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Grand Cafe Planie, in the heart of downtown Stuttgart, is a popular eatery near the Schlossplatz.
Grand Cafe Planie, in the heart of downtown Stuttgart, is a popular eatery near the Schlossplatz. (John Vandiver/Stars and Stripes)
Grand Cafe Planie, in the heart of downtown Stuttgart, is a popular eatery near the Schlossplatz.
Grand Cafe Planie, in the heart of downtown Stuttgart, is a popular eatery near the Schlossplatz. (John Vandiver/Stars and Stripes)
There are usually more than a dozen different cakes to choose from on any given day at Grand Cafe Planie, a downtown Stuttgart eatery.
There are usually more than a dozen different cakes to choose from on any given day at Grand Cafe Planie, a downtown Stuttgart eatery. (John Vandiver/Stars and Stripes)
Stuttgart's Grand Cafe Planie is especially popular for an afternoon serving of cake and coffee.
Stuttgart's Grand Cafe Planie is especially popular for an afternoon serving of cake and coffee. (John Vandiver/Stars and Stripes)

Afternoon cake and coffee: It’s as German a thing as beer, brats and the population’s rigid adherence to pedestrian traffic lights.

In Stuttgart, Grand Cafe Planie is perhaps the most obvious choice for a midday indulgence in something sweet. For me, Cafe Planie is a reliable go-to spot, especially when hosting out-of-town guests or newcomers. The interior has an instant appeal, with a classical old-world flair that’s an antidote to the cookie-cutter style of Starbucks and its imitators. The building, converted to a cafe at some point in the early 20th century, was once a horse stable and later an orphanage.

To be sure, Stuttgart has lots of cafes that march to a hipper beat, but Cafe Planie is a must at least once, if not more, for anyone stationed here.

I’ve been many times, and the various cakes, made on site, never fail to impress. The offerings abound: cheesecakes, various chocolate varieties, torts and fruity ensembles. They’re less sugary than the kind of thing you get from many American bakers. But they’re sweet enough to satisfy and not exceed your weekly sugar allowance in a single sitting.

In the afternoon, things can get crowded, especially on the weekends, when the seniors — a demographic that knows a thing or two about “Kaffee und Kuchen” — come plowing through on their walkers. You’ve got to move quickly when a place opens up.

The seating is a mix of tables and booths of various shapes, some long, some cut into a cozy corner. Big colorful paintings cover the walls, making for an artsy vibe. Chandeliers, cherrywood tables and a marble counter add to the atmosphere.

Location is another selling point: Cafe Planie is around the corner from the city’s Old and New Castles and the city’s main square, Schlossplatz.

The cafe offers a lot more than cake. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and does a good job of each with a mix of local specialties and continental cuisine. But most folks come for the cake.

When you visit, be sure to investigate the big glass display to see which cakes you find appealing. If the battle for a seat tests your patience, you can get one to go.

vandiver.john@stripes.com Twitter: @john_vandiver

Location: Charlottenplatz 17, Stuttgart, GermanyHours: Daily, 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.Dress: CasualPrices: Slices of cake are about 5 euros ($6); main dinner courses are 10-25 euros ($12-$30).Menu: Available in EnglishInformation: Phone: (+49) (0) 711-292-553, website: grandcafeplanie.de

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