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Vienna: Need help choosing restaurant - Calling Strumi!

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indofood Mar 12, 2012 02:25 AM

I have been lurking this board and found Strumi and kukubura have been very helpful..

I am going to Vienna early next month, arriving on Monday to Thursday, and have narrowed down my restaurant choices to:

Day 1 Lunch – Meinl / Demel
Day 1 mid-day break - Zum Schwarsen Kameel
Day 1 Dinner – Beisl: 3 Hacken / Gmoakeller / Rudi’s Beisl

**Drinks – Onyx Bar @ Do & Co / Palais Coburg Winebar

Day 2 Breakfast – Meierei
Day 2 Lunch – Naschmarkt
Day 2 Dinner – Fine Dining: Mraz & Sohn / Walter Bauer

Day 3 Breakfast – Landtmann
Wachau DayTrip:
Day 3 Lunch – Knoll Loibnerhof - any reviews?
Day 3 Dinner – Heurigenhof Brundlmeyer - any reviews?

Day 4 Breakfast – Café Classic

Help me choose between the beisl dinner and fine dining! If I want to experience a traditional Viennese cuisine and all the food will be good, which beisl should I go to?

Should I choose Mraz & Sohn or Walter Bauer, I know both have different cuisine, but my consideration include
- Which one has better wine list?
- Is Mraz & Sohn too international? I will be visiting several cities in Europe, including San Sebastian and Paris, so is this a good option?
- Is the food at Walter Bauer exciting enough? Will the smoke really bother me? Bear in mind, I've never eaten at a smoke-filled restaurant before. Also, will the food be too similar to Brundlmeyer, the next day?

Has anyone eaten at any of the restaurants in Wachau valley?

Thanks! Any opinions on the above restaurants is appreciated!

  1. s
    Sturmi Mar 12, 2012 10:07 AM

    Hello indofood,

    Let me give a few explanations to each of your choices:

    Meinl is now not considered to be worth a special visit. It is OK for lunch if you are shopping there, but the food is more of the international high-end / quite extremely expensive variety, and nothing really typical Viennese (you can get oysters, foie gras and canadian lobster anywhere for the same high price).

    Demel is more of a good tip: they do offer Viennese beisl specialties (as well as Cesar´s salad and quiche lorraine) , and after a small veal goulash or a soufflee of noodles and ham you still have room for one of their cakes. But after leaving Demel I doubt that you still can eat one of the canapes at Zum Schwarzen Kameel ! You might rather start the lunch hour with one or two of the very yummy "Brötchen" at the black camel and then drop into Demel for coffee and cake ...

    ;-)

    Rudis Beisl is definitely the best of the three you mentioned, only be aware, Rudi is closed Saturday and Sunday !! And: reservation is a must. And: Rudi is also a "smokers heaven" , at least in theory (see below) ...

    Drinks at the Onyx bar is OK for the view over St.Stephens Cathedral, but you will meet mainly tourists there. The Palais Coburg Winebar has a really big selection of wines, but will not be really crowded, you might feel lost on a slow day. Try the wine bar in the basement of Meinl am Graben, or Unger&Klein or any Wein&Co wine bar if you want to feel a dense wine drinking crowd !! All bars are of course open for smokers, but usually have a small non-smoking enclave.

    Meierei is great for breakfast. They open 8 a.m. during the week and 9 a.m. on weekends. And the view over the park in the morning is wonderful, on some days in spring even spectacular ...

    Nachmarkt is a little bit overrated. Most of the food there is overpriced. We like the Vietnamese food at By Chi and the beisl Zur Eisernen Zeit for some goulasch and beer. Of course you can get great fish at Umar, but you will sit quite uncomfortable and pay a lot for some fish brought in from the Adriatic Sea (or the North Atlantic...).

    To sample Austrian fish such as trout, carp or char you might have to visit a restaurant closer to the danube river, such as the Uferhaus in Orth, a short way outside of town (But when you visit the Wachau anyway, this tip is not as important at all...):
    http://www.uferhaus.at/start0.asp?m=0&ID=&h=0&lang=e

    I would choose Walter Bauer over Mraz and Son, and do not be afraid of smoke. Even in Rudis Beisl, which is also smokers only, rarely anybody lights up any more. Of course, you might hit the one day where a group of cigar lovers meet, but you can always ask about this question when you call to reserve the table. The reason I prefer Walter Bauer is that there you get more value for your money, but maybe with less aplomb. Mraz is great with their presentation, but the taste of the food is sometimes lacking. And Walter Bauer is a real small luxury restaurant, a leftover of the times of Joseph Wechsberg. And yes, their wine list is more than just satisfying...

