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Sep 20, 2012 09:23 PM

Where to eat in Vienna?

My husband and I are going to Vienna Sept 29 - Oct 2 (Sat- Tues). Where do you recommend we eat? We have no dietary restrictions and love food!

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  1. High-end, Nr. 11 among the 50 Best of the World: Steirereck

    Inventive food, from inexpensive to somewhat expensive:
    Zum Finsteren Stern
    Mraz & Sohn
    Walter Bauer

    Viennese Classics:
    Rudi´s Beisl
    Gasthaus Pöschl
    Altwiener Gastwirtschaft Schilling
    Meixners Gastwirtschaft
    Restaurant Sperl
    Heidingers Gastwirtschaft
    Zum Reznicek
    Zur Goldenen Kugel
    and many, many more

    Avoid: the same Viennese food, in the form of very expensive tourist traps:
    Zum Weissen Rauchfangkehrer
    Do & Co

    Demel, definitely the very best !
    Aïda (at every second corner)

    Italian gelaterias on Tuchlauben, Hoher Markt, Schwedenplatz
    Tichy on Reumannplatz

    Street food:
    Bitzingers sausage kiosk, between Opera and Albertina
    or any other Würstelstand ...

    both with several outlets all over town

    Brunnenmarkt, Karmelitermarkt, Viktor Adlermarkt, Kutschkermarkt, etc.

    Avoid: Naschmarkt, especially on Saturdays.

    Any heurigen in the Stammersdorf area

    Avoid: Grinzing

    11 Replies
    1. re: Sturmi

      I wouldn't throw a blanket "avoid" on the Naschmarkt! Unless something has changed? It's a must-not-miss activity for visitors, especially food-loving visitors. But, yeah, when the big flea market is out it's a pain. Weekdays are certainly better.

      This list is great but overwhelming! I have been to a fraction of those places but feel strongly about the ones that I love. We've got pics from a few here: and there are a lot of good posts from the past on CH. One tip: When possible try to call in advance. I've had a few experiences (on CH and in real life) where a place that I highly recommended turned out to be unexpectedly closed for someone without warning...

      1. re: kukubura

        Hi kukubura,

        Yes, you are right, this is an overwhelming list. OTOH it is quite convenient to create such a list once in a while, since it forces me to rethink my priorities. And for a general question like the one by Marit522 it is hard to give a more specific answer...

        Regarding Naschmarkt: this area is rapidly deterioriating. It was a big surprise when last week two of the better restaurants, both of which were always crowded and defnitely may be called successful, suddenly closed for good: the Vietnamese Pho places By Chi and Pho Saigon. When asked, someone from Pho Saigon just said that the general atmosphere at Naschmarkt did not feel right any more...

        Of course, there are still a few great places there. But the majority are just tourist rip-offs. You really have to pick carefully where to buy or where to eat. Recently we had a major disappointment when we bought some cheese at Käseland, which we always thought of as a major stronghold of excellent products. Back home we found that every single piece of cheese we had bought was inedible. Swiss Emmentaler, French Münster and Roquefort as well as some Bergkäse simply had been lying in their shelves for too long and had the same very strong and acid taste. It might have been a hot summer, but they have air conditioning in their shop. Or a lack of customers during the summer months, but this should not be a problem for a seasoned merchant. I guess that it was not just "the summer", it was a general decline in serious customers, and this brings me back to the conclusion that the Naschmarkt, where we have been buying all kind of food for more than 35 years, is no more a place recommended...

        1. re: Sturmi

          That's really a shame! So sad to hear that.

          1. re: Sturmi

            Very sad to hear By Chi is gone, that was a staple for our visits to Vienna and was in my mind for a visit because the 3 Vietnamese places in Brno, CZ all burned down recently (they were all co-located).

            While I agree the Naschmarkt is really very touristy and quality is not always high I do find the butchers to be pretty good and my all time favourite thing to do at the Naschmarkt is to get a glass of good Gruner Veltliner and people watch on a Saturday afternoon.

            Sturmi, is there another markt in central Vienna (or close to central) that has fruit, veg, butchers, cheese, etc... all in one place or at least close to each other?

            1. re: vanderb

              It's gotta still be worth a stroll and maybe a glass of wine, as vanderb says, if not a meal.

              1. re: vanderb

                Getting a glass of Grüner Veltliner will never be the problem, only that this attitude is the cause for the disappearance of "real" marketeers selling fruit, vegetables, fish and meat. There are only very few butchers left on Naschmakrt, most of them only chain outlets. But you are right: meat and fish are the only items you may get there in good quality and for a reasonable price ...

