Every traveler who heads to Europe often knows that food is relished regardless of whether you’re in the north or south, most noticeably in the top urban centers. I hadn’t been to Vienna in years, so was thrilled for the opportunity to explore their markets, coffee houses, wine scene, restaurants and cafes.
A real stand-out is Kussmaul, a modern farm-to-table focused restaurant, which also pays special attention to diners with special dietary restrictions. For example, there’s a useful allergen chart on their menu, so you can see which items have gluten, dairy, egg, fish, peanuts, crustaceans, soy, nuts, celery, mustard, sesame, sulfites, lupines, molluscs and more. This is particularly useful for those with lots of allergies or who are sensitive to gluten, but for me, I was thrilled at their commitment to organic and fresh ingredients.
My favorite by a long shot was their Beef Tartare, Beef Marrow with Bonitoflakes, capers, garlic and jalapeno. It was served with a spicy green sauce and quite simply put, it was heavenly as was the presentation.
Also a standout was the Mackerel-Batara with Rice, Passe Pierre, Nori and Shiso, served with rice cream and rice crackers.
Other delicious options we tried included Porcini Mushroom with creamed corn, onion, ice plant, marjoram and parsley, an Octopus Pork Belly combo with chanterelle, chervil and peas, and an Organic Fed Chicken with pear, tarragon, bulgur, chili and basil (so so delish). They offer special menus so you could order a four course for 58 Euros or a six course for 78 Euros. There’s also a Chef’s Tasting Menu for one hundred and they’ll do a special wine pairing upon request. We decided our own pairings here and went with a 2013 Austrian Riesling Alte Rebe (Erich Machherndl Wachau Aut) and a 2010 Chardonnay Rully Blanc Dureuil Janthial from France.
If I wasn’t watching my carbs, I would have tried their Sweetbreads with Bali pepper, button mushrooms, lovage, potato, plum and beaten gold. And, did I mention their Tomato Ravioli with Tomato Consomme, blue gin and greek basil? YUM!
Dessert was so fresh and so healthy tasting, it was easy to forget that there was cream infused throughout — take a look at this Fig, Lemon, Hazelnut Brittle with Masala Ice Cream. We didn’t order the chocolate pear, coffee and malt beer concoction but wished I wasn’t watching my carbs or I would have. I went with their variation combo plate of Blue, Goat, Sheep and Cow Cheese with red nuts, fig and mustard.
It is located at Spittelberggasse 12, 1070 Vienna.
While I rarely give a call out to a hotel restaurant, the bistro attached to The Guesthouse where I stayed had such a great breakfast and lunch menu that I felt obliged to them a call out. If calories aren’t your concern, then by all means, eggs with hollandaise sauce of course.
A lighter option is the toast with cream cheese and chives — and plenty of chives. Their portions were on the large size, including their varied selection of tea which they serve in tea pots, a godsend for tea lovers like me.
Simple goat cheese with nuts.
They serve their eggs combined with bacon which I didn’t expect — it was so delicious that I ordered it for two out of three mornings along with goat cheese and a couple of pots of organic tea. The Guesthouse is located at Fuhrichgasse 10, Vienna 1010 and more information can be found at www.theguesthouse.at.
Delicious powdered muffins.
Below is a shot of the infamous Sacher chocolate cake which has been around since the 1800’s. This hotel is a bit of an institution in Vienna (they also have a property in Salzburg) so be sure to read my write-up on it which boasts lots of luxurious and decadent room and food photos.
A more classic Austrian dish we ordered at the cafe, one of several restaurants that Hotel Sacher has to offer, the others more formal and old world. We definitely recommend this is a Vienna restaurant “must stop.”
Motto Am Fluss
Along the waterfront is a special place located INSIDE a boat, which means that it can boast great waterside views from nearly every table. While I didn’t order it, the chef decided I should taste a starter they refer to as “Vegetable Rarities from Organic Farmers.” Gotta love it. Chick Peas and curry gel was part of the package, a great, healthy option for all vegans.
In addition to a special beef tartar with herb salad and homemade oven bread, they have a delicious sea bass with beetroot, goat cheese and arugula, a pink roasted Veal “sous vide” with carrots and Tropea onions, or a Braised Veal Shoulder with horseradish puree, bacon and vegetables, the latter of which I didn’t try. Bacon seems to be a common addition in Austria and despite the fact that if its not organic (or even if it is), it’s not the healthiest option on the menu to choose, I’ve always been a huge bacon lover and so…..
While I tend to eat a ton of vegetables and thrive on salads, I do like meat and there’s nothing like an all organic sustainable menu – if you’re equally inclined, imagine a Duck Breast with Risotto and Yellow Chicory, Escalope Viennese Style with potato salad, a Rib Eye with grilled marrow and beans or a Saddle of Fawn with Pumpkin-Szegediner-Cabbage and Pumpernickel Dumplings. I tried the Pumpkin cabbage on the side and it was beyond scrumptious — bring it on Vienna chefs!
Their cheese selection was also just “lovely” — they served it with pickled fig, a great combo with an Austrian dessert wine and a coffee before retiring for the evening. The food, service and venue were outstanding – two thumbs up!
Gotta love the fine touches — the way they presented the bill.
Wiener Gaste Zimmer
Wiener Gaste Zimmer is located on the first floor of the Viennese Vinegar Brewery, the location I visited on Waldgasse 3 although they have other locations. More info at www.gegenbauer.at. They’re known to be a bit of an institution for vinegar lovers, which btw, I am not. Rare that I dislike anything, but vinegar, wasabi and horseradish are not on my “love” list although olive oil is, and as regular readers will know, so is cheese, wine and other delicacies.
