HOME > Chowhound > Europe >
What's your latest food quest? Tell us about it
TELL US

Vienna: Help with Tentative Restaurant Itinerary

v
vnicole May 24, 2012 04:13 PM

Thank you so much to the Vienna chowhounders, particularly Sturmi, for all the wonderful advice. You have created an invaluable and unparalleled resource for Vienna restaurant research! Based on your recommendations, I have compiled the following plan for our trip to Vienna at the beginning of June and was hoping to get a little feedback if possible. My family and I (2 adults and 2 sophisticated teenagers) are planning on spending four nights at the Hotel Konig von Ungarn. A continental breakfast is included in our rate, so I’m looking at lunch and dinner unless there’s a can’t-miss breakfast option. Sturmi had recommended breakfast at Meierei for a special breakfast experience for instance. For dinner, we’d like at least one authentically Viennese experience, but, in general, Sturmi’s recommendations for Viennese cuisine with a modern twist really appeal. The price point of Freyenstein (39€) is very attractive although we are willing to spend a little more if it’s really worth it. I realize that spending the weekend also limits us since many restaurants are closed Sunday and Monday. Here’s what I’m thinking for dinner (when I’m trying to decide between two or more, I’ve listed them in current order of preference):
• Saturday: Haas and Haas Teahouse for a late afternoon tea. (We’re going to the Marriage of Figaro at 7pm, and I know we won’t want to wait until after the opera for dinner. Plus, we’re huge afternoon tea fans).
• Sunday: Weibels Wirtshaus (recommendations on what to order?) or Zum Kaiserlichen Thron
• Monday: Zum Schwarzen Kameel or Gaumenspiel
• Tuesday: Freyenstein, Bauer (how expensive is it? I couldn’t find a website or menu for it), Zum Finsteren Stern, Kutschker 44, Restaurant Martin Stein (am I right that you can do the prix-fixe menus but you don’t have to?), or Grunauer (how expensive is it?) Do you have a first choice among these? Also, do you have any idea about how much the taxi fare would be for a 17 min ride from the Hotel Konig Von Ungarn to Freyenstein?
Since we’re planning on having fairly large dinners, I’m thinking light lunches, perhaps Kaffeehaus per Sturmi’s suggestion or patisseries.
• Sunday: We’ll probably visit the Hofburg (Café Hofburg for lunch?) and, or the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Gerstner Cafe?)
• Monday: We’ll probably visit the Belvedere. Any suggestions for lunch? Sturmi recommended the beisl Gasthaus Sperl to another Chowhounder. Would that suit us, or might it be too heavy given our dinner plans?
• Tuesday: We’re planning on the Schonbrunn. Café Residenz for lunch?
Thank you in advance for any help you can give me!

  1. s
    Sturmi May 25, 2012 07:25 AM

    I am currently on a gourmet trip through northern Italy and can use my iphone only, which reduces my abilizy to reply somewhat.

    Two early comments: your schedule is quite reasonable !

    The only slightly more expensive place is Walter Bauer, but is worth every cent.
    A taxi from your hotel to Freyenstein might be around 15 €, and much less if you walk to a taxi queue at Am Hof. But it is much more fun to ride with a tram ! Walk to Schottentor and take Nr. 40 or 41 til Gersthof.

    Will come back to you after our return on Monday.

    22 Replies
    1. re: Sturmi
      v
      vnicole May 25, 2012 07:52 AM

      Thank you so much for your early comments! The tram recommendation is quite helpful! Hope you're enjoying your trip--it sounds heavenly--and look forward to hearing from you on your return! We leave June 1, and we're going to Paris first, so we've got time.

      1. re: vnicole
        s
        Sturmi May 28, 2012 03:48 AM

        Now some more detailed answers, in BLOCK LETTERS:

        • Saturday: Haas and Haas Teahouse for a late afternoon tea. (We’re going to the Marriage of Figaro at 7pm, and I know we won’t want to wait until after the opera for dinner. Plus, we’re huge afternoon tea fans). GOOD IDEA !!

