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Apr 28, 2012 08:30 PM

Vienna: have 2 dinners picked out, need advice for 3rd

Hello! I'll in Vienna May 10-12 and am trying to narrow down all of the recommendations from previous posts to decide on a place for dinner on Saturday, May 12. We already have reservations for Steirereck on Thursday and are planning to make reservations for Rudi´s Beisl on Friday night. Any suggestions for our last night that would provide a different food experience than the other two? I was thinking one of the places that Strumi lists for 'best inventive new Viennese cuisine' -- would you agree? If so, which of these places are more reasonable/offer the best value? Thanks!

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  1. Great plan.

    My first suggestion is Zum Finsteren Stern. If the weather stays the way it is right now, you would be able to sit in their outdoor setup on one of the most beautiful baroque style piazzas of Vienna. But even when sitting only in the no-frills 18th centuries basement you will get quite a different experience than at Steierereck and Rudis. Ella de Silva´s cuisine is an intesting blend of Viennese, Mediterrean and Asian, but with a very personal style and never repeats itself...
    Sorry, no website...

    Alternatively you might try Martin Stein, Freyenstein or Kutschker44.

    Martin Stein is a small, modern restaurant located in the historic building of an old inn. It is run by a young couple (the Steins) and specializes in "sous-vide" preparation of Viennese classics. The ambiente might not be that spectacular, but the food is first class.

    Freyenstein is located in an old beisl, re-used without much of renovation, and has a large garden, which has been used for outdoor dining for at least 100 years. The chef Meinrad Neunkirchner is a great chef and collector of wild herbs. He presents - only - a tasting menu of 8 small courses, always two of these served side by side. The combination of tastes is remarkable, and all for Euro 39,- !!

    Kutschker44 is a laid-back lounge-style restaurant, where the chef Georg Stadtthaler has his iron griddle right in the center of the restaurant. His style is also unique, Georg has worked with all the great Austrian masters (Gerer, Österreicher, Petz), and presents Viennese classics as well as own inventions. Nice outddor setup, it is a shame that noise from nearby traffic on Gentzgasse spoils the romantic atmosphere a little bit.

    18 Replies
    1. re: Sturmi

      Thanks so much for the suggestions! Of these, which is/are the most reasonable in terms of price? Also, I'm assuming we need to make reservations since we'll (2 of us) be going on a Saturday night?

      1. re: laurent692

        The price levels at these restaurants are about the same.

        The 8 small-courses tasting menu at Freyenstein is Euro 39 (no changes possible, you eat what is on the menu !),
        the four 4-course menues at Martin Stein are 46 to 50 Euro,
        a 5 course menu at Kutschker 44 is Euro 42.30.
        Zum Finsteren Stern is offering a six-course tasting menu for Euro 52, which is slightly more but worth every cent.

        You pay twice as much at Steirereck...

        Reservation is a must at all of these places, especially for Zum Finsteren Stern and Freyenstein when outdoor dining is possible. Their outdoor setups are very popular. Also these two restaurants will always reserve an indoor and an outdoor table for you, since the weather might change fast...

      2. re: Sturmi

        Sturmi, I check the Marin Stein website and it says that it has closed since June 2012. Is the closure permanent?

        1. re: blownd

          Yes. Another one bites the dust...

          It is so sad. Today here in Vienna real high-end and inventive restaurants have a very hard time...

          1. re: Sturmi

            My wife and I will be visiting Vienna shortly for a short vacation. I have read all your (Sturmi) contributions going back to 2010. I wanted to extend my gratitude for your feedback. 2 questions, if you have the time - one specific and the other general.

            First, given the rate that the high end, inventive restaurants are closing which would you suggest dining at? I have reservations made for Walter Bauer, Steirereck and Gasthaus Freyenstein.

            The second, is what is the reason for the restaurant closures? Is business not good? Given the number of tourists through most of the year, I had expected a good flow of customers especially at these restaurants.

            1. re: blownd

              Good questions:

              First: Walter Bauer, Steiereck and Freyenstein are excellent choices. But please be aware that the first two are quite expensive high-end places, whereas Freyenstein is a no frills, just the food counts, place. Freyenstein also can keep its high standard only by offering only the fixed menu, without any altrerations. Your only choice is the drink, and they also offer wine pairing....

              Still, sampling these three places provides the best of two worlds !!

              Second: Martin Stein was a very small venture located outside the tourist areas. Its customer base is very small, since competition from lower cost "beisl" and "heurigen" is intense. High-end restaurants operate with tiny profit margins, and closings or take-overs are frequent.

