Café Tomaselli is described as the oldest coffee house in Austria. It is located on a town square known as Alter Markt (which I think means “old market”) in the heart of the city of Salzburg. According to the Cafe Tomaselli website, the origins of the coffee-house can be traced back to 1700. For a small city, Salzburg seems to have more than its fair share of old eateries. Having already tried Europe’s oldest restaurant, we thought we should also try Austria’s oldest cafe for completeness. It was one of few cafes that open early in Salzburg and we were there for breakfast.
Café Tomaselli takes up two floors of a building that opens out to the Alter Markt. A statue (the name of which I can’t remember) stands in the middle of the square. It is a busy square with many stalls that set up for business in the course of the day.
Café Tomaselli was moderately busy for breakfast. It was a sunny morning and most of the patrons preferred the balcony on the second level. We preferred the coolness of the ground floor. The interior had a classic cafe look. The waiters were formally attired. They were efficient and business-like. They reminded us of the Hainanese waiters in the old Western restaurants in Singapore such as the Shashlik.
The cafe is certainly proud of their staff, devoting a full page to describe their contributions. “To be a waiter is not only a profession, it is a vocation. He is never out of reach, yet is noticeable for his elegant, courteous, attentive and unobtrusive manner. However, his air of gentility must not be mistaken for arrogance or even grumpiness. “
Café Tomaselli Menu
Here are pictures of some portions of the Café Tomaselli menu. We decided on an omelette with ham and cheese and a slice of cake from the pastry section.
The omelette with ham and cheese at Café Tomaselli was not the fried eggs that we are used to. It seems like this omelette had been baked with ham and cheese. It looked like a lasagne and had the texture of lasagne as well. Except that there was no taste or feel of meat. The portion was also larger than we expected. It was a good thing that we only ordered two items for sharing. The taste was very good.
One new thing we learnt at Salzburg was the tradition of waitresses serving cake. They are referred to as “Kuchendamen” and walk to tables carrying trays of pastries. They also seem to have their own set of accounts as we pay them separately from the bill for the rest of the food and drinks. The Tomaselli Café is the last in Salzburg to preserve this tradition. This is how they describe the tradition: “The Kuchendamen” are Tomaselli’s charming “temptresses”. Without so much as a second glance, they know exactly which clients have already been served a coffee and are longing for a sweet accompaniment. “
Our temptress arrived at our table soon after our coffee arrived. The selection of cakes on the tray was quite limited but there were enough to get us tempted. We selected the one that looked the most attractive. This beautiful piece of cake with fruit toppings cost 4.50 euros. A nice companion to go with the cappuccino (4.30 each) that we were having.
Overall, breakfast at Café Tomaselli was like travelling back in time. The place and furniture did not look that old. It had the feel of a 70’s kind of coffee house and the slower pace of restaurants of yesteryear.
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
Alter Markt 9
5020 Salzburg, Austria
Tel: +43 662 84 44 880
MON-SAT: from 7 am to 7 pm
SUN: from 8 am