Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Europe >
Sep 27, 2011 07:45 AM

Vienna for One Night in Oct

I have read most of the posts on Vienna and have just become more confused as to where my husband and I should go. We will be in Austria for a week but we are based in a tiny town just south of Salzburg called Maria Alm. We arrive there Sat Oct 29 ( after driving from Venice). We will drive and hike the beautiful area with one day in Salzburg. One Wed morning we will drive very early to Vienna and should get there about 10AM. We are staying at the Hilton Vienna in Stadtpark( we will park car near there). Since we will be eating Austrian food all over Austria for a week we don't really need ALL the experiences for our one night and day in Vienna. We can experience beer gardens I would imagine in other areas.But we would like to experience the elegance of Vienna and traditional Viennese food.Also we will just be seeing a few main sites since eating is our main itinerary.Money really isn't an issue, although we don't need the extremely extravagant fancy gourmet foods with huge prices. But we don't need to eat cheaply either

I have a sweet tooth and usually don't eat deserts too often. But I want to try all the deserts, especially of course the famous Sacher Torte. Are the desserts better or different in Vienna than the rest of Austria? Should we go to cafes like Demel, Landtmann for a lunch since we want to experience them and aren't sure if we can have a big lunch and then a mid-afternoon cake at a cafe , followed by a big dinner. Usually we don't eat in between meals. So hard to judge.

As for breakfast I wonder if there are traditional breakfasts? Most breakfasts we will be cooking ourselves while in our apartment in Maria Alm. So for our one breakfast out in Austria, should we just eat at the Hilton or is there a better place?

We also live near NYC and have gone to haute cuisine places like Le Bernardin with the long tasting menus. We like this experience but don't want that for our stay in Vienna. We want Viennese food, good but not something we could get in any fancy place in the world. So I am wondering where we should go for our one dinner in Vienna?

I have a few ideas based on the posts in chowhound:


Lunch: ? ( Cafe maybe ) First meal in city

Dinner( maybe Gosser Bierklink; not sure might be too touristy); maybe Rudi's Beisl( or is this better for lunch?) Not sure where Rudi's is yet. IS it close to where we are? Anywhere else?Only dinner of stay in Vienna. Want something special

Breakfast: ( Cafe Landtmann perhaps since they open early?)
Lunch:Last meal. After lunch we will collect car and head back to Maria Alm( about 4 hour drive)So could be a big meal since we have a long drive ahead of us to digest

Any help would be greatly appreciated

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Breakfast:
    Traditional Austrian breakfast is a generous "continental breakfast" with coffee or tea, small rolls (Semmel, Salzstangerl, Mohnweckerl, Wachauer) and some pastry (Mürbes Kipferl, Prager Spitz,Mürbe Schnecke), but these pastries are made not like croissants, the dough is a simple one more similar to bagels than to danish pastries. Served with honey and jams, cheese and ham.

    In a hotel I would order a continental breakfast from the room service. It is a lot of fun, but Landtmann is also a perfect choice for breakfast, since you have a wonderful view of the Ringstrasse !!

    For lunch a Kaffeehaus such as Landtmann or Demel is a good idea, you might get a nice dish of the day and top it with a cake and coffee. Landtmann has nice cakes, but Demel is better...

    There are many other Kaffeehäuser around, and you might just drop int he one close by at noontime.

    Rudi´s Beisl is very crowded and might not be a pleasure for dinner, since it is also a "smokers restaurant". It is not that far form the Hilton, 5 min per taxi. I prefer it for a late lunch after 2 pm, when the lunch crowd thins out. But Rudi´s simple Viennese cuisine is definitely recommended !!

    For dinner I would either go to Walter Bauer, who is a wonderful mixture of old-world elegance and new inventive Viennese cuisine.

    For a more traditional Viennese dinner nothing beats Eckel in Sievering, where you feel that Arthur Schnitzler and Sigmund Freud have just left ....

    Another choice would be the more rustic Gmoakeller, which is quite close to the Vienna Hilton. This is an old-fashioned beer cellar, similar to Gösser Bierklinik, but closer to the Hilton.