                The alternative markets are primarily the Karmelitermarkt,

                and the Brunnenmarkt,

                but also the Rochusmarkt,

                or the Kutschkermarkt.
                Here at Kutschkermarkt is one of the best cheesehops in town: Pöhl on Kutschkermarkt:

                But these are rather small local markets. OTOH going there on Saturdays is quite interesting because of the many farmers coming only on Saturdays. We love to go the the farmers market on Yppenplatz (Brunnenmarkt) on saturday, and then get lunch at the Wetter restaurant, operated by Raetus Wetter, a Swiss chef specializing in authentic Ligurian cuisine. His small menu is Italian only, but the nice waiters help ...

                1. re: Sturmi

                  The Brunnenmarkt is the most convenient for where we normally stay in Vienna so we'll give that a go next time we're there... thanks for the info Sturmi.

                  1. re: vanderb

                    Please keep in mind that there are two kind of markets at Brunnenmarkt. The one Monday to Friday is an extremely low-cost, no-frills market mainly based on products imported from Turkey. You can buy there tomatoes, bell pepers, lemons, chili and green beans, as well as apples, peaches or nuts at ridiculously low prices. There are few cheese merchants, but the cheese is of rather low quality.

                    On Saturday there is in addition a farmers market on Yppenplatz, which offers a lot of high-quality organic vegetables, some fish from organic aquaculture, and specialties like pickles or home-made pastry.

                    Wetter is open for lunch only on Saturday, Monday to Friday Wetter opens only at 6 p.m.. OTOH there are quite a few restaurants on Yppenplatz and Brunnengasse which are open for lunch and dinner Monday to Saturday, e.g.the well-known Kent for Turkish cuisine, the An-Do seafood restaurant, the An-Do cafe and a few smaller places along the northern side of the Yppenplatz.

                    Some Yppenplatz shops are remarkable too: the Staud sells all kinds of jams and marmalades, an the La Salvia is an Italian Delicatessen.

                    This multicultural scenery is more authentic and more relaxed than on Naschmarkt or Karmelitermarkt. But every Viennese has his favorite market ...


          2. re: Sturmi

            Thanks Sturmi! I knew you'd be a huge help. I've been reading up on other threads on CH and see you're a regular with some great advice. Sorry if my question seemed a bit broad, but we really don't have a lot of restrictions at all. We plan on having at least one NICE meal, and will spread our money around the rest. I truly appreciate your range and how you broke it all down for us!

            Vanderb, great tip! I love wine – and people watching is one of my favorite sports. We'll check that out!

            Kukubura, I'll check out your pics! Thank you for sharing.

            We will be in Prague for 4 days and Munich for 3, now I'm off to research where to go/eat there!

            1. re: Marit522

              Thank you for your great recommendations and thoughtful reply. Although not the above poster I have considered your advise and I have booked Vestibul for my partner's 40th birthday dinner as well as saved your list above.

              Are heurigen year-round operations? We will be in Vienna mid-November but these establishments sound like something we would want to check out - we enjoy trying wines.

              1. re: Teal

                The "real" heurigen is open only for a few weeks every year. "year-round" operations are not real heurigen, but theme restaurants operating in the disguise of a heurigen.

                What is the difference ?

                A real heurigen is a winegrower selling his own wine. He has to work as well in the vineyard as in the wine-cellar, and therefore the license to sell the - limited quantities - of his own wine is also limited.

                Therefore each region has his webpage announcing who has open at whch day or week. For Vienna use this link
                Klick on the Tab called "Suche" = search, and then select one of the many winegrowing regions for the heurigen open on a specific day. Open heurigen are marked in red type.

                Alternatively you just take the tram to Stammersdorf and stroll along the main street and the "Kellergasse"...

                And yes, there is always an exception the the rule.: Wieninger
                Here the year-around restaurant, disguised as heurigen, is operated by the brother of the winegrower...

          3. Sturmi,
            Thanks for the wonderful lists; they're extremely helpful. I wonder: on the Viennese Classics, is it safe to show up without a reservation? And if reservations are advisable, is a few days' notice enough or will I need to reserve farther in advance. Thanks!

            9 Replies
            1. re: Gypsy Boy

              A reservation is always recommended, especially for Rudis Beisl or for Gasthaus Wolf, both of which are quite small and fill up quickly. Usually calling a day ahead or on the same day is sufficient.

              BTW: The only places which need reservations a few weeks in advance are now:
              Kim kocht (Japanese / Asian fusion), Fabios (ex-Italian, now NeoAustrian) and Mochi (Japanese / Asian fusion). I doubt that you will want to go there...

