Thursday, 10 January 2008

Vienna Food & Drink Guide

This is a general guide to places to eat and drink etc in Vienna. The original was made for somebody staying in my flat in the Laudongasse in the 8th district (the Josefstadt), so it was started from that perspective. The Karlsplatz emphasis is due to my group playing a concert there. I should point out that the original was written from memory and, altho I have updated and filled in stuff I couldn't remember, some of it is still a bit vague. I've added a little bit of tourist info.

General Information

To give you a general overview I should describe the general geography etc. Vienna is built around, or rather mostly south of, the (rather brown) River Danube (Donau in German) which flows from northwest to southeast (towards Hungary). However it is in fact the U-shaped offshoot of the Danube, the Danube Canal (Donaukanal) which formed the northern/northwestern bank of the original Roman encampment Vindobona. This camp was the prototype of the mediaeval walled city of Vienna, now the inner city (Innere Stadt) or 1st district. The Roman camp was rather smaller than the Innere Stadt and had as its main gate was onto the square now known as Am Hof , where the Babenbergs court was situated and which remained the key point in the town until the time that St Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom) was built. (Stephansdom was started in 1263, altho it took them until 1511 to finish it!)

As in many Roman towns traces of the old Roman roads can be seen, most notably the Herrengasse, which originally was the main road running past the front gate of the camp and is now a small street in the middle of the Innere Stadt . However it extends far in either direction, becoming the Währingerstraße towards the northwest and, after an interruption to accomodate the opera (built 1861-9), the Favoritenstraße towards the southeast, both main arteries of modern Vienna.

Over the years Vienna grew into a typical walled city and outside its walls small villages grew up to the south, east and west. To the north was the area between the Donaukanal and the Donau proper, where little building was possible because it was a mass of waterlogged land, tiny streams and marshes. (A diversion: In the 1st district there were many small streams, which were gradually diverted with time: the Tiefer Graben, which is now a road, was the site of one, and there is a bridge for the Wipplingerstraße to cross it high above. The largest of the small tributaries is the River Wien which was regulated by the famous architect Otto Wagner at the end of the 19th century, as part of the building of the new Stadtbahn (metro). Parts of it are still visible, however, running through the Stadtpark, for instance, the big park between the 3rd and 1st districts). The Naschmarkt, the biggest and most famous market, in the vicinity of Karlsplatz, is constructed over one place where the river is buried.

The villages growing up around the Innere Stadt gradually merged together (altho many kept there own identities and a certain village feel, particularly the Josefstadt, Margereten and Wieden (now the 8th, 5th and 4th districts respectively). On the immediate north side of the Donaukanal some building had also taken place, the Leopoldstadt. Around these Vorstädte a further wall was built and the villages further afield, outside this secondary city wall, such as Döbling, Hernals, Ottakring, Meidling, Favoriten etc, began to grow in size and start to merge together. The Hapsburgs (the ruling monarchy from about the 13th Century onwards, when they succeded the Babenbergs, I forget the precise date) (pedants please note that in German it is Habsburg not Hapsburg) built the summer palace (Schloß Schönbrunn). This was situated some way to the south of Vienna by a village called Hietzing, which also became absorbed eventually, altho these outer areas remained fairly rural until the late 19th/early 20th centuries and in many cases still are.

In the middle of the 19th century the Emporor Franz Josef decided that the fortifications were no longer necessary. He therefore decreed that the city walls should be knocked down and the inner wall replaced with the Ringstraße a large majestic alley lined with trees which would stretch around the old city, meeting the Donaukanal on either side. In addition there was a substantial area of land outside this wall which had been left free of building, as it was there that any battle was expected to be fought. Apart from that it was useful for military exercises. This allowed Franz Josef to build a series of majestic buildings of rather debatable architectural merit to line the Ringstraße. These included the Parlament, a bizarre neo-classical structure, the romanesque Burgtheater, the Rathaus (town hall), which looks like a gothic castle, the opera and the Votivkirche, a twin-spired gothic cathedral of absurd ornateness. It is difficult to believe looking at it that it was completed only 122 years ago. One major legacy of its ornateness is that it is almost impossible to clean.

The outer wall was also replaced with a large road the Gürtel (which means "belt"), along which the new Stadtbahn (metro) ran. At the same time the river Wien was regulated, the banks of the Donaukanal rebuilt, the area to the north reclaimed from the marshes, major bridges built (even if more recently Austrian bridges have had a habit of falling down) and the Riesenrad, the giant Ferris wheel was built. Vienna was the centre of a huge empire, at the crossroads of Europe etc, etc. Unfortunately Franz Josef's son shot himself, his next heir got himself assasinated in Serbia and we all know where it went from there. One of Vienna's claims to fame is that it has one of the largest sewer systems in Europe, built before the first world war for a city of then 2 million, but expected to expand rapidly into a much larger conurbation. Then the Austro-Hungarian Empire broke up and ... well, I think its population is about 1.8 million now.

