"Beisl" in Vienna - a list
The "Falstaff" magazine - an Austrian gourmet monthly with a very nice webpage www.falstaff.at - has published a very nice and very imcomplete list of Viennese beisl:
Die besten Beisln Wiens: http://www.falstaff.at/nc/news/newsar...
They classify by three categories: Gehobene Gasthäuser, Edelbeisl and Beislklassiker
The first category simply lists the Plachutta chain, Eisvogel, Pfarrwirt and Hohensinn.
I would only admit Pfarrwirt to this category, Plachutta is just another restaurant chain, acceptable but expensive Viennese food but no atmosphere. And Hohensinn is anything but not a beisl...
On the other hand here I would add the Restaurant Eckel, because of its unique position as "last man standing". It is the only one of its kind left, a real old-fashioned Viennese restaurant.
And yes, the Meierei of the Steirereck restaurant also should be called a "gehobenes Gasthaus".
The second category "Edelbeisl" is the most interesting one.
These places offer traditional Viennese cuisine, but with a modern twist. Here we find Freyenstein, Grünauer and Schreiner. This is correct, maybe we should add a few more, such as Zur Schwarzen Katze, Weibels Wirtshaus and Schnattl. Rudi´s Beisl is an edelbeisl, true, but just pure classic Viennese cuisine without any modernizations...
The Beislklassiker list is the most incomplete.
All of these beisl offer a great selection of Viennese cuisine, some of them (e.g. Gasthaus Stern, Zum Reznicek, Gmoakeller) in a real "head to tail" tradition offering everything a cow or a pig can offer: headcheese, brain, lung, heart, liver, tripes and (ox)tail. And there are so many "classic" beisl around that this list asks for additions, such as:
Gasthaus Stern in Simmering, Gasthaus Sperl in Karolinengasse, Gassner´s Wirtshaus in Erdberg, Kolonitzbeisl on Kolonitzplatz, Gasthaus am Rilkeplatz between Hotel Triest and University of Technology, Heidingers Gasthaus in 15., Selzergasse, Hausmairs Gaststätte on Lerchenfelderstrasse, Zur Goldenen Glocke on Lazarettgasse, Zum Reznicek in Recnizekgasse, Beim Czaak and last not least, the Gmoakeller behind the Konzerthaus !!
hm- that previous bit was my first chowhound post-- i didn't think it would be so long!
I wanted to also suggest that Sturmi and kukubura (the unofficial Mayors of Vienna on Chowhound) start a new thread that is just lists of absolute favorites-- there are so many vienna threads now, and Sturmi's list of suggestions is so immense that figuring out what the best best choices were (for a short visit) required a lot of guesswork.
Just a thought!
Thank you to both of you for this honorable task. On the other hand it is quite tricky to present a list of ABSOLUTE favorites, since the gastronomic scene over here is changing all the time, and great restaurants close or - even more often - suddenly turn into something unremarkable.
Secondly, I am not a professional food blogger, and some of my tips are not based on personal experience, but rather on the general opinion by other local chowhounds. And some of the good restaurants never get mentioned simply because I am not sure whether they are really that good as stated by the critics ...
Further, the travelling chowhound coming into town just for a few days has other demands that the local chowhound living here. It might be of interest that right now the three hottest places in town which are crowded all day and where you have to call weeks in advance to get the chance of a table are a Korean (Kim kocht), a Japanese (Mochi) and a Chinese (Sinohause) restaurant. Whereas the food there might be actually quite good, I assume that it does not surpass the food you can find in similar places all over the world, and that most travelling chowhounds might not be interested to join the fight for a table.
The first posting of this thread DID list a few ABSOLUTE favorites for incoming chowhounds. If you want a more reduced list of just a handful, I might have to pass. I rather prefer to give individual recommendations based on location, specific preference, time and date, and not just reduce the choices a priori to a short list of - maybe not quite so - absolute favorites...
Horse meat is extremely yummy. French and Italians eat much more horse meat than Austrians, but in Vienna you can get horse meat of excellent quality, most likely in the form of "Pferdeleberkäs", as you mentioned.
BTW: This meat is NOT obtained from "old horses", the meat horses are bred only to be eaten !! Therefore you might even get a "colt steak", which is called Fohlensteak, at one of the few horse butchers still in existence in Vienna. Restaurants in Vienna, OTOH, will very rarely serve horse meat. In order to get expertly prepared horse meat in a quality restaurant you have to go farther south, to Italy or Slovenia...
I am not quite sure where to get Pferdeleberkäse on Naschmarkt, you might have to try one of the kiosks seeling hot sausages. Here is a complete list of all horse butchers in town: http://www.herold.at/gelbe-seiten/wie...
