Eating in Vienna with my Daughter: Please Advise
In November I will be meeting my daughter, who is studying abroad in Italy for the semester, for a long long weekend in Vienna. This will be her first and my second visit to Vienna, and I would greatly appreciate some advice on how to optimize our four dinners there. We would love to experience delicious food in a lively setting that suggests that we could not be dining anywhere but Vienna. Bonus points awarded for places where my twenty year old daughter will not find herself the only person under forty in the room (exemption granted for the Sacher). I have read through many of the excellent posts on this board (thank you all, but particularly Sturmi and Kukubura!) and am organizing my thoughts using Sturmi's classification of September 21st.
Some background on my prior visit: my wife and I loved everything about our meals at Immervoll and the Rote Bar at the Sacher (after the opera); although we enjoyed the food and wine at Upstairs at Meinl, we found the atmosphere a little dull. With that in mind, I am planning to return to Immervoll, which I gather is now Gasthaus Poschl, and the Rote Bar, again after the opera. Of course, if there are strong views as to preferable "Viennese Classics" or apres opera spots on a Saturday night, I would love to hear them!
For our two remaining nights, I am drawn to the "Inventive Food" category. I have explored the Vestibul and Freyenstein websites and they both entice. I was unable to get much direct information in English on Walter Bauer or Vincent. In addition, Tripadvisor, which is usually not my restaurant guide of choice, lists Entler as the favorite restaurant in Vienna of its contributors; Entler's website is appealing, but when I searched Chowhound for Entler, references, I was unable to find any so informed views on Entler would be great to have. Of those five restaurants, which two would you recommend given the criteria I list in the first paragraph.
And finally, which three Viennese cafes would you recommend visiting to give us a feel for the genre? Delicious food and drink would be a plus, of course, although my expectations for the coffee have been dampened by my reading of the board...Thanks in advance (and I promiseto post upon my return).
First, thank you very much for your excellent research and you very specific questions.
Let me answer these one by one:
Gasthaus Pöschl is unchanged, only Mr. Immervoll is gone. He opened a new restaurant at the location of the recently closed Zur Schwarzen Katze, but the reviews are mixed. So: yes, Gasthaus Pöschl is a good choice !
I have never been to Vincent. It is a little bit out of way for us, but the reviews show that they really try to offer something special. And there will be a generally younger clientele, but more 30+ than 20+.
Walter Bauer, OTOH, is a real gem and a great high-end restaurant, maybe the last of its kind (exclusive ambiente in a small and cozy setup) in Vienna. The cuisine is a great modern twist of Austrian classics, but of course the clientele is more 50+ than 20+ ...
Entler is just a good neighbourhood restaurant. Nothing special, but I can understand that many tourists are quite happy with their cuisine, which is quite reliable and offers many choices. Also here the clientele is mixed, there are quite a lot of young people present. Overall Entler is a class lower than Vincent.
Vestibul is a special thing. Its location in the vestibule of the Burgtheater provides a very fin-de-siecle ambiente, and the cuisine is first rate. Even if there are more people in the 50+ age group, you daughter might like the Vestibul as much as the Rote Bar at Sacher.
Freyenstein is fun. It is a no-frills-ambiente place, used to be a pub created in the setup of an old beisl. The new owner did not renovate much, but concentrates on creating a very tasty cuisine based on organic products including many wild herbs and vegetables, but organic grown meat and fish as well. Eating there is really an adventure, since you have to eat what you get, there are no alternative dishes available. But the food is excellent and tasty, nothing is too extreme to anger you, it is rather a great introduction into Viennese cuisine at its most authentic and best. All age groups above 18 are present, but the majority is 50+, no question...
Where do young people go ?
Well, they prefer ethnic food, no question. There are so many Italian, Greek, Japanese, Chinese, Turkish and other ethnic places around, and as many fast food places as elsewhere in the world.
So in conclusion I would recommend Freyenstein and Vestibul in adddition to Gasthaus Pöschl and Rote Bar for your four dinners.
Now to the Kaffeehaus question:
I would recommend the Kaffee Hawelka for its ambiente, the Kaffee Landtmann or Prückel as typical cafes of the Ringstrasse, and maybe Kaffee Jelinek or Phönixhof as more fitting for younger people.
But do not forget the sweet side of life: Demel is a must !!
But Demel is so much more than Sachertorte ! It is the most authentic source of traditional Austrian pastry. Everything is home-made, using only the best possible products.
When I visited Demel the first time about 40 years ago I was asking myself:
what are the people talking about, it tastes just like my grandmothers cakes and cookies ?
Of course now I know that this is exactly what counts ...