Anyway back to geography (we seem to have got a bit bogged down in history). The Innere Stadt, as I have said is the 1st district. The 2nd district is the one immediately north of the Donaukanal, the Leopoldstadt. The 3rd to 9th districts are the Vorstädte running around the outside of the Ringstraße from east to west, in order Landstraße, Wieden, Margareten, Mariahilf, Neubau, Josefstadt and Alsergrund. The other ones you needn't bother about, except that Schloß Schönbrunn is out to the southwest, near the village of Hietzing, station Schönbrunn on the tube, line U4; Grinzing to the northwest (part of the 19th district, Döbling) is the village most famous for the Heurigen, places where you go to drink large quantities of local (new) wine (Heuer means this year, hence heurige meaning "this year's" and by extension "this year's wine" and further "the place where you drink this year's wine"); Heiligenstadt of Beethoven fame, for what it's worth, is nearby, on the Donaukanal; the Prater park, including the funfair with the famous Riesenrad (Ferris wheel - as featured in The Third Man) is out in the 2nd district (tube Praterstern, line U1); and the famous Wienerwald, the Vienna woods, are out on the west and northwest sides.
Inner City (1st District)

The best place to start is obviously the Inner City (1st District), maybe wandering around and getting to know it. The Stephansdom (St Stephen's Cathedral) is right in the centre and is a good place to start. There is also the ornate baroque Peterskirche (St Peter's Church) just round the corner from there in Petersplatz.

From Stephansplatz (where the cathedral is) the famous shopping street, Kärntnerstraße runs done towards the opera and the Hotel Sacher. Perpendicular to that is the wide Graben, with further shops including the fabulous food shop Julius Meinl. At the other end of that, parallel to Kärntnerstraße, is Kohlmarkt, with some particularly posh shops and the famous Demel cafe, whose window display is not to missed, even if you don't fancy getting the mortgage required to pay for a meal there.

At the end of Kohlmarkt you reach the main palace of the Hapsburgs, the Hofburg, which has plenty to see, including the Austrian crown jewels. Opposite the entrance to the Hofburg is the famous Haus Am Michaelerplatz, designed by Adolf Loos and recently restored (I think you can go in and see the inside parts that have been restored). This was very modern for its time (nicknamed "the house without eyebrows"), and reputedly Emperor Franz Josef refused to use that gate to the Hofburg after the house was built because he hated it so much.

Heading back the other way there are lots of delightful small streets and squares to wander through, including Am Gestade, where the famous church Maria Am Gestade is situated.

Vienna has a number of important museums, containing excellent collections of classical art and modern collections. The biggest museum is the Kunsthistorisches Museum, on the Ring opposite the Hofburg. This has a massive collection, including a particularly imprssive selection of Breughels, as well as works by Reubens, Rembrandt, Titian and so on.

Vienna at the turn of the century was famous particularly for the paintings of Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. The Österreichische Galerie at the Belvedere palace (Prinz-Eugen-Straße, take the "D" tram from anywhere on the main south-western part of the Ring to where it turns off at Scwarzenbergplatz) houses the main collection of Klimts and Schieles, along with works by a number of other painters of the period. These include works by Oskar Kokoshka, as well as Richard Gerstl, an outstandingly promising artist, a contemporary of Schiele's, who sadly committed suicide in his early twenties, after the sudden termination of an affair he was having with Schoenberg's wife. The "Laughing Self-Portrait" is perhaps his masterpiece (in the Belvedere) but look out for his portraits of the Schoenberg family and Alban Berg. The gardens at the Belvedere palace are also very beautiful and you can walk to or from the city through them.

Other museums include the MAK (on Stubenring), the applied art museum, which contains a very attractive trendy cafe, as well as boeing home to contemporary exhibitions, and the Natural History Museum (opposite the Kunsthistorisches Museum). The Hostorical Museum of the City of Vienna (situated in an unattractive building on the eastern end of the Karlsplatz, see below) has further works by Klimt and co, and other interesting material including large models of the city.

Schönbrunn Castle (underground line U4, station Schönbrunn) is the summer palace of the Hapsburgs and another main tourist attraction. It has an enormous garden which is particularly attractive in the summer. The palace itself, in its imperial yellow, is also impressive and stages concerts during the summer season.

In the area of Karlsplatz

The Karlsplatz is a key central square on the south of the Inner City and the nub of the Underground network. It used to be very attractive with an amazing church (the Karlskirche), built by one of those famous 18th Century architects and a lovely bridge (the Elisabethbrücke) crossing the river Wien. That was before. Otto Wagner buried the river and knocked down the bridge, but at least replaced it with the Karlsplatz underground stations. These have been restored and are a good example of Jugendstil design (as are many original stations on the network). The Karlskirche is still there, still dominating the square.

What really did for the Karlsplatz was the building of the new underground, which required raising the ground level, plus the fact it has become a major traffic intersection (not to mention the hideous Historical Museum). Ironically the latter seems to be the reason for the Kunsthalle, the new little brother of the main Kunsthalle, the now restored massive exhibition complex down the road. It seems to have been designed to allow its contents to be viewed by computers passing by on the road. The Kunsthalle Cafe is the main reason for visiting it, with a very pleasant area to sit out.

Starting just off the Karlsplatz (Linke Wienzeile) is the Naschmarkt, the largest and most famous market in Vienna. This is a substantial, largely ethnic, and solidly built in market, open all weekdays during the day. Not only is the best place for shopping for food, this is also a great place to get lunch, with a variety of stalls and little cabins serving a variety of food, often offshoots of the shops. If you want a snack, (from Schweinsbraten to Sushi) this is the place to go.

