If your idea of Viennese cuisine is limited to wiener schnitzel and apple strudel, it’s time to give the culinary side of Austria’s capital another look.
“The strength of Vienna’s cuisine has always been the fact that Vienna draws inspiration and influences from so many different places around it,” Michael Gigl, head of market USA for the Austrian Tourist Office, told Travel Weekly.
“In the past, it was the crownlands of the Habsburg empire that shaped Vienna’s cuisine. Today, it is the economic and cultural vibrancy of the city itself that draws these influences from around the globe,” he said, noting that the city’s location in the geographic center of Europe invites international culinary influences.
As to moving beyond traditional fare, Gigl said: “It is no coincidence that Vienna’s most celebrated vegetarian restaurant, Tian, is named after the Chinese word for ‘heaven,’ which is also the name of a French vegetarian dish.”
A noteworthy trend this year is the takeover of existing restaurants — some in ornate, historic buildings — by new owners offering a range of gourmet experiences. Some websites are in German only.
The former Das Kleine Paradies, for example, located in a heritage-protected typewriter store dating from Austria’s imperial era, is reopening as Creo and offers fine dining and tasting menus.
The former Cafe Stadtkind, located near the University of Vienna, is now the Schatz Imhof restaurant. Named for its two new owners, the eatery is both trendy and sophisticated, and design buffs will recognize Roland Rainer’s Stadthallen armchairs.
Meanwhile, the Glueckskind, which bills itself as a cocktail-kitchen-club, moved into the premises formerly occupied by the Villon wine bar. Spread over three floors in an illuminated 500-year-old cellar, the venue offers dining, cocktails and dancing.
Fans of the city’s MuseumsQuartier can enjoy Turkish cuisine at Kaan restaurant, created by architects and Pritzker Prize winners Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal.
The Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation Vienna, also located in the MuseumsQuartier, serves up cafe-bistro fare at Food’Amour, serving Franco-Moroccan delicacies using organic and regional products.
New on the scene is the restaurant Doubek, helmed by chef Stefan Doubek, which is opening this fall. The restaurant, whose interior was designed by the Viennese Studio Riebenbauer, will feature eight tables and a wood-fired grill.
More fine dining is available at Steinhart in an historic brick building that used to be home to the Gosserhalle convention venue. The restaurant is the latest addition to the city’s “Neues Landgut” urban development area.
Love Viennese food but can’t decide what to order? Die Feinkosterei on Judenplatz offers regional cuisine tapas-style — or try the restaurant’s branch at the newly renovated Neuer Markt.
Or be adventurous at Servus, which focuses on such regional produce as Viennese snails from the Gugumuck snail farm.
No visit to Vienna would be complete without immersion into the coffeehouse scene.
Peggy Strobel, the former restaurant manager at the Michelin-starred restaurant Mraz & Sohn, has taken over what used to be Cafe Naber on Wipplingerstrasse. Now called Die Cafetiere, the informal eatery offers a ’50s vibe and upscale treats.
Another takeover is the former Cafe Maria Treu, located on Piaristenplatz, which reopened as Treu am Platzl. The cafe, known for its picturesque garden, serves breakfast and brunch.
Speaking of breakfast, SiL is Vienna’s newest entry into the market. Breakfast is served all day.
Finally, the Cafe Englander opened a branch at Praterstern this fall, occupying the former restaurant Pure. The new cafe, now called Englander Praterstern, offers Viennese cuisine.
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