    And if you are that much afraid about passive smoking you can always choose one of the other interesting places presenting Viennese cuisine with a modern twist, such as Zum Finsteren Stern, Gaumenspiel, Kutschker44, Martin Stein or Freyenstein. All these have better food than the average beisl, and are much less expensive than Mraz and Walter Bauer, and: they have non-smoking sections.

    Landtmann is as good as many other Kaffehäuser when looking for a place to get breakfast. My personal choice would be the Kaffeehaus in Hotel Imperial, because it is less crowded and truly an authentic ambiente...

    The Wachau trip is a very good idea !!
    Knoll and Bründelmayer are excellent choices, but the best address for food is on the other - "wrong" - side of the danube: The Landhaus Bacher in Mautern: http://www.landhaus-bacher.at/?pageID=6_1

    But I have to admit when in the Wachau we always eat at a more down-to-earth, less expensive place in Weissenkirchen:
    The Kirchenwirt: http://www.kirchenwirt.weissenkirchen...

    20 Replies
    1. re: Sturmi
      m
      mausi7 Mar 13, 2012 06:44 PM

      Went to Walter Bauer for our anniversary last year---it was wonderful and romantic as well. I believe we had a lovely Gruener Veltliner there.
      We also went to Zum Finsteren Stern--it was good but not spectacular. Loved Kutschker44 and the more traditional Gmoakeller!
      Hi Sturmi! Going to Berlin this year and have started research. Any thoughts?
      Mausi

      1. re: mausi7
        i
        indofood Mar 13, 2012 10:48 PM

        Thanks Sturmi & Mausi. PS Sorry to misspelled your name Sturmi. I just realized it now.

        Wowww.. That's a whole lot of information.

        We'll go to Kameel for lunch & Demel for coffee. Then Rudi's Beisl.

        The second day, from Schloss Belvedere, we'll go to Gmoakeller for lunch and walk pass Naschmarkt for food provision for the Wachau road trip (and since I really really love food market too ;)) And probably stop by Cafe @ Hotel Imperial after going to Schonbrunn.

        And for the dinner, as everyone suggestions, we'll opt for Walter Bauer.

        Many many thanks! I'll try to post report after the trip.

        1. re: mausi7
          s
          Sturmi Mar 14, 2012 07:06 AM

          @Mausi,
          Sorry, have not been to Berlin for 7 years...

        2. re: Sturmi
          i
          indofood Mar 13, 2012 10:52 PM

          And btw, do we have to make reservation at Gmoakeller for lunch? Or are we good if we just walk in?

          I know we have to make reservation for Rudi's Beisl & Walter Bauer.

          1. re: indofood
            s
            Sturmi Mar 14, 2012 06:38 AM

            Gmoakeller is a very informal and quite large place. It is open from 11 a.m. to midnight. For lunch it is only necessary to get a reservation if you are with a larger group or if you come in between noon and 1 p.m., which might be a very busy time. I f you plan to drop in after 2 p.m. a reservation is not necessary...

            1. re: Sturmi
              i
              indofood Mar 18, 2012 08:31 AM

              Ok.. Got it!

              How about Holy Moly im Badeschiff? Rauchfangkehrer? Eisvogel? Vincent?

              1. re: indofood
                s
                Sturmi Mar 18, 2012 08:46 AM

                Holy Moly im Badeschiff is a great place with inventive food created by Christian Petz. I love his cuisine, but some people say the food is better when Petz is present and inconsistent at other times. The ambiente is down-to-earth and informal. Just try out yourself and report !!

                Zum Weissen Rauchfangkeher ist an expensive tourist trap. The food is OK, but the price level is just too high !

                Eisvogel ist what Rauchfangkehrer should be. A large restaurant serving classic Viennese cuisine at acceptable quality and fair price levels. The location is a poor fake of a Viennese Disneyworld, but the Riesenrad is close by, and combining a tour with the giant Ferris wheel and a dinner at Eisvogel is a great experience !!

                Vincent is considered to be a great place serving inventive new cuisine with a good value for you money. I have not yet been there. People say that it is now worth a visit since they have a new chef, Peter Zinter ...
                Falstaff guide gave Vincent 89 of 100 points, which is a lot.
                http://www.falstaff.at/restaurantdeta...

                1. re: Sturmi
                  i
                  indofood Mar 19, 2012 02:48 AM

                  Thank you..!!!

                  Your expertise on Austrian cuisine really help us... I will certainly report back after the trip.

                  1. re: Sturmi
                    i
                    indofood Mar 21, 2012 09:25 PM

                    Sturmi,

                    Unfortunately my first day in Vienna is 9 April. I think Rudi's Beisl and Gmoakeller should be close. Is there any other options for a traditional beisl with good food in the city area that would be open?

                    Thanks!

                    1. re: indofood
                      s
                      Sturmi Mar 22, 2012 12:51 AM

                      Easter Monday is a tricky date for sure. These places offering classice Viennese cuisine will most likely be open:

                      Cafe Engländer, which offers great beisl cuisine and is a popular artists watering hole.

                      Phönixhof on Neustiftgasse also opens for dinner on sundays.

                      Österreicher im MAK, great food in a classic ambiente. And a great Klimt exhibition to visit in the same building...

                      Altwiener Gastwirtschaft Schilling on Burggasse, for great Wiener Schnitzel and Tafelspitz in a historic beisl interior.

                      Glacisbeisl in the Museumsquartier for a romatic garden setup.

                      Haas Beisl on Margaretenstrasse for a real deep down-to-earth beisl with the smell of centuries of smokers...

                      Pfarrwirt on Pfarrplatz in Heiligenstadt for a more upscale and romantic ambiente.

                      And the best tip on any sunny day when you crave for pork knuckles and real Budweiser beer on the tap: Schweizerhaus im Prater.

                      Reservation is a must on this holiday !!

                      You will find all contact details on this link: http://www.falter.at/web/wwei/suche.php
                      Just enter the name and click on "finden"

                      1. re: Sturmi
                        i
                        indofood Mar 25, 2012 08:46 AM

                        Great.. Thanks Sturmi! If all restaurants are close, we have made a dinner reservation at the basteigarten of Palais Coburg.

                        Do you know if Demel or Kameel will close on this holiday? Do I have to make reservation for Demel for lunch on the 9th.. I know that Meinl and the winebar will be closed on that day. But will Wine & Co be closed too? I didn't realized that Vienna is quiet during a bank holiday.

                        1. re: indofood
                          s
                          Sturmi Mar 25, 2012 09:44 AM

                          Easter Monday is not a bank holiday. It is a holiday for everybody.

                          Schwarzes Kameel will be closed., they are open Monday to Saturday. Sunday and holidays they stay closed. http://www.kameel.at/

                          Wein&Co will be open, but not for lunch, they open every working day at 10 a.m., but sundays and holidays later, on 3 p.m., and stay open till midnight.
                          http://www.weinco.at/standorte/alle-standorte/9311

                          Demel is open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
                          http://www.demel.at/en/frames/index_w...

                          1. re: Sturmi
                            i
                            indofood Mar 25, 2012 08:42 PM

                            Oh well... I guess I will just spend my time sightseeing then. Though I will go to Demel for lunch as originally plan, and try to fit in Kameel somewhere during my stay.

                            Thanks Sturmi! Will report back once I'm there in a few weeks time...

            2. re: Sturmi
              a
              anonj Mar 23, 2012 08:46 PM

              Hi Sturmi- have you eaten at Heinzle in Weissenkirchen? How does it compare with the Kirchenwirt? We'll be staying at the Raffelsbergerhof and want one night of simpler but good food close to our inn. Thanks so much for your opinion!

              1. re: anonj
                s
                Sturmi Mar 24, 2012 12:36 AM

                Heinzle definitely is the superior place, with now 14 points and a toque in Gault Millau 2012, whereas the Kirchenwirt is just mentioned and not rated in Gault Millau...

                http://gaultmillau.at/suche/restauran...

                Of course this also makes a difference in guest frequency. Whereas you have to get an early reservation at the very popular Heinzle, you may just drop in at Kirchenwirt !

                BTW: there might not be a big difference in the price level, Heinzle is offering main course starting at 10 Euro !

                ;-)

                1. re: Sturmi
                  a
                  anonj Mar 31, 2012 11:23 AM

                  Thanks so much Sturmi for your reply about Heinzle- the GM review looks excellent- have you eaten there?

                  We'll be staying at Hotel am Stephansplatz. Here's my Vienna list so far (trying to avoid offal meats, too much smoke and mean waiters):

                  Cantinetta Antinori, Patara Thai. Still stumped about Fri night following the Spanish Riding School performance- had thought about Da Capo. I'll be joined by my 22 and 26 y/o kids. Do you know of a lively night spot that twenty year olds would enjoy? Rather than Da Capo, we could splurge on Motto am Fluss.

                  I see in the Time Out Guide that Christian Petz is endorsing Livingstone's and Planter's Club for drinks.

                  Easter Monday thinking about Meirei. Do you have a lunch or dinner recommendation for that day? We will be going to some museums or Schonbrunn in the afternoon.

                  Thank you to Sturmi and anyone else with opinions!

                  1. re: anonj
                    s
                    Sturmi Apr 1, 2012 02:36 AM

                    Hi anonj,

                    Why are you avoiding Viennese food ?
                    Cantinetta Antinori is just another Tuscan place, nothing special, and Patara is a fancy and quite expensive Thai restaurant, and Da CApo is an average Italian Pizzeria/Trattoria.

                    When in Vienna eat Viennese food ! In the vicinity of your hotel I would suggest Gasthaus Pöschl on Weihburggasse (i recommend the "Naturschnitzel mit Reis"), Reinthaler´s Beisl in Dorotheergasse or - for a more high end Viennese restaurant - the König von Ungarn in Schulerstrasse, and - of course - the non-smoking section of Wein&Co Stephansplatz.

                    Meierei is a great place for Easter Monday, and Motto am Fluss is also a good choice. And of course: Reservation is a must at most restaurants during the busy Easter holidays.

                    For your kids I recommend that they check the scene along the Donaukanal, like Tel Aviv beach and Hermanns Strandbar or the Flex club: http://flex.at/flex_frontend/index.php?selected=programm

                    If the weather is too cold for outdoor dining the kids could also check the scene along the Gürtel around the Chelsea club: http://www.chelsea.co.at/

                    1. re: Sturmi
                      a
                      anonj Apr 1, 2012 08:53 AM

                      Thanks again Sturmi. I'll pass along the nightlife ideas and check into the Austrian places.
                      One kid has been in living in Austria for the past yr and is sort of starved for ethnic food/more variety but she's also been traumatized by her parents dragging her to hole in the wall Asian places and now prefers upscale Asian.
                      The other lives in San Francisco and considers himself a foodie.

                      As a veg/fish eater, i have to admit waves of nausea just thinking about some typical Austrian dishes. I figure we'll be eating Austrian in Wachau but you might be right- I'll check out the other Viennese ideas. Thank you! :)

                      1. re: anonj
                        s
                        Sturmi Apr 1, 2012 09:09 AM

                        I love Asian cuisine, especially Vietnamese and Thai.

                        If you want upscale Asian go to Sinohouse or to Goldene Zeiten, both in the inner city. More authentic Szechuan cuisine can bei found in the Imperial Furniture Depot on Andreasgasse, and their place is called fittingly "Zum kaiserlichen Thron" (at the imperial throne).
                        http://www.zumkaiserlichenthron.at/

                        Vienna can give you great ethnic food, but most of these places are outside the city: we like the Iranian Hatam grill on Währingerstrasse, the Vietnamese place Hanoi Express on Sechsschimmelgasse or the Good Morning Vietnam on Märzstrasse (both no holes in the wall !!), the Issaan Thai on Gumpendorferstrasse (yes, a hole in the wall...) and for dim sum the Lucky Buddha and Happy Buddha located close to each other on Gürtel and Kaiserstrasse.
                        http://happybuddha.co.at/
                        http://www.tripadvisor.de/Restaurant_Review-g190454-d694473-Reviews-Lucky_Buddha-Vienna.html

                        For great Italian food we prefer the smaller places found outside the city. Every quarter as his favorite Italian, and not all of the them are operated by Turks or Serbs. There are a few "real" Italians in town !!
                        In the inner city there is a small upscale Italian on Dorotheergasse: Melagrano
                        The same family has another place close to Hofburg Palace.
                        http://www.ilmelograno.at/ristorante_home.html
                        http://www.osteria-datri.at/

                        BTW: there is a great new vegetarian place quite close to your hotel: Tian
                        http://www.tian-vienna.com/

                        1. re: Sturmi
                          a
                          anonj Apr 1, 2012 02:14 PM

                          Great! Thanks so much for all the tips. Our daughter will be living in Vienna next yr so I'll pass this along to her- she'll especially appreciate the affordable ones.

            3. s
              shoo bee doo Apr 3, 2012 06:14 PM

              One of my favorite places in Vienna is the Gulashmuseum. It's within walking distance of St. Stephens and could be a nice lunch place.

              At the Naschmarkt, I loved getting Doner Kebap at any of the stands.

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