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Mar 16, 2010 02:36 PM

Vienna guidance - paging Sturmi

Sturmi, we will have 3 nights & 4 days in Wien next month. Have been several times....(mei muatterl war a Wienerin :-)

For dinners I am thinking:

3 Hacken (was there last year, really liked the food...should we do it again or should we do Zur Schwarzen Katze? I've never been)

a Heurige in Stammersdorm (we must sing...Wienerschmaltz, strammel, usw) Or maybe we should go to Schweizerhaus instead? I've never been. Or Eckel?

for the third night...considering Freyenstein or Gmoakeller (have not been to either)
We don't feel like doing anything too fancy this time, so no Steireck.

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  1. Hi Gutsofsteel,

    Bad news: Zur Schwarzen Katze is closing March 27. Gunther Szigeti is looking for another location, maybe with a few more tables and easier to find.

    I would suggest you try Rudis Beisl:
    This is a real gem, and the Viennese food there is of unbelievable perfection. Reservation is a must, and Rudis Beisl is closed Saturday/Sunday.

    I like the Gmoakeller, which is a traditional beer hall with very good classic Viennese fare (closed Sunday). Actually, we never made it to Freyenstein, mainly because of horror stories about slow service.

    Schweizerhaus and Eckel are two extremes, Schweizerhaus on the low end (the only Viennese beer garden worth mentioning, and Schweinsstelze (pork knuckles) the dish to eat), Eckel on the high end (they have one of the few lobster tanks in town, and their Kalbsnierenbraten is to die for...). I like both very much, and currently I am discussing with my family whether to celebrate my April birthday at Eckel or Schweizerhaus...

    For a Heurigen visit, Stammersdorf is hard to beat. OTOH I have to admit that we usually go there without aim, just dropping into one of the many places. Best time is always the afternoon on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and in April many of the winegrowers will be offering their new wine. And sorry, we always avoid the places with music, so my opinion will not count anyway!

    29 Replies
    1. re: Sturmi

      Well this time we will arrive on a Tuesday morning and leave Friday afternoon, so no weekend.

      Maybe we'll do for the 3 nights:

      1st night: Rudis Beisl
      2nd night: Schweizerhaus or Gmoakeller (can you compare them?)
      3rd night: Freyenstein (unless we should go back to 3 Hacken...?)

      We are not in the mood for high end this no Eckel...and maybe we'll skit Stammersdorf this time...

      Very hard to pick just 3...what would you do?

      1. re: gutsofsteel

        Schweizerhaus is better for open air dining. Indoors the athmosphere is kind of grungy. So when the evening is chilly, as can be expected in April, I would prefer the Gmoakeller.

        Freyenstein offers an excellent tasting menu (only), and you have to be patient. Reserve an indoor table, even if it is 30° outside, since the menu will last until midnight and the garden tables have to be cleared at 10 p.m. Reviews are mixed: The cook is a genius, but the service...

      2. re: Sturmi

        Would you say that a place like Rudi's would be best visited on a Friday for fish-eaters who don't eat other meats?

        Alsö; what's the best place for germknodel or maunnknodel? I remember these from childhood visits and want to trz them again. I used to eat germknodel as a kid at what is now Kantine in the passage that leads to Hirschengasse. Don't know if it's still on the menu there. also, any experience with this placeÖ:
        strolled by today and it looked like i could be worth a stop

        FYI, we're in Vienna right now, staqing just off Mariahilferstrasse, a couple of blocks from West Banhof...

        1. re: kukubura

          Yes. Rudis Beisl is great for fish on Friday, but call in advance for a reservation, or drop in after 2 p.m. when the first lunchers leave...

          Germknödel are mainly served in ski huts, I think they are hard to find in the city, but one of the Kaffeehäuser like Phoenixhof is surely a good tip. What is easier to find are Buchteln, which are similar to Germknödel, but baked and not cooked. They are either served with vanilla sauce or filled with plum sauce (Powidl). This dish is also to be found in one of the Kaffeehäuser.

          If you stay in the Westbahnhof area, try one of the dim sum places (Tsing Tao, Happy Buddha, Lucky Buddha), they offer great Hongkong style dim sum !

          1. re: Sturmi

            Really! That's a hell of a tip. I thought all the chinese food in vienna was terrible but we're dimsum maniacs and maz have to take you up on that!

            also in Stammersdorf what do you think of Weininger? A book we hadve says that they feature a food selection of vegetarian food. We might go there tonight...