This unique vinegar shop began in Vienna’s “Favoriten” district and the company was founded by Ignaz Gegenbauer in 1929 where the still inexperienced future gourmet Erwin Gegenbauer at the age of only 14 left an opened bottle of fine wine in his room for a couple of days. The wine had become vinegar. Years later, after studying and travelling around the world, the charming Viennese began his new hobby: making vinegar from different sorts of wines.
Different flavors available for sampling and purchase on-site include raspberry, honey, asparagus, tomato, saffron, cucumber, elderberry, black currant, sour cherry, fig and red pepper to name a few. He also produces flavored oils, including pumpkin seed oil, which is famous in Austria. Others included chili, basil, fennel, sweet pepper and more. Yum!
An important point was a conversation at the Naschmarkt and this conversation convinced him that the vinegar path was the right way for him and he started presenting all of his vinegars at the Naschmarkt from that day on. Top chefs as well as gourmets all over the world love his many sorts of fruit and balsamic vinegars made of apples, asparagus etc. Today the Austrian who humbly calls himself “the world’s smallest vinegar producer” has more than 70 sorts of vinegar in his portfolio – besides other delicacies like juices, oil and coffee.
Alt Wien Kaffee
Ahhh yes, speaking of coffee, you may have heard that Vienna is known for delicious high quality coffee and you wouldn’t be wrong in wanting to experience (and taste) some of it. One such great discovery was this fine on Schleifmuhlgasse 23 in A-1040 Vienna — more info at www.altwien.at. Unfortunately at the time of writing this (October 2015), they still didn’t have an English translation of their website.
They source from the best, including Panama, Kenya, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Mexico, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Brazil, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Thailand and Bolivia. I love the fact that they bring in such diversity into their quaint coffee shop, one which is rich in character, charged by a team who truly cares about the quality of their coffee. Since it was after 3 when we arrived for an afternoon jolt, I asked whether they had decaf. The answer was of course no – they are coffee purists and it couldn’t have been clearer in their offerings or their ambiance. Two thumbs up!
And, of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention one of Vienna’s best markets – Nashmarkt. And so, let’s just say 6 fabulous picks for your next Vienna list….and apparently, it’s open every day.
Pastry Shops Throughout the City
Throughout the city, you won’t find a shortage of pastry shops where you can experience decadent sweets, from croissants, fruit filled dough creations and chocolate to cakes, and sweet breads. YUM! This was what I encountered during my stay.
At various cafes, train stations and more, you can find sandwiches (below) as well as mini sandwiches (scroll down), which are very common in Vienna. Recommendation — order a few of them and accompany with a glass of Prosecco for the full experience.
The Naschmarkt is Vienna’s most famous market and there’s no shortage of great foodie finds among it, from fresh organic vegetables to olive oils, chocolate and specialty spices. Have a meander below – I only wished I had more time to explore than I did. Let photos speak in this occasion. Loved the neighborhood, my guide, the spices, coffee, olive oils and veggies I sampled. Love you Vienna – oh so wish I had more time and can return when it’s warmer and not rainy. Bravo!
It is where the creative team so to speak, makes it home. The Freihausviertel in the vicinity of the Naschmarkt is the big attraction with numerous restaurants, bars and cafes, including Cafe Amacord, Cafe Anzengruber, Zweitbester, Acht Ein Halb and the Cafe Vollpension. It is located at Wienzeile, 1060 Vienna, between U4 station Kettenbruckengasse and Karlsplatz, one of the largest and most central stations in the city. (+U1 and U2 station).
Let’s not stop there. For more fun, check out the following:
- Plachutta Gasthaus zur Oper: this is a great place to try out the typical Viennese dish Wiener Schnitzel, which many Americans are privy to.
- The Sign Lounge Bar on 9 Liechtensteinstrasse offers the Sound of the Ring cocktail. Famous apparently and the ambiance is fun.
- Ansari Restaurant – a great Georgian restaurant worth trying out.
- Mochi Restaurant on Pratastrasse, well known for sushi and Japanese food. Delicious. Some say the best sushi in Vienna.
- 7 Stern Brau – this is a brewhouse and restaurant with internationally acclaimed beer and well, beer-oriented food of course. Situated between Mariahilferstrasse, Vienna’s largest shopping street and many museums, it’s a great stop over when you’re in the middle of seeing the city’s most tourist-frequented sites. It is located on Siebensterngasse 19, Vienna A-1070.
- Cafe Stadtkind – a new hot spot for urbanites, where they serve food from breakfast till midnight. They do bio-sodas and original Munich Augustiner beer from tap. They also have organic, house-roasted fair trade coffee available as well.
- Raw Shop – as it sounds, located on Otto-Bauer-Gasse 11 in Vienna 1060.
- Rori’s Finest Sweets for the sweet tooth among you — located on Pilgramgasse 11 in Vienna 1050.
- Halle Cafe & Restaurant in the Museums Quarter.
- Pure Living Bakery on Burggasse 68 in Vienna 1070. Yum!
- Cupcakes Wien – okay, so here we have more sweets all. Cupcake lovers can get their fix at Albertgasse 17 in Vienna 1080.
- El Gaucho Restaurant – okay, to be fair all, this is a chain focused on steak, however I liked the ambiance of the one inside the ever so trendy Stilwerk Design Center. The building itself was designed by conceptual architect Jean Nouvel, so the ambiance overall is great. Sofitel sits on the top of the building.