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Vienna report

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To start off, I must thank Strumi and kukubara for all of the wonderful suggestions and discussions about dining in Vienna. I wish that I had more time to prepare for my trip, but without their posts, would not have been able to enjoy the meals that I did.

My first night's meal was at Walter Bauer . . . after a long flight across the pond, running through the airport to miss my connection, then arriving in Vienna with only a few minutes before registration for my meeting closed and running around again like a madman trying to find the registration office only to arrive as they were carrying away the boxes, I needed something to change my luck, and this was it. An octopus appetizer that melted in my mouth! Delicious young deer (Reh - not venison, but young deer, or as my waiter put it "bambi") with a peanut crust! Curd dumplings for desert were a disapointment only in the standard set my the first two dishes was so high . . . this was the high point of my dining journey in Vienna.

Walter Bauer was so good, I returned several nights later, with a group from the meeting. This time I had the partridge, followed by wild boar with brussel sprouts and a potato gratin. Both were also wonderful and very flavorful. One of my companions complained that her lamb chop was too rare, so I exchanged some boar for the lamb; it too was good, although a bit rare at the center. A chocolate hazelnut cake/torte for dessert was very good, although good enough to end a meal anywhere else, could not match the rest of the meal.

I also had the chance to dine at Feles, not once but twice! It is a short distance from the center of Vienna, about 30 min away - from the U6 Wahringerstrasse stop take the 40 or 41 tram a few stops to Gersthof Bahnhst then a short walk. The first night, there was an off the menu special (and I was able to get the last serving) - roast goose with red cabbage, dumplings, and roasted chestnuts! Very strong goose flavor, wonderful earthiness of roasted chestnuts, cabbage for some balance. The dumplings were a bit bland by comparision. (as a side note, Sunday night I could not find an open restaurant that did not seem touristy, so had the goose dinner at the hotel - although the goose was moist, it lacked flavor, and there were no chestnuts) The second night started with a curry lentil soup (pureed) with a single large shrimp, perfectly cooked, in the center. This was followed by roast pork with polenta and olives, with caramelized goat cheese with apple and pumpkin for dessert (sounds a bit odd but a savory dessert). Next to the first night at Walter Bauer, these were the next best meals I had while in Vienna (and half the price).

Another two meals were at Zum Firsteren Stern. Octopus risotto starter was delicious, although the octopus did not melt in my mouth. Wild lamb tenderloin in a paprika sauce was also good, and followed by a panna cotta. for the return visit, octopus with lemon and celery leaves followed by pork in a plum sauce. The food was good, but not the dining experience of the other two places; however it is more convenient than Feles, only a block from Am Hof within central Vienna.

Zum Schwarzen Kameel was unremarkable. a luke warm soup, lamb. Not disappointing, but not as memorable dining as the other places. Perhaps I should have avoided the dining room and had my fill of canapes instead.

Weininger Heuriger was the disappointment of the trip. It is way out of town: 2-hour round trip by public transport (plus a 10 min walk) only to be told they would not seat me despite half the tables being empty. I really did want to experience a good heuriger while in Vienna, but the time wasted finding this place left my grapes sour.

I also ended up at Griechen beisl downtown, near Schwedenplatz. Yes, a tourist dive (I was dragged there by friends from the meeting), and the tafelspitz was about as good as my first attempt at at roast (ie needing all the help from accompanying sauces, and then some), but everyone agreed the eisknodel dessert was a hit!

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Walter Bauer
Vienna, Vienna, Vienna , AT

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  1. Hello hubfood,
    Thank you so much for your detailed report. I am quite happy you enjoyed Walter Bauer and Feles. And you were really lucky to get the roast goose at Feles. This is the traditional "Martinigansl", the Austrian version of a Thanksgiving dinner, which is only served around November 11, the feast of St.Martin. As you found out yourself, the goose is a very unspectacular bird and can turn out dry and tasteless if the product is not a. fresh and b. from a high-quality source but rather the deep-frozen variety...

    I am very sorry about the experience you had at Wieninger. Maybe they had a closed event for a group. But there are so many heurigen in Stammersdorf, you might just have dropped in to another one of the many heurigen on Stammersdorferstrasse. I know that this area is quite a distance from the city, but the heurigen there are very authentic and not the kind of tourist traps you will find in Grinzing...

