Kohlmarkt 14, Vienna
- Recommended for:
- Couples, Culture vultures, First-time travellers, Foodies, Mature travellers, History, Special occasions
Expert review of Demel
When I enter this 200-year-old establishment I feel like I'm stepping back in time. K.u.K Hofzuckerbäcker Demel (Imperial and royal confectioners) still exudes the airs and graces of a grande dame – a few of the lace-gloved customers fit that cliché too.
Don't forget to choose your sweetmeat from the selection of goodies to the left of the door before looking for a table – if it's busy then try upstairs, there are three more rooms with ample seating, each with different elaborate décor.
Apart from calorific cakes, gateaux and Danish pastries, one of the specials – and one that is not as rich – is the dark, moist mohnstrudel (a cake made with poppyseeds). Delicious sweet hot chocolate comes with a white topping of Schlag (whipped cream).
Four types of breakfast can be ordered until noon - Kleines (small) includes a choice of coffee, tea or hot chocolate with rolls, butter and conserves; Wiener is the same as Kleines but with an additional glass of orange juice, two poached eggs and a croissant; Gesundes (the healthy alternative) has a serving of yogurt with fresh fruit, cream cheese and wholemeal bread; and the Grosses Demelfrühstück has all the above but with ham and cheese and a choice of egg dish besides. A classic Viennese menu has a few small dishes like scrambled egg with chives on dark toast or thick potato soup with bacon. Some local favourites such as veal goulash or roasted fillet of char are among the main courses. Most customers come for the cakes, though, so you won't see that many people eating large meals. And, in my opinion, the round marble-topped tables are a bit too small for dining in style.
Choose from the selection of mini-strudels - bite-size portions of apple and curd strudel. In winter, Demel's Biedermeiertee spiced hot tea with white wine or their woodland berry punch are perfect warming drinks for braving the icy cold.
I could stand and stare at the window decorations for ages - they change seasonally, and are always a great photo opportunity. Inside, the elegant, Old-World interior is still visible in the mahogany wood panelling and the low-seating sofas. It is a very busy place and a must-see for tourists. Local patrons sit at the bar for coffee and snacks.
Demel waitresses are highly professional in their black uniforms with small white aprons and white collars. You'll see lots of men in the kitchen but only a small group of highly efficient ladies, known as “Demelerinnen” are permitted to serve what can arguably be called the best pastries in town.
Kohlmarkt's exclusivity is evident with all the famous names in the world of fashion here – in summer the Demel takes over part of the street by opening its terrace, which becomes the perfect location for people-watching.
Drinks cost between 4.50 euros and 5.50 euros, breakfast ranges from 6.80 euros to 18.50 euros, small dishes are between 5 euros and 12 euros and main courses cost from 9.60 euros to 21 euros.
Look for a table at the rear, near the glass-covered courtyard, where you can watch master pastry chefs at work, creating birthday, wedding and anniversary cakes, filling strudels with fresh fruit and icing biscuits throughout the day.
The museum in the cellar is a well-kept secret - take a peek downstairs to see the collection of huge former, seasonal, window displays made of marzipan and icing sugar. The museum can be visited for free from 11am until 6pm.
More information on Demel:
- Price guide:
- Kohlmarkt 14, Vienna
- 01 5351717
- Breakfast, Lunch, Afternoon Tea
- Opening times:
- Daily 9am-7pm.
- Accepts Credit Cards: