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2 Weeks in Vienna (Wien)

Hello, I am a Chowhound from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I am also a former cook from the River Cafe (http://www.river-cafe.com). I am travelling with my partner and we both appreciate local, tasty interpretations of classic food. I prefer brussel sprouts and butter over fusion and plating as a general rule.

We are excited to spend two weeks in Vienna as the food looks spectacular. So a few questions and any I'd love to hear any recommendations in the 20 euro per person (entree/glass of wine) range.

Is Steiereck worth the hype? is the milk bar below a good way to get a feel for it without the cost?

Is the neo-beisln movement still a good starting point for choosing restaurants?
Wild, Wolf and Tancredi?

What are some good choices around the Museum Quarter?

Thanks very much!

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  1. Is Steiereck worth the hype?

    No, but the verdict is open. I never liked the Steirereck, and found it to be overprized, the typical nouveau-riche spot.

    is the milk bar below a good way to get a feel for it without the cost?

    The milk bar is quite different, it is basically a cheese bar with a classic Viennese menu like Wiener Schnitzel and Strudel. Definitely recommended.

    Is the neo-beisln movement still a good starting point for choosing restaurants?
    Wild, Wolf and Tancredi?

    Yes, definitely but rapidly changing. Wild is now below average, Wolf has left, Tancredi is still good. Try the following: Finsterer Stern 2, Kutschker 44, Gaumenspiel, Flein, Skopik & Lohn, Glacisbeisl. Also good are the classic beisl like Ubl, Czaak, Schilling or Huth.

    What are some good choices around the Museum Quarter?

    Yes, the Glacisbeisl. And the Baritalia Lounge on the Mariahilferstrasse

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sturmi

      My family is spending Christmas in Vienna. Noticed several restaurants are closed for the 24th and 25th (mein lam graben and Steirereck both closed) We would prefer a lovely tasting menu. Noticed Le Ciel is open both 24th and 25th. Coberg is open for both. Don't know about Bauer. Can you make some recommendations? Thanks!

    2. I was just given a tip by the famous Austrian chef Kurt Gutenbrunner (in residence in NYC via 3 Austrian restaurants) to try the restaurant at the MAK (Museum of Applied Art) on the Ring. The chef is formerly of Steirereck.

      My two cent, I loved Steirereck in its former setting but have yet to try the new location (not so new anymore).

      Another tip (from an Austrian) was the restaurant Morwald at the Ambassador Hotel--we skipped on our last trip due to time constraints (and, we went to Steirerck twice that week).

      4 Replies
        1. re: eve

          The place at MAK is called Österreicher im MAK and serves classic Viennese cuisine in a very plain style and in small servings. It is a very "in" place, and tables are hard to get and hardly worth the try. Drop by in off hours and try to get a table in the garden, which is very nice !!

          The Mörwald at the Ambassador is an expensive hotel restaurant with average food. It was good in the beginning, but has changed, I would rather try other places. The hotel bar, OTOH, is a nice chill out spot with a great collections of single malts and good live music on weekends.

          Two places I forgot in my first list are the Hansen in the cellar of the old Börse building, and the Vestibül in the foyer of the Burgtheater. But have the same owner but quite different food, mediterrean in the Hansen and Austrian classics with a twist in the Vestibül, which has a nice garden with a view of the City Hall and the Ringstrasse.

          Overall, we have too many expensive places serving mediocre food (such as Novelli, Fabios, Riegi, and - sorry to say - Korso), and very few restaurants which have good food and excellent service in a appreciable decor. The best restaurants are NOT in Vienna, they are in the countryside, and if you have time look up Hanner in Mayerling, or Landhaus Bacher in Mautern.

          For a recent Best of Austria list see: http://www.gaultmillau.at/bewertung/b...

          1. re: Sturmi

            Glacisbeisl was quite good and from a price perspective very good. We went to MAK on Monday night and were quite impressed, though we didn't realize there were english menus until we were packing in. Will be back for a second round at MAK. Would recommed Glacisbeisl for anyone at the Museum Quarter since it is better then the gallery cafes, and the same price.

            Will continue to update as we go.

            1. re: Gobstopper

              Since we have now really fine weather, I suggest that you visit the Flein and eat outside in their "garden". They have open Monday to Friday for lunch and dinner. Their "no frills" setup contrasts beautifully to the view into the park of the Palais Clam-Callas and their very inventive food. Such a shame they are closed Saturday and Sunday...

              Reservation recommended for dinner.

              http://www.toptipplokale.at/05lokal.p...