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    Walter Bauer
    Vienna, Vienna, Vienna , AT

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sturmi

      I'm devastated by your Wieninger experience! I don't know what happened. Sturmi's right: Maybe they had a special event going on? I don't know. And I wish you'd have known that you were surrounded by other options. There are even a few maps posted along the street of where all the heurigen are. Bummer!

      As for Zum Schwarzen Kameel, I've only done the canape/bar area thing so I don't know anything about the rest. But we'll need to finally get to Walter Bauer next time we're there.

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      Walter Bauer
      Vienna, Vienna, Vienna , AT

      1. re: kukubura

        I had heard about the feast of St. Martin, and the traditional goose dinner. When given that chance at Feles, I lept at the opportunity. The goose there was wonderful, but then I enjoy the flavor of game food. It was the hotel restaurant version that was bland, and may have been deep frozen as Sturmi suggested.

        As for Wieninger, perhaps my big mistake was not calling ahead to make a reservation. I had a glimpse of the food going in, and it looked delicious. The hostess did mention there were other places to eat down the road, but I had my heart set on Wieninger and didn't feel daring enough to try one at random. During the ride back to central Vienna, I regrouped and came up with plan B - Zum Firsteren Stern.

        From what I could see, the prices at Walter Bauer were not as much as Steirereck; but without tasting the food at both, I can't make fair comparison. Be forewarned, Walter Bauer is closed on weekends, and making a reservation is recommended.

        I also feel fortunate that all the restaurants visited, there was someone able to and willing to take the time and translate the menu for me. I was able to recognize some basic terms like schwein (pork), hirsch (venison), lamm (lamb), but would have been lost without their assistance. Feles also had an online menu posted, and I was able to use translate.google.com to decipher this beforehand.

        Anyway, I was very happy with the places I went, which were recommended in earlier discussions. I do regret not making it to Rudy's Biesl - not next to a U-bahn stop and was worried about dropping in without a reservation.

        -----
        Walter Bauer
        Vienna, Vienna, Vienna , AT

    2. Hmmm maybe I should replace Steirereck with Walter Bauer on my upcoming trip?

      -----
      Walter Bauer
      Vienna, Vienna, Vienna , AT

      14 Replies
      1. re: eviemichael

        Steirereck and Walter Bauer are the two top Viennese restaurants in Vienna. Palais Coburg with chef Silvio Nickol is also top, but more of a international kind of top and less Viennese, but definitely currently the most discussed and most praised place to eat in Vienna

        Maybe you could take one of the lunches at Steirereck, which is open for lunch and dinner, and also offers the lower-cost Meierei in the ground floor, and go for dinner at Walter Bauer ?

        Having one dinner at Walter Bauer and one at Silvio Nickol will give you two extremes: a modern, highly sophisticated new cuisine in a trendy setup in Palais Coburg and a very refined, more traditional dinner in a very traditional, old-fashioned ambiente at Walter Bauer...

        -----
        Walter Bauer
        Vienna, Vienna, Vienna , AT

        1. re: Sturmi

          We are definitely not spending enough days in Vienna. :-/

          If I did lunch at Steirereck I'd have to give up lunch at Rudi's Beisl...

          Is Melerei open on Saturdays for lunch?

          1. re: eviemichael

            Do not give up Rudis Beisl !!

            Meierei is open all day, 7 days a week. http://steirereck.at/wien/meierei/
            Ideal for a late lunch...

            1. re: Sturmi

              I won't give it up! Im looking forward to it. :) Maybe we'll go there Saturday for lunch. Have you been? Is it great at Meierei?

              1. re: eviemichael

                Meierei is a lovely place to sample classic Viennese cuisine from the kitchen of Steierereck, but the dishes do not have the high-end value of their restaurant. The view from the Meierei is great, you have the whole Stadtpark in front of you. Lunching there on Saturday is quite popular for families.

          2. re: Sturmi

            I would give up Silvio Nickol. We found it very bling bling with only one really good course.

            1. re: beaulieu

              The problem is it's the only fine dining place open Saturday night. Steirereck and Walter Bauer are closed Saturday night, correct?

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              Walter Bauer
              Vienna, Vienna, Vienna , AT

              1. re: eviemichael

                Yes, you are correct...

                Fine dining is quite hard to get nowadays here in Vienna !!

                1. re: Sturmi

                  Any other good options for Saturday night dining?

                  1. re: Sturmi

                    I have checked on Gault Millau Austria:
                    These restaurants also have a good reputation for fine dining and are open on Saturday evening for dinner:

                    Vincent: http://www.restaurant-vincent.at/

                    Vestibül: http://www.vestibuel.at/en/menus

                    I would recommend Vestibül. It is located right in the Burgtheater, and the chef is Christian Domschitz, formerly at Walter Bauer.

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                    Walter Bauer
                    Vienna, Vienna, Vienna , AT

                    1. re: Sturmi

                      Thanks so much, you've just been a huge help. Is Vestibul far from the Musikverein? We'll be coming from there...

                      1. re: Sturmi

                        Actually sorry but one more question- how bout the Imperial hotel's restaurant? Its so close to the Musikverein too...

                        1. re: eviemichael

                          The restaurant at Hotel Imperial is a good traditional Viennese restaurant. Very exquisite ambiente, food of high quality, most of it expertly made, but maybe not the most inventive recipes.

                          The Gault Millau 2012 gives Restaurant Imperial 14 points and one toque, and Vestibül as well as Vincent 16 points and two toques.

                          The Zagat-style Falstaff guide OTOH gives Vestibül 90 points, Imperial 89 points and Vincent 88 points...
                          http://www.falstaff.at/restaurantdeta...

                          On the other hand it might be very relaxing after Musikverein to go to Restaurant Imperial, and if you stay at the Imperial, also very convenient.

                          Vestibül is exactly 1.3 kilometers away, half round the Ringstrasse, 5 min by Taxi, 10 min by tram.

                          1. re: Sturmi

                            I just canceled at Silvio Nickol and booked with Imperial Restaurant for our last night. I liked the idea of walking from the musikverein a few short steps to a lovely dinner. I read the menu online and while you're right Sturmi, it is not the most inventive. However the dishes appealed to me. Also the ambiance looks perfect.
                            When I booked, I asked for a romantic table as it would be our last night of our honeymoon and the maitre said he would play the violin. ??? Haha.

                            I will most certainly report back with detailed accounts of each dining experience!

            2. Another one bites the dust...

              Feles - Zur Schwarzen Katze in its third life - will close up for good April 14, 2012
              www.feles.at

              So, whoever is aiming for Vienna, get you last chance for a visit to the black cat !!
              No question that Szigeti will reopen sometime in the far future, there are so many lives left for a cat, even if black...

              The gourmet scene in Vienna is currently the hot spot of the "crisis". No one is closing faster than the few restaurants in town which have been serving better than average food.

              Here is a short list of what we are missing dearly:

              Meinl am Graben
              Cantine e l´arte
              Salut
              Novelli
              Feles - Zur Schwarzen Katze
              Das Turm
              RieGi
              Zu den drei Husaren
              and
              Orlando di Castello

              This would be not so bad if we would get the same amount of openings, but unfortunately this is not the case...

              2 Replies
              1. re: beaulieu

                No, it is not closed. It is just no more a high-end restaurant, just average, after Joachim Gradwohl left for greener pastures. Gault Millau 2012 gives just 13 of 20 possible points after it had Meinl unlisted in 2011. Falstaff 2011 gave 83 points (in 2010 still 93 of 100).
                http://www.falstaff.at/restaurantdeta...

                This is the same fate the restaurant Korso is having, which is also just a pale shade of its former glory after Gerer left...

                1. re: Sturmi

                  Sturmi, thanks for the update! I'm not terribly surprised that the Feles will be closing. The location is out of the way in a residential neighborhood and I would not have found this place if I had not been looking hard.

                  I really enjoyed my tine in Vienna, and although don't know when I'll be back, hope the black cat will be up again in it's latest incarnation. It is sad that so many places are closing, especially before I got a chance to try them. Lol! Thanks for keeping the Vienna info up to date.