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Vienna’s Most Elegant Café: Café Landtmann

It is well known that coffee became a part of Vienna's identity during the Siege of Vienna, when the Turks tried to capture the city. In 1683, the Austrians successfully chased off the invaders, who left bags of coffee beans behind, effectively introducing Vienna to the beverage. This is how Vienna established a coffeehouse tradition over the centuries. As a matter of fact, Viennese coffeehouse culture was included in the list of intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. For the most part, coffee became a way of life, and a vital part of the city’s local culture. For many tourists and coffee lovers, places like Café Central and Café Schwarzenberg came to be the most famous spots. With their rich history and even richer coffee, they are evidently great places to spend time in. However, because of the high demand, mostly from tourists, to visit these places, they might not be the best options for people who are looking for a place to relax, without having to wait in the line to find a table. Thankfully, there is another, calmer coffeehouse that has great quality and history which has been a meeting spot for many politicians, thinkers, and artists in Austria throughout the years: Café Landtmann.

Mainly known as the preferred coffeehouse of Sigmund Freud, Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, Café Landtmann is definitely one of the best coffee houses in Vienna. The café, located on the Ringstraße at the corner of Lowelstraße 22 in the Innere Stadt first district, was established on October 1, 1873 by Franz Landtmann. He came from a family of coffeehouse owners, fig coffee manufacturers and gingerbread makers. In 1881, the café was sold to two brothers, Wilhelm and Rudolf Kerl, who kept the name “Landtmann” while they ran the business. After Rudolf’s retirement, his brother Wilhelm started to run the café alone and became a local celebrity with prominent figures like Gustav Mahler, Sigmund Freud, and Emmerich Kálmán visiting him regularly. In 1916, after 35 years of running the business, Wilhelm sold Café Landtmann to Karl Kraus. Karl Anton Kraus ran the coffee house for just five years. In 1926, Konrad and Angela Zauner purchased Café Landtmann, which proved to be a fortuitous turn of events. They had the coffeehouse expanded and fully renovated, hiring famous professor and architect Ernst Meller, who designed various Viennese coffee houses of that time. This design gave Café Landtmann its lavish interior decorations, which is one of the reasons the café is well known to this day.

After the Second World War, Konrad Zauner's son Erwin took the helm in 1949 and continued to run it with great success. Unfortunately, when the Zauner family first tried to sell the café, it slid into danger for the first time: the Landtmann was about to make way for a bank branch. However, Herbert and Anita Querfeld fell in love with the Landtmann and were able to save it with the support of former Councillor of Cultural Affairs Helmut Zilk. They wanted the coffeehouse to fit modern requirements, so with a great deal of effort, love and financial help in 1982, the café was fully renovated to protect its future. Later on, Berndt Querfeld joined his parents’ business and together they created the perfect "Landtmann style", which incorporates classic Viennese coffeehouse culture. Today, the Landtmann is run by Anita and Berndt Querfeld. They are concerned about protecting the “most elegant café of Vienna” for the future. And thanks to their utmost dedication and optimism, Café Landtmann is still thriving.

The photo is taken by the author

The food and beverage menu of the Café Landtmann is as rich as its history. It is possible to have coffee varying from Turkish to French, or the classic Viennese style. Coffee in Landtmann is a specialty which comes in three different varieties and which is prepared using five roasting cycles. The classic coffee of Landtmann is the “Viennese Melange” which includes coffee and milk. Another specialty is the so-called “Uebersturtzter Neumann” in which an empty cup is given with some fresh whipped cream, followed by a double shot of espresso. A team of great chefs work really hard to create unique and high quality dishes that are also connected to Viennese cuisine: Wiener Schnitzel, Backhendl, Tafelspitz and Goulash are on the menu. To provide more options, seasonal dishes are also served. It is also worthy mentioning the wide range of cakes and strudels that are served alongside the food and drinks.

The photo is taken by the author

Café Landtmann is definitely an important place to visit when you are in Vienna. In my personal experience, the last time I was in Vienna, Café Landtmann became the place I visited most often. In my short time of five days there, I was in Landtmann everyday. Every time I was looking for a cozy place to relax in, I found myself there. The ambiance, atmosphere and the lovely people working there create an impeccable experience for every single customer. If you ever get the opportunity, I highly recommend taking time out of your day to sit and enjoy yourself in Café Landtmann.

Edited by Yağmur Ece Nisanoğlu & Melisa Altıntaş

Works Cited

“Café Landtmann - Vienna's Most Sophisticated Coffee House.” Café Landtmann - Vienna's Most Sophisticated Coffee House - Café Landtmann,


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