The Cafe Landtmann, Vienna

We’d just visited the Freud Museum so it seemed apt that we dine in Sigmund’s favourite cafe, the Landtmann, which is just a fifteen minute walk from his old house. We’d made a reservation and the waiter had our table, looking out at the Christmas Market in front of the City Hall, waiting for us. We were actually a little late; we’d seen the lights of the market and been distracted somewhat as they were such a magnificent sight…

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…and then when we got to the cafe, there was a beautiful Christmas tree outside that was worth a few minutes as well…

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The Landtmann has several rooms; some under an outer, greenhouse-like roof and others in a more ornate, indoors environment, as ours was.

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Our waiter, dressed in bow tie, spoke English and was friendly enough, which was a different story to that which we’d been told before our visit to the city. According to Tripadvisor and various guidebooks Viennese waiters are notorious for their aloofness which in our opinion – based on two weeks in the city – is complete rot as they’re as friendly as anywhere else in Europe (another widely mentioned fallacy was that the use of mobile phones and computers is frowned upon in Viennese cafes; this must be a rumour started by those who want to make the city cafes seem bastions of old style intellectualism, which isn’t true at all, you’re free to use any computer you want).

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Seating throughout the room was in booths but in an open plan style, under grand brass chandeliers. Here’s the view outside from our table.

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We felt like we were in a fine dining place when looking purely at the decor although there was gentle, free conversation everywhere and no music; it was an atmosphere we’d not encountered before on our travels (this was our first visit to a Viennese cafe).

There was an English translation within the menus. I was pleased to see several vegetarian options, which were clearly marked.

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For drinks we ordered a double cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream and a hot chocolate with rum and whipped cream.

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Lamia said that her hot chocolate was served warm, not hot (so she could drink it straight away) with a generous scoop of whipped cream swirled on top and a dash of chocolate sprinkles. It was very creamy and extra chocolatey.

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My hot chocolate with rum and whipped cream was excellent, only, I ordered rum and it came plain. I didn’t know it was plain until I’d gotten half way through it so couldn’t send it back. Still, it was nice, and the whipped cream was firm enough to stay piled high on the spoon as I scooped it off.

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For my starter I had the croque-monsieur. Stupidly, I had forgotten this was a ham and cheese toastie and was instead certain it was scrambled eggs on toast. I know, how dumb of me, I can’t think what came over me. Still, this is how it looked when it arrived.

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Served with tomato sauce, mayonnaise and French fries, this ham and cheese toast classic was fine. The chef hadn’t tried to stamp his signature on the dish – so there were no amazing surprises – but it was solid, clean food as a result.

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Lamia had the potato soup with mushrooms.

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It had very visible and tasty ingredients, was a little spicy and was sprinkled with fresh herbs, of which fennel was a prominent taste. Lamia loved it.

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My main dish was pumpkin quiche with herbal cream.

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The main body was the colour and taste of pumpkin and topped with pumpkin seeds. The pastry was soft and the dish was served with a lightly dressed fresh salad and a chive and sour cream dip. It was very tasty and a good sized portion I thought, and served warm.

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Lamia had the beef goulash with diced bread dumplings.

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The chunks of beef were tender, Lamia didn’t need a knife to cut into them. There were a range of textures within the dish, the crunchy fried onions and tender beef complimented the smooth firm bread topped with chives. It was a large portion and the bread that came with it was extremely heavy, almost like a polenta cake; it looked like regular garlic bread but weighed four times more!

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For dessert Lamia had the house specialty; a warm apple strudel with vanilla sauce.

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“The vanilla sauce is great, like a custard but more delicate, and it smells warm, like a cosy home,” said Lamia. “The portion size is large, too big for me, and it’s spiced with a bit of brown sugar. The pastry is flaky but not too much and all together it’s a very different type of strudel, much lighter, than the versions I’ve had from the supermarket in England.”

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I had the Emperor’s Pancake, an imperial Viennese delicacy.

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It was served in a pan with plum compote and apple mousse on the side.

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The dish looked huge but it was actually a very light dessert. The sponge cakes, dusted with icing sugar and served warm, were fried; it was a different sort of dessert than I’d ever had before and I was pleased to have tried it.

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Service throughout our meal was excellent; each dish was brought out only when we’d both finished our previous one but at the same time we never had to wait around for any long period of time between courses.

Overall, we thought the Cafe Landtmann food to be tasty and wholesome and our main courses actually felt pretty healthy. It’s possible to eat Vegetarian without compromising (if you don’t make a mistake as I did!) and although the prices are slightly higher than many less established cafes in Vienna the service, location and decor are excellent and the standard of food very acceptable so we feel it’s worth it. In our opinion, any visit to Vienna would be incomplete without a visit to the Cafe Landtmann.

If you’d like to discover more, please visit www.landtmann.at

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