        • Sunday: Weibels Wirtshaus (recommendations on what to order?) or Zum Kaiserlichen Thron

        WEIBEL IS A VERY TRADITIONAL RESTAURANT, SERVING THE VIENNESE CLASSICS. NOTHING SPECIAL, BUT A GOOD INTRODUCTION, AND FAIR PRICE/VALUE !

        ZUM KAISERLICHEN THRON, OTOH, IS CHINESE CUISINE IN A VERY REFINED WAY, A MULTI-COURSE MENU FOR AT LEAST 4 PERSONS THE BEST WAY TO ENJOY THE FOOD !!

        • Monday: Zum Schwarzen Kameel or Gaumenspiel

        ZUM SCHWARZEN KAMEEL AGAIN IS MORE TRADITIONAL, BUT THE ORIGINAL FIN-DE-SIECLE AMBIENTE MAKES IT SPECIAL. PRICE LEVEL AS HIGH AS WALTER BAUER...
        http://www.kameel.at/download/05_R-Karte_2012_engl.pdf

        GAUMENSPIEL MIGHT BE BETTER FOOD, BUT SERVICE AND AMBIENTE ARE LACKING...

        • Tuesday: Freyenstein, Bauer (how expensive is it? I couldn’t find a website or menu for it), Zum Finsteren Stern, Kutschker 44, Restaurant Martin Stein (am I right that you can do the prix-fixe menus but you don’t have to?), or Grunauer (how expensive is it?) Do you have a first choice among these? Also, do you have any idea about how much the taxi fare would be for a 17 min ride from the Hotel Konig Von Ungarn to Freyenstein?

        WALTER BAUER IS A TRADITIONAL HIGH END RESTAURANT, VERY SMALL, VERY PERSONAL SERVICE, AND EXTREMELY REFINED VIENNESE FOOD. IF YOU CAN AFFORD A SINGLE HIGH-END DINNER, GO THERE !

        THE FOOD AT ALL THE OTHER LISTED PLACES IS ALSO EXCELLENT AND INVENTIVE, BUT SOMEWHAT LESS EXPENSIVE THAN WALTER BAUER.

        THE ONLY PLACE WHERE YOU HAVE TO TAKE THE PRIX-FIXE MENU IS FREYENSTEIN, BUT IT IS ALSO THE ONE WITH THE BEST PRICE/VALUE RATIO...

        Since we’re planning on having fairly large dinners, I’m thinking light lunches, perhaps Kaffeehaus per Sturmi’s suggestion or patisseries.
        • Sunday: We’ll probably visit the Hofburg (Café Hofburg for lunch?) and, or the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Gerstner Cafe?

        )

        GOOD CHOICES !!

        • Monday: We’ll probably visit the Belvedere. Any suggestions for lunch? Sturmi recommended the beisl Gasthaus Sperl to another Chowhounder. Would that suit us, or might it be too heavy given our dinner plans?

        GASTHAUS SPERL, A REAL DOWN-TO-EARTH VIENNESE BEISL, OFFERS ALSO SMALL SNACKS (SALADS, SOUPS, GOULASH) AND VEGETARIAN DISHES ("Geröstete Knödel mit Ei und Blattsalat, Eiernockerl mit Schnittlauch und Blattsalat "). LUNCHING IN THEIR COURTYARD IS A PLEASURE ON A SUNNY DAY AND IS A GREAT WAY TO RELAX AFTER A VISIT TO THE BELVEDERE !!

        • Tuesday: We’re planning on the Schonbrunn. Café Residenz for lunch?

        YES, THIS IS A GOOD CHOICE. THERE ARE ACTUALLY SEVERAL CAFES AT SCHÖNBRUNN:
        The RESIDENZ, the PARKCAFE and the CAFE GLORIETTE:
        http://www.cafe-residenz.at/en/cafe-and-rerstaurant-residenz/
        http://www.landtmann-parkcafe.at/en/parkcafe/
        http://www.gloriette-cafe.at/en/home....