On the right hand side of the Naschmarkt (the Linke Wienzeile - the left bank of the river Wien - I know its confusing but its based on which direction the river flows - which you can't see, of course, because its underground), you will be able to spot the not terribly interesting front off the Theater an der Wien, the theatre where Mozart's opera The Magic Flute was premiered in ... whenever it was, about 1790. Further up on the same side are a pair of outstanding apartment blocks built by Otto Wagner. They're probably number 40-something, but can be identified by the green balcony railings on the one, and on the other, the Majolika Haus, by the pink flowery decorations. Worth a look inside if you can get in.


The best unknown building in Vienna is the Kirche Am Steinhof, a church built by the late nineteenth century architect Otto Wagner in an asylum for the mentally disabled on the Baumgartnerhöhe on the outskirts of Vienna. Altho out of the way it is not hard to reach - take the 48A bus from the Ring, by the Volkstheater underground station to the penultimate stop, then turn to the right and walk up through the grounds of the hospital until you reach the church at the top. It is rarely possible to get inside, which is unfortunate as it is magnificent inside, but the exterior is fabulous too, and well worth a visit.

Kaffehäuser (Coffeehouses)

1st district

Cafe Schwarzenberg
(Corner of Kärntnerring and Schwarzenbergstraße)

This state-owned and very well-known cafe does have the world's slowest service (except possibly the Landtmann below), but that doesn't matter over breakfast. What it does have however is a wonderful mirror-lined room into which the sun shines in the morning. Spectacular. Good for a light lunch as well if you're not in a hurry. Not much point from the afternoon onwards.

Cafe Landtmann
(Dr Karl Lueger-Ring to the left of the Burgtheater, Löwelstraße)

One of the oldest, most traditional and beautiful cafes (and can be a bit snooty, not to mention expensive). I prefer going to sit on the terrace in the sun in the afternoon (try the "Eiskaffee" - iced coffee) but their breakfast (which is not too overpriced) is excellent and is good for a day when it's not sunny as you can then enjoy the marvellous interior. Good for light meals as well but genuinely expensive. Good selection of international newspapers.

However a special mention of the Cafe Landtmann must be made for its consistent ability to provide the slowest, most inefficient, rudest and unpleasant service known to mankind. There is an enormous amount of competition for this accolade in Vienna, which is famed for waiters' treating their customers like pieces of shit. One of their clever tricks is to have an enormous number of waiters (who are all male, incidentally, women aren't allowed to work in public in a formal Kaffeehaus in Vienna, except perhaps in the wardrobe or clearing away dirty plates), but have them all claim not to be serving your table. If you can finally identify the waiter who is allotted to your table, he can easily disappear for large periods of time. It is worth a visit to the Landtmann just for this experience - altho I'm afraid they do sometimes disappoint and serve efficiently. Don't worry tho, even if you're only in Vienna for a couple of days some Viennese waiter is bound to treat you like a pile of vomit at some point.

Diglas (Middle of Wollzeile, corner of Schwertgasse, I think)
Used to be one of my favourites (indoors only). The best cakes. Try the Topfentorte. Then I got fed up with the appalling service (so what's new?). More recently they have added a flat screen TV to show how they prepare the food. Yuck!

Prückl on Dr Karl Lueger Platz (NB: Platz not Ring, its off Stubenring by the Stadtpark, nowhere near Lueger-ring). Very spacious. Gorgeous thirties-style interior. Nearly opposite the MAK. Service adequate

(Stallburggasse, which is between the Kärntnerstraße and the Kohlmarkt, close to the Graben, opposite the big yellow church.)
One of the most pleasant traditional Kaffehäuser, very down to earth, avoid on Sunday afternoons due to the music from a live piano trio . Good selection of newspapers. Thomas Bernhard describes it beautifully in Wittgenstein's Nephew - Wittgenstein (the nephew that is) lived above it. Service can be crap at times, but it's usually too empty to be a problem

Korb (Corner of Brandstätte and Tuchlauben)
This was the first cafe I went into (I think) and has for many years since been on my "avoid at all costs" list. One Vienna Cafe guide described it as having "probably the most unfriendly service and most expensive cakes in Vienna". However this has changed, they now have a very pleasant outside terrace to complement the somewhat severe 50s-style interior, and the service is actually good. It is certainly not the most expensive either. Small snack dishes as well.

Tuchlauben (Tuchlauben 16) (7am-6pm)
Just down from the Korb, a quiet and little known 50s-style cafe, with no garden, this is a delightful cafe from a time warp, very simple, just coffee and the usual Torten, cheap. The sort of cafe which will sadly probably go out of business in the next few years because it is too traditional and isn't touristy. Geheimtip. (Note: has now changed its name, but is still there and otherwise unchanged.)

(Dorotheergasse, a little way down on the right as you walk from the Graben)
Intellectual sort of cafe, where people go to talk. Very lively and comfortable with an outstanding variety of international newspapers.

(Herrengasse, halfway between Freyung and Michaelerplatz)
State-owned reproduction of old cafe, but spectacular enough to be worth a visit if you can put up with the model Altenberg and Loos figures who stare at you in a very disconcerting way (they were regulars at the original cafe).

(Postgasse, off Wollzeile, Karl-Lueger-Platz end)
Under new owners has completely recovered its former charm. An outstanding cafe with food during the daytime, turning into a lively night spot in the evening.

