Our 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.
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 Nealon
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 chef
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.Gasthaus 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.