        1. re: Sturmi
          kukubura May 28, 2012 05:49 AM

          In my two visits to Restaurant Sperl I've determined (through exhaustive research!) that they are all about soups and dumpling/spatzle/knockerl dishes. Really, really great. And the courtyard is lovely, for sure.

          Looks to be a great trip! But are you planning any heuriger visits? I'd recommend it, since it's such a distinctly Viennese thing and is so fun.

          1. re: kukubura
            v
            vnicole May 28, 2012 08:02 AM

            Thank you so much, Sturmi, for the extensive and extremely helpful reply! I will certainly report back when we return from our trip! One last question, although Zum Kaiserlichen Thron sounds wonderful, I think we'd prefer Austrian cuisine since we can get really good, authentic Chinese in the states. If Weibel is "nothing special," is there something else you would suggest, or is that the best option for a Sunday night?
            Thanks also, kukubura! We'll definitely have to try Restaurant Sperl. I don't know that we'll make it to a heuriger, but if we get a chance, do you have a specific one to recommend?

            1. re: vnicole
              kukubura May 28, 2012 09:21 AM

              Well, my experiences are fairly limited but I can tell you know I know:

              Nussdorf has some small family run heurigen that give a good sense of how it's been done for generations. Kierlinger was the one that we really liked.

              Stammersdorf is also full of heurigen and includes our favorite, Wieninger. They are straddling the old and the new with both a traditional vibe and buffet but also a chef looking for innovative things to add to the experience. We love that place.

              Grinzing is where the tourists get shuttled for heuriger experiences and apparently is to be avoided.

              Am Reisenberg is a modern heuriger that we haven't been to but sounds interesting.

              Here are a couple of blog posts that my wife did on our heuriger experiences that you might enjoy:

              http://tastytrix.blogspot.com/2010/04/heurigen-hopping-austrian-dispatch-with.html
              http://tastytrix.blogspot.com/2011/11...

              Also, I might just not recognize the names but do you have a traditional, modest beisl type restaurant on there for dinner? Sturmi's favorite Rudi Beisel is great. Also, more rustic and laid back, Phonixhof is a personal favorite for just very traditional Viennese in a friendly pub-like atmosphere. Pretty sure they're open on Sundays.

              1. re: kukubura
                v
                vnicole May 28, 2012 01:25 PM

                Thank you so much for the recommendations! Wieninger especially sounds like it's worth a look. Even if we don't end up having time for a heurigen, reading your wife's blog posts and looking at her great photos was such a treat! The posts about Vienna sandwich spots in particular provided me with some really delicious ideas for lunch that I know my family will love!

                1. re: kukubura
                  ChinaCat May 29, 2012 10:33 AM

                  I''m pretty sure Phoenixhof is closed weekends. I had thought they were open Sundays, but when we were there asked the hotel to call and make a reservation, and they never answered their phone or replied on Saturday or Sunday. I never did get there unfortunately.

                  1. re: ChinaCat
                    kukubura May 29, 2012 05:04 PM

                    You might be right. I just looked at their website and they have hours for "work days" and holidays. Don't know where I got sundays from. http://www.phoenixhof.at/index2.html

                    EDIT: Google translate seems to think that they're open Sundays from 18:00-24:00. I dunno.

                    1. re: kukubura
                      s
                      Sturmi May 30, 2012 12:01 AM

                      Yes, this is correct !

                2. re: vnicole
                  s
                  Sturmi May 28, 2012 11:18 AM

                  I would suggest to try Weibel since it is close to your hotel and offers a steady quality and a nice ambiente. Few restaurants are open on Sunday evening, and the only alternatives offering Viennese cuisine located close to your hotel are Plachutta on Wollzeile or Österreicher im MAK. I would rate all these three similar regarding food, but Weibel is the most authentic with a very cozy athmosphere.

                  1. re: Sturmi
                    v
                    vnicole May 28, 2012 01:27 PM

                    Thank you, Sturmi! You're recommendations have really taken the stress out of finding good restaurants for Vienna. Can't wait to report back!

