by Vivienne Mackie,
Vienna, of Hapsburg and classical music fame, is also well-known as a city of good food, great beer, and local wine. Restaurants, cafes and bars in all price ranges abound, and during a recent two-week visit I sampled what the city has to offer. I’d like to share some of my favorites, in the low to medium price range.
Most visitors to the city will head first to the Stephansdom, the beautiful Gothic cathedral in the center of the old city. Nearby are many eateries, but take the time to find these two:
FIGLMULLER, Backerstrasse 6 (there is another Figlmuller one block over at Wollzeile 5). Our Viennese friends insist this is THE best place for Wiener Schnitzel, the city’s famous lightly-crumbed fried veal cutlet. Figlmuller prides itself on having the biggest schnitzels, so large that they fill a dinner plate. And they are delicious—very thin and not too fatty. Also very tasty are the spinach knoedeln—large dumplings stuffed with spinach and served with a wonderful garlic-Parmesan sauce. Try a viertel (1/4 liter) of local wine, either red or white, to accompany your plate.
Daily noon-midnight. Tel: +43 1 512 17 60, www.figlmueller.at (has English)
GULASCHMUSEUM RESTAURANT, also recommended by our Viennese friends, at Schulerstrasse 20, a couple of blocks behind the cathedral. It’s actually not a museum, but does serve an amazing variety of goulashes, those tasty meat ragouts of Hungarian origin, with onions, paprika and lashings of sauce. The types of goulash range from tripe to horse to mushroom to chocolate (I wasn’t brave enough to try that!). Our party had a pork, a veal and a fish goulash, all of which were very tasty.
Open Mon-Sun 10am-midnight. Tel: +43 1 512 10 17, www.gulasch.at (German only)
Other restaurants near the State Opera:
ROSENBERGER MARKT RESTAURANT, Maysedergasse 2, next to the Tourist Information Office, across from the Albertina Museum. This is a huge place on three levels; a souvenir and coffee shop on ground level, and a self-service restaurant on two levels down, arranged around an open atrium with a large artificial tree. The enormous selection of buffet-style food is fresh and tastefully displayed, and prices are very reasonable. Dishes range from soups, to salads, to cold meats and sandwiches, to hot cooked meat dishes, to desserts and fresh fruit. They also have a number of cakes and tortes, including the famous sacher torte (chocolate, with apricot jam), which is much cheaper here than at the legendary Sacher Café around the corner.
Open regular shopping hours. Tel: +43 1 512 3458
Close by, on the Albertina side of the Burggarten, is the PALMENHAUS. This was the hothouse of the Emperor’s private garden, now converted into a café/bar. It’s a lovely setting for a light meal, or to sip wine, a cocktail, or a coffee, under the palm trees and the Art Nouveau ironwork. In the warmer weather you can sit outside on the patio overlooking the gardens.
Open daily 10am-2am. Tel: +43 1 533 10 33
If you want to put together a picnic meal, head for the NASCHMARKT (Underground station is Kettenbrukkengasse). Open daily, except Sunday, this is a bustling, colorful, noisy market, which offers almost every imaginable food item. You’ll see fresh fruits and vegetables, piled up in shiny mounds, raw fish and meats, cheeses, olives, cold meats, breads, wines, honeys and jams, sauerkraut and pickles in huge barrels, fresh flowers, and stands selling doner kebabs. There are also small wine bars and restaurants, open until around 10pm, which serve good, reasonably-priced meals. Try the delectable grilled lamb chops, cooked to perfection.
All very enjoyable, with out breaking the bank!