Gerstner K. u. K. Hofzuckerbäcker and Cafe at the Open Foyer, Vienna, Austria

Address: Kärntner Str. 51, 1010 Wien, Austria
Opening Hours: Daily 10:00am – 11:00pm
Official Website:

Welcome to Vienna. First order of business? Gerstner.

No, not for those Sacher Tortes. Though we will get to do that once I write about Hotel Sacher Wien.

When in Vienna, you must experience the coffee culture. It is the land of coffeehouses. This is where ideas of mankind’s creative geniuses and intellectuals commune. Mozart, Sigmund Freud — and still worth mentioning Adolf Hitler (Trivia: Yes, not many know he was born in Austria and worked as a butler in one of the hotels near the Opera), Stalin and Lenin.

Gerstner is one of the most beautiful cafes in Vienna. Cafe Central and Hotel Sacher Wien are crowd favorites. But Gerstner is where the locals commune for a slice of sacher torte and a cup of Viennese coffee.

To the uninitiated, it is located right across the Vienna State Opera. It is most recognizable with its green facade. In Christmas, it’s decked out with big beautiful red ribbons and Christmas lights.

If the line is too long, you can grab a slice of Sacher torte or Esterházy or some macarons. Yes there are lines in coffeehouses everywhere.

And some chocolate cream in these Mozart-decorated bottles. I don’t know what made these Mozart. But tourists go crazy with anything that has Mozart on it.

Inside is no less than grand.

This is what I came for. Chandeliers. So beautiful.

It makes my cup of melange extra special.

My niece loved her hot chocolate. So thick and creamy. Because, whipped cream. Milk in Austria is great in quality, thus the whipped cream is delicious.

We started with some cheesecake, my dad’s favorite. The cheesecake was just the right amount of texture and temperature. Not too creamy or stiff. I can already taste the difference in Vienna cream just by one bite.

Sacher Torte. Moment of truth.

In retrospect, Gerstner delivers a better slice over Hotel Sacher (right across the street!). Yes, the two have been fighting about the best Sacher Torte in Vienna since the beginning of time. To those who liked a really moist chocolate cake, sad to say, you’re going to be disappointed. It is dense made of two halves of chocolate cake, a thin layer of apricot jam in between, and an outer chocolate coating.

Gerstner doesn’t serve the Sacher Torte with whipped cream, so you can taste its real textures without bells and whistles.

Demel is slightly smoother, but it tastes all the same. (And you don’t have to rush to buy Demel, you can buy those at Vienna Airport.)

It is not a surprise that many don’t really understand the hype over Sacher Tortes. It is not chocolatey. Dry at times. Who can really blame Franz Sacher, who was demanded to create something reminiscent of the imperial culture while being sick? Maybe he thought the government was dry too.

Enough sacher tortes, because my favorite Mont Blanc made an appearance for the holiday season. Always love the squiggly chestnut icing on top. It reminded me of Black Forest, so moist and decadent.

And the cream. I went to dessert heaven right there.

Oh Gerstner. How can I go back to Singapore coffee shops?