Café Life

Food — By Lorraine Seal on December 15, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Newspapers on display at Café Tomaselli

Photo: Café Tomaselli

Salzburgers love their cafés. A home away from home, the café is where Salzburgers relax with a newspaper or book, visit with friends, and refresh themselves over Kaffee und Kuchen, a glass of Sekt or wine or a light meal. In warm weather, they congregate at pavement tables to watch passers-by; in cold weather, they watch the passing parade from cosy interiors.

There is no shortage of cafés to choose from, and nearly everyone has his or her favourite. One of the best places to find a congenial café is in the graceful, late 19th century precinct near Mirabellgarten. Here, on Franz-Josef-Strasse, several cafés are concentrated, including arguably the city’s most beloved, Café Wernbacher. This long-established institution resonates with many younger Salzburgers from childhood excursions with parents or grandparents.

Next door is Café Fingerlos, with a sleeker, slightly more elegant, interior and a reputation for captivating pastries. It’s a little more spacious than Café Wernbacher with large windows the better to keep an eye on the passing parade and gracious Fin de Siècle buildings.

The oldest café in Salzburg—one of the oldest in Europe, in fact—is famed Café Tomaselli, located at the top of Alter Markt near the university. Its wood-panelled interior, staffed by waiters in tuxedos and black-and-white clad waitresses, has been frequented by musical geniuses from Mozart to Max Reinhart. In the tradition of Vienna’s classic coffee houses, Tomaselli is a place to linger over coffee and a selection of the day’s newspapers on their wooden staffs.

Just about a hundred metres away, facing the Mozart statue in Mozartplatz, you’ll find Café Demel, a relatively recent import from Vienna. Its pastel-and-floral decorated interior, as romantic as a wedding cake, stands in contrast to Tomaselli’s dark panelling. Both, however, offer exquisite pastries as well as coffee, wine and spirits.

You’ll find a complete change of pace at the Afro Café, near St Blasius Church opposite the entrance to Getreidegasse. Decorated with bright graphics in saturated colours, it offers great coffee, breakfast, African-themed food, art objects for sale, jazz and an upbeat approach to the traditional café.

Located opposite the Mönchsbergaufzug bus stop by the Museum der Moderne, the Republic Café is a café serving coffee, breakfast, dessert and drinks by day and a lively music venue and bar by night. In summer, the broad terrace is a welcome place to relax under umbrellas; in winter its cave-like interior is hip and urbane. It’s famous for its jazz Sunday brunches.

Tags: 'Coffee Houses', Cafés, Food, Fun Places to Eat, Historic Cafés, Snacks, ‘Fun Places to Eat’, ‘Historic Cafés’