[It doesn't quite fit into this section, but if you fancy a snack drop into:
(Dorotheergasse, almost opposite Havelka, off the Graben, other branches including Mariahilferstrasse)
This is a small stand up snack bar serving the most delectable open sandwiches with a variety of exquisite toppings, very conveniently placed just off the Graben. Queue up and choose a selection and when you pay buy a token for a "Pfiff" of beer (to be cashed in at the bar), roughly a quarter of a pint. It makes my mouth water just to write about it.

Karlsplatz Area

Cafe Museum (on Karlsplatz, corner of Operngasse)
(Daily 8am to midnight)
Famous name Kaffeehaus, originally designed by Adolf Loos, but sadly rebuilt fairly early on leaving little of the original intact. However it is a pleasant, run-of-the-mill cafe, with a lively bustling atmosphere. Breakfast from E 5 / ÖS 68, small dishes E 2.50-6 / ÖS 30-80. Small Schanigarten, but on a noisy street. Chess.

Cafe Amacord (R. Wienzeile 15)
(10am-2am daily, food till midnight)
is a nice small cafe by the Naschmarkt with simple food at moderate prices (set menu E 6 / ÖS 78, main courses E 6-12 / ÖS 78-155). Breakfast available 10am-5pm. International newspapers.

Cafe Drechsler (Linke Wienzeile 22)
This cafe serves the people who work at the market opposite, hence the early opening hours. It has its uses for those who are still going at the other end of the clock however.
Stop press: The Drechsler sudenly closed unexpectedly a while ago, but I am pleased to see it has re-opened, albeit with a modernised decor, which looks (from the outside - I haven't been in yet) admittedly attractive, but it is a great shame to lose the original. Opening hours are likely to be more conventional.

Cafe Do-An (Naschmarkt opposite Girardigasse)
One of the nicest cafe/bars in the Naschmarkt. Open from 7.00 till late, it is a nice place for breakfast and becomes a pleasant night-spot with a small selection of small cheap dishes (salads from €5.30, soups €2.50, friedd squid with fried potatoes and salad €7.50, lamb cutlet €9.90). Large beer selection around €3, 1/8 wine €1.80-2.80. Sittinng outside late on 14th March, with the benefit of outside heaters, even if we are supposed to approve for environmental reasons.


Cafe Berg (Berggasse 8, 9th District)
(10am-1am, breakfast til 2pm, 3pm weekends, light meals E 5-9 / ÖS 72-120)
This is in the Berggasse that Sigmund Freud actually did live in, unlike Burggasse, where, on the appropriate number, there is a notice informing psychiatourists that they've misspelt the address. Pleasant relaxed cafe in the 9th district. Connected with gay bookshop next door, which ensures clientele has reasonable gay quotient.

Cafe Hummel
(Corner of Josefstädterstrasse (no 66) and Albertgasse, 8th District)
Round the corner from where I used to live, a good ordinary Kaffeehaus, unexceptional but pleasant and friendly, good for breakfast, food or late. In fact good for anything. Open 7.00 am - 2.00 am daily 7 days a week. The owner is reputed to have Nazi tendencies, but this doesn't seem to affect the atmosphere.

Cafe Florianihof (Florianigasse, near outer end)
(Mo-Fr 8am-midnight, Sa-Su 10am-midnight. Food 12am-4pm / 6pm-11pm.
Main courses E 6.20 / ÖS 85 - E 12 / ÖS 165)
Mock-Jugendstil interior recently done up, pleasant, cool and relaxed. They do a small menu of nice unusual food well presented including vegetarian. Good for a light but sophisticated meal and generally a pleasant low key Kaffeehaus.

Bars etc

The Bermuda Triangle

If you find the underground station Schwedenplatz on your map the area immediately to the south and west of it is known as the Bermuda Triangle in which there is a high concentration of bars mostly open until between 2.00 or 4.00. I don't know where the borders are supposed to be but the highest concentration is in the area to the west of the Rotenturmstraße bordering on Franz-Josefs-Kai up to St Ruprecht.

Amongst these are:

Roter Engel (From Schwedenplatz underground walk west, cross the Rotenturmstraße and take the first left (pedestrian). Just in there on the right. You can't miss it.)
Very popular bar. It used to be big live music place in the eighties. It then changed hands, separated from the Billiard area upstairs (which has just closed) and dropped the music. I haven't been in since, but its still very popular. The billiard bar upstairs (where my friend Elisabeth used to work) has now also changed hands and closed down. I believe the live music has been started up again.

Ron con Soda: The other parts of the former Roter Engel complex include the rum bar which was originally run by my friend Doris, called Ron con Soda. This is next door. It specialises in cocktails, which are excellent, mainly mixed by a really nice black guy called James. The cocktails cost E 6.50 / ÖS 90 however. Upstairs is an expensive posh bar called The First Floor. This is notable for the best bloody Mary you're likely to encounter, but is populated by wankers.

Krah Krah (opposite Roter Engel)
Huge selection of beers. You can sit out in the summer. Like all inner city bars tends to be very full.

Otherwise you can take your pick.

Also in the 1st District:

Lukas (Schönlaterngasse, off Sonnenfelsgasse, short way down on the right)
Small, dark, a handful of largish wooden tables, good atmosphere, small selection of snacks and so on, also standing room at the bar in the back room. Really relaxed. I'm really fond of this one. Not always easy to find room to sit tho.

