With legions of purveyors of frozen treats, Vienna screams for ice cream.

by Catherine Hooker & Conrad Smith

In a city so enamored with sweets, it’s no surprise Vienna loves its ice cream: Ever since Italian confectioners came to the imperial capital looking for work in the 18th century, locals have embraced gelato, making it an integral part of summer; and with the well-documented Viennese ingenuity for tasty treats, unusual yet delicious flavors abound, just waiting to be discovered. Here are a few local picks for Vienna’s Best Ice Cream, too mouthwatering to pass up.

Demel Kaffeehaus

One of the last holdouts of Habsburg splendor, this former supplier to the imperial family ­famously made the favorite treat of Empress Sissi, violet sorbet. Today, they’ve refined the recipe and instead sell violet ice cream with blueberries, which help take the flowery edge off.
Another specialty is their frozen take on the Austrian classic Punschkrapfen (rum cakes), with big chunks mixed in so generously that you might wonder whether a cake just fell into the tub of ice cream before going for sale. Unobtrusive amidst the gilded finery of their storefront on Kohlmarkt, make sure you don’t miss the window where ice cream is served, just behind the Schanigarten (sidewalk seats).
1., Kohlmarkt 14
(01) 535 17 17
Daily 9:00–19:00
Recommended
Blueberry-Violet and
Punschkrapferl (rum cake)
Two scoop cone €4.40

Eissalon Tichy

Established in 1952, when the aftermath of WWII was still fresh and precious ingredients like eggs, milk and sugar were becoming affordable again, many argue that Eissalon Tichy is the ice cream institution in Vienna. Don’t be intimidated by the lines, they move quickly. A family business that’s big on tradition, their classic flavors like hazelnut are well worth the queue, but the real draw is their frozen versions of the Austrian classic Knödel (dumplings). With a dense center of apricot or raspberry surrounded by ice cream and rolled in roasted hazelnuts or poppy seeds respectively, you can even buy packs of four to take home and freeze.
10., Reumann-platz 13
(01) 604 44 46
Daily
10:00-23:00
Recommended
Rasperry and apricot Eis­knödel
Three scoop cone €2.00

 

Eissalon Mauß

First opening its doors in 1969, this notable neighborhood ice cream parlor is worth every minute you spend on the number 2 tram out to darkest ­Ottakring. A family business, Mauß has two priorities: making good ice cream and happy customers, so don’t expect any pretentious décor or airs of grandeur here – instead, they keep their shop simple, which is just as refreshing as their sorbets. While off the beaten path, staunch locals will pit Mauß’ ice cream against crosstown rival Tichy any day.
16., Thaliastraße 155
(01) 492 51 30
Daily 10:00-22:00
Recommended
Blueberry, Mascarpone
Two scoop   cone €2.70

Any Given Sundae

With one of the highest densities of ice cream parlors worldwide, Vienna’s spoiled for choice; here are other memorable places:

Eissalon am Schwedenplatz

Another family business and a local landmark just off Donaukanal.
1., Franz-Josefs-Kai 17
Gelato.at
Recommended Mango Cream
Price for two scoops €2.70

Leones

Learning their craft in southern Italy, Leones uses only high-quality ingredients; they may have a limited selection, but every single flavor is top-notch.
8., Lange Gasse 78
2., Praterstraße 16
Leones.at
Recommended Dark Chocolate and Strawberry Sorbet
Price for two scoops €3.20

 

Gelateria La Romana

It may be an Italian chain, but the ice cream is fantastic and the southern flair charming.
7., Stiftgasse 15-17
gelateriaromana.com
Recommended Milcheis (Milk), and Biscotto Della Nonna
Price for two scoops €2.50

 

Eis Greissler

Traditional Austrian flavors such as elderflower, poppy seed, and pumpkinseed oil, made with organic milk and local ingredients.
6., Mariahilfer Straße 33
1., Rotenturmstraße 14
eisgreissler.at
Recommended Graumohn (poppy seed)
Price for two scoops €2.50

 

Veganista

Their entire selection is vegan, making it a staple among the hip and trendy.
7., Neustiftgasse 23
2., Taborstraße 15
9., Alserbachstraße 5
5., Margaretenstraße 51
veganista.at
Recommended
Carrot Cake
Price for two scoops €3.30

 

Paco

9., Nussdorfer Straße 7
Tue-Fri 11:30-1:00
Sat 11:30-0:00
(01) 89 03 785
pacorestaurant.at