    Walter Bauer
    Vienna, Vienna, Vienna , AT

    15 Replies
    1. re: Sturmi

      I have read so many of your posts and I am glad to hear from you. Thank you. I will check out all these places and report back.

      1. re: Sturmi

        Sturmi: I had emailed an acquaintance from business, who is Austrian, about where to eat and he got back with this message:

        "The place to eat dinner in Vienna is called "Zum Finsteren Stern" at the Schulhof 8 in the 1st District. The proprietor Ella de Silva is a childhood friend and the food is spectacular. She is not open for lunch but I will talk with her about good places to go for Viennese food and Cafes – do not go to the Hotel Sacher it is very bad - and get back to you shortly."

        I quickly looked up the restaurant and only saw glowing reviews. I just wonder if it is more gourmet and not so traditional than I want. But it does sound amazing. I thought maybe we should eat there for dinner( looks romantic as well) and do more traditional lunches

        What do you think of this place?

        1. re: clarkgranny

          I am always recommending "Zum Finsteren Stern" as a great experience of wonderful inventive food. I like this place very much !! You will find it mentioned in many of my prior posts on Viennese cuisine...

          But it is a very down-to-earth no frills place located in the basement of an old palais from the 1700s, and can sometimes be quite crowded and noisy. The food is also of a more international variety with lot of mediterrean touches, and not much of Viennese cuisine. But its always an experience, and it is not filling, you can easily take the six-course menu !!

          Walter Bauer is definitely another category, more high-end and of course slightly more expensive. The atmosphere is one of a small luxury place, and not a no-frills basement....

          Restaurant Eckel is 100% traditional Viennese cuisine with all the standards at exceptional high quality. The interior is a traditional Viennese restaurant, and their service and their price/value rate is unique.

          I like all of these places. And this is the problem with a single dinner. You have so many choices !!

          1. re: Sturmi

            I agree with you! Even though Zum Finsteren Stern looks great I can get international cooking anywhere here in the States and for one night in Vienna I think we should go with Viennese cooking ( assuming this will be different than all the other meals we have in Austria since we are to be there for a week and will be eating in Salzburg one night as well as places all around Maria Alm.So I think I will be making a reservation soon with Restaurant Eckel

            1. re: clarkgranny

              Let me give you some idea what to expect at Eckel:

              There is wonderful selection of starters:
              The most typical Viennese is the "Sulz vom Tafelspitz mit Jungzwiebel und Kernöl", which translates into a kind of head cheese made from boiled beef (Tafelspitz is the best piece to be used for boiled beef in Vienna), served with chives and pumpkin seed oil. This is Vienna at its best.

              I would also try one of the typical Viennese soups: there is always a clear bouillon made from beef, and you can choose between dumplings made from liver (Leberknödel) or semolina ("Grießnockerl") or strips of pancake ("Frittatensuppe"). Alternatively you might also choose a potatoe cream soup with porcini mushrooms or a pumpkin soup.

              As main course you might get one of the lobsters out of the tank, in Vienna Eckel is one of three restaurants with live lobsters. I am sure you will rather choose either a Wiener Schnitzel or Tafelspitz, but there is really a signature dish at Eckel: Kalbsnierenbraten. This is a roast veal including also the kidney and its fat, served with white rice. This is of course a piece for connoisseurs, but it is so good that I really recommend it to you ...

              They also offer the Viennese classics Zwiebelrostbraten or Kalbsgulasch, and a selection of local and mediterrean fish. For fish lovers the "Zander (pike perch) gebraten auf Zitronen-Kapernsauce mit Kartoffeln" might be the dish to love...

              Since you come at the end of October there will also be some game dishes.

              For dessert they have a lot of classical ones, including wonderful fruit sorbets. More filling are the pancakes, there are variations with apricot jam or chocolate and one with strawberries. A real Viennese dessert is the "Maronireis mit Schlagobers", this is a chestnut puree with whipped cream, heavy but wonderful...

              1. re: Sturmi

                Thank you very much for all this wonderful information. I will study and try to do justice to the menu when i see it. And no we will not be having lobsters. We get them at home all the time as we live on an Island.

