I never tire of Vienna slipping modern convenience into historical buildings. Like the branch of Oberlaa café confectioners on Neuer Markt, which forces me to break one of my rules for this website.
- A rather nice place to take coffee and cake
- Just off the busy pedestrianised centre of Vienna
- Sit upstairs in the glassed extension and watch the world go by below
- See also:
- The Konditorei
Looking down on history
(The main entrance)
For a long time, the central and historical Neuer Markt disappeared from public consciousness under a pile of scaffolding and construction gear.
Then, like the proverbial caterpillar, the square emerged from its fenced-off cocoon in refurbished form. Though the Viennese seem to be arguing about whether it’s a drab moth or an iridescent butterfly.
Anyway, the location at number 16 can trace its own history back to the 1300s and the current building to the late 1700s. Inside, though, is a modern Konditorei (a café-confectionery) belonging to the Oberlaa chain.
I’ve introduced that chain elsewhere and normally refuse to cover individual branches here at Visiting Vienna. But I find myself nipping into this one so often.
The insides are all traditional “leather and brass” Oberlaa styling with the usual accoutrements of that chain. Including the gallery of colour in the cake counter.
Two storeys and windows on three sides let you look down on city centre scenes and people, an opportunity much helped by the conservatory-like extension on one side that inexplicably manages to merge unobtrusively into its surroundings.
So you can watch the activity on Seilergasse with its upmarket boutiques, antique shops and galleries.
Or gaze across Neuer Markt itself with its curiously indefinable mix: here an 18th-century fountain, there a new hotel. Here a modern luxury brand, there an old-style bistro in a Baroque townhouse.
Opposite Oberlaa, Haydn once composed the music that would become today’s national anthem of Germany. (Though the building is long gone.)
(That side extension)
Inside, you often find quite a mix of customers. Last time I dropped in for breakfast, I sat surrounded by both young families and elderly ladies, for example. The hum of conversation and, dare I say it, gossip hung in the air.
Oh, and plenty of Viennese dialects expressing dissatisfaction with the world, politics, the weather, TV etc.
The locals thus continued a tradition that dates back to when their ancestors shook their heads sadly at aqueducts that failed to respect the architectural traditions of Germanic tribal villages.
Despite its size, the place was already nearly full by 9.30am on a Saturday morning when I ate my simple Wiener Frühstück with roll, croissant, a boiled egg, butter (organic) and jam. All served with remarkable speed and efficiency by the always-friendly waitress.
The ubiquity of the Wiener Frühstück makes it hard to stand out, but Oberlaa has nicely crisp croissants and serves it all up on a multi-level serving stand. I’ve moved my breakfast meetings with a friend here. Wave if you go. I’m the guy furiously writing in a notepad.
How to get there
Neuer Markt lies close to the walking routes that take you through the old town sights.
Subway: Stephansplatz (on the U3 line) is a short walk away.
Tram/bus: Slip up from the Oper/Karlsplatz tram stop (lines 1, 2, D and 71, for example). Or take the 2A old town bus to Plankengasse.
Address: Neuer Markt 16, 1010 Vienna | Website