Vienna makes no secret of its cultural and historical jewels, but the occasional gem remains a secret guarded carefully by the local population. Like Café Ritter Ottakring.
- First opened 1907
- Lovely Jugendstil décor
- Authentic turn-of-the-century coffee house feel
- Menu consists largely of products grown or sourced locally
- See also:
A Jugendstil treasure
(A café on the corner)
Vienna’s 16th district (Ottakring) rarely gets double-page spreads in international travel magazines, since open-air markets vastly outnumber Habsburg palaces in this part of town.
But Ottakring has its hidden delights, one of which is the coffee house on the main road into the district from the centre.
Café Ritter Ottakring originally opened here back in 1907 in the era of Jugendstil. The interior décor – like the brass fittings – still reflects the artistry and architecture of the times.
The dark wooden seating, wrought iron and marble tables, worn herringbone parquet, and dark green upholstery combine to create a dusky turn-of-the-century atmosphere, though tall windows ensure plenty of light.
The glass and wood entrance portals reminded me of Café Sperl. Only a fire extinguisher sign offered evidence of the passing decades.
The room we sat in had “seating to ceiling” wall paintings down one side featuring what looked like 18th-century scenes. It all feels so remarkably authentic (because it is). As if Sigmund Freud might walk in at any moment, throw down his hat, flop into a chair and exclaim:
…after that last patient I am in dire need of strong coffee
Today’s Ritter is a local coffee house with a capital L.
Firstly, the distance from the centre means mostly local guests (the legendary Austrian football trainer, Ernst Happel, used to be a regular).
Secondly, almost everything on the menu is grown in and around Vienna or at least sourced through local companies.
Wine from the surrounding hills, bread from a local baker, beer from the Ottakringer brewery down the road, cakes from Vienna’s Sluka. Even the coffee comes from a distributor with headquarters in the same district.
The menu itself features fairly traditional Viennese dishes but with more than a nod to modern dietary trends. Vegetarians and vegans have alternatives that are more than just meat dishes minus the meat.
The café has a strong gaming (in the old-fashioned sense) culture, too, with some tables set up for card players: each seat has its own side table. Chess sets and chess clocks fill broad shelving. And even kids get their own play corner.
With its lovely interior and friendly, local atmosphere, Café Ritter Ottakring takes an honoured place among the more authentic of Vienna’s traditional coffee houses. Definitely worth a trip away from the centre.
How to get to Café Ritter
Subway: take the U3 line out to its final station (Ottakring), then walk back. Or catch the 44 tram near the station and go two stops toward the centre.
Bus/tram: the 44 tram leaves from the centre (Schottentor station) and drops you practically outside the café: get off at the Familienplatz stop.
Address: Ottakringer Straße 117, 1160 Vienna | Website