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Apr 1, 2009 04:05 PM

Wien / Naschmarkt

I am eagerly planning my upcoming (early September) trip to Vienna. I was there as a student for two weeks back in 1988 (I came by train from Munich, where I was spending a year), staying in cheap hostel accommodations and eating on a student's budget. I am anxious to experience Vienna as an adult!

A special "danke schoen" to Sturmi for your helpful advice in earlier posts. I have already compiled quite a list of your suggestions. I am especially interested in traditional Viennese/Austrian cuisine and will definitely be heading for some of the "beisln."

I will be staying in an apartment on the Rechte Wienzeile (No. 9/VII/29, ecke Faulmanngasse), so naturally will be planning to visit the Naschmarkt often. I'm hoping to get some advice as to which of the stands are especially noteworthy and should not be missed.

Also, Gasthaus Ubl is fairly close to the apartment, so I'm hoping to get Sturmi's / anyone else's thoughts regarding that particular destination.

This is the first of several posts to come on the subject of Wien / Vienna. I will also be returning to Berlin, staying in an apartment in Mitte (Veteranenstrasse, near Prenzlauer Berg) and will be seeking advice for that city as well.

Vielen herzlichen Dank!

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  1. You are lucky !
    Since 1988 we have had a real "beisl revival", and not only is Ubl still there, alive and kickin, there are many others around, especially in the Naschmarkt area.

    The Naschmarkt is no more a simple market as it was 100 years ago. It is a meeting spot for tourists and locals, a multicultural mix of spices and foods and a historic landmark as well. The part close to the Karlsplatz is the hottest where you find upscale spots like Umar (fresh fish, to eat at their small restaurant or to take home and prepare yourself) and Urbanek (best cheese, ham and wine, smallest and most expensive deli you will ever find), and more reasonable places, like the one we prefer: Pho Sai Gon for vietnamese rice paper rolls, soups, fried rice or noodles, steamed fish with lemon grass (my favorite) and vietnamese style coffee. For local food there is Zur eisernen Zeit, a real beisl, founded 1916 during WW I (the "time of iron") and unchanged since then. They have high quality Viennese food, and the main problem is to find a place in the small interior dining room if it is too cold to sit outside...

    More trendy meeting spots are Deli, Tewa, Nautilus and - the lates addition - Neni. Here you will meet the local "in-crowd", and still get decent food, mediterrean style.

    My recommendation for Naschmarkt: Do NOT go on Saturday !! We prefer Thursday or Friday mornings, when it is much less crowded and most restaurants will serve inexpensive lunch menues between 6 and 10 EUR for two or three courses, a real bargain...

    Quite close to the Naschmarkt are two street scenes worth mentioning: The Schleifmühlgasse and the Gumpendorferstrasse. Each one offers a mix of cafes, restaurants, galleries, boutiques and antique shops. We like the Cafe Amarcord (right on corner to rechte Wienzeile), the Cote Sud ( a french bistro on Schleifmühlgasse), and the Ramien (good Asian food, Gumpendorferstrasse).

    But this is just the start. Vienna is developing steadily and new areas get renovated and new eating places are opening everywhere. Old beisls get new owners who try to revive traditional Viennese cuisine and serve it in the old setup. We like "Zur schwarzen Katze" on Kreuzgasse, in an area you would not visit without this beisl. They offer an astounding quality of inventive variations of traditional Austrian cuisine at reasonable prices.

    Other beisl of the same quality is the recently opened Freyenstein (18., Thimiggasse), although we have not yet managed to go there. Their garden is promising...

    Other beisl just prefer to present the Viennese classics in an authentic athmosphere, like Immervoll, Beim Czaak, Pfudl, Zu den drei Hacken, Beim Scherer and Huth (all in the inner city). But there are many more, and each district has now one or two ...

    And there is more: if you just want to eat high quality Viennese classics and have had not time to reserve a table at one of the small, owner-run beisl, try the "Eisvogel" on Riesenradplatz. The buildings there are extreme kitschy, but the food and service is excellent, and they open daily for lunch and dinner. A real competition for Plachutta...

    7 Replies
    1. re: Sturmi

      Thank you so much for this prompt and comprehensive response.

      One question (I'll have more later - my trip is still five months from now!): what do you suggest with regard to restaurant reservations in Wien? Are they absolutely essential, or do most places accommodated "walk-in" guests?

      1. re: reisenden

        Reservations usually are required, but just one or two days ahead. The only exception are always the "hot IN spots" which just opened recently, but I would avoid most of these anyhow...

        BTW: We are just returning from one of the recently re-opened beisl, "Zum Posthorn" in 3., Posthorngasse 6. It was full up to the last chair, and we got the last table reserved by phone yesterday. It is one of the small gems (seating maybe just 30 people) we are very proud of here, with just the right number of dishes on the menu, a charming service and very "gemütlich" atmosphere with an ambiente right from the early 1900s...

      2. re: Sturmi

        Speaking of Plachutta, who REALLY has the best tafelspitz in Wien?

        I plan to spend some time out at Schoenbrunn and also looking up a nearby building which was home to some family members before 1938 (on Beckmangasse, not far from the Hietzing U-Bahn station). Would you recommend having a meal at the Plachutta in Hietzing while I'm nearby? Or would it be best, if choosing to dine at Plachutta, to visit their Innere Stadt location?

        1. re: reisenden

          In Hietzing there is not much of a choice beside Plachutta, and his Tafelspitz IS very good but also quite pricey.

          So, if you visit Hietzing, go to Plachutta. When dining in the city, you have less expensive alternatives for Tafelspitz, such as Beim Czaak in Postgasse, which is very popular with tourists and locals. I also like to eat Tafelspitz in Altwiener Gastwirtschaft Schilling at the corner Burggasse/Halbgasse, a very old beisl with completely authentic interior and a very good sample of "New Beisl Cusine" !!

          BTW: When you return after 20 years you will notice two things:

          1. Much less smoking in restaurants, although still not yet completely cigarette-smoke free, and some places are "smokers only".

          2. Extremely efficient, friendly and helpful English-speaking waiters almost everywhere.

        2. re: Sturmi

          Hi Sturmi! A question about Naschmarkt: I'll be passing through town next week, and my husband has asked me to bring him some Hungarian paprika (we live in Ireland and it's sometimes hard to get anything but Spanish paprika here -- not nearly as good as the Hungarian). Are there any stalls or stands at Naschmarkt that you'd particularly recommend for this? Thanks! -- Diane D.

          1. re: dduane

            Good Question: There are many kiosks selling spices, but most will be rather from Turkey or even from farther east...

            If you look, you might also find some paprika from Hungary, but there is no guarantee for freshness...

            OTOH I would rather go to any major supermarket in Vienna and buy a package of Kotanyi Paprika.