              1. re: Sturmi

                ...and Steirereck. We received a nice e-mail response from the restaurant. We were given a choice of three dates (albeit at 6:30 pm and, sadly for us, in the smoking room--though they offered without our even mentioning it to move us as soon as a vacancy opened in the other room) but even though the choices might not be absolutely ideal, we are still thrilled to be able to get in. I presume reservations this far out (we arrived 22 October) would also be needed at Walter Bauer.

                1. re: Gypsy Boy

                  Yes, I did not mentioned Steirereck, sorry. But you were asking for the "Viennese Classics" category, which is more the low-cost beisl variant.

                  Steirereck and Walter Bauer are the only true high-end places left, and of course always solidly booked...

                  1. re: Sturmi

                    My mistake. I hadn't realized you were confining your answer.

                    However, a few additional places have come up in my research. Any thoughts (that you wish to share) on any of these places?:

                    Alte Backstube
                    Altes Jägerhaus
                    Leupold's Kupferdachl

                    And yet again--many thanks!

                    1. re: Gypsy Boy

                      All these are part of the "and many, many more" part of my Viennese classics list !

                      Alte Backstube:
                      what the name says: a theme restaurant operating in an old bakery. Since it exists for more than 40 years, it must have its customers. I have not been there for at least 30 years, but the Topfenstrudel mit Vanillesauce used to be heavenly...

                      Altes Jägerhaus:
                      Traditional Viennese cuisine right in the Prater, same quality in the Lusthaus across the street, but the Lusthaus has a more interesting architecture...

                      no comment

                      Part of a cluster of restaurants run by the Huth family. Huth is the Viennese cuisine restaurant branch, Da Moritz is the Italian branch, and there is also a beisl of the same name. Food is OK, great if you just drop in on you walks through the city, but definitely not worth a detour.

                      Leupold's Kupferdachl:
                      Another Viennese classic. Great beisl cuisine in a convenient location. Used to have a Beisl and a more formal restaurant, but is now just a maze of different rooms with the same food and service.

                      maybe the most interesting place of your new shortlist. Schnattl is the only one you will have to make a detour for, and is also worth a detour. Schnattl has also been in business for many years and still keeps its quality AND its customers. Schnattl is less of a "beisl" ond more of a "bourgeois restaurant", a category which has been dying out slowly and has now just a few veterans left: Schnattl and Eckel...

                      BTW: Huth and Plachutta WANT to be like Schnattl or Eckel, but will never succeed...

                      1. re: Sturmi

                        Wonderful; thank you again for your time and comments.

                        I spent the weekend working on my list and have a few more for which I'd love to have your comments as well. I'm slowly narrowing down the list, trying to make it workable. Too many wonderful places, too little time! The new list includes:

                        Die Fromme Helene
                        Gasthaus Wild
                        Hietzinger Brau
                        Kern's Beisl
                        Restaurant Salzamt
                        St Charles Alimentary
                        Vikerl's Lokal
                        Zu den 3 Hacken

                        This second group is, I think, likely to be less desirable, but I'm not entirely certain.
                        Gösser Bierklinik
                        Mayer am Pfarrplatz
                        Melker Stiftskeller

                        And finally, it doesn't make sense (to me, anyway) to come to Vienna without rying local specialties. One that I've never had and seems well worth trying, is probably also worth asking for a specific recommendation for: beuschel.

                        I'll try to stop inundating you with lists but since we have so little time, I don't want to waste any of it!

                        Vielen dank!

                        1. re: Gypsy Boy

                          Both these lists do not contain any real special places, overall it seems a little bit outdated, a left over from the 1980s...

                          I will try to give detailed answers:

                          Altwienerhof: used to be one of the best in town, until the chef Rudi Kellner died. Now it is just another tourist location, providing the usual Viennese classics. Nice if you stay at their hotel, otherwise not worth the detour.

                          Die Fromme Helene: an old classic, recently relocated. The menu is large and unimpressive.

                          Gasthaus Wild: one of the first of the "new beisl scene", now the food is not worth the price. Again: if you stay in their neighboorhood, it is OK, but not worth a detour.

                          Hietzinger Brau: again the same. The first location of the Plachutta chain of boiled beef places, it offers regular Viennese classics at rather high price levels.

                          Kern's Beisl : nice small beisl in the inner city. Recommended.

                          Restaurant Salzamt: core of the "bermuda dreieck" bar area. You do not want to go there for dinner. Never. This is the area for teenage binge drinking groups...

