We finally arrived in Vienna, the home to Mozart, Beethoven, Princess Sisi, amazing palaces, and cathedrals that the Habsburgs' and Austrian royalty gracefully left behind for history buffs and photo hungry tourists. Since Sam and I not only share a love for great coffee, but both have a sweet tooth (and are admittedly a little spoiled by our baking enthusiast families in Italy and Slovakia), above all, we were looking forward to checking out Vienna's famous coffee houses.
The one must-try dessert was the famous "sachertorte." We were ready to indulge. According to various tourist-friendly guides, supposedly, not all coffee houses are created equal. Soon enough, we learned that the top coffee houses with best sachertorte (according to the list) such as Café Central, Demel, and list goes on, had a line out the door. Is it possible that the sachertorte sold there is so much better than everywhere else? Or are we all just reading the same five cleverly advertised articles?
There are many beautiful coffee houses in Vienna, most of which should be visited for the ambiance alone. They will remind you of a fancy ballroom or an elegant old-world restaurant, with the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, carved wooden furniture, beautiful paintings, and first-class decorations. Indeed, these places are an experience on its own, but are they worth the long line, questionable and expensive service in places that will get packed "no matter what?"
Hmm, probably not. Neither Sam nor I like to follow the crowd, and by walking around town and refusing to spend our time in line for what was supposedly the best sachertorte on the planet, we found not one, but several stunning spots that were relatively empty, with a beautiful display of delicious desserts including sachertorte, coffees and outstanding service.
One of the places we tried and loved, without any lines or hurdles of tourists, was Sluka cafe.
By the way, in my opinion, the sachertorte is little bit of a sham. I had it a million times, whether in NYC, Slovakia, or Germany, and it is always the same. It's good, but frankly, it is just a plain chocolate cake (sorry!).
So, our advice to you when visiting coffee houses in Vienna, don't…wait in line. If you must visit one of the places prescribed by the tourist list, you can just walk in, take a look at the place, tell the tourists that you are only taking a photo. And save time to explore some of the stunning historical sites of Vienna, which will give you an equal or better rush of excitement as the flavor of the sachertorte. Or maybe get in line for the most famous schnitzel restaurant like Figlmuller, just kidding. We did, and my mom's schnitzel is better. :)
~ Written by: Viktoria Rusnakova & Samuele Bagnai, authors of Enthusiastic All the Way & Tuscan Who Sold His Fiat to the Pope, respectively.
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