Three nights in Prague and three in Vienna for three foodies and a non
We are doing an embarrassingly quick trip to Berlin, Prague, Vienna and Budapest in September.
The Chowhound feedback on Budapest was terrific, so now I'm seeking even more advice and
counsel. For Prague we have three dinners and two lunches - as of now I have Kampa Park, Cerny Kohout and V Zatisi on my sort of "must" list but could be talked out of these and into others. I am retired from the food world (journalistic side not cooking but definitely eating) and love good food but hate pretentious, tortured food - and places.
Am waffling the most on Vienna restaurants. Like the sound of Plachutta with the tafelspitz - also considering Immervoll and Mainl au Graben. Stomach sounds fun too. Totally unsure about cafes and lunch places. Our friends think we have to go to the Sacher Hotel to have sacher torte. Why do I think it might be better at another venue?
Grateful for any help - and promise to give feedback upon our return.
We were in Prague last September and thoroughly enjoyed it. We weren't expecting much when it came to the food and were pleasantly surprised. Below is a link to my post:
The standout was Hergetova Cihelna (try for a table on the river.) Also Bakeshop Praha is very reliable and consistent.
As a foodie in Vienna, not to miss is Steirereck
High end but perhaps slightly less creative are:
Korso and the Imperial (both at their respective hotels)
Yes, Meinl Am Graben is a good choice.
Add Figmullers for the fun of it (the largest schnitzel you have ever seen)
There are lots of more local color places that are fun but less creative.
Sacher Torte at the Hotel Sacher is just one of those things many a Viennese tourist does. I prefer the Imperial Torte (lighter flavor) at the Bristol or Imperial hotel cafes.
Stop by the Naschmarkt for an eyeful of local delicacies (outdoor market).
Sort of agree about Tafelspitz. Though if made well, it is memorable.
I have been in the Steirereck many times, the last visit was after Österreicher, their chef, had left. I think - and many of my friends agree - that actually the Steirereck has now lost much of its former lustre, and that the menu is too expensive for what it delivers. Their new restaurant also has a very peculiar design, which also reduces the pleasure of dining there. Thus, I no more recommend the Steirereck. (BTW: the same holds true for the Korso in the Hotel Bristol ...)
The best high-end places in Vienna are now the Restaurant of Meinl am Graben (not to be mixed up with their other snack, sushi and wine bars located at the same premises !), the Palais Coburg and a few smaller places, such as Mraz & Sohn, or Walter Bauer.
The best Austrian restaurants are now out of town, the closest to Vienna are Hanner in Mayerling and Bacher in Mautern. The other top places are in the western parts of Austria (too many to list, search at www.gaultmillau.at), in Styria (Saziani Stubn) and in Burgenland (Taubenkogel).
So sad to hear about the state of Steirereck. I ate there last about 2+ years ago, in it's original location. I had dined there 2 nites on that trip and then a year or two earlier. It was such a highlight. I missed ever going to Altweinerhoff before it closed--the two restaurants once held the highest positions in Vienna.
I don't plan to be going again for a few years so I will have to re-educate myself as to what's topnotch. Thanks for the updates.
Plachutta and Meinl am Graben are excellent tips. Plachutta serves traditional Viennese food, Meinl is the best place to get new Viennese cuisine at a great location. Ask for a window table, and call at least three weeks in advance if you want to eat dinner there ! OTOH: since they are open between 9 am and midnight, you might get a table without reservation in the off hours ...
Stomach is a hidden and romantic spot, the food is average, but the place is so different from the other two that you might like it, although it is quite away from any interesting part of town.
Immervoll is great for lunch, but always crowded (Immervoll means "always full"). If the weather permits, you can sit in their "Schanigarten" on the Franszikanerplatz, which is a real nice place quite in the town center.
I would still recommend Finsterer Stern on Schulhof, although chowhounds reported that they could not find it. The solution: it opens only for dinner, and has none of the usual restaurant signs on the outside. Since the Schulhof us so small, you cannot miss it when it is open.
Another place worth mentioning is Flein. They have a quite romantic garden located in the park of the Palais Clam-Callas on the Währingerstrasse (just around the corner is the US embassy). The food at Flein is exzellent and inexpensive.
Reservation recommended for all mentioned places.
No, it's not the kind of dish that engenders hatred. But unless you grew up with it, not much love, either.
Tafelspitz is a boiled beef dish. I've had some very good tafelspitz, mind you, but it has its limitations. Order it if you are at least four people sharing and are still curious.
I just went to Prague recently. My favorite place there for traditional Czech food was U Basnike Panve. It's in Zizkov. I also found that it was really hard to find bad food in Prague- almost every pizza place had really amazinhg pizza- not like that you get int he US at all. Also the steak there was very good.
I've been to Budapest and Prague. In Budapest there is an excellent Indian place called Kashmir - good service which is a great relief in Budapest.
In Prague I went to a few places that were widely reccommended on internet forums. They were ok but I found that the best meals were in the rusty bars and restaurants.