                          St Charles Alimentary: a wonderful very small - a real hole in the wall - place for self found vegetables prepared in an inventive way.

                          Vikerl's Lokal: This place has changed its proprietors twice. Now it is just another Viennese restaurant, far away from former glory. Its famous chef Bittermann is now working in Göttlesbrunn, his new place is worth the trip:

                          Zu den 3 Hacken: Just another beisl, nothing special.

                          Gösser Bierklinik : if you like beer and pork knuckles and Schweizerhaus is closed. Because of its size and location, you might go there for lunch, which is quite inexpensive for the dish of the day:

                          Mayer am Pfarrplatz: great old heurigen, now operated by one of our retired advertizing tycoons. It is one more restaurant disguised as a heurigen, but wine and food is of acceptable quality, and the location is authentic..

                          Melker Stiftskeller: Just like Gösser bierklinik, only less centrally located.

                          Silberwirt: one of Gergely´s chain restaurants. Great for fighting hunger if you are hungry and are nearby, but nothing special.

                          In summary, only Kern´s Beisl, Charles Alimentary and Mayer am Pfarrplatz seem worth considering.

                          And now to your Beuschl request: Beuschl is very popular and will be served even at Steirereck. The best beuschl is nowadays served at Gasthaus Wolf in 4., Große Neugasse. Reservation required.

                          1. re: Sturmi

                            I think I have made progress (probably just self-delusion). In any event, my thoughts are these. For our lunches, Bitzingers (or should I save this for a snack and choose somewhere else?), Gasthaus Reinthaler, Gasthaus Poschl, and then I can't decide between Haas Beisl or Shnattl? (We're going to Melk one day and so will have lunch somewhere else...Krems, Durnstein....)

                            For dinner, Steirereck, Rudi's Beisl, Gmoakeller, and Phonixhof. Then, I am uncertain which two to choose among Eisvogel, Meixner’s, Artner auf der Wieden, and or Restaurant Eckel (or perhaps Freyenstein).

                            And somehow in the midst of all this--at the very least--I owe Sturmi (and Mrs. Sturmi) a drink for all your help!

                            1. re: Gypsy Boy

                              Bitzinger is just a street kiosk with hot sausages, hot dogs and "Leberkäse". Great for a quick bite before or after opera or museum visits. It is more snack than lunch...

                              Haas Beisl is a real down-to-earth beisl, smelling just like an old pub should, but the food is excellent, the new cook knows how to prepare all the classics. The same is true for Gasthaus Reinthaler.

                              Schnattl and Rudis´s Beisl are "edelbeisl". The interior might be the same as Haas Beisl, but everything is clean, tables are nicely set, service is friendly and helpful.

                              Gasthaus Pöschl is right in between, it is an old winehouse converted by a renowned architect into a "new beisl" many years ago, and now has the patina it deserves. Food is beisl classics, I prefer the "Naturschnitzel mit Reis".

                              Regarding dinner I would prefer Meixner over Gmoakeller and definitely would recommed Eckel. It is located somewhat in the periphery of town, but its ambiente, its service and its menu breathe Old Vienna. No other place like this left ...
                              At Eckel the "Kalbsnierenbraten mit Reis" is the signature dish. It is a veal roast cut in a way that it is including the kidney and its fat. To die for...
                              Their starters are also wonderful, and the sorbets to close the meal are remarkable in their fruitiness...

                              All these places are very popular, reservation required one or two days ahead, in the case of Eckel and Rudi´s Beisl maybe even a week ahead.

                              And yes, it is Mr.Sturmi (but Mrs. Sturmi sends her regards, she reads my writings and agrees with what I recommend !)

            2. Sadly your trip is over! How did it go?

              4 Replies
              1. re: kukubura

                It was amazing! We are enjoying one last day in Prague before we head home to San Francisco. We absolutely loved Vienna, we were just talking tonight how we had the best food there. Our favorite meals were at Wratschko and Cafe Phonixof. We loved the coffee at Sperl and pastries at Demel too. Thank you do much everyone for the great suggestions.

                I've been searching for Prague tips on CH but there aren't as many! I'll have to add to the threads with our finds.

                1. re: Marit522

                  There's a lot about Prague on CH. Lokal is a place that many love for traditional food in a modern setting. U Zlateho Tygra is mega-traditional, although tough to get a seat. There are many solid places, although I have a feeling with the time difference you're done with your day... Feel free to expand on what you had when your trip is all done!

