It’s been the haunt of the creative type since the dawn of it’s own time. It’s like that aged writer that everybody wants to be around for the charisma. The same older crowd waddles in and surrounds the bar at around 4pm while as the evening deepens, the crowd thickens with all breeds of people. The place is a relic of days gone by in Vienna before Apple and Google took over the world, and it seems to live on within its walls. The lighting is low, the walls are plastered with posters of art exhibitions and concerts, it’s red velvet benches that line its walls embrace its visitors and it’s the kind of place where you could sit, read, converse all day and nobody would even notice. As for the Apfelstrudel, it’s delicious and said to be made by a secret family recipe that is still made by a mysterious unknown Oma (not really that mysterious, but they wouldn’t tell us who). It’s as perfectly sugared and spiced as a good Apfelstrudel should be, and is served warm with a side of whipped cream.
It’s one of Austria’s claims to fame, and there’s nothing that compares to it – the ye’ old Wiener Apfelstrudel (Viennese apple strudel). The oblong pastry, made up of a flaky-layered pastry jacket filled with spiced apple and raisins can be found in every coffeehouse’s menu, but where can you find the best in the city?
Here are 7 places serving up a show-stopping homemade Apfelstrudel:
Café Korb – Vienna’s best Apfelstrudel
Café Korb is famous for four things: its grand, grand opening bash, late nights filled with psychoanalytical debates, being a favourite café amongst Nobel Prize winners, and its legendary home-made Apfelstrudel. Flaky, fruity and spiced to perfection, the generous slab you’ll get here of apple wrapped in pastry won’t last long on your plate.
The other famous thing about Cafe Korb is its owner whose portrait you can see up on the wall – Susanne Widl. Lad Widl has lived many lives as an actress, model, and coffeehouse owner. A true one-of-a-kind personality. For its opening in 1904, none other than the emperor himself, Franz Joseph I, turned up and kicked out some moves on the dance floor (ok, maybe he just showed up).
Café Landtmann – Vienna’s best Apfelstrudel
Over the years, many great (and wannabe great) personalities have waltzed through this café’s doors. Artists of all kinds, such as Kokoschka, politicians like Julius Raab, authors like Thomas Mann, and musicians such as Gustav Mahler were regulars in the early 20th century. Café Landtmann is also known to be Freud’s favourite café in Vienna, and we’ve worked out why – the Apfelstrudel! Served warm in a lake of vanilla sauce, the apple strudel here is delicious. You can also order it without the vanilla sauce, but we’re not sure why you would do that to yourself – get the vanilla sauce. Yes, this place has tourists lined up out the door and yes, the prices reflect how popular this place is, but somehow it still manages to stay true to the charm of a Viennese coffeehouse.
Aida – Vienna’s best Apfelstrudel
Varying business hours, check the website
Aida is a famous Viennese Konditorei that is famed for it’s sickly sweet pink brand, and deliciously sweet pastries and cakes. This famous chain pâtisserie is everywhere in Vienna, decked out in its 50s retro flair. And while it is a chain operation, there is no denying the magnificence of their wonderfully warm and crispy take of the Apfelstrudel. It’s not your traditional Alt Wiener Apfelstrudel, but their Gezogener Apfelstrudel, with its unique pastry, is the way to go here. It’s also a bit flatter than the usual slice of this wonderful pastry, but it’s wrapped in a uniquely crispy pastry that melts together with the warm apple mixture on the inside. If you experience problems cutting off small pieces with your fork, just use your hands. The flavour of apple is as intense as all of that hot pink all over the place.
Café Central – Vienna’s best Apfelstrudel
SUN & public holiday: 10am–9pm
There are lines out the door of tourists waiting for a seat at the city’s most famous coffeehouse, Cafe Central, and while that may seem like as big as a turn off as somebody picking a unidentifiable object out of their bellybutton and smelling it, if you’re craving quality cake, get your ass in line and wait. We don’t give a fuck how touristy this place is, the cakes are incredible. Every one of them is a work of art, and are bursting with flavours. And there are dozens of pro pastry chefs working from early in the morning until night preparing them. Being a place where tourists flock to, they also have the Austrian classic sweets, including their Apfelstrudel which is one of the best in the city.
Good to know… We’d suggest beating the crowds and enjoying this very special place in quiet, like it was before it got a serious case of tourist constipation, in the early morning – just in time for some cake for breakfast.
© Cafe Mozart
Café Mozart – Vienna’s best Apfelstrudel
Yes it’s touristy and yes, it’s expensive, but boy, is this coffeehouse’s Apfelstrudel mouth-wateringly good. With their own patisserie whipping them up, at Cafe Mozart, they claim that their original apple strudel recipe is treated with the utmost reverence by their pastry bakers. The pastry of the strudel is stretched thin to make it extra flaky, and the filling of raisins, and sour apples is soaked in rum to create a perfect balancing act of flavours between sour and sweet.
© Cafe Eiles
Cafe Eiles – Vienna’s best Apfelstrudel
SAT & SUN: 8am–12am
The longtime favourite of the 8th district, Cafe Eiles, has done some reinventing in recent years, both to the old coffeehouse’s menu and its overall concept. It’s managed to maintain its old charm while injecting some young character into it, making it stand out from the many other Viennese coffeehouses. Another sweeeet, sweet thing about them that makes them stand apart is their Apfelstrudel. It’ll turn up warm on your plate and either with whipped cream on the side. The pastry is layered thin, and the fruit has plenty of character on it own, perfectly spiced with cinnamon, and other secret spices (probably not so secret – the friendly waiting staff would probably tell you if you ask).