Vienna Guidance...calling Sturmi & Co :)
First, the wealth of information on Vienna here is fantastic. And much of it seems to come from Sturmi. So thank you for everything you've already posted.
I just arrived in Vienna with my wife and 2yr old daughter. We are from NYC and are traveling in Europe for 6 months. We are in Vienna till 17 Jan and staying at Burggasse 21. There are so many more interesting choices than we could fit in, I was hoping for suggestions to narrow things down a bit.
My daughter is great in restaurants (including very high end) and is usually good for around 2+ hours. Lunches are easier (bedtime eventually cuts dinners short) and we love all food (doesn't have to be fancy or high end, just good).
We have a babysitter for only one day and used the opportunity for a longer meal to make a reservation at Steirereck. We know we need to visit Demel at least once (both my ladies are major sweet tooths).
We love food markets, so we will head to the Naschmarkt. Any particular stalls/restaurants/other items not to be missed there? Are there other markets we should visit?
Any spots near where we are staying that we should check out? Glacis Beisl is nearby and got good reviews on Yelp.
Thanks so much in advance for any guidance. We are very excited to be here and enjoy Vienna.
Burggasse 21 is a good starting point for excursions all over Vienna!
Personally I would usually advise against Naschmarkt, as it gets more and more touristy every year, and very few of the orignal marketeers are still left.
But since you have so much time on your hands, you´ll probably run by it anyways.
Most stalls on Naschmarkt offer the same items, the only one I can think of, I would definitely suggest is Urbanek (delicatessen - stall 46), and maybe for ok indian food - which is hard to find in Vienna anyways, "Indian Pavillion" (stall 74-75)
Instead, for a more "vibrant" market feeling, I would suggest "Brunnenmarkt" (Tram 2 Josefstädterstrasse)
and for local produced Austrian specialties "Karmelitermarkt" in the second disctrict on a saturday morning.
For good Bread visit "Joseph Brot" in the first district.
I haven´t been to Glacis Beisl (for some reason it just doen´t appeal to me), but "Wratschko" is really close to Burggasse as well and offers good Beisl food for good prices and is a locals favorite.
I don´t have kids, but in my experience, this should not be a problem.
The only issue that I can think of is smoking.
Although there officially are restrictions, restaurants in Vienna can tend to be really "smokey". Even in restaurants that have separate smoker/nonsmoker rooms, because they often leave the door between the two rooms open...
one more thing! in case you visit a typical Viennese "Kaffeehaus" (Cafe):
Tourists often have misconceptions when it comes to those places.
Don´t expect to drink the worlds greatest coffee.
Don´t be offended when the waiter appears to be rude.
Don´t go there if you´re in a hurry.
I´m telling you this because I witnessed just recently that a couple of American tourists got extremely upset on a table next to mine in a Kaffeehaus.
For a lot of Locals including me, the Kaffeehaus is a extension of their living room.
There are some famous writers who reportedly even had their mail delivered to their favorite cafe.
People tend to sit there for some time once they´re there.
On one hand, that means that you don´t have to consume too much in a longer period of time. Nobody will ask you to leave your table before closing time, even if you haven´t consumed anything within the last hour, and you can always ask for another glass of water.
On the other it means that cafe is pricey, and service can be really slow.
In some places it can take up to ten minutes for the check to get to your table after you ask for it, often waiters appear to be really grumpy, sometimes even seem to ignore you.
Just don´t take it personally, and take your time.
I agree with most of what tobiask wrote, and would only like to extend his recommendations:
- Brunnenmarkt is a great market especially on Saturday mornings, when the usual offers of low-cost fruit and vegetables and bad, overripe cheese is amplified by numerous farmers offering their own produce, including not only fresh fruits and vegetables, but also cakes, pastry, pickles and all kind of sausages and meat. We love to shop there on Saturdays and always have lunch afterwards at Raetus Wetter (unmarked place at the corner Weyprechtgasse and Peyergasse), a Swiss chef who specializes in authentic Ligurian cuisine (including always some pasta with tomatoes for the children).
- Burggasse itself has a lot of restaurants, Viennese and all kinds of ethnic cuisine. We prefer the Altwiener Gastwirtschaft Schilling on Burggasse 103, corner Halbgasse, where you can get a decent Wiener Schnitzel all day, 7 days a week ...
- Demel is the best, no question, but try the cakes and pastries at Aida !! This chain also has a great selection of coffees and is present all over town !!
We go to Vienna about once a month, I've posted a running thread of those visits and will be updating shortly it after our NYE visit (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/792427).
We quite enjoy Glacisbeisl, the food is excellent and a little more imaginative than just Wiener Schnitzl and potato salad... not that there is anything wrong with WS. Phonixhof is close to you on Neustifgasse, their WS is outstanding and it's non-smoking.
I also agree that the Naschmarkt is no longer a true market but it is worth looking around and more specifically getting a nice glass of wine and people watching on a good weather day. In addition to Urbanek I like Raphael's which is right across from Urbanek.
I'm not a Vienna resident like Sturmi, as such I'm not a local expert, but if you have any questions based on my link above let me know.
Steirereck is a great choice, of course. The other very high end choice would be Palais Coburg if you want more. Stay away from Le Loft in the Sofitel (which is has a great view, however, so do get a drink at the bar).
A few Gastro Pubs have popped up in Vienna, most notably Freyenstein, which is great value for money (it might take longer than 2 hours though).
Gasthaus Wolf and Wratschko are good choices for trying a "Beisl", classic Viennese Restaurants. Wratschko is very close to Burggasse.
Naschmarkt has indeed become a tourist trap for the most part. There is however a very nice farmer's market on Saturdays that you might want to check out.
You can find a list of very good restaurants (local cuisine and not, at every price range) at a friend's blog, aguidethatsalwaysright.com. It's still work in progress, but should give you some good options.