                    1. re: Sturmi
                      s
                      Sturmi May 30, 2012 12:06 AM

                      I would like to add one possible alternative location for Sunday dinner, especially when the weather is nice: the Holy Moly restaurant on Badeschiff.

                      Badeschiff is a large boat on the Donaukanal, which offers a swimming pool and a restaurant operated by the famous Austrian chef Christian Petz, The food is extraordinary AND inexpensive, reservation a must, but easy:
                      http://www.badeschiff.at/jart/prj3/ba...

                      1. re: Sturmi
                        v
                        vnicole May 30, 2012 05:51 PM

                        Thanks for the recommendation! I think we might stick with Weibel for Sunday, do Holy Moly Monday (it looks really, really great!), and Freyenstein Tuesday. After a week in Paris, I think our pocket book might be happier with two less expensive options, even though Martin Stein sounds terrific.

                3. re: Sturmi
                  ChinaCat May 29, 2012 10:36 AM

                  which of the Schonbrunn cafes is hte one next to the carriage museum? I hthnk its the Residenz? This is where we had lunch, and the food was quite good, but the service was horrendously slow. I mention this only if you are in a hurry. They seemed to do better at the other cafe....they had a LOT more waitstaff.

                  For your day at the Hofburg, Cafe Demel is right outside the main gate. I know its very touristy, but I was impressed by the food we had there. Our lunch was wonderful. Getting an outdoor table can be a challenge though.

                  1. re: ChinaCat
                    v
                    vnicole May 29, 2012 10:48 AM

                    Thanks, ChinaCat. That's good to know about the Schonbrunn cafes. Also, I was already thinking about Demel, so it's nice to have confirmation that it's worth going!

                  2. re: Sturmi
                    v
                    vnicole May 29, 2012 10:53 AM

                    Just discovered that Martin Stein is also open Monday. Do you have a preference between Gaumenspiel and Martin Stein, Sturmi? You talked me out of Zum Schwarzen Kameel with your comment that Gaumenspiel's food is superior. :)

                    1. re: vnicole
                      s
                      Sturmi May 29, 2012 11:31 AM

                      IMHO this is a question of price for value.

                      Zum Schwarzen Kameel is a watering hole of the chic and trendy generation 50+, who do not care if the price for their meal is a little bit over the top.

                      Gaumenspiel is a "bobo" place you could also find in London or Manhattan, and we recently were slightly disappointed with our dining experience there. The food was interesting and quite a pleasure, but the setup is crowded and the service wanting.
                      BTW: we will test their new "lower cost" next door restaurant called St.Ellas this friday. I will report.

                      I have been to Martin Stein only once, but enjoyed the dinner very much. The service is relaxed but caring and helpful, the menu is interesting, and the setup is an old inn, renovated to a very restrained modern design. If you want to sample a real tasty prix-fixe menu, Martin Stein and Freyenstein are the two places to go, and you will have two great dinner experiences worth to remember...

                      One last remark about the Cafes around Hofburg. Demel is worth a visit, no question, but might be crowded. And demel is a pastry shop, not a Kaffeehaus ! The cafe inside the Hofburg is very spacy and more like the other Kaffeehäuser, such as Landtmann, Mozart, Prückel, Griensteidl etc.. The food at Demel might be better, but it is more relaxing to lunch at a Kaffeehaus, simply because you have more space around you...

                      The cafe at KHM is just another treat. Here you are sitting below the giant cupola of the museum, which gives you a wonderful view and is maybe one of the best museum cafeterias in the world. But: it is nor more a Gerstner cafe ...
                      http://www.khm.at/en/plan-your-visit/...

                      ;-)

                      1. re: Sturmi
                        v
                        vnicole May 29, 2012 12:23 PM

                        I continue to be so impressed and grateful for your knowledge and the quality of your advice. I think we'll definitely have to book Martin Stein and Freyenstein! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Also, would love to read your report on St.Ellas!