              Tourists will rather go to centrally located restaurants like Steirereck, Walter Bauer and Palais Coburg on the high end, Plachutta and Weisser Rauchfangkehrer at the not so high but still very expensive end, and Gmoakeller, Figlmüler, Ofenloch, Beim Czaak etc. at the beisl level. And do not forget that there are so many inexpensive offers at any corner, the whole range of pizza, sushi, kebap, hamburger, fried noodles and hot dogs, which is filling the empty stomachs of many tourists used to these tastes from back home...

              The Viennese, on the other hand, like to dine out frequently, and usually have a favorite place nearby which offers classic Viennese or Italian fare at acceptable price levels. In the case of Martin Stein, who was located in an affluent residential district, there are competitors like Pfarrwirt in Heiligenstadt, who has a great ambiente, a large outdoor dining setup AND proven traditional dishes to keep his clientele happy, or Mayer am Pfarplatz, with an old traditional heurigen ambiente, great wine and accepatble heurigen fare. BTW: Pfarrwirt and Mayer are owned by the same man, who is a retired advertising tycoon spending his pocket money. Martin Stein with his ecclectic, non spectacular but still inventive cuisine had no chance...

              1. re: Sturmi

                Is the only way to make a reservation at Zum Finsteren Stern to phone? Just trying to plan from Toronto.


                1. re: Sturmi

                  Sturmi, could you help with a recommendation for a final lunch? I have shortlisted several based on your previous recommendations -Restaurant Vincent, Restaurant Vestibul and Kutscher 44. Thank you

                  1. re: blownd

                    Each one of these is worth a visit.

                    Vestibul is the most impressive fin-de-siecle ambiente, when dining indoors, and has a nice outdoor garden in front of the Burgtheater, overlooking the - busy - Ringstrasse and the Rathausplatz open air festival. Food is excellent, a modern twist of Viennese cuisine.

                    Vincent and Kutschker 44 are less centrally located and have a more relaxed ambiente, but the food is also excellent, and quite adapted to the season ! Kutschker44´s indoor ambiente is modern lounge-type, nonsmoking only, and it has a small outdoor dining setup, quite agreeable. Vincent has a different, more traditional, style, and the main room is a smoking area, the non-smoking area is in the winter garden.

                    1. re: Sturmi

                      Thanks, Sturmi. I have absolutely no luck finding a restaurant for Monday. I was hoping for one of the Bib Gourmands but all are closed. Would you have a suggestion please? Thank you

                      1. re: blownd

                        Sunday and Monday are tough, no question. Here are a few tips:

                        - Rudi´s Beisl is open monday for lunch and dinner. Whereas Rudi´s is just a very good beisl, all chowhounds so far have been quite excited about the quality of its simple and classic food. Reservation required.

                        - Holy Moly on Badeschiff. An informal restaurant, but operated by one of Austria´s best chefs: Christian Petz. Online reservation here:

                        And there is always also Motto am Fluss. Maybe the food is less inventive than Holy Moly, but the location is as spectacular:

                        1. re: Sturmi

                          Sturmi der Grosse: I'll soon be in Wien for 2 weeks (31 Aug - 13 Sep) and will be following your suggestions from over the past few years.

                          Nur eine kurze Frage: at which restaurant can the best Tafelspitz be found?

                          1. re: denholt

                            Good question:
                            Plachutta is the local favorite, but we prefer a more simple and less expensive solution:
                            Altwiener Gastwirtschaft Schilling or Rudi´s Beisl.
                            Schilling is easy, no reservation required, open all day, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m, seven days a week.
                            Rudi´s is smaller, more elitist, reservation required, closed weekends.

                            1. re: Sturmi

                              Vielen Dank! I'll be staying in an apartment in 1060 (Stumpergasse / Liniengasse). If you have any suggestions for that immediate neighborhood, I'd welcome them. I've read probably all of your posts on Wien over the last 2 years and consider myself very well-prepared thanks to your contributions. I'm really excited about this trip - haven't been there since 1988 when I was a poor college student.

                              1. re: denholt

                                Stumpergasse / Liniengasse is an area full of small cafes/bars/beisl/ethnic restaurants. Here are a few:
                                Indian: Shalimar on Schmalzhofgasse and Nam Nam on Webgasse,
                                Viennese: Restaurant Mill on Millergasse, Restaurant Steindl on Stumpergasse.
                                Thai:Thai Isaan on Gumpendorferstrasse (this self service place is the one worth a detour ..)

                                1. re: Sturmi

                                  Thanks so much! I've been to NE Thailand and Laos several times and am very familiar with (and a fan of) Isaan cuisine, so will definitely check them out.