Vienna next week - Wed (lunch, dinner), Thurs (lunch, dinner) and the following Mon (lunch) - help!
I love reading Chowhound but I am getting increasingly confused and worried. I have made the following reservations and I want to make sure that I am going to the best Vienna have to offer (well in three days), and I would be really grateful for your comments/suggestions.
25 May lunch: Österreicher im MAK
25 May Dinner: Plachutta Wollzeile
26 May lunch: Steirereck
26 May dinner: ??
30 May lunch: ??
Meierei in the Stadtpark is an off-shoot of Steirereck and is a lovely spot for lunch on an early summer day. Menu is limited, focused on dairy products but this means great cheese is top condition - happily the wine list is also good so what more do you want. They are open pretty much all day.
Österreicher im MAK is great for lunch. It is basically a large museum cafeteria and has a nice garden. The food are Viennese classics.
Plachutta is also great for lunch and dinner, but the food is quite similar to Österreicher. Steirereck is much more refined, a class of its own. I would rather use Steirereck for dinner and Plachutta for one of the lunches...
An interesting experience with wonderful classic Viennese food is Gmoakeller behind Konzerthaus (closed sundays). They have all the basics, like Gulasch, and offal, like Beuschl and Blutwurst, but also more refined food such as game and fish. Great for dinner after a concert in Konzerthaus...
Other lunch classics in the city are the city beisl of Gasthaus Pöschl (formerly Immervoll), Huth, Pfudl, Beim Czaak, Zum Scherer or Ofenloch.
And for less expensive dinners than at Steirereck there are also the New Viennese chefs of Gaumenspiel, Kutschker44, Martin Stein and a newcomer: Hohensinn in Fuhrmanngasse
Martin Stein looks interesting - actually the dishes look more interesting than Steirereck! Chose Steirereck for lunch cos it would be easier on the wallet. I cannot seem to tell but is Martin Stein in the outskirts? My hotel is in the historical part (innercity i believe) and I dont really want to travel too far away if I can help it.
Darn I didnt realise that there were so many interesting restaurants in Vienna! If you had to choose between Martin Stein, RieGi, Mraz + Sohn and Kitschker 44, in what order would you prioritise them and is Plachutta a must? I heard good things about Zum Roten Elefanten too...
Read some reviews that Mraz + Sohn is too much hype and that it concentrates more on theatrics than the food? Is that true? I rather it be the other way around though I appreciate the entertainment.
Riegi is a quite expensive high-end place in the city, where the chef recently changed. It has received good marks, and is conveniently located right in the center. Mraz&Son and Martin Stein are located somewhat more in the periphery, and both are high-end as well, but slightly less expensive. Here is Riegi´s English menu: http://www.riegi.at/userfiles/file/menu.pdf
At one of these places you might enjoy a four to six course menu for 40 to 90 Euro and pay 20+ Euro for a bottle of Austrian wine. It is true that Mraz&Son like a more theatrical menu setup, but the experience is valid, the food is interesting. Martin Stein is the most puritan of the three, and might be boring to some, and a relevation of taste to others...
Kutschker44 is something else, a relaxed, lounge style restaurant with the chef on a open hearth cooking right in the middle of the room. The food is excellent, light and fresh, always some interesting vegetarian dishes, but sometimes the wait between course can be quite long. He lower price range compensates...
Kutschker44´s German menu: http://www.kutschker44.at/download/ka...
Alternative places in the same range are Zum Finsteren Stern or Gaumenspiel.
Plachutta is a brasserie Viennese style. Classic food, expertly prepared, actually a must if you want to experience traditional Viennese classics, although their price range is above the average "beisl", where you can get the same quality for much less. Such beisl places would be Pöschl (former Immervoll), Huth, Beim Czaak, Gmoakeller, Zum Reznicek or - of course Rudi´s Beisl...
Zum Roten Elefanten is one of the "New Viennese Beisl", such as Skopik&Lohn, Schreiners Gastwirtschaft, Wild, etc. Basically popular meeting spots for the young and trendy, food can vary, athmosphere is very casual.
Am back from my Austria visit and managed to try the following places:
Plachutta had the best boiled beef that we tried in Vienna. We tried it at 5 different places. The rosti was also quite yummy - crunchy and not overly salted.
Had our lovely lunch there and the weather was lovely, with sun and breeze. Managed to change the main and had the beef from the dinner menu at no extra charge.
I had the warm artichoke salad with herbs - interesting but wont order it again.
He had the 'red herring' (salmon) which was lovely
I had the crayfish with parsnip for an additional charge - was good but pity the crayfish was tiny.
He had the piglet cheeks with Kohlrabi - his favourite dish of the day.
I had the bbq alpine forerib - was lovely.
He had the roast pigeon - that tasted like offal and was the most raw pigeon that both of us had ever tasted.
I had the cheese platter - pity it didnt come with dried fruits, came with grapes though.
He had the lavender souffle - he liked it, i thought it was ok.
Overall - i would go back again.
He tried the set lunch which was very reasonably priced.
I had the tasting lunch which was interesting but not particularly filling.
- The oxtail soup was very interesting.
- Lamb main was lovely.
4. Beim Czaak
He had the boiled beef (we would have liked more soup and the boiled beef was not very tender) and I had the beef goulash (beef goulash was really salty)
5. Seafood at Nachtsmarkt
Sorry i forgot the names of the places that I had seafood at but the oysters were lovely though they came at 2.50 euros a pop. Also, the mussels in a pot that I tried were lovely.
Overall, the food and the city surprised me (in a good way) and I am looking forward to going back. :)