Kolar (Kleeblattgasse, a U-shaped street off the Tuchlauben)
Not quite so good these days I think, but I used to like it. They do very good filled breads, sort of pitta breads. Tends to get a bit opressively crowded, but if you like a bustling atmosphere then this could be for you.

Bretzlg'wölb (Just off the link between Am Hof and Judenplatz. Basement)
Good old-fashioned Bierkeller with a decent menu. Wooden tables and benches. You can also sit out on wooden benches in the courtyard, which is very nice in the summer.

Molly's (Tainfaltstraße, near Schottentor, very close to Burgtheater)
One of the many Irish bars in the city. Favourite of my friend Elisabeth, but I have to say pretty terrible. Unpleasantly packed on Friday and Saturday. There are of course now loads of Irish bars, best avoided in my opinion, altho the staff tend to be friendly and English-speakers.

Bane's (Köllnerhofgasse 3)
Not very attractive but open till 4.00 am at least, and 6.00 am Thursday to Sunday. The bar where the people who serve at bars go to when they get off work.

(Haarhof, off Naglergasse a pedestrian street parallel with Bognergasse opposite Am Hof)
Not exactly atmospheric setting but some very good beers mostly from Vienna's biggest brewery Ottakringer, who make the excellent Gold Fassl.

Loos-Bar (American Bar)
(In a small side street off the Kärntnerstraße on the western side, about half way down, probably slightly nearer Stephansplatz than the ring, can be quite easily spotted from Kärntnerstraße)
Tiny bar designed by Adolf Loos c 1910? Its been "restored" recently and you have to be very smartly dressed to get in (more smartly then I've managed). A definite curiosity. They've probably ruined it, but I'd be fascinated to know what its like now. I expect it would empty your wallet.
(Note: aparently gone bust because they wouldn't let enough people in because nobody was dressed properly!! Last I heard it was for sale and presumably closed to even the smartly dressed public, but it seems to have re-opened by now.)

... and in the Karlsplatz area:

Wein & Co (corner of Getreidemarkt and Linke Wienzeile, opposite Secession)
This is at the nearest end of the Naschmarkt to Karlsplatz, on the opposite corner on the right. This is basically a wine shop, which also sells jars of antipasti and the like. It is also, however, a wine bar, which offers the same antipasti for consumption. If you want to try out more Austrian wines, there are good tasting opportunities in the shop (see wine and beer section below).

... and in the 8th District:

Tunnel (Florianigasse, a bit further towards town)
9am - 2am daily, food till 1. Food E 3 / ÖS 41 - E 10 / ÖS 137)
Pleasant rather seedy cafe/bar. Open all day but comes alive in the evening. Good very cheap food with an Eastern and vegetarian slant (including vegan). Big wooden tables, upstairs balcony and live music in the basement if you really want it (supplement around ÖS 30 / E 2 I think, tho I haven't been downstairs for years.) Was renovated a few years ago which rather spoilt the atmosphere, but its regained most of its seediness since.

Die Wäscherei (Corner of Albertgasse and Laudongasse, opposite where I used to live)
Mo-Sa 5pm-2am, Su 10am-2am
Trendy new beer lokal / winebar, featuring white (wheat) beer and small dishes, including vegetarian ones, at economical rates (E 3.50 / ÖS 48 - E 7 / ÖS 98). Also cocktails (E 5.70 / ÖS 78)

I could go on here, but I should now mention a few...


Note: Beisl is the Viennese word that is roughly the equivalent of 'bistro' in France. A place to get good traditional Viennese cooking at reasonable prices.

1st District (Inner City)

Zum Sherer (Judenplatz, central)
Has become one of my top favourites. Small with a standing bar in the small entrance room and a small restaurant behid. Outstanding cooking which doesn't get the recognition it deserves. Moderately priced in the main course E 7 / ÖS 100 - E 16 / ÖS 220 bracket. It now has a larger Schanigarten which overlooks the Jewish Memorial designed by Rachel Whiteread, which is worth a visit by itself.
Avoid the Puntigamer restaurant also on Judenplatz.

Hebenstreit (Rokhgasse 1)
Pleasant out of the way family Beisl on first floor level. Very off the tourist track, little known, but high quality typical Viennese cooking. Moderate prices.

Novelli (Bräunerstr 11)
Nearly opposite Cafe Bräunerhof (see above).
(11am-1am, closed Sundays)
Top class Italian, with modern cooking, which became the trendy place to eat for a while. Expensive, but deservedly popular, tho it is now a little easier to get a table. A good place if you want to eat late.

Oswald und Kalb (Bäckerstraße, approx in the middle)
All round high quality modern Austrian cooking in a pleasant trendy-pseudo-traditional atmosphere, with standing bar at the front. Open late (cooking till 1) which is useful. Moderately expensive. (More recently has become increasingly unfriendly, which has tended to put me off, but it's still attractive and convenient.)

Plachutta (Wollzeile 38)
Well-known up market restaurant, famed for its traditional boiled beef - the Viennese speciality of Tafelspitz is the cut that is best known, but Plachutta serve a wide variety of different cuts. These are served in the traditional way in copper pans. You start by drinking the soup, then eat the meat, with rösti potatoes, and the traditional cream-horseradish and apple sauces (possibly with the bone marrow on black bread). Other beef dishes are available. not a place to go if you don't like beef.

