Welcome to Vienna, the city that was the capital of a mighty empire and that fascinates millions of tourists with its museums, large avenues, contemporary art proposals, design, music, literature, tradition that blends with modernity. Welcome to a grandiose, brilliant, glittering city like the paintings of the Golden Period by Gustav Klimt who is one of Vienna’s most famous children: loved, critical, certainly revolutionary. Welcome to what is also one of the world capitals of taste, where sitting at the table can be an exciting experience, between classic cuisine and experimentation with a culinary scene that never ceases to renew itself. 12 Michelin-starred restaurants, starting with Juan Amador’s Amador, the only three-star in Austria, and seven places that can boast the Bib Gourmand award for value for money.
Unless you’ve made a vegetarian or vegan choice – for which however Vienna has so much to offer – a stay in the Austrian capital cannot end without having had a breaded Viennese schnitzel on your plate at least once. Milanese cutlet impeccable, the address is that of Meissl & Schadn (Schubertring 10-12). Here the iconic cutlet is prepared and served with all the effort and attention it deserves. From his kitchen the regular rhythm of the meat being beaten reaches the customers: the sound heralds the delicious dish that is about to be brought to the table. Cut from the lean top, or fricandeau, of Austrian veal, the cutlet is expertly passed into beaten eggs and breadcrumbs produced by an artisan bakery. They are then fried in butter, lard or oil and served with toppings of your choice. But that is not all. Meisl & Schadn carries on the Austrian gastronomic culture by serving other other beef dishes, such as Tafelspitz, Viennese boiled meat, and “Kaisersuppe” (a veal soup with vegetables, sweetbreads and tongue), a dish already described in 19th century cookbooks. Tafelspitz is the best known dish of the Plachutta family, aka the “beef dynasty”. The family runs several restaurants in the city where you can enjoy a boiled beef so tender that it melts in your mouth, along with many other typical Viennese dishes.
The Plachutta Stammhaus Hietzing (Auhofstrasse 1) is right on your doorstep from Schönbrunn Castle, one of the main tourist attractions of the city, and is a place of pilgrimage for lovers of classic Viennese cuisine, in particular boiled meats since in addition to the beef, the menu offers 11 other variants, dl that of lamb to that prepared with the meat of the larded ribs. In the summer you can also eat outdoors, but it is an indispensable book.
So far a lot of meat, but the Austrian capital has some axes to fall even when it comes to vegetarian or vegan cuisine, as in the case of Jola (Salzgries 15), which debuted in the spring. It is the first Viennese haute cuisine restaurant to offer exclusively vegan dishes, without a classic à la carte model but with a surprise menu based on seasonal regional ingredients for 110 euros, plus the pairing of wines or non-alcoholic with fermented drinks of its own production. The name Jola derives from that of the owners: Jonathan Wittenbrink and his partner Larissa Andres. Wittenbrink in the past worked under the guidance of Paul Ivic at the Tian, the Viennese pioneer of vegetarian gourmet, now he is proving that he deserved all of his own in a restaurant.
For vegetarians (but not only) it is also an interesting address Brute (Laudongasse 8) serving fine mini dishes – invite them even tapas – allowing for a journey of flavors on the menu. Besides the focus on vegan and vegetarian specialties, the Wildling also offers fish and meat options, and it is possible to buy jars of many preserves prepared with “ancient” methods that are also served at the tables in the restaurant shop.
Anyone who comes to Vienna on a very hot day can admire the suggestion to make a stop at the new Bootshaus on the Old Danube, where rowing has been at home for over a century. Room with fireplace and Chesterfield sofas, historic cups, photos and oars on the walls, the Bootshaus gives back the atmosphere of a true exclusive club. On the magnificent terrace overlooking the water, you can eat Mediterranean-inspired dishes or linger for an aperitif at sunset. Vienna is a crossroads of many cultures, which also come together when the time comes to sit down at the table. An interesting case in this sense is the great success story of gastronomy Haya Molcho, who with her children gave Israeli cuisine a new impetus in old Europe: restaurants in Vienna, Germany, Zurich, Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Mallorca , bestselling books, participation in television programs, excellent products for sale in supermarkets. His brand is NENI, (acronym from the first letters of the names of his four children: Nuriel, Elior, Nadiv, Ilan), which is the sign of his restaurants: in Vienna one at Naschmarkt, the most beautiful market in the city where you you can shop for groceries and eat in restaurants with international cuisine, one on the Donaukanal and the one – brand new – on the Prater, on the top floor of the Superbude hotel / hostel with a magnificent view over the city and the park.
The open kitchen of the Neni I’m Prater (Perspektivstrasse 8) is the heart of a club which has proposals of the Middle Eastern tradition both for those who eat meat and for vegetarians and vegans. Naturally leavened bread and focaccia come out of the house’s oven every day and are brought to the table. Vienna is also the capital of breaks, those that one must indulge in in one of its many long-lasting cafes, wrapped in the atmosphere of glorious times, or in the newborn ones that carry on the culture of the many variations of Viennese coffee, from the Kleiner Schwarzer (espresso restricted), at Einspänner (coffee covered with cream served in a glass) in avant-garde design environments, mostly minimalist.
Do not miss a stop at the royal-imperial court pastry shop Demel (Kohlmarkt 14) that attract with its refined showcases overflowing with cakes and sweets that were already highly appreciated at the time by the Empress Sissi. It is a place of great charm and class, where the staff employed for sales and service is exclusively female, as it has always been in its 200-year history. The city’s café scene that has long been at the top of international rankings for quality of life is always in turmoil.
This year also opened the Freud coffee (Berggasse 17) next to the Sigmund Freud Museum which has recently been expanded and renovated: the place combines the traditional Viennese coffee shops with design elements. While sipping a coffee sitting at one of its tables, perhaps accompanying it with a good slice of cake, or while refreshing yourself with a beer or having breakfast, you are under the watchful eye of the father of psychoanalysis portrayed almost full length. : he seems pleased with the contemporary interpretation of “his” coffee shop.