            1. re: kukubura

              Weininger doesn't open until friday so we went to Kierlinger‎ on Kahlenbergstrasse and it was great! Vey local, no music, everyone was Austrian: the wine might have been young but the clientele wasn't! Right next door was another heurige called Steinschaden and I have a feeling it is a little more touristy during a more busy time. Still good but we liked Kierlinger‎ better...

              Also the area was great. We walked up the hilly vineyads and got a stunning view of the entire city and Danube valley!

              (oh, and we also went to happy buddha for lunch. Great!)

              1. re: kukubura

                Great to hear that you were lucky at Happy Buddha and a Kierlinger !
                There is much to find in Vienna, and you might just have to ask the locals for their favorite "beisl" or "heurigen" to find something special, away from the tourist traps...

                1. re: Sturmi

                  A woman who was walking her dog on the vineyards over kahlbenberg gave us a suggestion for a heurigen in grinying that she said is incredible. I'll find it and post is for your feedback. I've definitely read that grinyig is for toursits and I asked her about that but she said this place was not touristy and is really great. We are thinking about a sunday trip to the woods so that might make a nice end to the day.

                  Rudi is reserved for friday at 7;30. Will post our thoughts afterwards!

                  1. re: kukubura

                    Ok, the one the woman in Kahlenberg told us about was, I think, Weingut Am Reisenberg. Sounds like it has good vegetarian options. Also, it's more modern so it would be nice to contrast with the more traditional ones we tried the other day. But we were also reading a little about Ottakring (which is easy for us to get to since we're already on U3) and the tower that gives the awesome view of the wienerwald. Thoughts? Could we maybe spend the dy walking the woods in Ottakring, go to a heurige there and then trek to Grinzing? We love all these ideas!

                    (Also, sidenote: I saw a thread from Jan 2009 about eats near the Belvedere this morning where you suggested Sperl, so we went there for lunch today! It was great. The garlic cream soup was seriously one of the best things we've had all trip)

                    1. re: kukubura

                      Am Reisenberg is great !! Spectacular view, good wine and decent food. Reservation required on weekends !!

                      And yes, you can walk through the Wienerwald from the Jubiläumswarte to Grinzing, although I think that you might find yourself walking just along the Höhenstrasse, which is not that much fun.

                      Better try the "rundumadum" trail, which you can find in detail here:

                      1. re: Sturmi

                        Thanks for the input... We'll consider it all.

                        FYI we went to Rudi's tonight. Fantastic! The most colorful plates we've had on our trip so far and the flavors were just as thoughtful. A great place! Thanks for the rec!

                        1. re: Sturmi

                          I should have called them earlier but now I'm getting a weird message from Am Reisenberg and can't figure out if they're open tomorrow (sunday) or not. Help! Does the website or asnwering machine give any clues?! I don't want to end up in touristy Grinzing to find out that they're not open.

                          1. re: kukubura

                            Sorry, Am Reisenberg is currently closed.

                            I just copied the link to their homepage and did not read their message. Most likely it is still too cold for using their location. And: the Reisenberg Heurigen can only be reached by walking up a quite steep road...

                            Maybe you should try Wieninger in Stammersdorf, They are open today and tomorrow between noon and midnight !!

                            1. re: Sturmi

                              Danke. Bummer about Am Reisenberg since it's been so higly recommended. We are kind of wanting to see the Wienerwald tomorrow but we could switch it up to go to Stammersdorf... Need to discuss. Maybe if the U Bahn cooperates we can do both even though they are in opposite directions.

                              Went to Phoenixhof tonight by the way... fabulous!

                              I will write a lengthy recap of all experiences when we get home... Only a few more day... WAAH! Vienna is amazing...

                              1. re: kukubura

                                fyi am resisenberg responded to our email and said that they're closed until the end of april for renovations.

                                1. re: kukubura

                                  Sturmi you're gonna love this: After spending the day hiking the wienerwald, climbing the terrifying jubiläumswarte for a view of all of Vienna, and visiting the Otto Wagner kirche we decided that Ottakring was not to our liking for heurigen so we hopped on the U Bahn and about 45 minutes later or so we were at Wieninger! Amazing! The food, the wine, and the atmophere were out of this world. We sat right next to a very distinguished viennese couple who we ended up chatting with for a long time. A great experience. We were probably there for four hours or so when all was said and done. The chef even shared some recipes with my wife at the end of the evening.

                                  1. re: kukubura

                                    Wow, seems you had a great Sunday !!
                                    Are you leaving today or do you need something exciting to top off your Vienna experience ??

                                    1. re: Sturmi

                                      We still have today and tomorrow. We extended our trip to avoid the British Airways strike and we were right because our original flight out is cancelled and our new flight is still scheduled as of now.