Kornat (Marc-Aurel-Straße 8)
(11.30-3.00 and 6.00-midnight, closed Sundays)
Specialist Croatian fish restaurant, serving Dalmation cuisine. Good but rather expensive (which is not that obvious from the menu as the fish is charged by weight).

Gösser Bierklinik (Steindlgasse, off Tuchlauben)
Great big Gothic rooms, large wooden tables serving heavyweight Austrian food, with one of Austria's most famous beers (Gösser) on tap ("vom Fass"). I haven't been there for some time, and a bit touristy, but it probably still serves good solid well cooked food. Not subtle.

In a tiny back street between Bäckerstraße and Wollzeile, a Wein Heurige where they do enormous Wiener Schnitzel. These used to be very good, but it has sadly turned into a tourist trap in recent times. In danger of being put into the "avoid at all costs" column, but hasn't quite got there yet, if only because the Schnitzels are so big ∞(and the presence of a waiter who I used to know at the Hummel, and who once entertained me and my father, whilst studiously ignoring his other guests).

Smutny (Elisabethstr 8, walk towards town from Karlsplatz down Operngasse, turn left)
The best thing about this old-fashioned Beisl is the beautiful tiled interior, which is really wonderful. Sadly, since the mid-eighties, when it changed hands, the food has been indifferent. I do try it occasionally to see if it has improved, but no luck yet. It is beautiful inside, tho.

Wrenkh a very good Vegetarian Restaurant on the Fleischmarkt (off Rotenturmstraße). Moderately priced.

Also good for vegetarian food is Vollwertrestaurant Lebenbauer (formerly the Cafe Burgtheater) in the Tainfaltstraße just off the Freyung. Family owned, it looks a little clinical, but serves good modern food with traditional influences. Very pleasant, particularly in summer. Does good mixed fruit juices etc as far as I can remember.

3rd District (Landstraße)

(Am Heumarkt, opposite Akadamie Theater, round the corner from the Konzerthaus and Hochschule für Musik)
Justly famous for its liver. If you think you hate liver go and eat it there and it will change your mind. It did mine. It's pig's liver too. Not easy to spot, being below street level. Frequented by Akadamie Theater people in the evenings. Empty till about 10 then stuffed till 2.
Update: one of the two 474-year-old women who have been running this since pre-history has recently died, leading many to expect the demise of this cherished institution. It has been sold, but the new owners, whowever they are, seem to be doing well. It is now a more conventional Beisl, with a nice "Schanigarten" outside (which it didn't previously have), and its open all day. Altho the menu is very much more wide-ranging and there is no liver speciality, it still does do a lot of offal. The loss of the two old women has taken a lot of the atmosphere away, but the cooking is good.

5th District (Margareten)

Margareten has some of the best Beisls in Vienna, often at more moderate prices than in the centre. A good opportunity to walk up from the Karlsplatz through the Naschmarkt and then turn off to the left towards the Margaretenstraße or you can easily take the U4 to Kettenbruckengasse or Pilgramgasse.

Haas (Margaretenstraße 74) (Main courses E 3.50 / ÖS 50 - E 12 / ÖS 165)
Looks rather dodgy (cheap modern imitation Beisl furniture, fixed tables, looks like a nasty Wirtshaus in a suburban town) but the cooking is traditional and really good. Cheap too. A real find and one of my top favourites. Fantastic offal. Open lunch and evening Mo-Fr, closed weekends and Bank Holidays, get there earlier rather than later.

Zur Goldenen Glocke (Kettenbruckengasse, just down from Margaretenstraße in direction of the Wienzeile)
This is one of the best traditional Beisls in Vienna. Good food (not quite as good as it used to be), perfect atmosphere and moderate prices. Elegant interior, excellent interior garden with large mural on the far wall.

Round the corner from there is Das Alte Fass'l in another side street (Ziegelofenstraße 37)) off the Margeretenstraße. Another classic Beisl with a nice garden.

Rudi's Beisl (Wiedner Hauptsraße 88)
(Mon-Fri, 11.30-3.00 and 6.00 to midnight, last food orders at 10.00)
Pleasant small Beisl, with particularly good beef. A speciality is the "Altewiener Backfleisch", which is like a Wiener Schnitzel, except made with beef and filled with horseradish and mustard. Not expensive. Has recently been getting particularly high marks in the latest "Beislführer" (ie restaurant guides).

and also in the 5th on the Rechte Wienzeile by the Naschmarkt:

Gasthaus Horvath (Hamburgerstr. 2 - Hamburgerstraße is what the Rechte Wienzeile becomes if you go far enough - just by Kettenbruckengasse underground station)
(open all day, closed Mondays, I think - their hours have changed).
This is a nice reasonably priced Gasthaus with outstanding food, currently rated as one of the best in the district. Conveniently placed 1 tube stop south of Karlsplatz on the U2, right by the tube. Nice outside "Schanigarten", not on the heavy traffic side.

On the Rechte Wienzeile there are several excellent (but not expensive) sushi bars- Kojiro at R. Wienzeile 9 is the best (tho chains Akakiko and Toko Ri in the Naschmarkt are also good)

7th District (Neubau)

(Off the Burggasse or Neustiftgasse in the Hermanngasse)
Very attractive, out of the way Austrian restaurant, very much a family approach with really individual cooking and specialities. Not unreasonably expensive. Just about the best place to go for the real Viennese Beisl experience.
Unfortunately: everybody else knows this, indeed it is now considered the best Beisl in Vienna, still inexpensive but very famous, so famous, it more or less inevitably means that you have to book weeks in advance. Closed Sat/Sun.

