Let Me Count The Ways I Love Cafe Vienna

Cafe Vienna is a gem and Food Nation Radio Network is a fan. It’s one of those neighborhood places you always hope you’ll stumble upon. In their case, I wrote about them a few years ago, and I really liked it. You could say back then we were holding hands. Lately, though, they seem to be at the top of their game and I’m head over heels.

They have all the hallmarks of a great restaurant from a hospitality standpoint. The service is impeccable, they are friendly but not intrusive, they are helpful, they understand the menu, the price points are right on track. The food has always been excellent and exactly as promised on the menu. The beverage prices are very reasonable.

I made a few visits there recently and  I have to warn you now, you should make a reservation before going. The place is intimate and fills up quickly. Each evening I was there was the same. It didn’t matter what day of the week it was.

Every once in a while you want to indulge a little and that’s the time to try their pan-fried Swiss cheese. For $6.90 you get two large wedges served with tartar sauce. We shared and were very happy with the portion size. There’s not a thing you can say about warm, melted cheese that isn’t good. It’s probably fattening. So what? Live a little.

The dish that surprised me the most was the Lulleky. Like me, you are probably wondering what in the world it is. It’s gnocchi. Tender pillows of potato with a creamy goat cheese sauce on it. For $7.90, it’s heaven on a plate. I ate slowly and savored every bite. It’s one of those dishes that make you sad it’s over and you hope in the afterworld you could eat as much of that stuff as you desire. Hey, everybody has their own view of heaven. Don’t judge me.

The entrees are all very traditional. The Roast Pork at $12.90 is a generous portion of pork with a rich, brown sauce served with red cabbage and spaetzle (a thick pasta). It was very tender, the cabbage had a tangy flavor that was not overpowering and the spaetzle tasted like it was sauteed in a little butter before serving (as is the tradition). It’s a keeper.

Dessert. If you’ve never tried a Sachertorte here’s your chance. It’s $5.90 for a generous wedge of chocolate layer cake with apricot filling and chocolate ganache. Yes, it’s as good as it sounds. It’s a very moist cake.

The Viennese Nut Cake also priced at $5.90 is a flourless walnut and almond cake with…wait for it… buttercream filling. For those of you avoiding flour, this is your dessert. It’s not overly sweet and the buttercream is so, so good.

As I said when I returned a clean plate to them, you can tell I just hate the place.

Cafe Vienna is located at 5625 4th St. North in St. Petersburg, 727 527 6404. They are closed on Mondays.

Elizabeth Dougherty has been a food writer for over 10 years, attended culinary school and holds a Bachelor’s degree, Magna Cum Laude in Hospitality, Business and Labor Relations from NYIT. She has been a talk show host of nearly 150 episodes of Food Nation Radio which airs each Saturday afternoon at 4 on WWBA AM820 News and  other stations. You can read her articles and hear previous shows on her podcast page on the Food Nation Radio Network website and on Facebook.