        2. Hi Gobstopper,

          My wife and I spent a week in Vienna a couple of years ago (we live in Zurich). The only restaurant I liked during our entire stay was Schnattl, 40 Lange Gasse. You'll need instructions on how to get there.

          Steiereck is too expensive for what you get. It wasn't bad, but I would never think of going back. There was also something disgusting about the table they gave us, a musty odor or an uncomfortable draft. We did not enjoy the evening.

          Another place to avoid is the Korso in the Hotel Bristol. They served some of the most plodding, tasteless food I've had in years, and at sky high prices. In their favor, however, I must say that they serve excellent wines by the glass. We had two excellent Austrian whites and two excellent Austrian reds. But the food ....

          Have a good trip.

          3 Replies
          1. re: bcc

            I totally agree with you about Korso and Steirereck. Definitely overpriced hype.

            Schnattl is still an excellent choice, but hard to find, as you say...

            1. re: Sturmi

              Hi bcc, thanks for the reply, I didn't come back to CHOW before leaving Vienna, and thanks for all your help Sturmi - Here is the final tally:

              We ate at MAK three times and were really happy every occasion. The food was well executed and generous. The servers were easy to work with (in english) and the right balance of casual and professional. Especially given that we seemed to eat on off times during the day or early evening. Since we were staying only a few blocks away, it was easy to get there, and to enjoy their contemporary and traditional menus. Perch, Goulash, Veal steak, Tafelspitz were all excellent as was the massive Wiener Schnitzel.

              Glacis Beisl as I said above was quite good - though not technically as proficient as MAK (i.e. staleish bread, slightly undercooked risotto). Still it made a lovely escape from the crowds, and we were eating dinner early at around 5:30, so I don't hold it against them.

              The occasional Bratwurst seemed pretty consistent in the city, but I was suprised that the mustard was kinda mediocore, but that's junk food for you. We ended up in a Nordse at one point and it was awful.

              We enjoyed the Planter's Club for drinks, and had a good dinner at Livingstone's but it is more predictably fusion and relatively pricey. Great service however, and well executed food.

              Kent Turkish restaurant in the market was like Glacis with a massive and relaxing patio. Food was predicatable but generous and cheap. Picked up some great salt cured pork and enjoyed some mixed pickles from Staud. Good food stop, and definitely more of a wow factor then the Julius Meinl store.

              Went to Heuriger Sirbu and had a great sunset and warm weather. Food was predictable but enjoyable. I had hoped pork in Austria wouldn't be as lean as pork in Canada but it was about the same.

              Had an excellent grilled whole fish in Melk

               
              1. re: Gobstopper

                Glad to hear about your recent experience at the MAK. I am jealous.

          2. HI,

            Just spent a couple of days in Vienna and have one fantastic recommendation. Zattl, near Beethoven't Molker Bastei apartment, not far from the Spanish Riding School and Stephansdom in the old quarter.

            It's a beer hall. The new owners have only had it a few weeks and the food is enthusiastic and high quality, especially for the price. We had a fantastic mushroom soup, a really great plate of smoked salmon with the best sauce for it I've had, and prooerly done weinerschnitel. My wife and daughter had goulash, which I have always avoided in restaurants, but it was delicious. They serve unpastuerized Pilsner Urquell and there are even two tables with taps right at the table.

            I know that recommending a beer hall is unfoodielike, but trust me the food here is fabulous. We have spent almost 3 weeks in Europe: Paris, Vienna, Graz, Venice and Florence and this was hands down the best meal. And compared to what we have spent everywhere else it's a bargain.

            Scott
            PS: On a busy touristy day we went to Beethoven's apartment where he wrote the 4th, 5th and 7th symphonies, Fidelio, etc and we were the only people there. My lord, to stand in the room where the 5th symphony was written...

            3 Replies
            1. re: Fladabosco

              Will check out Zattl this fall. Seems interesting. BTW did you get local guide for sightseeing eg Beethoven's apt.

              1. re: Fladabosco

                Ummh, Ahh, Wow....

                Sorry, but all food critics unisonically condemned the food at Zattl when it opened recently. Either Zattls have completely relaunched their kitchen or you were just lucky.

                OTOH the beer is great, no doubt, and I agree about the location, especially the great garden.

                1. re: Sturmi

                  We are experienced foodies (when I was young I cooked in the most expensive French restaurant in Silicon Valley) and know well made food when we eat it. We only ate there once but the food was fabulous. Maybe the cooks had a good day but there's no denying it was great food. Simple food, yes, but really well done.