Zu Den Zwei Lieseln (Burggasse 63)
(10am-10pm, closed Sunday)
Wonderful small Beisl with two rooms and two large ladies who run the place and serve the food. Large portions with an emphasis on meat. A garden increases the size considerably in summer.

8th District (Josefstadt)

Best to eat at cafes but there is

Merkur (Florianigasse, yet further towards town, other side of the road to Tunnel and Florianihof)
9am - midnight daily.
Student Beisl with the cheapest meals in Vienna.

Prinz Ferdinand (Bennoplatz / Josefstadt)
Reopened c. 1990 after the original shut down many years ago. Altho essentially a reconstruction a very pleasant Beisl with a good atmosphere and some authentic cooking, whose reputation has steadily grown over the last few years. Not the cheapest.

Outer districts

Barbanek (Fuchsröhrenstraße 13, 11th District)
(11.30-2.00 and 5.00-9.00, closed Monday)
Very traditional and attractive Gasthaus in one of the least attractive suburbs of Vienna. It used to be impossible to get to, but then they built the U3 tube line, and now its very easy (you'll have to check which stop it is, but it's the Erdberg end of the line). Traditional fare to a very high standard, an absolute paradise for offal lovers. In November at St Martin's they are particularly famous for the "Martini-Goose", which requires booking weeks in advance. But the rest of the year it is easy enough to get in. Nice garden too, if you don't mind the surrounding architectural hideousness.

OK, this has defeated me. Beautiful large Beisl with substantial garden and excellent food. Unfortunately it closed for a couple of years, before re-opening recently, and I can't find any information on it. The two things I can remember are that its in the 13th District (Hietzing) and that its right by a Schnellbahn station, which is odd because there don't appear to be any Schnellbahn stations in Hietzing! Anyway its good if you can find it.
- Ah!! Its at Speising! Just passed it on the Langsambahn, line S15, on my way to Hütteldorf.

Wines and Beers

There are now a large number of very distinguished wines in Austria: after the famous antifreeze wine scandal of the '80s (which affected a tiny number of sweet wines only, was not dangerous and was much overblown - unlike the Italian wine scandal just afterwards which killed 8 people, but was largely ignored by the press) the Austrians (who have never exported much) concentrated on quality rather than quantity, and the benefits are now much in evidence. Hopefully the quality of Austrian wine will not be "discovered" by some UK wine knob, as this usually leads to an export demand and kills the quality of a small country's wines, so for the time being to sample Austrian wine you need to be in Austria (or a posh New York restaurant as I recently discovered - they seem to be trendy in New York, where I saw a €10 bottle on offer for ¢125!).

The grüner Veltliner is the most common, and exclusively Austrian, white wine grape variety, which provides a light, dry, easily drinkable wine. Most "open" wines will be of this variety. Other common varieties are Riesling (a dry wine, NOT like the sweet German type more familiar in the UK) and Weisser Burgunder. Sonnhof and Bründlmayer (both from the town of Langenlois) are common and to be recommended.

There are a lesser quantity of red wines in Austria, but these can also be excellent, Blaufränkisch being my favourite grape variety - not too heavy. Zweigelt is a more robust variety. Bründlmayer and Feiler-Artinger are two well-known vintners.

The wines which have always had the best reputation in Austria are the sweet wines, which tend to be sold in half bottles and are quite expensive. The best, notably those from Kracher, are outstanding (and priced accordingly).

In bars (or indeed in restaurants) wine is ordered by the eighth litre ("Achtel") or quarter litre ("Viertel"). Hence "ein Achtel weiß" or "ein Achtel rot". Beers are large ("ein grosses Bier"), ie a half litre, or small ("ein kleines Bier"), ie 0.3 of a litre. Small beers are proportionately more expensive, sometimes costing almost as much as large ones.

Recommended beers:
Budweiser: Czech beer full-bodied, quite sweet, nothing to do with American beer of same name.
Pilsener Urquelle: also Czech, similar to Budweiser but better and more individual, less sweet.
Ottakringer Gold Fassl: good middle of the road, high quality, Austrian beer. Probably the most common, if not as famous as Gösser.
Gösser: very famous, on the bitterer end, not so full-bodied, not my taste really.
Kapsreiter: owned by Ottakringer, very good full flavour. From Schärding in Lower Austria. If I'm driving I bring this one back to the UK at ÖS 5 (25p) per bottle.
Puntigamer: rather too sweet perhaps, but I like those sort of beers. From a suburb of Graz in Styria.
Zipfer: another good ordinary beer, quite common.
Zwettler: from a small town in the Waldviertel, in the hills, north-west of Vienna. Distinguished beer, full flavour.

Watch out for Barack (pronounced Baratz), or Marrillenbrand both of which are names for apricot schnaps, (Barack is Hungarian and to Marrillenbrand (the generic term) is roughly what Cognac is to Brandy). Should be served ice cold.

Avoid at all costs !!!!
Anker bakers
Cafe Griensteidl
Griechenbeisl - the number one cutesy Beisl tourist trap
Zu den Drei Husaren - stupidly posh and expensive Beisl
Wienerwald restaurants - Austrian eqivalent of a Harvester.

