An Austrian friend of mine was reading my Great Vienna cafe reviews recently (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site).
My friend commented: But my favorite coffee house you did not even name. It is the Café EILES… Friendly staff, great environment, good coffee. And all the essential papers. And they do leave you alone, this is priceless. All the other coffee places I visit several times a month waiters become friendly and ask you things or even worse they involve you into their own problems, just because I am very friendly and leave good tips…
The Eiles is spacious, in the tradition of the grand old Viennese cafes
There is much wisdom in these comments:
(i) friendly staff: I have often written about the grumpiness and mixed quality of waiters in Vienna and in Germany. As someone said to me the other day, “you don’t go to the classic cafes for good coffee or good service – you go for the entire cafe experience”. Most perceptive. But the service in the Eiles is good;
(ii) great environment: all true. See photo above. The Eiles is most agreeable;
(iii) good coffee: weirdly, not all Vienna cafes serve good coffee. Is it really too much to ask for a kleine Schwarze or espresso to be hot, and strong? Those that do serve fine coffee include the Cafe Schwarzenberg (see my review under Great Vienna cafes). The coffee in Eiles is excellent;
(iv) all the necessary papers: the idea that you can go into a cafe and spend an hour there over a single cup of coffee, and read as many newspapers as you like, is profound. What could be better? Who needs a club, if you have a cafe? Viennese wax lyrical – rightly – about how poor students sharing a single room with their families used to take their work to a cafe and sit there all day in the warmth, without coming under pressure. A terrific tradition;
(ii) they leave you alone, this is priceless: my friend’s comment above is itself priceless. Read it again, starting with “All the other coffee places”.
When I visited the Eiles with my friend recently for breakfast I was, for all these reasons, impressed. The atmosphere was laid-back. While we were sitting there a woman came in, got out a book and proceeded to read for around an hour. This struck me as very much in the great tradition of Vienna coffee houses. I also liked the way that, because it is tucked a short walk outside the Ring (the Ringstrasse, which surrounds the city), it is not overrun with tourists – a bit like the Cafe Sperl (again, see my reviews).
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