Coming to Vienna, I was on the search for the best Strudel. I mean if there’s a place to search for it, then it’s definitely Vienna, Austria. That’s why in the short time that I was there, I set out to try as many apple strudels as possible (alright, on average one per day). And here is the conclusions I came to, judging each place by atmosphere, quality of cappuccino, and of course, quality of strudel.
Day 1: Demel Cafe
Atmosphere: Very nice. You feel like you are in old time Vienna, and all that’s missing is a 1960 newspaper. Everything is made of wood, carpeted floors, a shop full of desserts and chocolates, and the choice between sitting at a table or sitting at the bar.
Cappuccino: Approved. The coffee is strong, but the milk did taste a little on the creamy side (probably whole milk). I wouldn’t coming back there solely for the coffee and the atmosphere.
Strudel: I ordered it with whipped cream on the side, which wasn’t a bad choice. The whipped cream is very different than the crap they sell and serve in Canada, much more… natural tasting. The strudel itself, to be honest, was not quite impressive. I couldn’t even tell you why, but it just didn’t impress me at all. It seemed like the sides were a little too crispy, to the point that it seemed it wasn’t that fresh.
Day 2: Gerstner Cafe 1847
Atmosphere: If it makes sense to use such a word: airy. It’s very cute and petite, offering an intimate feel. If the lights were a little dimmer, it would feel more cosy, I think.
Cappuccino: Delicious! Just enough espresso, just enough foam, just enough milk. It didn’t seem too creamy, nor too strong. It was “just right”. If you enjoy eating foam (like ice cream) after you’re done your drink, this is the cup for you!
Strudel: This time I ordered with vanilla sauce. The strudel was extremely soft, and quite delicious. Some people look for a crispy outer later in a strudel, which this one lacked, but this didn’t bother me personally. The vanilla sauce was a great addition to the cake. It’s unbelievable how they can stuff so many apples into such a small layer of dough!
Day 3: Café Central
Atmosphere: UNBELIEVABLE! This place has been around since 1876, where Trotsky would go to play chess, amongst other well-known persons. High arched ceilings, marble pillars, and extremely beautiful chandeliers, it’s mostly a place for tourists now (I’m assuming there are lineups in the high-traffic seasons), but definitely should be checked off your Vienna to-do list – even just for the experience. It’s quiet, grandiose, and a perfect place for a cup of coffee, an appetizer, or a strudel.
Cappuccino: The coffee was great, but for such a price you kind of expect something really special. I wouldn’t mind coming back here for another cup, but this place is definitely more about the experience rather than the quality of what you are eating and drinking.
Strudel: Again, for those who love a crispy dough, this is not the place. But the strudel is definitely Viennese, lots and lots of apples. It seemed like they added quite a bit of cinnamon to this one, and perhaps just a tad too much sugar. I do have a sweet tooth, but this particular strudel may have been a little much for me, in terms of sweetness.
Day 4: Stadt Cafe
Atmosphere: Extremely modern. Just like any typical modern day bar, with not a speck of old Viennese furnishing, and fairly loud wordless pop music blaring. Is this my style of choice while visiting Vienna? No. I should have turned around as soon as I walked in.
Cappuccino: It was pretty decent, made from a real machine (not automatic). The quality of the actual coffee was great, but it seemed the milk could have used a bit more foam for a cappuccino.
Strudel: Honestly, it seemed as though the apples had been baked long before the actual strudel was made. Not that they didn’t taste fresh… they didn’t taste right. It was an average strudel that you could probably find anywhere in your own home country.
Day 5: Gerstner Cafe 1847 (again)
Though I set out to find a new place every time, I had to come back here not for the Apfel Strudel, but for their Sour Cherry Strudel.
Strudel (sour cherry): So so so delicious! Maybe I overdid it with apples throughout the week, but the sour cherry strudel was definitely the highlight of Vienna. Who would have thought?! I definitely recommend coming here for both the coffee and the variety of different strudels.
So did I find the perfect Apfel Strudel? No, I didn’t. But I got a taste of Vienna, and I was able to add some things to my “never again” list and some that I will suggest to everyone visiting Vienna, Austria.