                I asked a question about eating in Salzburg on this board but I haven't received an answer yet. Do you know any good places there? We will go to Salsburg one morning and stay for lunch at least, maybe dinner. I don't know if it is better to leave in the late afternoon and drive back to Maria Alm and get dinner there. IF we have dinner in Salzburg we will have to drive back late at night in the dark and with alcohol in us. Not a very good idea. So I think a large lunch will be best there. I am thinking Restaurant s'Herzi.

                1. re: clarkgranny

                  There are quite a few interesting places in Salzburg, And they all offer lunch as well as dinner:

                  Hangar 7
                  This is the place where all the rich people dine. It is a spectacular setup inside the hangar where the vintage airplane collection of Mateschitz, the owner of Red Bull, is kept. This is a very good place, but nothing particular typical for Salzburg. There is a different chef every month, usually an international star. In October it will be Catalan cuisine by Xavier Pellicer...

                  I prefer the Pfefferschiff, which is a few miles outside of town in a small manor from the 1800s, which had been primarily financed with the return of an investment in pepper, therefore the name pepper ship. The setup and the menu are unique, presenting local cuisine at its best, and a great experience. Hard to beat...

                  This is a more urban place, but still with a lot of tradition. Definitely recommended, and easier to reach. Has a nice outdoor setup with a garden pavillon also usable in colder weather.

                  Goldener Hirsch:
                  One of the oldest hotels on Getreidegasse, this is also a great traditional high-end restaurant.

                  Middle of the road:
                  There are many good restaurants in the city center. Goldene Gans, Elefant come to my mind.

                  A great cafe with nice lunch menu is Cafe Mozart on Getreidegasse.

                  But of course there are also high end cafes such as Demel

                  Fine finger food of highest quality can be had at Carpe Diem. A special experience not to be missed !!

                  Two places I like:
                  Triangel, the watering hole for the actors and singers during the festival season:

                  Krimpelstätter, an old traditional beer garden:

                  But this is just a small example. Salzburg is one of the hot spots in Austria regarding dining, and there is so much more...

                  My personal favorites are Pfefferschiff at the high end and Triangel for the fun of it...

                  1. re: Sturmi

                    Wow more to explore. I will get back to you after I investigate all these places. Thanks again

                    1. re: Sturmi

                      I am leaning on going to Goldneer Hirsch for lunch; then at the end of the day when we are ready to leave the Cafe Mozart. Why there? I like that they have the traditional desserts I read about: Salzburger Nockerln and Morh im Hemd. But I have a question: One book describes Topfenknodel as a cheese dumpling which is fried. The Cafe has a dessert called Topfenstrudel. I have a feeling this is a strudel and very different, right? And what is marillenknodel like?

                      1. re: clarkgranny

                        Goldener Hirsch and Cafe Mozart are good choices because of their central location. Food and service are excellent.

                        Topfenknödel are fried cheese dumplings, usually served with a fruit compote, either made from plums, apples or apricots.

                        Topfenstrudel is a strudel filled with cheese and usually served with a vanilla sauce.

                        Marillenknödel are dumplings filled with a whole apricot. The dough can be made with cheese, or with potatoes, or a simple pasta dough.

                        All of these desserts are really great, typical for Austria and definitely not to miss !
                        But Salzburger Nockerln are only served in Salzburg...

                        P.S.: I made small mistake: it is Blaue Gans and not Goldene Gans, and here is the Blaue Gans menu:

                        Sorry ...

                        1. re: Sturmi

                          I want to thank all the Chowhound people for their help in choosing restaurants for my stay in October in Austria. Here is my report back:

                          We spent a week in Austria. We were mostly in the Salzburg area staying in a mountain ski resort area in Maria Alm, about an hour south of Salzburg

                          Sat night: In Maria Alm where we were staying for a week as our base our first dinner in Austria was at Hotel Eder. We had the house specialty which was this huge platter of food for two. Really it made enough food for our next night’s dinner back at our apartment. This platter had a pile of different meats and sausages, a mound of French fries, and a bunch of steamed veggies like cauliflower and zucchini. Very good, but again way too much food. We also had Kaiserschmarren ( kind of like a cut up crêpe or French toast with a jam sauce and powdered sugar )and Mohr im Hemd ( warm chocolate cake) for dessert with a bottle of Austrian white wine ( Guner Veltliner)

