Cafe Sabarsky in New York City

Cheese strudel topped with warm vanilla sauce at Cafe Sabarsky in New York City.
Cheese strudel topped with warm vanilla sauce at Cafe Sabarsky in New York City.

It was cold and snowy and the epitome of winter. It was my birthday weekend and in the true fashion of escapism that I’d been practicing for years now, I whisked myself away to New York City.

Having just returned home from an epic trip to Prague and Vienna, I was aching for a taste of something that would bring back the memories of Europe.  Food, being a transporter of memories, was an easy answer.

Central Park covered in snow in New York City.
Central Park in the snow.

A Google search for “Austrian food in New York City” led me to discover Cafe Sabarsky and soon I was trekking through 60 snow-covered blocks just for lunch — and a taste of Vienna.

Weiner schnitzel at Cafe Sabarsky in New York City.
Classically Austrian: weiner schnitzel.

Cafe Sabarsky in New York City’s Neue Galerie

Cafe Sabarsky is located in the Neue Galerie, a German and Austrian art museum in the Upper East Side next to Central Park.  The menu is full of favorites found anywhere in Austria: weiner schnitzel ($30), goulash ($16), spätzle ($22).  They specialize in coffee and pastries — another tie to the cafes of Vienna.

I ordered as authentically Austrian as possible: veal schnitzel and a side of Viennese potato salad — served slightly chilled, with chopped cucumbers.  I sipped on a glass of refreshing Grüner Veltliner and was instantly transported back to Vienna.

Viennese cheese strudel at Cafe Sabarsky in New York City.
Flaky cheese strudel, covered in powdered sugar and served with a warm vanilla sauce on the side.

Despite the heavy lunch, I couldn’t leave without reminiscing about the incredible desserts of Vienna.  I ordered a Warmer Milchrahmstrudel ($12), cheese strudel covered in vanilla sauce, with a melange (espresso with steamed milk and milk foam). It wasn’t exactly like the one I had in Austria, but it was so close I was ecstatic.

Cafe Sabarsky is like stepping foot into Vienna. The uniformed waiters delivering food on small silver platters, the menu of Austrian specialties, everything was just like in Austria. I was so transported that I found myself thinking it was strange that the diners at the table next to me were speaking English and I almost thanked the waiter by saying danke.

Melange at Cafe Sabarsky in New York City.
A frothy, foamy cup of Melange, just like in Vienna.

Food has a way of being a vehicle to transport you to far away lands or just distant memories.  And when the atmosphere is just right, it can conjure up a nostalgia unlike any other.

So when you want a taste of Vienna, or maybe just an escape from the typical American restaurant in New York City, head to Cafe Sabarsky.  Oh, and I suggest walking off your meal with a stroll through Central Park after.

Go to Cafe Sabarsky for :: an authentic Viennese meal, albeit one that’s a little pricy.  Notes :: Open Monday and Wednesday 9 am – 6 pm, Thursday – Sunday 9 am- 9 pm (closed Tuesday). Reservations for lunch are only available for gallery members; dinner reservations are available by calling 212-288-0665.

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