                        1. re: vnicole
                          s
                          Sturmi Jun 2, 2012 02:22 AM

                          Sorry, we did not make it to St.Ellas yesterday, this meeting with friends who live next door of St.Ellas had to be posttponed, we went to Gasthaus Wolf instead. This recently reopened beisl is now the place to go for Viennese chowhounds who are fans of "head to tail" cuisine. Yesterday the menu actullay had every piece of veal you coud think of: brain, tongue, lung, tripe, liver, kidney. Only tail, steak and foreshank were beef and not veal, and there were also simple pork chops and "Schweinswiener", wiener schnitzel from pork, on the menu, and the usual vegetarian alternatives, either Eierspätzle or Erdäpfelnockerl (gnocchi).

                          I had the "Hirnpofesen", which are small triangles of white bread, filled with calfs brain, breaded and deep fried and served on a corn salad. For main course I had the tongue of veal, boiled with potatoes, carrots and turnips, and served with some freshly grated horseradish and pumpkin seed oil. My wife had as a starter a terrine made from pork knuckles, served with scarlet beans, red onions and pumpkin seed oil, and as main course boiled beef with a horseradish bread sauce and green beans.

                          But there were other interesting items on the menu:
                          oxtail, first boiled and then breaded and deep fried, served with a salad of potatoes and cucumbers, or tripe made with curry, chili and pineapple and served with polenta, or roasted veal kidneys, served with mashed potatoes and onion sauce...

                          The wine list is a great selection of Austrian wines. The only problem of this beisl is that it is almost as small as Rudis Beisl, only that Rudis is smokers only, whreas Wolf has a smoking and a non-smoking section...

                          Prices are low and service is very helpful.
                          http://www.gasthauswolf.at/

                          1. re: Sturmi
                            v
                            vnicole Jun 14, 2012 01:17 PM

                            Wow, that sounds great! Thanks again for all the recommendations! We just returned from Vienna, and I wanted to report back on some of the terrific food we enjoyed on our much too short stay. Saturday night we all loved our tea at Haas and Haas. Although the anglophiles in the family missed traditional scones, we all enjoyed the large selection of delicious tea sandwiches, the "English muffin" with clotted cream and strawberry preserves, and the sweet breads.

                            Sunday, we had a quick lunch at Cafe Halwelka. Apfelstrudel for three of us and wiener schnitzel for the fourth--all very much enjoyed. Dined at Weibels Wirthaus for dinner--rather a disappointing cream of asparagus soup--delicious, but much more cream than asparagus. However, the entrees made up for it, particularly the succulent pork filet two of us enjoyed. Although I'm generally much more of a steak than a pork person, my pork filet tasted like the pork equivalent of top-quality filet mignon.

                            Monday lunch at Demel--the best hot chocolate I've ever had, a delicious caesar salad though a bit overpriced perhaps, and a slice of Black Forest cake--yum, yum, yum! We tried another patisserie, Gerstner, Tuesday and found it quite disappointing in comparison to Demel. Monday dinner was at Holy Moly--terrific value for the creative, healthy main dishes. Two of us had octopus and two the char--both choices excellent. The chocolate many ways dessert was a great way to finish the meal.

                            Tuesday, delicious sandwiches at the Glorietta Cafe at Schonbrunn and an incredible dinner at Freyenstein. My dad, a small-plate lover to whom the tasting menu format really appealed, said it was one of the best meals he'd ever had. The service was extremely friendly and helpful, and each course brought creative, interesting, and delightful combinations of flavors only exceeded in deliciousness by the succeeding course. Special touches like the amuse bouche to start and the complimentary house made chocolates to finish the meal helped make this dinner the best of our European trip! Thanks again to everyone who commented and especially to Sturmi for all the terrific restaurant help!!

                            1. re: vnicole
                              s
                              Sturmi Jun 16, 2012 01:27 PM

                              Thank you so much for your report !!
                              I am happy you liked the Freyenstein. Were you able to sit outdoors in their romantic garden ?

                              1. re: Sturmi
                                v
                                vnicole Jun 19, 2012 06:10 AM

                                Unhappily no. The weather was not the best for our stay, but the interior in Freyenstein is lovely.

              Show Hidden Posts