                                      The lovely couple we met at wieninger suggested as a great place to eat but looking at the website it might be too meaty for us.

                                      They also suggested the oberlaa on josefstädtlerstrasse. Maybe we'll have a sweet there.

                                      Any other final suggestions? After Sperl, Wieninger and Rudi's your word is gold around here! I still need my germknödel and we have a few other ideas. We still need to return to Duran and Trzesniewski one last time, even though my wife already blogged about them! She's fast!

                                      1. re: kukubura

                                        I really do not know where to get authentic germknödel, because - believe it or not - germknödel are currently considered just another kind of gooey junk food. Maybe one of these bohemian restaurants might be the place to find these dumplings:
                                        Am Nordpol:

                                        Zu den 3 Buchteln:


                                        But my final suggestion would be some fresh and authentic seafood from the Adriatic. Vienna has a lot of Croatian seafood restautants, the high end places Aurelius and Kornat are found on Marc Aurelstrasse, right next door from Viennas best French seafood place Le Salzgries:

                                        On the other hand I think you would prefer a more down-to-earth place such as Konoba on Lerchenfelderstrasse:

                                        Here the fish is as fresh and tasty as in the more fancy places, and they have vegetarian dishes such as stuffed peppers or pasta with black truffles...

                                        Enjoy your last days !!

                                        1. re: Sturmi

                                          Thanks! We're going to sample the germknoedel at phoenixhof only because I remember it from childhood when it seemed like it was everywhere. As for restaurants, while we're at Phoenixhof we'll stroll ba Konoba since it's right there. But in case we want one last Viennese meal a la restaurant Sperl do you have a rec? What is Twolf Apostlekellar like? The location near Stephensdom and the live music makes me think it's touristy (not our thing)

                                          Thanks for everything!

                                          1. re: kukubura

                                            The Zwölfapostelkeller, the Esterhazykeller, the Melker Stiftskeller and the Bierklinik are old traditional beer halls, authentic leftovers of a time past. Maybe not so bad, if you just like to drink a lot of beer and get some traditional food on the side. But definitely no spots for chowhounds...

                                            OTOH, in case you want a classic Viennese meal there are dozens of small old style "beisl", every area has one. Unfortunately the asparagus season has not yet quite started, the seasonal vegetable right now is just "Bärlauch", a kind of leek growing everywhere in the Wienerwald.

                                            In the inner city we like Beim Czaak, but there are also others, such as Zu den 3 Hacken, Zum Scherer, Ofenloch, Huth, Pfudl, and Gustl Bauer.

                                            A special location is the "Wirtshaus im Palais Kinsky", which may look like a tourist trap but actually has excellent food with a lot of vegetarian dishes (we dined there last sunday):
                                            English menu:

                                            In the area where you stay we like Altwiener Gastwirtschaft Schilling in Burggasse, or Schreiners Gastwirtschaft in Westbahnstrasse, or Grünauer in Hermanngasse.


                                            Yes, it is a tough choice, but you cannot go wrong with one of these places...

                                            1. re: Sturmi

                                              wow... alright, we're gonna go through that list later. We have tonight covered but tomorrow is up in the air...

                                              As a point of interest we saw some old folks picking "Bärlauch" in the wienerwald yesterday, although we didnät know what it was. We did notice the fragrance and pick a few leaves ourselves to taste. Really delicious.

                                              1. re: kukubura

                                                Well, Sturmi, you did it again. We had our last meal at Schilling and it was very good. We also finished off the evening with a germknödel at Phönixhof. And while we may be aching for some fresh veggies we've really enjoyed all our viennese meals! I'll do a full trip report when I get home. But this was a really great trip! Thanks for all the assistance!

                                                  1. re: gutsofsteel

                                                    There are two places, the Cafe Sperl in Gumpendorferstrasse (a traditional Kaffeehaus) and the Restaurant Sperl in Karolinengasse (an old style beisl).

                                                    The naming is coincidental, there is no connection whatsoever between these two places, beside the fact that both are quite interesting regarding the food they serve...

                                                    1. re: Sturmi

                                                      Three nights in Wien coming plan for the 3 dinners: Rudis Beisl, Gmoakeller, Weingut Weininger (on a Thursday).

                                                      Does that sound good?

                                                      If any of these are unavailable, I now have Restaurant Sperl as another choice. How about Schilling and Gustl Bauer?

                                                      Is Phonixhof a kaffeehaus or....?

                                                      1. re: gutsofsteel

                                                        The heurigen is named WIENINGER !! And please check whether they are open, either on their website or on the one for Stammerdorf.

