Vienna's Best Museum Cafés


Austria’s hotels, restaurants, and attractions have all re-opened, and its borders are also open to most European travelers; hopefully Americans won't be far behind! Almost half the Austrian population has received at least one shot, and rates are dropping dramatically across the country, helped in part by Austria's current requirement that everyone visiting a restaurant or café show vaccination proof or recent negative test result. (Americans traveling on business report showing digital proof of their American vaccine records fulfilled the local requirements.) In the meantime, let's dream about how we're going to celebrate visiting Vienna someday soon - not with champagne, but with coffee!

Excerpt below from 7/25/17 Virtuoso article written by Annie Fitzsimmons is found HERE.

In the city's top museums, an emerging class of cafés has elevated eating, drinking, and relaxing to a fine art. Kaffeezeit, or coffee time, is a daily ritual for many in the German-speaking world. Viennese coffeehouses emerged in the late 1600s and developed into a vibrant culture in the late 1800s through the imperial reign of the Habsburg dynasty. Today, fortunate Austrians – the country consistently ranks as one of the world’s happiest – gather in these second living rooms to mingle, work, and eat.


You can still get your coffee and Kuchen (cake), but these artsy Viennese spots are upping their culinary game with artisan breads and desserts, modern interpretations of favorites like schnitzel, and even Asian specialties such as Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches and Hawaiian poke bowls. Here are some suggestions for combining contemporary café culture and eye-catching environs on your next trip to Vienna.

Café & Restaurant | Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts)

Equal to its illustrious collection (including artworks by Rubens and Vermeer, and Egyptian, Greek, and Roman antiquities) is the Café & Restaurant in Cupola Hall (pictured above), an extravagant rotunda with marble columns, gold-leaf details, and plush red seating. Look for the finest Austrian cakes – such as Mohntorte, a sweet poppy seed cake, and glossy chocolate Sacher torte – alongside a large selection of Viennese coffees. On Saturdays and Sundays, a special breakfast menu (Americans would call it brunch) features local jams, organic yogurt, and alpine cheese. On Thursday nights, book the museum’s multicourse “gourmet evening” dinner. Must-see piece: Saliera by Benvenuto Cellini, a Renaissance-era pure-gold table sculpture.

Salonplafond | MAK Wien (Museum of Applied Arts)

MAK Wien’s café and restaurant showcases Vienna’s trendy bread scene by sourcing from two of the city’s hottest bakeries – Gragger & Cie and Joseph. Dine alfresco in the spacious garden and enjoy tartine-style sandwiches on Gragger & Cie sourdough (staples include a whole, sliced avocado topped with 16-month aged Parmesan shavings and chili flakes, or poached eggs with hollandaise, ham, and chives). This spot is a favorite of healthy-food seekers, with big green salads rounding out the menu selection. The museum itself, housed in a historic Ringstrasse building, focuses on decorative arts and design – think art nouveau furniture – over a span of hundreds of years. Must-see piece: Cartoons for the Mosaic Frieze at the Stoclet House, a series of nine gilded design drawings created by Gustav Klimt.

DO & CO | Albertina

Given its proximity to the Vienna State Opera and Hofburg former imperial palace, the Albertina is one of Vienna’s most popular museums, with a large graphic art collection (including drawings by Michelangelo and Rembrandt) and 20 Habsburg Staterooms, centered around the Hall of the Muses. But you could also return time and again to its all-day dining experience at DO & CO. Here, classic Austrian dishes join global offerings such as sushi and miso-glazed beef ribs, alongside casual coffee options, paninis, and cakes from famed Viennese bakery Demel. You’ll want to walk through the nearby Hofgarten park after dining. Must-see piece: Hare by Albrecht Dürer, one of the museum’s most recognized works. For preservation reasons, they alternate the real painting with a replica.

Café Leopold | Leopold Museum

Many Viennese consider the Leopold to be their favorite in-town museum. It’s best known for its collection of paintings by Egon Schiele, an Austrian artist who died at age 28 from Spanish flu, just days after his pregnant wife passed away. The story is tragic, and the art is fascinating. In June, the Gyoza Brothers Group (which runs several Asian restaurants in Vienna) took over Café Leopold on the museum’s upper level, bringing the poke bowl trend front and center – try the tuna bowl with sushi rice, vegetables, and avocado. In warmer months, don’t miss the recently opened pool bar in front of the museum, with offerings such as sushi burritos and steamed dumplings. Must-see piece: Egon Schiele’s Die Eremiten, a portrait of the artist with his mentor, Gustav Klimt.

CupCakes Wien | MUMOK (Museum of Modern Art)

Vienna’s contemporary-art showcase pops in the MUMOK in the city’s MuseumsQuartier, featuring a 9,000-piece collection with works by Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Yoko Ono, and more. Stop by its small café, which sells 20 varieties of organic cupcakes. Count on classics such as red velvet and strawberry, but the real draw here is very Viennese flavors such as marzipan amaretto and apple strudel, as well as vegan and gluten-free options. Look for Maroni (chestnut) cupcakes in the fall and, in December, a lebkuchen (German gingerbread) version. Everything is crafted in their bakery, ten minutes by foot from the museum, where you can see the cupcakes being made. Must-see piece: Very few pieces are shown permanently (the museum has many temporary exhibits), but look for Pop Art pieces by Andy Warhol.

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