                          Monday was spent all day site seeing in Salzburg; got there at about 10 Am and so our first food stop was for a snack at Café Demel. Husband and I both had their coffee in a glass with whip cream (to die for) and a treat. Husband had a lite strudel with a cream cheese inside that was excellent; I had some cake with layers of cream and liquor and meringue. I was in heaven. I am a runner and very fit so I only have sweets once a month or even less occasionally . My time in Austria saw me gain 3 pounds because I had a sweet for lunch and dinner everyday we were there. I took pictures of all food so I can remember each wonderful dessert. After all my travels in the world I have to say Austria had the best desserts by far. Even those stops on the autostrada had wonderful cakes.

                          But back to Salzburg: Lunch we ended up at the Goldener Hirsch. Only one or two other people in the room but we were quite late for lunch. Husband had a pumpkin soup with pumpkin seed oil dribbled on top; Austria loves their pumpkin see oil and we found it in a lot of recipes. We bought some to take home as gifts for we liked it so much. Indeed I had a salad at this restaurant, which was dressed with pumpkin seed oil. I had the house deer with a wonderful dark sauce with mushrooms and some kind of potato stick (Austrians also love potatoes we discovered). My husband had the duck with a red cabbage that was just excellent; a bottle of white Austrian,wine of course.

                          After touring around we couldn’t leave Salzburg without having the famous dessert, Nockerln. Since this took 20 minutes to prepare we headed to Café Mozart ; my husband had hot chocolate and I a pot of tea; everything was so beautifully presented on silver trays that it made for a wonderful relaxing experience. The Nockerln was delicious and well worth the wait. It is hard to describe. A baked dish of egg whites with a cranberry sauce to add to it. All very very sweet

                          After getting back to our hotel area we stopped at a local restaurant and had Austrian goulash and our first wiener schnitzel; very good but nothing to really write about

                          Next day we drove in the country side to a beautiful laketown, Hallstatt and for lunch had one of our best meals in Austria at Hotel Gruner Baum. My husband had a starter of very large shrimp and I had a local trout tartare with some cucumbers in a dill sauce. Outstanding. Next we both had the local fish from the lake that our table looked out on; we live on an Island on the east coast and my husband’s family are all fisherman. So believe us when we say we know fresh fish. And this fish was very fresh and wonderfully prepared.

                          Next day we drove to Vienna about 4 hours away. We stayed one night only so just had time for the whirlwind, must-see sites. But our real aim was for good Viennese food. On the way there we were amazed at the quality of the service stations on the Autostrada. The chain called Landzeit has amazing restaurants. One place we stopped had a huge room with so many stands for different foods it was overwhelming. Fresh juices, all kinds of cakes, many breads, coffee stand( with all kinds of coffee), meats and cheeses. The food was heads above most American restaurants much less a something you would find at a road stop. Hats off to the Austrians for best food on the road anywhere in the world! I had my first Austrian apple strudel and my husband had some bacon and eggs with potatoes for breakfast. We also tried the topenstrudle which had a lovely cheese inside. The place used real plates, no paper; cappuccino was served in a lovely glass with silver handle. Again this was a pit stop! Be sure to stop at the Landzeit restaurants if in Austria.

                          After settling into our hotel in Vienna, we walked to the restaurant Zu den 3 Hacken for lunch. Cute place; husband had Tafelspitz and I had Rindsgulasch; excellent meal and highly recommended. It happened to be the Austrian National Holiday the day we were in Vienna and so in the Hofburg palace area was a huge display of the military and more importantly food stands! So for afternoon snack we tried a sausage with rye bread and a beer. Great! I also got some roasted chestnuts (I am a NY girl).

                          Dinner was at Zum weissen Rauchfangkehrer which was kind of touristy but we did want typical Viennese food. Staff was very attentive and the evening was pleasant. There was even a piano player. Very romantic atmosphere. We had a cozy booth. We had for starters Leberkase klein and Zanderstrudel. Refreshingly, the portions weren’t huge. For main courses we had Spanferkel and Ente; dessert was Topfenknodel and Apfelstrudel; after finishing off the bottle of wine we had each a glass of excellent ice wine( GL Eis 08 WR Weinrieder).

