Sunday, 23 January 2011

Cafes of Vienna: Cafe Bellaria - Fin de siècle Elegance

If you ask me which is my most-preferred cafe in Vienna, I would definitely name Cafe Bellaria as my all-time favourite. It has such an irresistable charm and such enduring elegance, I could spend the whole week in the cafe without feeling bored. 

Just a short walk from Vienna Natural History Museum, Cafe Bellaria has everything I look for in a cafe: history, tradition, friendly service, delicious cakes and tasty food at reasonable prices, and a genuinely Viennese atmosphere unmatched elesewhere.

It is a big surprise that such a beautiful and attractive turn-of-the-century cafe, right at the door of one of Vienna's most famous tourist attractions, has managed to stay clear of the onslaughter of tourism which plagued other famous Viennese cafes in recent years. No long queue, no unfriendly waiters, no over-priced Sachertorte and coffee, no package-tour tourists - just a subtle sense of elegance and peaceful transquility.

Everything one expects of a Viennese cafe is there - traditions and heritage (Cafe Bellaria was founded in 1870), an intimate interior which brings back the good old memories of the Fin de siècle years in Vienna, tasty home-made cakes, good local cuisine, lounge with high ceilings, marble top tables, sparkling crystal candeliers, comfortable plush red seats and cushions, and a sicerning clientele. There is live piano music in the evening. Photos of celebrity customers adorn the wall of the cafe next to the main entrance.

Although not as well-known as the other posh historical cafes, Cafe Bellaria is my cafe of choice each and everytime I visit the Austrian capital. The one big plus of this place is, the waiters know their frequent customers by heart and you never have to fight for a place with some one-off visitors, even at the peak hours in the afternoon and the evenings. If they ever come up with the idea of a loyalty programme, I sure would be the first person to sign up to it.

Copyrights@2011. All text and photos by YC Cheng. All Rights Reserved.

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