Though Gerstner dates back to 1843, the Café-Konditerei on Kärtner Strasse, one of Central Vienna’s main shopping drags, is of much more recent vintage. No Gemütlichkeit here, rather a contemporary urban vibe keeps the room humming with conversation, the steam-engine hiss of the large, utilitarian espresso machine and the constant timpani clink of china on marble counters. The cakes are picture perfect though my Dobostorte —admittedly a dense confection of chocolate buttercream and some eight layers of vanilla cake—is perhaps a little denser than need be. And the coffee is thin.
And I’m a little put-off by the display of French-style macarons in the window. It makes me wonder if the management’s heart is really in the right place. I’m probably being unfair though, who am I to deny the Viennese these delightful Parisian treats.