Vienna In Grand Style
07 October, 2016
Parks, gardens, palaces and museums; the Danube fitted out with an urban beach; street food in stalls and riverside bars; gastrobars, bistronomics and signature restaurants which have superseded and even deleted from their menu the well-worn schnitzel (or Viennese escalope). Vienna’s cuisine is enough to make you do cartwheels like their giant Ferris Wheel. It’s not a case of being greedy but because the offerings are so extensive and inviting – even in haute cuisine – that you need a few days to taste and enjoy the rich variety in style.
Where To Eat:
It is not the most Michelin-starred restaurant in Vienna but it does rank among the top ten in the world, and deservedly so. Its formidable siting, in one of the city’s loveliest parks, matches its flashy gourmet cuisine in which the feast takes precedence over minimalist restriction. Tables are decked out in their finery, while a trolley with goodies does the rounds for aperitifs or cocktails, with others for bread, cheeses and even aromatic herbs, picking their way among the impeccable dishes crafted by Heinz Reitbauer, who digs into tradition and experiments with various tasting menus.
After choosing between the short or long menus, gourmet dishes with some discreet flourishes are trotted out in succession. Creative bites with marked contrasts emerge from a minute kitchen married well to the dining room, each of them managed by one of the two Mraz brothers. Be sure to go on the cellar tour if you’re interested in learning the true story behind this family business.
You don’t need to be a vegetarian to venture into Paul Ivic’s cuisine – although, if you are, you’ll enjoy it even more. Few chefs of his calibre have done so much to raise the status of eminently wholesome cuisine. Based on an exhaustive selection of the best local produce, judicious combinations, exciting plating ups and wonderful desserts, Tian is a venue to remember, as is the more informal version of their bistro, which serves the most unusual apfelstrudel (apple strudel) in town.
This is chef Konstantin Filippou’s bistronomic – he also has his own door-to-door culinary facility. In this bistro, wine plays a crucial role in pairing dishes, which pose few risks and are served up in generous helpings. You will have a hearty meal and even better drinks.
Where To Have…
A Pizza. For those who need to switch between full-course meals and fast, affordable snacks, your best bet is Pizza Mari’, where you can either have a pizza on the premises or take one home. A decent array of Italian specialities in a huge eatery. Best to book in advance.
An Ice-cream. Whether the idea is to overturn or to reinforce Vienna’s reputation as being a “cold” city, the fact is it boasts countless ice-cream parlours. Be sure to head for Schelato, where they resort to sheer Italian art in order to serve up amazing flavours which are constantly being renewed. The cosy premises also invite one to tarry.
A Sacher. Treat yourself to the best sacher, either single or in portions, at Demel, where the bakery is on view and should definitely be visited before sitting down at one of the tables. The display cabinet in the entrance is highly tempting so, if you can afford it, be sure to taste their mille feuille and other classic cakes.
A Drink. One of the most interesting bars in town is located on the top floor of the 25 Hours Hotel, in the heart of the museum district. You will certainly take to the Bar Lounge Dachboden for its ambience, cocktails, terrace with views and decorative features from bygone times.
Where To Sleep
In the heart of the city’s 1st District, a stone’s throw from St Stephen’s Cathedral, stands this hotel with its loft suites, Art Nouveau decor, a small roof terrace and excellent service. Make a point of visiting it, even if just to have a drink, as it is really charming. Snugly set in a cul-de-sac, it is a stylish, culturally priceless oasis.
Located in a main thoroughfare where most of the tram lines run and with a host of pavement cafés, The Ring is a casual version of a Grand Hotel. Be sure to drop in on their sauna with views of the city’s skyline. Enjoy their a la carte breakfast and bear in mind you can also have a drink in the wee hours in their bar.
Text and photos by Belén Parra of Gastronomistas.com
07 October, 2016