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Richard in Cincy

Oh, do I have special treats for you...

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5260 posts
Joined: Dec 12, 2005

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Posted to Thread #24567 at 2:42 am on Jun 27, 2013

Fall is the absolute best time to see Vienna.

Here are some of my faves; let me know if you have any questions, or any particular interest. All of this is on the internet these days which makes it so much easier telling people where my favorite haunts are.

Behind Stephansdom (neat area--don’t miss the 19th C. shopping passages BEHIND the cathedral away from the Graben! Look into the courtyards if any are open.)

"Zum Basilisken" on Schönlaterngaße. Old Imperial Viennese menu in a setting right out of the 19th C. Frittatensuppe, Tafelspitz, Backhendl, Wiener Schnitzel, Wiener Zwiebelrostbraten, Rindgulasch mit Knödel, Apfelstrudel, Mohr im Hemd, Palatschinken, classics of the K.u.K. Viennese kitchen (you'll see these initials a lot in Vienna, it's the German initials signifying "Royal and Imperial," the designation of the Dual-Monarchy of Austria-Hungary--these days they usually mean "Old-fashioned Viennese") . If you're there on a Sunday morning, the high baroque Jesuitenkirche around the corner will sometimes be doing a Haydn or Mozart mass for Sunday morning services. Dinner here afterwards is the whipped cream and cherry on top.

Couple blocks north, in the same area:
"Griechenbeisl" on Fleischmarkt. Open since the 15th C. (oldest tavern/restaurant in Vienna!) Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms all used to be regulars here and probably signed the walls in the Mark Twain Zimmer. Same cuisine as Basilisken. Be sure to wander around and peek into all the rooms.

Off the Graben:

Trzesniewski's--in the Dorotheerstraße, street running south off Graben near the Plague Column, first buildling on the left off the Graben. Kafka lived upstairs and ate lunches here of the small open-faced sandwiches they're still selling. Jugendstil for days. These make nice little pick me up snacks when you're tired and need a little bite.

Esterházykeller--Downtown city “heuiger”, just behind the intersection of the Graben, Kohlmarkt, and Naglergasse (turn down Nagler gasse off of Kohlmarkt, take the first left, and descend into the labyrinth). Licensed by Maria Theresia and in business ever since. Same menu and wines as Mayer below. Always try the Grünerveltliner. Also: salivate over Naglergasse. It's a beautifully preserved old innercity street.

Demel’s: In the Kohlmarkt (the street off the Graben that runs up to the main gate of the Old Hofburg Palace in Michaler Platz. Demel’s was a supplier of sweets to the imperial court. It’s a decadent splurge of high Viennese tortes, sweets, and coffees. Don't forget to look in the windows outside before you go in. Everything on display in the windows is made of sugar. A very memorable experience.

Western Burbs (and definitely worth the trip on a nice evening to be outside, you can get there with Vienna subway and bus connections--or just take a taxi):

Mayer am Pfarrplatz--Viennese Heuiger. Outside of the city in the western suburb of Grinzing on the edge of the Wienerwald (Vienna Woods). Sit outside and drink the local wines on the edge of the Vienna Woods, Beethoven wrote the 9th Symphony when he lived here and this is also where he shoved his piano out the window to the creditors waiting below to repossess it. Wonderful dinner options available at the buffet of Viennese Beisl offerings: Leberkäse, Salads (the salsify salad [schwarzewürzel] here is out of this world good!), Roast meats, knödels, cold cuts, stuffed peppers, sauerkraut, rolls, cheeses, desserts--you basically go through the buffet line, point at what you want (always smile and say "Bitte!"), collect it all on your tray and put a picnic together , pay at the register, then carry it to your table outside. Strolling musicians wander through the tables in the garten where you sit outside under the stars, playing Viennese waltzes, tunes from Viennese operettas, etc.. This is total Vienna Gemütlichkeit.

If you want suggestions on things to see (for the time you have) I can help with that as well. One thing I always tell people to see is the Austrian National Library in the Hofburg. (google this and your eyes will pop out). I love love love taking the Hofburg residence tour and going down to the former imperial kitchens to see what has been saved of the former palace silver, crystal, china, and table service, as wells as all manner of 19th C. imperial kitchen equipment. They sell a lovely cookbook here with the history of the Imperial kitchens, photos, some of the palace menus, and of course some of the recipes It's called "Tafeln wie ein Kaiser" (Dine like an Emperor). Not sure if they have an English translation, but the photos are stunning (and the menus are in French since that was the language used at the courts of central and eastern Europe in those days).

Don't forget to take a break at tea time and head to a Viennese coffee house for refreshment. Nothing like one of Vienna's 30 ways to serve a cup of coffee [not kidding!] with a slice of torte to help your body revive from walking around and standing all day. If you want a regular cup of coffee similar to the US with a little cream in it, the Viennese word for that is "Verlängerte."

Oh, also the bier gartens in the Prater in the evening are GREAT fun.

Did I mention I love Vienna???


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