Dining in Vienna

3098Our first foray into the Vienna food scene was quite successful.  Hooray for research!  The best I can describe Vienna is like eating at your mother-in-law after shipping her to the Culinary Institute of Mother-in-Laws for a year.  Feel good home cooking at its finest, filled with all sorts of familiar tastes.  Even the touristy places had enough hits to award recommendation tags.  The golden schnitzels, goulashes and cordon blues were the only rays of light during our sunshinless four days.  Here’s the recap…

Pulker’s Heuriger in Rührsdorf, Wachau Valley.  The one place that requires its own post.  Perhaps the most memorable meal of a trip that included a Michelin Star meal.  You essentially say “Ja” to the food option and get a mini feast of various home made goodies.  Pork fat spread, ham, fresh goat cheese, black pudding, fresh pork belly with crackling (revelation!), veggies, various spreads, and great homemade desserts.  All, washed down with the fantastic house whites.  Its slow Food at its finest, in the stunning Austrian wine country.  When its nice out, you can sit at the garden surrounded by vineyards.  Cant recommend this place highly enough.

Pulker's Heuriger Feast

Restaurant Sperl – If I can only give you one tip for Vienna its this:  Bring and umbrella.  But my second tip would be to eat at Sperl on your Belvedere Castle day.  Sometimes you just know you are in the right place as soon as you enter.  Best Goulash of the trip – most tender meat with even a bit of heat.  A very respectable Schnitzel (The tables next to us ordered 6 of them.  There were four people).  A rather flavorful creamy asparagus risotto.  And something called Geröstete Knödel mit Ei, essentially bread dumplings with egg and bacon (optional)… although tasted too familiar, it was a feel good familiar.  Our waiter was the Austrian Kevin Nealon2854

Appiano – Best meal in Vienna though also the most expensive (not outrageous by any means).  Austrian with a nice Mediterranean/Italian twist.  Starting with their excellent octopus app is an absolute must.  Quadratini pasta stuffed with beef shoulder was a pleasant surprise.  Pork schnitzel was pounded a little too thin for my taste.  Get the expertly cooked beef shoulder filet instead with mashed potatoes and asparagus…  melt in your fork tender awesomeness.  Our lone Cordon Bleu of the trip was a hit.  Appiano is somewhat isolated, away from via tourista, but close enough to many hotels in the center.  We were the only tourists there.  A month after this visit however, I got a note that they will shut down for the summer for health reasons.  Hoping for a speedy recovery chef2979

Café Central – Did not suck!  There was no mistaken that you are in one of the most touristy spots in town, but it wasn’t bad at all.  Goulash soup was actually one of the better soups of the trip.  Would make for a very nice ragout. “Sacher sausage” essentially a simple Vienna sausage.  Backhendl turned out to be quite acceptable, juicy fried chicken.  But its the torts (top) here that are the real draw, and I wish we could have spent some more quality time with them.  Not bad for a place with over 2500 Trip Advisor reviews.3099Gasthaus Pöschl – A little gem smack in the center.  Not the prettiest and most comfortable interior, but when the food is this good, who cares.  And they are open on Sundays.  Try the Reisfleich,  like a saucy plov with juicy pork cubes.  Veal Schnitzel was one of the better ones of the trip, and a bit more seasoned than the others.  Liver sauteed with potatoes was a big hit with our group.


Konoba – Not one of the better meals, but I can see why locals flock to this Croatian seafood joint well outside of the center.  Octopus was a far cry from what we got at Appiano. Squid ink risotto had a nice flavor, though no so lucky with the grilled sardines . Platter for two was the saving grace. There was a whole Seabream, calamari, a few overcooked butterflied shrimp, and some filets.  If you go, try to get a table inside the lively room, as opposed to the side by the entrance.


Street food –  Reserve Sunday lunch for street food, mainly around the church.  Not only its fun and one should always take advantage of street food wherever they go, but many restaurants are closed on Sundays.  Obviously you cant miss the fantastic pretzels and sausages (try the spicy ones).  Also the sausages at the Wurstelstand on Hohen Markt in particular the cheesy Käsekrainer were quite good.  We can use some of that action here in NYC.


Sperl – Geröstete Knödel mit Ei

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Gasthaus Pöschl




Appiano Cordon Blue


Cafe Central – fried chicken


Gasthaus Pöschl rice with pork

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Categories: Austria/Czech Republic | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Dining in Vienna

  1. Randall Forbes

    Were all those wooden shacks a special street fair or food fair? I think I see a slice of St Stephensdom in the background, and I don’t recall seeing those shacks when I was in November.

    Someday I will have to figure out where pretzels or “bretzls” orginate, because I have never gotten one I like in a German-speaking country. (I prefer the ones I’ve gotten from cheap carts in NYC.) How were yours?

    I would have liked to visit Cafe Central, but the line was out the door the one time I passed by.

    Does this report cover all the meals and treats you ate in Vienna?

    • The wooden shacks were a combination of souvenirs and food. Some of them seemed permanent, but Sunday was the festive day with a little concert to boot.

      No comparison, those pretzels were much better than NYC street carts. You can see in one of the pictures the little wood burning oven next to the stand

      Café Central had lines every single time we passed by (we stayed nearby) but they move very quickly. When it rained, the lines were smaller.

      Yep, that’s all the food we had during the 4 days (3 full). On arrival day we spent some time in Melk and Wachau Valley

  2. Randall Forbes

    Interesting. I was so busy eating cake in Vienna I probably passed up some promising pretzel opportunities. I’ll remember to try some next time I am in Vienna. I do like them a lot.

    Were you wowed by Melk? I toyed with the idea of going, and then felt I’d be less interested in the architecture there than I would be in Vienna proper (where I was fascinated). I spend a huge amount of time in Italy and elsewhere in Europe looking at historic architecture, and this one just didn’t grab me from pictures. But in the end, it was really that the autumn weather wasn’t ideal when I was there, and I think I might enjoy it more in apricot season.

    I found goulash weirdly addictive, since most of the versions I had were pretty low quality and not really good. But I imagine if I lived in Vienna I would end up on a constant quest to find my favorite goulash purveyor, or else learn how to make it.

    • And we were so busy eating the other stuff that we couldnt fit in many cakes.

      I wasnt wowed by Melk. The setting was there (although would be better if not in the middle of a town), but not a whole lot to see inside exept for the library and church. I would combine it with the rest of the valley or stop by on the way, but wouldnt make a special trip just to see Melk

  3. Randall Forbes

    Thanks! If I’m lucky enough to be around Vienna during Austria’s apricot season, I’d probably use that occasion to stop by Melk to see the library (and the staircase)…

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