                                                        Wieninger is a "high end" heurigen, Rudis Beisl, Schilling, Restaurant Sperl and Gmoakeller are real traditional down-to-earth Viennese gems. Rudi is the smallest and maybe also the best of these.

                                                        Gust Bauer is a little bit above, a "high end beisl".

                                                        Phoenixhof is a Kaffeehaus right in the middle of a very trendy area.

                                                        I would suggest that you also try one of the more inventive places, such as Zum Finsteren Stern, Gaumenspiel, Vincent, or Kutscker44 ?? There you will get local fusion cuisine of very high quality.

                                                        1. re: Sturmi

                                                          Thanks Sturmi. I'm not so interested in eating fusion cuisine in Vienna, or particularly in eating inventive cuisine when I only have 3 nights this trip. "Down to earth Viennese gems" is exactly what we want.

                                                          I did check the opening hours/day for Weininger...they open for the season on the 15th of April.

                                                          If we don't get Rudis or Gmoakeller, we will try Schilling and/or Sperl.

                                                          And of course many kaffeehauser (sorry about no umlaut).

                                                          Thank you!!

                                                          1. re: gutsofsteel

                                                            Not that I'm an expert and you already knw my thoughts on these places but Wieninger, Rudi's and Sperl are all great. I doubt you'll go wrong with any of them...

        2. "a Heurige in Stammersdorm (we must sing...Wienerschmaltz, strammel, usw) Or maybe we should go to Schweizerhaus instead? I've never been. Or Eckel?"

          I realize this is a bit dated post. I am looking to visit several heurigens during this trip, and will certainly visit Stammersdorf and in particular Weininger. But I am also interested in ones with non-touristic and good entertainment as well. Any particular suggestions?

          13 Replies
          1. re: Kurtis

            I do not know whether there still is a NON-TOUTISTY heurigen with ENTERTAINMENT !!

            The non-touristy heurigen are small and owner-operated, which means that the wine grower offers his own wine and a - mostly cold - buffet. Any larger place will not be a real heurigen, but a restaurant masquerading as "heurigen" ! And will be definitely a tourist-oriented enterprise...

            Wieninger is one of the few exceptions, two brothers specializing, one making the wine, the other the heurigen buffet…

            One other interesting heurigen in Stammersdorf is Göbel.

            Located the other end of Stammersdorf, Göbel is most likely also exactly on the other end of the heurigen category. More modern, more "BoBo" …

            A great review presenting all of heurigen is here:

            And yes: Schweizerhaus is a great beer garden !!

            1. re: Sturmi

              Thanks for this Strumi. Indeed I had Göbel in mind when I wrote Wieninger though both are on our radar.

              I am also interested in Weiner Lieder in a cafe or restaurant setting. Here's the link to the website that got me interested.


              1. re: Kurtis

                Well, you got it !
                This website gives you all the information, that is IT !!

                1. re: Sturmi

                  sorry to butt in Sturmi, but am in a bit of a fix and you seem thoroughly knowledgeable in the Viennese culinary scene. I'll be in Vienna for 4 days during Easter time (2nd April - 6th) and wanted to try out either Steirereck or Silvio Nickol. Which one, would you say is the better, both in terms of food as well as ambience? Which one would offer the more romantic setting? Or would you forgo either option and go for something else?

                  Thanks in advance!

                  1. re: jfarr

                    Hello jfarr,
                    Both locations offer more splendor than romantic ambience...
                    Steiereck has now a modern place with great french windows opening to the Stadtpark, but the setup is not a romantic one. And Silvio Nickol has a terrible interior, like from a french Louis de Funes movie of the 60s...

                    For a romantic setup and high-end gourmet food I would recommend Walter Bauer

                    or less romantic, but also less show-off: Konstantin Fillipou !!

                    And a great romantic location are the two smaller window tables of Meinl am Graben, which has now gained also great ratings for its new chef:

                    1. re: Sturmi

                      Thanks for the advice. Actually was thinking of going to Konstantin Fillipou for lunch! From my very limited knowledge of German, I understood that Walter Bauer, like Steirereck, does not open on Saturday (hopefully I understood correctly).

                      Thing is this, I'm planning on proposing whilst in Vienna and then go for dinner afterwards. Since she's never been to a 2 michelin restaurant, I thought it'd be the perfect 'treat'. So, Steirereck seems to be winning on ambience even not within the traditional definition of romantic. Does it deliver more than Silvio Nickol in terms of gastronomy as well?

                      Would also highly appreciate if you could suggest some traditionally viennese restaurants that are reasonably priced as well as, possibly, an asian-style/inspired one. Market stall suggestion for food would also be nice.

