pancake with stewed plums, is delicious. We first tried this treat in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware of all places and it was so fun to try it in Austria where it was invented. I also loved their dish with roasted bread dumplings and eggs and green salad.
Albertinaplatz 2, 1010 Wien, Austria
Divided into various salons across multiple floors, Demel embodies the classic coffee house and is always listed among the best cafes in Vienna. It is more elegant than Café Sperl, more authentic feeling than Cafe Central, and somehow less touristy-feeling than Cafe Mozart once you are seated — despite the long lines up the stairs of patrons waiting for tables.
Even if you don’t eat there, you should stop into their shop on the first floor to see the beautiful chocolates and pastries. It is a great spot to warm up with a cup of soup or coffee and refresh with light bites or cake while shopping, after a performance at the Spanish Riding School, or before visiting the Albertina Museum.
Kohlmarkt 14, 1010 Wien, Austria
Another of the best cafes in Vienna is the classic Café Landtmann. Located along the Ringstrasse and away from the busiest areas, this cafe is less touristy than some of the others and you will feel comfortable relaxing with a newspaper and coffee for a while.
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The Large Viennese and Brioche breakfasts will fill you up for a while and give you plenty to savor as you sip your coffee.
Universitätsring 4, 1010 Wien, Austria
Unlike all these classic coffee houses, Cafe Neko is new and nothing special to look at. The coffee, tea and pastries also aren’t the main reason to visit. You come to Cafe Neko for the cats. Home to various rescue cats, the fun of the visit is watching them sleep, interact, and play. The cafe has worked out quite a extensive playscape when the cats can summon up the energy to make use of it.
Blumenstockgasse 5, 1010 Wien, Austria
Of all the famous Viennese coffee houses, the only one we really didn’t like was Café Diglas. It is so pretty on the outside and has a cute, eclectic decor so I really expected more. But the service was beyond Austrian curtness and went right over to rude, giving it a diner-like feel. I could overlook that for a really good piece of cake but the strudel that they are so famous for was also sorely disappointing. My recommendation would be to leave this one off of your list unless you are like me and determined to try as many places as possible. I think you would be better served going back to Cafe Central because if I lived in Vienna, that is where you would find me on the weekends.
Wollzeile 10, 1010 Wien, Austria
I hope you found this guide to the best coffee shops in Vienna helpful. Do you have any to add?
- Make sure you read these Vienna travel tips
- See many recommendations on where to stay in Vienna
- If you like food, also consider a Vienna food tour
- For those interested in Jewish culture, Context Travel offers a great Jewish history tour