Imperial Luxury at The Demel Cafe in Vienna

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On a sunny day, we considered getting an outside table at Demel, the famous cake and chocolate shop in Vienna, a stroke of immense luck.  Viennese tend to hang out at Demel sipping their coffee and reading the paper with no real inclination to leave. It’s old school cafe life with no pressure on the cafe to churn through customers to increase profits. In the shadow of the Hofburg Palace, we had picked the cafe because of its fame and its location which is  perfect for a rejuvenating break after sightseeing.

Demel Cafe in Vienna is the best known bakery and chocolate shop in the city

The History of Demel Cafe

Located on an upscale side street near the Hofburg Palace, Demel is perfect for people watching as both locals and tourists throng to the area.  The street is Vienna’s equivalent of New York city’s Fifth Avenue but with a lot less traffic.  Kohlmarkt and its surrounding areas are chock full of upscale international luxury shops.  Traditionally it has been the location of big name jewellery stores such as Cartier and Chopard for when you needed to nip out of the palace to buy your wife (or mistress) a pretty bauble to keep her happy.

Demel was set up in 1786 by a confectionary assistant from Wurttemburg who came to the big time in Vienna with a krone and dream.  They hold the title of court suppliers of cakes for the imperial and royal family. During the cafe’s long history, it got into a legal tussle with the Hotel Sacher on who could name their cake the original Sacher torte.  Located practically on the doorstep of the Hofburg Palace, the cafe was very popular with the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s aristocracy, including Empress Sisi, Austria’s 19th century answer to Diana, Princess of Wales.  Demel did a regular delivery of confectionaries to Empress Sisi at the court.

demel bakery in vienna

Demel Cafe, A Step Back in Time

The Demel building itself is a neo-baroque concoction that is in keeping with its fluffy, girly cakes.  It was designed by the pre-eminent architects of the time.  It’s worth a look to see the inside of the building even if you don’t stop for cake (I can’t really comprehend that possibility).

Demel Cafe in Vienna
An elegant interior

There is a charming bar on the ground floor if you wanted a quick coffee and cake.  Coffee in Austria is always served with a water chaser – don’t ask me why.  There are tables in the back as well as a first floor dining room.

cakes at Demel Cafe in Vienna

Service was excellent. The waitresses, known as Demelinerinnen, still wear starched black dresses trimmed in white, uniforms which were designed a couple of hundred years ago.  I don’t speak German but apparently they have a specific way of addressing customers in the third person which shows respect and deference.  Apparently, this approach was used when titles fell from disfavour but you still wanted to kow tow to the upper classes.

In addition, you can watch the Demel bakers hard at work.  My kids found this fascinating.  They were prepared to volunteer to lick the bowls of cake mix like they do at home.

Demel Cafe in Vienna
Hard at work making chocolate cakes

In addition, there is a Demel museum showing items from its history as well as a beautiful gift shop. The museum is only open for a couple of hours on a Friday morning.

The Pastries at Demel Cafe

There are so many delicious-looking cakes, we couldn’t choose between them.  You go inside the cafe, pick out the ones you want and then order at your table.  You know how much my family and I love our cakes and confectionary.  We have sampled our way through many a patisserie, including Danish pastries in California, donuts in Minnesotatea cakes in England and eclairs in Paris.

So we were four people, and we wound up choosing 6 cakes.  Because that’s how we roll.  And we ate them all.  Every last delicious crumb.

Demel Cafe in Vienna
so many choices, all so good.

Visiting the Demel Cafe in Vienna

The Demel Konditorei is located on Kohlmarkt 14.  Although the Hofburg is huge, you will find Kohlmarkt is the street that runs in front of the giant domed and arched entrance to the Spanish Riding School exhibition grounds.  The cafe is open daily from 9-7.  It also serves light meals in addition to coffee and cake.



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32 thoughts on “Imperial Luxury at The Demel Cafe in Vienna”

    1. Yes, they were as good as their reputation. That was my son who couldn’t wait until I took the photo!! Luckily I have fast reflexes.

  1. I feel like I am here with you! The cakes look heavenly and the decor and service are exactly what I would expect in a classic Vienna cake shop. I don’t know when I will have a chance to visit, so thank you for taking us with you!

  2. I am salivating now just looking at those cakes! I’d been to Austria twice but never in Vienna. I’ll definitely try this cafe when I get to visit there. Thanks for sharing!

  3. It’s interesting to know a little bit about the history of the cafe, especially the original Sacher torte part. I love cakes, I’d probably go crazy trying to decide which one to order if I were there haha…

    1. It’s old world glam! The great thing about Viennese cafes is that it’s perfectly acceptable to hang out at your table and no one gives you dirty looks for taking up valuable customer space.

  4. Oh I am positively drooling – those cakes look amazing! Cafes always seem such a huge part of Viennese culture so the history and decor (and the cakes!) mean this would be top of my list. I love the hand darting into shot, I think that’s just how I’d feel… Thanks for linking to #citytripping

  5. Hello, I would like to go out with your family. It would be fun to hit town and try lots of food together. I can see why people do not want to leave this cafe. The food looks beyond amazing and it is a just a cozy place,

    1. Ha ha! My kids and I have a sweet tooth. We walk loads though when we are travelling to burn off all those extra calories!

  6. I love Vienna partly because of its beauty and partly the cakes! This blog post is gorgeous – makes me want to take a trip right now. Nothing beats Austrian cakes (or hot chocolate for that matter).

  7. What a fantasy place – those cakes and pastries look delicious! I love visiting grand old cafes like this with so much history. So interesting about them addressing you in third person. Nice touch. Great to watch them at work too! Thanks for linking up to #citytripping

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