A week of field-testing the Konditorei landscape in Vienna left its scars on me. I may never be able to look a Sachertorte in the face again. But it ended rather nicely at Conditorei Sluka.
- Another historical location with handmade cakes and a cosy feel
- Very close to the Rathausplatz where many seasonal festivals take place
- Try the Birnentorte when available
- Second location is larger and also delightful inside
- See also: The Vienna Konditorei
Cakes and charm
When folk needed a break from the intricacies of Viennese politics a hundred years ago, they probably walked out of the Rathaus town hall and fell into an elegant Konditorei just off the square. Nothing eases the stress of municipal management more than a reinvigorating coffee and slice of cake.
And the good news is that we can all do exactly the same.
Conditorei Sluka (with a C) has been on the Rathausplatz since 1891, though their second premises over on Kärntner Straße only opened in 2017.
We nipped into the Sluka’s first home late on a Saturday to find respite from a cold wind, rather than cold politics, and were charmed by what I can best describe as a generous helping of authenticity.
It’s the cakes, you see.
Now, most any Konditorei you wander into in Vienna has these display counters bursting with careful arrangements of all things bright and beautiful (and made in a kitchen or bakery).
The same was true of Sluka, but with spaces and empty trays where many cakes had sold out. This is a good thing.
My theory is that such a situation can only arise when you have small-scale handmade production of really fresh cake. Which is not to say there wasn’t plenty of goodness still to be had.
For example, our waitress recommended the (almost) last slice of pear cake (Birnentorte) to me, rattling off a list of ingredients that included shortcrust pastry and creme fraîche, the latter adding a piquant tang to the concoction. It was delicious.
Apparently, the likes of Empress Elisabeth and Oskar Kokoschka once blessed the same small salon with their patronage. Sisi had an eye for sweet delicacies, so that gives Sluka a definite mark of approval.
Sit near the windows and you look out onto the Rathauspark, which must be wonderful at Christmas with all the lights. And, although central, the park edge location means Sluka is spared much of the noise of passing traffic and pedestrians.
The clutter of tables created a cosy atmosphere, with the white and gold panelling feeling like an upper middle class version of the same style so often found as classic palace decor in Vienna. And the coffee tasted better than I’ve become used to of late.
Most revealing, however, was how the staff reacted to guests arriving about 15 minutes before closing time at the end of the working week. Not a hint of irritation or impatience, just the usual welcome.
We shall return in fine weather to enjoy Birnentorte outdoors beneath the white stone arcade.
In the meantime, I’ve popped into the Kärntner Straße Sluka location (entrance pictured above) a couple of times and can recommend that as well.
The vaulted interior offers an equally historical ambience to its elder colleague (Strauss once lived next door) and it has much more seating. The staff were just as friendly, too.
How to get to Sluka
For the Rathausplatz Sluka, basically go to the front of the huge Rathaus building on the square, then go left. You can’t miss it.
Subway: a short walk from the Rathaus subway station on the U2 line (and not far from the Volkstheater station – also on the U2 but also the U3)
Tram/bus: tram line 2 has a stop next to the Rathaus, too
For the other Sluka, find your way to the square in front of Stephansdom and just walk up Kärntner Straße.
Address: Rathausplatz 8 and Kärntner Straße 13-15, 1010 Vienna | Website