One of the biggest benefits in my line of work is travelling. I work for one of the world’s largest IT companies and get to travel about 10-12 times a year all over the world. Vienna was the very first destination I’ve traveled when I joined the company back in year 2000, and ever since each time I arrive there is a thrill. So today I want to share few of my notes in regards to the culinary side of this beautiful city.
Before World War 1 Vienna was the capital of Austrian-Hungarian empire. I will not bore you with history lectures – just want to mention that the Hungarian cuisine is definitely one of the most interesting European cuisines. Just think of a goulash, nokedli (aka spätzle), apple strudel and the schnitzel… So if you’re in Vienna, by all means, do yourself a favour and enjoy the city culinary side. Trust me, you’ll love it!
But first thing’s first – let’s take a walk through the streets of Vienna…
It makes no difference where you’re staying in Vienna, but whenever you ask where can you find the most original Wiener Schnitzel, you’ll hear one word – Figlmuller. The restaurant, which is located in the 1st district, was initially a small wine tavern, and is open since 1905. Today you can find there the best schnitzel in Vienna, along with an Austrian potatoes salad with pumpkin seed oil and local wine.
The Wiener Schnitzel, the real one, is made of veal. However, in Figlmuller they serve it either pork (they call it the Original Figlmuller Schnitzel) or chicken. The breadcrumbs for the schnitzel are made of the kaisersemmel – traditional Austrian crusty bread rolls, sometimes called as Wienna rolls. It’s served with a lemon wedge, and I am warning you – this schnitzel is BIG!
And here’s the potatoes salad with pumpkin seed oil.
Goulash with nokedli – Austrian-Hungarian classics.
And if you have wondered what the check will be, I can tell you that you can have a great dinner in Figlmuller for a price lower than 20 Euros. This is quite normal for a restaurant of such class. Here’s the link to the restaurant page, just in case you’re around ;).
There are 2 things you will not find in Figlmuller – that’s beer and deserts. Being a wine tavern since the beginning, beer is not allowed on the menu. As for the deserts – they are simply none. However, if you do feel an unexplained urge to grab something sweet after a good schnitzel dinner, then the Zanoni & Zanoni Italian gelateria, located just 2 minutes walk from Figlmuller. Frankly, there is no chance I am giving up on a visit to Zanoni & Zanoni every time I am in Vienna.
Check this one out – “Spaghetti eis”. The spaghetti is a delicious Italian vanilla ice cream, with strawberry sauce and shredded coconut.
Or this one – “Lasagna Eis”… Italian vanilla ice cream, assorted berries sauce, strawberry coulis. Is this heaven or what? 🙂
Prices – quite sane. Each one of these portions will cost you about 5 Euro, and that’s for almost 1 lb ice cream! More details – on the home page of Zanoni & Zanoni.
Still hanging out in the 1-st district of Vienna, here’s a pizzeria I especially enjoyed. Mostly cause they serve an ultimate Hawaii, my favorite combination of schinken and pineapple pizza, but they’ve got quite a lot of other combinations, and relatively cheap ones – 3 Euro per slice, give or take. And the slice here means a quarter of the pizza!!!
Coffee shops in Vienna are completely different from those you know… Unless you live in Vienna, of course. The atmosphere, somewhat boheme, but very calm, and the cakes are an ultimate treat. One of my favorites, Castelletto, on Schwedenplatz, – just take a look at this Irish coffee I had there.
Next to Castelletto you will find Aida, one of the largest coffee shops networks in Vienna. And this one is the famous “Sachertorte”, which became some sort of a symbol of Vienna… Frankly, the story of this cake is much more tastier, than the subject itself :). Two layers of chocolate sponge, apricots jam in between them, and chocolate glaze. Not a head over heels really.
The Mozart cake, on the other hand, will drive a sweets junkie wild.
And, of course, some more coffee… This time – cappuccino.
When I had a first taste of Austrian wines I was completely amazed about how the wine reminded me of the tastes I used to know when I was living in Moldova. My father, God bless his memory, was making wine, and I remember these aromas and tastes since I could walk under the table :). And then I learned about heurigers, wine taverns, in which wine-growers serve the most recent year’s wines. “Heurig” means “this year’s” in Austrian German. So where’s wine, there is also food, and the food you can experience there is so authentic and delicious… And surprisingly cheap, by the way. We had a dinner for two for less than 20 Euro, and we had a roasted pork ham hock (in German – Schweinshaxe, or, an Austrian version of it – Stelze), plus sides & salads for this price. Wine – 3-4 Euro per 250 cc (8 1/2 fl. oz) glass.
The place is called Wolf heuriger, and located in 19-th district in Vienna .
Here’s the homepage where you can find some more information. And some more photos, of course.
Well, I do hope I gave you enough culinary reasons to visit Vienna… And that’s before I even started speaking about this city historical and cultural heritage. So until the next time… Auf Wiedersehen :).