                          Next day only allowed for a visit to watch the Lipizzaners practice for a few hours and then lunch before we had to drive back to Maria Alm. We had lunch at the Rote Bar in the Hotel Sacher. It reminded me of the Plaza Hotel and it is fun to have a luxurious lunch occasionally. The service was outstanding and so was the food. I had lamb done two ways with a very finely mashed potato. My husband had the fried chicken with a wonderful potato salad with water cress as a side. We both had a hot chocolate served in a glass with a lot of whipped cream. He had pumpkin cream brûlée kind of parfait with a hard dark chocolate shaped in a free style on the side and homemade ice cream. Fabulous. I had a poppy seed cake with a marvelous icing and two different toppings. Then they gave us a dish of small candies on a silver platter. Again stuffed but oh the Viennese desserts are to die for. On the way back from Vienna we again stopped at a Landzeit. This wasn’t as fancy as the first one but still had great food. We had a coffee and shared a cake with chocolate on top, cream and fresh banana inside. Came from Café Landtmann

                          That night for dinner at a restaurant in Hotel Urslauerhof in Maria Alm. I ate modestly since I had been eating so much everywhere. So I had a simple beef soup with vegetables and noodles and a salad. My husband had a steak with onions

                          For our last day we drove the country roads to Germany trying to get to Eagles Nest, which we never got to due to all our stops along the way( beautiful country). By the crow flies it is very close to Maria Alm but you have to go around some of the highest mountains in Austria so the trip took most of the morning. We stopped for lunch in a small Bavarian German town called Reit i.Winkl. It was warm in the alpine sun and so we could sit outside for lovely lunch. We had a plate of fresh and smoked ham and a beef stew( goulash?) that were excellent. We split a dessert after seeing a woman next to us have it. Like an ice cream cake but so much better. Whipped cream everywhere and pure decadence. We also stopped at a bakery in town which had wonderful health bars. They were flat breads with all kinds of seeds. Nice to see something healthy amongst all the more usually bakery goods. We bought some and it was good on the plane ride back

                          1. re: clarkgranny

                            Thank you very much for your detailed report !! Yes, the Landzeit restaurants on the highways are worth a visit. There is always time for a nice cappuccino and a strudel...

                            I really missed a heartbeat when I read that you were at Zum Weissen Rauchfangkehrer. This is most likely the worst tourist trap in town, with prices higher than everywhere else.

                            I am happy that you enjoyed your meal even there !!

                            1. re: Sturmi

                              Someone who lives in Vienna and owns a restaurant suggested the place. They said the one I was going to, Plachutta, was a terrible place.So I changed at the last minute. Probably not wise.The prices were high and I didn't like how the bill said" Tip Not Included" at the bottom. Seemed odd. But we had had a lot to drink and I just paid with a tip. Again the food and service was very good, so no harm done really. However as a side note, I was horribly ill that night. Now I blamed it on too much alcohol, but maybe it was the food. Who knows?

                              1. re: clarkgranny

                                Plachutta is not terrible, Plachutta is just no value for the money. He is running a restaurant chain offering different variations of Viennese boiled beef and other Viennese classics such as Wiener Schnitzel etc.. Actually the food is not that bad, but it is simply twice as expensive as in an average beisl and three times as expensive as in the inexpensive ones...

                                Average tourists might easily end up in Plachutta or in Weisser Rauchfangkehrer and might even enjoy the evening, but this board is exactly for people who want NOT to go where all the tourists are, and who want some authentic ambiente and original food...

                                1. re: Sturmi

                                  Sorry I never said the restaurant was terrible, The person I know who lives in Vienna said I simply must not go there. I agree with you about Chowhound. I have gotten so many great choices from this board. My meals in Italy and Austria were outstanding. I wrote about Italy ones as well. I only changed one restaurant from recommendations here in Venice and it was a big mistake. I love Chowhound and all the advice! Thanks again. Our trip was very enjoyable.