“Let them eat cake”: The cafe culture of Bratislava

Cake is a breakfast food in Bratislava.  Actually, I stand corrected, it’s an anytime food here.  Who knew?!  Vienna is renowned for its coffeehouse culture.  They have nothing on Bratislava.  Cafes are ubiquitous and are a purveyor of coffee, cakes, wine,  beer,  hot chocolate, sandwiches and salads.  The coffee shop connotation is much broader than that at home.   And unlike the United States, where someone might wrinkle up their pert little nose if I ordered cake for breakfast, it’s no problem here.  I love this country…  Cake for breakfast! 

Americans can be quite judgemental about food choices.   Let’s stop playing cute.  We must eat this stuff.  Look at us!  Growing up, we ate pie for breakfast.  It defined our family.  It wasn’t an everyday thing – or even an every month thing.  But the day after any pie consuming holiday, we ate pie for breakfast.  

So if you are in Bratislava, absorb the local culture and join me.  Here are some of my favorite cake places.  

I like my cake with a view.  There are three cake options which are part of my daily routine.  Two are on Old Town Square.  If you are going to sip an espresso and luxuriate over cake, let’s do it on one of the loveliest squares in Europe.  Someplace might have better cake, but if they don’t have the view, why bother? 

Old Town Square1.  My odds on favorite is Bagel and Coffee.  For months, I enjoyed my morning bagel here but never  considered this as a cake option.  Two observations changed my mind; the older women periodically catching up over a morning cake and coffee and the advertisements that they bake their cake on premises – which can be a rarity.  My favorite is carrot.  A slice of cake is 2 Euro and an espresso is 1 Euro 40.   Drop the 10 cent change in the tip cup and grab a seat on the square.  It doesn’t get any better than this.

2.  Of course, right next door is the venerable Cafe Mayer.  This is the Sacher Hotel option of Bratislava.  You can ogle over the take away display case to narrow down your choices, but then go into the back and be served.  There are 3 rooms, each dripping of the moneyed empire days – gold and cream and burgundy silk fabrics and marble table tops.  The ambiance is a stately living room with lovingly polished curios filled with Hummels and fine china coffee services.  Cake will be accompanied by classical music.  And although the cakes are no better than Bagel and Company – and at roughly 3 Euro per cake and 2 euro 70 for an espresso a good bit more expensive – it’s the Viennese experience.  I don’t do this often, but when I do the people next to me are invariably from Vienna.  They are sneaking over to grab a cake with a view.  Who can blame them? 

3.  Almost every morning you can find me facing the Old Theater (aka the Old Opera House) in the McCafe on Hviezdoslavovo Namestie.  I love the location, and the staff could not be nicer.  Plus, their coffee is the best.  Not the more watery espresso which tend to be popular here – but the strong, robust, not much in the cup espresso.  It’s also one of the few Old Town options which opens Monday thru Friday at 7 AM.  If you laugh or roll your eyes at the American in McDonald’s, this is what I look at when I have my morning coffee.  Not too shabby.     

Categories: Insiders Bratislava

Tags: , , ,

6 replies

  1. I really enjoy reading this 🙂
    In Italy we are usually having cappuccino/caffe and croissant for breakfast when you are going to a bar!
    Still I’m a big fan of cakes so I will for sure try the Mayer Cafe one day!!! I agree, it sounds a little bit more expensive than the average, but maybe I could allow it a couple of times 😀



    • There is nothing like the coffee bars of Italy!… The croissants with apricot jam and the tiny perfect espresso…
      Italians know how to live. Though for now, the cakes on old town square will do. When you finish your Slovak class my husband and I will meet you at Cafe Mayer to celebrate!

  2. I was concerned for years that eating pie for breakfast was not acceptable.

    I do love pie, but the cake in Bratislava was excellent!


  1. Bratislava has Europe’s best cake? » Fitzmagic Travels

I love hearing from readers. Please comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: