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Feb 5, 2012 11:45 AM

Vienna not to be missed

I am going to Vienna for the first time in early March. would love to know what restaurants are not to be missed for dinner. prefer typical cuisine. i have just started researching. and i must say veal is out for me.

thank you!

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  1. Just a question before we start: if veal is out for you, what about pork ??

    And: where do you stay, and for how long ???

    This all will help to answer your question.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Sturmi

      I am going to be there Sat nite thru Monday nite. we are staying at the intercontinental. i do eat pork. no deer or rabbit though. i would consider one splurge nite not to exceed about $100 pp including wine. generally comfortable in the $50-75 range. of course local non touristy would be great.

      1. re: mwoodrowe

        This is quite a difficult timing, since many restaurants do close on Sunday, or even Saturday AND Sunday, such as Rudi´s Beisl.

        Saturday: There is a Viennese evergreen just around the corner from the Intercontinental: the Gmoakeller (closed Sunday). This old Viennese institution offers a great variation of Viennese cuisine at slightly better than average quality. Some have criticized the Wiener Schnitzel, which is fried in fritter and not in a pan, but the Schnitzel made from pork is still worth sampling. I prefer breaded pork liver (gebackene Schweinsleber) or a Blunzengröstl,, which is a mixture of potatoes, onions and black pudding. Their desserts are perfekt, by the way. And it is inexpensive....

        There is an alternative place to go on Saturday (closed Sunday and Monday): the Freyenstein. This is an old-fashioned small Viennese beisl, quite a distance away into the western suburbs. It offers something special: a multi-course tasting menu for Euro 39.-. We went there last thursday and found that the service has improved dramatically over the months, and that the quality of the presented small food samples is outstanding. There WAS a veal dish included on this day, but there are so many other dishes, you can miss the veal if you really want to. Just one thing: you have no choices ! Everybody gets the same perfectly balanced courses, and the only thing you may do is just skip a course. Which nobody does...

        After this introduction into Viennese beisl cuisine it is quite hard to find some splurgy for Sunday dinner. One of our Sunday evening favorites is Cafe Engländer, also within walking distance of Hotel Intercontinental.
        But of course many other Kaffeehäuser are open on Sunday, and most of the Heurigen as well. Here are the opening days and hours for Wieninger:

        And of course there is always Plachutta on Wollzeile and now also on Walfischgasse, as a last resort:

        On Monday I would suggest something completely different, a modern twist of Viennese cuisine, located in an old residential street in the western suburbs: Martin Stein
        These small place offers a wonderful tasty cuisine with excellent products, served in a way which underlines the natural tastes and combines tradition with inventive modernism. a six-course menu for Euro 70.- is a bargain, when compared to other restaurants of is class. BTW: Martins Stein is closed for winter vacation until February 14.

        And of course you could also visit Gmoakeller or Rudis Beisl on Monday for a classic Viennese beisl dinner...

        1. re: Sturmi

          thank you so much for the suggestions! i see i have some reading to do!

          1. re: mwoodrowe

            Sturmi, have you made it to Wieninger yet?

            My Heuriger experience is very limited but of the ones that we've been to we also really liked Kierlinger in Nussdorf, which has a very rustic and old-fashioned vibe. It's been owny the same family for a loooong time. Wieninger is in Stamersdorf and, as I said, is a bit more high end but still very reasonable. Both neighborhoods are on the outskirts of Vienna but easily accessible by public transportation (particularly by tram, our favorite way to get around) and both have lots of other Heuriger and are frequented by locals. You can hop from one to the other.
            There are some heuriger areas that cater to tour buses. Grinzing is one. I haven't been but was warned off it.

            1. re: kukubura

              No, not yet !! And neither to Phönixhof...

              Sorry. But I am sure you are aware that I have been recommending Wieninger as a special heurigen experience for years !! It is their reputation which made me do so.

              BTW: We are not heurigen regulars, and the few times we end up in a heurigen it will be south of Vienna, in Sooss or Tattendorf. There the wine is completely different from the wine of the Viennese hills, you will find less white and more red wine, definitely worth a detour...

              1. re: Sturmi

                Haha, it's ok. Something to look forward to.

          2. re: Sturmi

            of course my sister intends to eat veal so she wants good veal.

            1. re: mwoodrowe

              You will get any kind of meat and fish, and vegetarian dishes as well. The only problem will be that your time will be quite short ...

        2. Sturmi will blow your mind with amazing suggestions but I'll just chime in the couple of places that I'm passionate about:

          Weinhof Wieninger: I don't know if you're familiar with the Heuriger concept (briefly, Vienna has wine-producing districts within the city limits and Emperor Franz Josef decreed that they could open little businesses where they sell their own wine to the public (this was back when all wine went to the royalty) and eventually they also started serving rustic Viennese food.) Heuriger are a lot fo fun and you can find lots, but Wieninger elevates the food to the next level. Word of warning: Make sure you call before you go and either make a reservation or make sure that you won't need one. A couple of Chowhounders have gone and been unable to eat there because apparently they were booked or were having private functions.

          Another place we love is Cafe Phoenixhof, near Neubaugasse. It's traditional, rustic Viennese cooking in a friendly, funky environment. Great schnitzels without veal: Cordon bleu (pork) and huhner schnitzel (chicken) plus awesome dumpling dishes.

          And we love the tiny sandwich/canapes at places like Trznievski, Duran and Zum Schwarzen Kameel. All different, all delicious.

          And of course the Naschmarkt is a must-visit.

          You can see some of these recs at my wife's recaps of our visits to the glorious city of Vienna:

          12 Replies
          1. re: kukubura

            thank you....i am so unfamiliar with Vienna. i have just started researching.

            1. re: mwoodrowe

              You're going to love it. How could anyone not?

                1. re: mwoodrowe

                  If you're asking me, the answer is "I don't know." I may have Viennese blood but I'm strictly a tourist when visiting. But I know it's been discussed before so you might find some other opinions.

                  1. re: kukubura

                    thank you...the way they have this message board set up is confusing...i guess that was a general question for everyone :) i read about it someplace

                    1. re: mwoodrowe

                      Figlmüller is a small "Weinstube", which used to be (in the golden days) a beisl specializing in serving wine and some basic food. A few decades ago the owners decided to make "the best Schnitzel". And now they can offer a standardized Schweinswiener of huge proportions and a fine, even breading. It is NOT a Wiener Schnitzel, since it is made from pork. Because of its location the Figlmüller is always crowded. You might like it, although you will sit amongst all the tourists...

                      1. re: Sturmi

                        I think I had Wiener Schnitzel vom Kalb at Figlmüller. Almost everyone else was having the Schweinswiener but I believe I was having veal. It was tasty.

                        1. re: wally

                          Yes, this is possible, if you dined at their newer location in Bäckerstrasse, just around the corner from their primary location in the narrow passageway between Bäckerstrasse and Wollzeile ...

                          1. re: Sturmi

                            You know, that description puts me in mind to make something of a blind rec. Vienna is full of so many little surprises hiding around corners. When I was a kid visiting my family we often ate at the little restaurant inside the Hirschengasse passage just off Mariahilferstrasse since it was right around the corner from where my grandparents lived. It's not the same restaurant anymore, I don't think, but it is still a restaurant. Can I swear by the food? No, since all we did on our recent trips is have a drink there for old time's sake. But there's something so cool to me about walking into a passage and dining in a peaceful courtyard just steps off the bustle of a main street. The entrance to the passage is right next to Aida (and it's steps away from Trzesniewski AND Duran so if you don't like the look of it you won't go hungry!)

                            I'd be curious to know how it is and will definitely make a point of eating there next time. If it's as traditional and good as it was back then it must be a good representation of old-school Viennese, since that's what my grandfather was through-and-through.

                              1. re: kukubura

                                This passageway between Mariahilferstrasse and Schmalzhofgasse is still called "Schulhofpassage", which is a reminder to the fact that until 1938 there was one of the major Viennese synagogues in Schmalzhofgasse, and the Schulhofpassage was the most convenient way to go to the "schul"...

                                And here is the website of Kantine:

                                1. re: Sturmi

                                  Thanks for the history! I love walking through there. We don't have anything like passages in the US and they've always fascinated me.

              1. I traveled here with my child from where we reside in Germany. One restaurant we ate at, just the two of us, for a special night out was Zum Finsteren Stern. It was perfection. There were two daily specials and we each ordered one, so as to share. My child was 8 years old at the time and there was no problem with him eating at this trendy, yet friendly restaurant. There was a party occurring the same evening and there were other children inside the restaurant. The prepartion of the meal was excellent.

                One of the days we were here, we went over to the Naschmarkt and tried several specialities (at lunch). I had a marvelous glass of wine there.

                We also enjoyed a lunch at Cafe Demel and followed it with some of the most delectable cakes I have ever eaten (we have also visited Cafe Demel in Salzburg).

                For a snack...we stopped at Buffet Trzésniewski on a couple of occasions. It is a very small, hole-in-the-wall, place deep in the heart of Vienna...with a buffet of 18 various finger sandwiches. All delicious. (Variations of cream cheese, egg, onion, salami, herring, tomatoes, lobster, and meat spreads.)

                We also had a superb meal at the Österreicher im MAK Gasthof & Bar. This is in the city’s Museum of Applied Art, or MAK. This is not a simple, museum restaurant. This is a well respected culinary destination in Vienna. The menu is divided into two categories, one featuring "classical" and the other "modern" Viennese cuisine. There are specialities such as: Wiener schnitzel or roasted chicken in a creamy paprika sauce with small creamed dumplings. This was another great dining experience (though the staff was not as friendly as in other restaurants).