                  1. re: kukubura

                    I am not finding nearly the amount of tips that were available for Vienna. We actually hit up Lokal yesterday, it was amazing! Sad to learn Le Degustation is not open on Sunday. And you aren't too late, we are just about to start our last day! :)

                    1. re: Marit522

                      Oh, well then hopefully you'll have time for U Zlateho Tygra. It's ornery and you may have to wait, but the beer is amazing, the tartare is amazing, and the atmosphere is pure Prague.

                      The brew pub in the Strahov monastery (Klasterni Pivovar or whatever) is great too.

                      If you want to sip a carafe of Movarian wine with an amazing view there's a self-serve wine bar near the castle called Wenceslas Winery or something which is really beautiful and looks out over the entire city.

                      Also, a less touristy location for views and brews is the big outdoor beer garden in the Visherhad (totally butchered the spelling) park a couple of metro stops south of Wenceslas square. And don't forget to finish out the night with some sausages on the square...

              2. I didn't see it on the original list, but Entler was really great. I think it's ranked extremely high on TripAdvisor, which is how we learned of it, and the food was excellent - inventive-ish, affordable.

                We were unimpressed by the food & service at Beim Czaak. OK, but forgettable.

                1. Sturmi,

                  I've read through several of your posts (kukubura as well) and I've printed out a couple of your posts as a guide. The passion of for food and Vienna from which you write is wonderful. I loved the pictures and write up of the meal you had on the train returning from was Switzerland wasn't it?

                  My wife and I actually arrive from the U.S. this coming Sunday afternoon (16th) and are out on Wednesday morning (19th) so we'll narrow the list down to 3 dinner and 2 lunch spots. We'll call it "3 days in Vienna...Dining with Sturmi" We (I) love food and wine so we are looking forward to the visit.

                  We are staying near Schwartzenergplatz (Schubertring) so we'll take in a few museum's, the markets and the Riding School to make room for the next meal.

                  On the list are: Griechenbeisl; Fabio's; Steirereck (did you say you need reservations here), Vestibul and Edelhof but we are not ruling out "dropping in" to a local place as we pass bye.

                  Thank you for all your postings...your comments are welcome.

                  Happy Holidays

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: dkanyon


                    Please keep in mind that the places you mention are from quite different categories:

                    Griechenbeisl is a traditional restaurant mainly frequented by tourists, but it is NO tourist trap due to a quite honest offer of traditional Viennese dishes. Nothing special, but worth the money if you find a nice table.

                    Fabio´s is an Italian watering hole of the chic and trendy. The main point is being seen there, not the food, although the food is acceptable (but quite expensive). We rather go to Cantina - Osteria Friulana (open Monday to Friday 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. on 1., Bartensteingasse 3)

                    Steirereck is one of the worlds top 20. The best high-end cuisine you can get in town, although presented in an ambiente of questionable taste. The food is worth the aberration in architecture. Reservation a few weeks ahead a must, you might now just get a table for lunch...

                    Vestibul, OTOH, has the correct ambiente and excellent cuisine, more traditional then Steirereck but worth every cent.

                    Edelhof is our neighborhood eatery. It offers now classic Viennese food, and always has a table ready waiting for you. You might even meet us there, because we live nearby. Quite agreeable value for you money, but really too far away if you stay close to Schwarzenbergplatz. You might rather take the short walk and visit Gmoakeller (closed Sunday) to sample authentic beisl cuisine !!

                    If you are in town Sunday to Wednesday forget the markets. The markets are only interesting Friday and Sunday. Rather go to one of the beisl close to you: Gasthaus Pöschl on Weihburggasse, Gasthaus Wolf on Grosse Neugasse, or Gmoakeller...

                    Reservations required everywhere !!! This time is the busiest time of the year !!

                    1. re: Sturmi

                      Great, thank you. Griechenbeisl is back on the table...Fabio is probably out...don't need to be seen. We'll check out Osteria Friulana. Additionally, we'll add to the conversation Poschl, Wolf or GmoaKeller. Stick with Vestibul if reservations come through and Steirereck stays in but don't look at the decor. ;-)

                      Thank you again, so looking forward to it. We may still get out to Edelhof if we get time.


                      1. re: dkanyon

                        My GF and I celebrated her 40th birthday at Vestibul and it was all that I could have wanted - Beautiful space, Wonderful service and Great Food. We made the mistake of not leaving before the post-theater crowd came in so it took awhile to pay but we didn't' have anywhere to be. I would highly recommend this restaurant. I thought it was the perfect choice especially for my non-pork or beef easting GF and at $300 including tip for 2 glass of champagne, 1 bottle of wine, 2 apps, 2 main, 2 desserts, Schnapps and coffee it was a great value too.

                        Thanks for the tip Sturmi!