                      Apologies for bombarding you with questions and thanks for being so helpful!

                      1. re: jfarr

                        Yes, Saturday and Sunday are difficult days for high-end dining …

                        Steirereck definitely is a world-class high end place, but you pay for this experience…

                        Konstantin Fillipou definitely is the same class, but for much less...

                        Traditional Viennese restaurants I can recommend are:
                        Anna Sacher and Sacher Rote Bar (Rote Bar open 7 days),
                        Restaurant Eckel in Sievering
                        Pfarrwirt in Heiligenstadt

                        down-to-earth and head-to-tail:
                        Gasthaus Pöschl
                        Gasthaus Wolf
                        Rudis Beisel
                        Gasthaus Meixner
                        Zum Recnizek

                        Asian style:

                        China Bar
                        Pho Sai Gon
                        Kiang wine bar
                        Chinazentrum Restaurant
                        Happy and Lucky Buddha
                        Tsing Tao

                        But all these Asian places are less authentic than you would find in Amsterdam, London or New York …

                        Better try Croatian seafood, or Iranian grills, or regional Italian places (see my earlier postings !!).

                        Check all places for contact details and opening hours here:

                        Just enter the name at "Lokalsuche" and click on "suchen" !

                        1. re: Sturmi

                          Noted with thanks. Will definitely check them out. What about the post-proposal dinner... would you say steirereck is better than silvio nickol (or vice versa) in terms of food and service?


                          1. re: jfarr

                            If I had to choose between these two, Steiereck and Nickol, I would rather visit the Steiereck.

                            But please make a reservation as soon as possible, Steirereck is always sold out for many weeks in advance ...

                            1. re: Sturmi

                              Thanks Sturmi. Reservation done and dusted. Hoping for the best!

                          2. re: Sturmi

                            Hi Sturmi,
                            Long-time lurker, first-time poster, so sorry if this isn't proper etiquette.

                            I have read with interest many of your posts and am amazed at the depth and breadth of your knowledge of Vienna restaurants.

                            I am visiting Vienna Feb 21st through 26th and will be staying at the Marriott. It will be a family trip, with my wife and our four children (13, 11, 9, 4) and my parents. My children are well-behaved and reasonably adventuresome eaters. Although we all enjoy fine cuisine, we are thinking more about authentic, down-to-earth restaurants where a party of our size would not be ill-received.

                            We will be visiting many of the sites in the immediate city center and my plan is to look for a late lunch (2 PM) at Gasthaus Poschl on at least a couple of our days there. In previous posts you have mentioned that it might be possible to arrive mid-afternoon there without a reservation. Not knowing the size of Gasthau Poschl, would a reservation be more advisable for a party of 8? We are just trying to be sensitive to the establishment and realize that we are a large family :)

                            My other thoughts are possibly going to Heiner (not sure on the extent of their menu vis a vis lunch), and to Restaurant Sperl on the day we visit the Belvedere and the Military Museum. Maybe Glacisbeisl after the NeueBerg.

                            We would love to visit Weininger, but it seems we chose the wrong season for Heurigen :), unless you have inside knowledge of a non-touristed option open in the winter.

                            I would welcome any other input or recommendations, and thank you for graciously sharing your expertise and local knowledge!

                            1. re: jwrobert

                              Hi jwrobert,
                              You really have made your homework, and even right now I can assure you that you and your family will enjoy the 5 days in Vienna (and 5 days is exactly what you need !) !
                              Regarding reservations for a party of 8 I agree with you that this might be advisable, even if you find on arriving in the restaurant that you are the only customers at that time…

                              Heiner is one of the traditional pastry shops, and their branch on Kärntnerstrasse has a large area in the second floor where you might - with a lot of luck - find a table for 8 without reservation. And yes, they do have a (non-sweet, real "hausmannskost") dish of the day for lunch:

                              Sorry, but I do not know any NeueBerg in Vienna. Do you think about "Neue Burg" ?? Or any of the museums in the Museumsquartier ?

                              Regarding a visit to a heurigen. The winter season has a lot of charm when visiting a heurigen, since this is what you get right now: the NEW wine from 2014 !
                              Stammersdorf has always a few heurigen that are open, look up here for the day you want to go:

                              1. re: Sturmi

                                Thank you for the speedy reply! Yes, my mistake, the Neue Burg :)

                                So glad I mentioned the heurigen - that link is terrific and there are indeed a few open, and all look to be family wineries. Wonderful!

                                I will tighten up our timeline and make reservations. We are really looking forward to our visit!