In the second part of the Wren’s Wien guides about travelling in Vienna, we take a look not at the food culture of the delightful Austrian capital. Vienna is famous as a culinary treasure as much as for its deep musical history and your taste buds will delight to be in one of Europe’s best known meetings spots of different cultures… Building Bridges, remember!
So from the cheap eats to the top-end dineries here is ESC Insight’s guide to what you need to be eating this May.
Firstly Vienna is a very adaptable city and has a wide range of restaurants for all budgets and taste. All the major locations for Eurovision fans are around the central, and you won’t have trouble finding something to eat near any of them. Compared to other major European cities Vienna is mid-priced overall and the dent in your wallet post-Contest should be significantly less than you would have suffered from Scandinavian years gone by.
The Viennese Staples
The most famous and most traditional foods of Vienna are cakes in huge varieties. Search in Vienna for one of the gazillion coffee houses, which are even officially recognised as Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. You can test the Apfelstrudel or Linzertorte and enjoy flicking through your latest Insight newsletter as you sip your coffee with whipped cream. Maybe these are not the places to visit if you are on a diet! Most famous is Café Central at Herrengasse/Strauchgasse which opened in 1876 and was a meeting place of some of Europe’s great thinkers. Rather than recreate a full list here just visit the one updated by the Vienna Tourist Board to find your nearest sugar rush.
In terms of food more substantial if your favourite food is pig, you are in luck! Vienna’s traditional cuisine comprises every possible fried or boiled pork dish, served alongside dumplings or potatoes. Occasionally they even splash the boat out and give you both. You can experience traditional Viennese cooking at a Beisl (bistro) or Gasthus (Tavern), and these are the best places to sample the famous Wiener Schnitzel. Expect to pay between €8 and €20 for a main course mainly depending on location from the tourist centre. Gasthaus Elsner at Neumayrgasse 2 is just North of the Stadthalle and is open from 10am-10pm for a filling Austrian meal. The highly rated Zu ebener Erde und erster Stock can be found to the South of Eurovision Village at Burggasse 13 with a menu that changes day-by-day.
Perhaps due to the indulgences surrounding the tourist trade weekend brunch deals are very common and very filling if you can handle your grub. The Mill offers a Sunday brunch buffet priced at €17 set amongst attractive gardens with highlights including the sheer plethora of dessert options after 4-6 main meals. Find it east of Westbahnhof on Millergasse 32. Die Wäscherei at Albertgasse 49 is located between the Eurovillage and the Stadthalle offering a Weekend brunch for €16 or a wide range of main meals for a similar price. If location to the arena is important then just north of the Stadthalle at Gablenzgasse 1-3 you will find Lugner City shopping mall with a few restaurants to suit all tastes. The most Austrian sounding of these is chain restaurant Schnitzelhaus.
Check our more authentic Viennese restaurants once again on the official website.
The Glitz And The Grub
Living the swish lifestyle is very possible in Vienna with many of Central Europe’s most critically acclaimed restaurants. Restaurant Steirereck has 2 Michelin stars and offers contemporary Austrian cuisine and a beautiful setting within the Stadpark. Their 7 course tasting menu may set you back €150, but if that is too much instead take a casual lunch at a bargain €80. Their sister café Meierei, also in the park lets you get a taste of the kitchen for around €20/dish.
Restaurant Vestibül at Universitätsring 2 is just east of the Rathus (and near to Eurovillage) and offers top-class dining with a three course set lunch menu for €51, or main courses from €25.
Alternatively head instead for many of Vienna’s most basic offerings. Like all European capital cities there is a range of simple international cuisine which does it’s job at keeping away hunger. For pizza under €5 try Pizzeria Mafiosi on Reindorfgasse 15 (South of WestBahnHof) where the exceeding quantity and quality may be problematic for some. For those McDonalds fans, the branch on Hütteldorfer Strasse 81B/4 to the west of the Stadthalle is open until 2am or the branch at Westbahnhof is open until 1am. Unfortunately 24 hour dining hasn’t reached Vienna, instead the late night hunger culture revolves around grabbing a hot dog from a street stand, just like Copenhagen.
Doing It All Yourself
If you just want to grab and go, Merkur Markt supermarkets are located at the South of Stadthalle in the Westbahnhof and North on Gablenzgasse 5. In Lugner City shopping mall there is a Billa supermarket as well as their extensive food court . Elsewhere in Vienna you can find Merkur Markt and Billa supermarkets spread around the city, along with Spar and Lidl.
Vienna also has a good range of food markets, where you can buy anything your heart desires. The main three are the Naschmarkthas with 120 fruit and vegetable stalls and a very popular Saturday flea market (Mon-Fri until 19:30 and Sat until 18:00). The Karmelitermarkt has a range of food stands and cafes open Mon-Sat until 23:00. For a more Turkish/South European feel, check out the area around Yppenplatz Square with Brunnenmarkt and Yppenmarkt (Mon-Fri until 19:30 and Sat until 17:00) offer 170 stalls and cafes, making this the perfect place to sample fish or kebab specialities from the Balkan region.
This completes part 2 of Wren’s Wien and we have planned four more editions to write for you. In next week’s edition we are going to bring out the best places to go to as Vienna turns dark in our nightlife guide.