The shop of Schuller on Reinprechtsdorferstrasse is the closest to Naschmarkt...
Or you try another market with a horse butcher: either the Viktor-Adler Markt in Favoriten, which is a real down-to-earth market, or the Karmelitermarkt, which is now more of a BoBo market...
Are you still looking for Burger King ??
So I just wanted to chime in and confirm that it is not a good idea to walk into Rudi's Beisl on a Friday night at 8pm with one person and no reservation. She smiled at me, I asked "es gibt fur ein?" (my attempt to say "You got room for 1?"), and she nicely said "nein," and moved on to better things. The place was totally packed, and a group of six men was trying to find a table. I think if I had been two people she may have squeezed me into an empty table in the corner.
Luckily I had assumed this would happen, so I strolled over to Zur Goldenen Glocke. On the way I encountered a magical alleyway in a funky block called the Schloss Quadrat. There was a restaurant there called Silber Wirt- looked cozy and fun, but I just passed by. But I recommend wandering this little hidden square- looks like a cool urban improvement porject- arty, clean and stylish.
Anyway, at the Glocke, i had a great Schinkenspeck appetizer-- but be aware! the white shredded stuff is horseradish, not cheese. That woke me up. Then I had my first tafelspitz. I have nothing to compare it to, but the meet was tender and juicy, and the potatoes were fantastic, with a great flavor of onion (and fat?). I loved how the whole thing was served in a large covered casserole dish, and the waiter first served me a bowl of the broth in which the meat sat, then came back in a few minutes and dished me out the beef and potatoes. A nice touch.The best part was the schnittlachsaus (spelling?)-- a lovely chive sour cream that really made the meat and potatoes come alive with flavor.
My one complaint is that there was only a very light beer on tap- i was hoping for a sweet dunkel. Also the place was oddly empty. I don't know why. But I enjoyed myself, and ate like a king, AND have leftovers!
Great report !!
Your experience at the Goldene Glocke definitely made up for your failed visit at Rudis Beisl!!
And Tafelspitz was a great choice !!
Did you only get Schnittlauchsosse and no Apfelkren (apple puree with a lot of horseradish) ?
Your observation that the Glocke was empty is just a reflection of the current economic situation: restaurants are full at lunchtime hours, when a low-cost dish of the day is served, but the occupancy drops at dinnertime, since people tend to spend a little bit less. This is not only felt in the middle-class oriented places such as Goldene Glocke, but even more in the high-end restaurants, many of whom had to close since 2008...
And here is a tip for two "Non-Irish-Pub" places serving dark beer from the tap:
Heidingers Gasthaus in 15., Selzergasse 38, http://www.heidingers.at/
Zum Reznicek, 9., Reznicekgasse 10
have both a traditional selection of Viennnese dishes and several kinds of beer, light and dark, from the tap !
Still here but wanted to mention our meal at Beim Czaak. I tried the tapkfelspitz and although the fried potatoes were very good, I found the meat / broth / root vegetables part of the dish quite boring. The schnitzel was OK, but based on the uniform color and folded over shape, my guess is it was deep fried and not done in a pan.
One dish worth trying is the fried blood sausage appetizer. Their house made sasauge was quite delicious and it came on perfectly prepared potato pancakes with a barely sweetened apple horseradish sauce. Nice balance and very good.
What you report about Beim Czaak is about the same Roland Parker did mention about Gasthaus Wickerl: nice chow but nothing worth a detour.
And you are right, of course !!
The "basic" beisl is just like an average neighbourhood "diner", nothing more. There are just a few beisl which stand out from the rest...
I just wanted to thank you for sharing so much information about Vienna. We had an amazing time !
It has been years since we lived in Austria, so we kept craving traditional Beisl food. In addition to Biem Czaak, we also tried the Gmoakeller and Figuelmuller, plus we were taken to the Amerling and Bierhof with friends. We avoided Plachutta per your suggestion, and sadly missed Rudy's and Ekel. I guess those will be for next year ! I'm embarrassed to admit that we didn't try more variety, but after a week, we still haven't had enough delicious Schnitzel, Tafelspitz, Zwiebelrostbraten, Frittaten Rindsuppe, Gemischter Salat,...
My only defense is that we ate only a light breakfast, a snack, and one main meal a day - the scale is now thanking me that we did.
Also had to mention here that Vienna's Globe Museum and the Clock Museum are unique and must see highlights of Vienna. Both are in the city center, take a little more than an hour to view, and are truly TRULY amazing.