Don't miss
Österreichische Galerie in the Belvedere, top floor (Klimt, Schiele, Gerstl, Kokoscka)
The Breughels at the Kunsthistorisches Museum
Stephansdom (Cathedral)
The Loos Haus on Michaelerplatz
Kirche am Steinhof

Getting to Vienna

Flights to Vienna currently run from Heathrow with Austrian Airlines and British Airways. Until recently there were no cheap airlines to Vienna as such (except for Air Berlin, which is not much cheaper than the national carriers, flying from Stansted), but Easyjet have just started flying there from Stansted. Ryanair fly from Stansted to various other Austrian destinations. The best of these for Vienna is Linz. From the airport a short bus ride gets you to Linz's shiny new train station, from where the fast trains to Vienna are 1 hour 40 minutes.

Also possible with Ryanair is Graz. From the airport you have to walk about 500 yards to the small train station (straight ahead as you come out of the airport, it's really the station for the small village opposite). Change at Graz main station, and it's a similar time to Vienna. Ryanair also fly to Salzburg and Klagenfurt, but both of these are some distance.

Bratislava is also a possibility and there are sometimes cheap flights there. Unfortunately getting from there to Vienna is pretty awkward still, despite the small distance. There was talk of extending the fast CAT train from Vienna airport, but when the purchase of Bratislava airport by Vienna airport fell thru, that was abandoned.

Arriving in Schwechat (Vienna Airport)

The best way to get to the centre (if you don't want to pay for a taxi) is by train, specifically by the Schnellbahn. DON'T be tempted by the new CAT airport express. This costs €9, three times the cost of the Schnellbahn train €3 (which is inclusive of tube/tram/bus within the city) and takes you to the same place only 8 minutes quicker. It's not even more frequent - the CAT runs twice an hour at .08 and .38 past the hour, the Schnellbahn (S7 towards Floridsdorf) exactly 1 minute later. The S7 takes 24' compared to the CAT's 16'. You can also buy a connecting ticket if you want to travel on elsewhere (ticket machines on the platform). So don't by a ticket from the CAT machines in the entrance hall of the airport.

To get to the Schnellbahn platform, go straight ahead as you come through out of baggage reclaim, keeping to the right of the cafe. There is a lift which takes you straight down to the platform. Take the train to Wien Mitte (Landstraße), which is the main hub of the airport trains and buses. There you can change to the U-bahn (underground) system. If you need to get to the Südbahnhof train station, change one stop earlier at Rennweg.

Some Viennese Dishes

Wiener Schnitzel this doesn't require a translation but you can get it as
"vom Schwein" - a pork Schnitzel (cheaper) or
"vom Kalb" - a veal Schnitzel (more expensive)

Cordon Bleu - Like the thing that goes under the same name over here (made with pork plus layers of cheese and ham fried in breadcrumbs), but, made in the land of Wiener Schnitzel, much better.

Schweinsbraten - Austrian roast pork often served with
Semelknödel - bread dumpling or
Serviettenknödel - same dumpling, different shape or
Erdäpfelknödel - potato dumpling

Kummelbraten - similar to Schweinsbraten, with caraway seed

Fogosch (Serbischer Art or any other way) - Pike-perch, a freshwater fish indigenous to central Europe (cannot be found in Britiain or France). Delicious. Also known in the German (as against Austrian) terminology as "Zander"

Erdäpfelsalat - Potato salad made properly. The Germans call it Kartoffelsalat.

Gulasch - Well, if you get a good one there's not much more you can ask for really

Frittatensuppe - Bouillon with strips of pancake. Sounds curious but is very nice. Traditional fare. (The Viennese very commonly start their meals with soup, much more so than over here - this is the most common soup.)

Leberknödelsuppe - Bouillon with a liver dumpling. More traditional fare.

Kalbsbeuschel - The Viennese like their offal (or at least a lot of them do) and this is probably the best known Viennese offal dish. It consists of finely sliced veal, cooked in a delicious rich creamy sauce and served with a Semmelknödel. Yummy, you'd never know it was made from lung and heart.

Hirn (geröstet) - Brains (fried, tho you can get them done other ways). I don't know what animal they come from, calves probably, and I know offal is not for everybody, but if you're into offal at all, I would really recommend brains. Difficult to describe the texture and flavour. Unlike anything else really, smooth, soft, creamy. I think they're delicious.

Kalbskopf - Calf's head. Not for the unitiated or the faint-hearted. Basically this is the bits of gristle and fat you get out of a calf's head once the brain has been removed, usually mixed up together and deep fried. Well it's an experience. (I like it!)

Topfen - This is a type of curd cheese very common in central Europe but curiously not usually to be found in Britain. It is used in sweet things, most obviously:
Topfentorte (Topfencake, which is totally wondrous when made well),
Topfenkolatschen (Topfen in pastry, like a Danish pastry, also fantastic),
Topfenstrudel and
Topfenpalatschinken (Topfen pancakes, large pancakes served hot, oozing with this delicious sweet mixture, gorgeous). I like Topfen.

Germknödel - This is a huge yeast dumpling, filled with the slightly bitter Czech-style plum jam called "Powidl", then covered with icing sugar and poppy seed, with melted butter poured over the top. A meal in itself!