To start off, I must thank Strumi and kukubara for all of the wonderful suggestions and discussions about dining in Vienna. I wish that I had more time to prepare for my trip, but without their posts, would not have been able to enjoy the meals that I did.
My first night's meal was at Walter Bauer . . . after a long flight across the pond, running through the airport to miss my connection, then arriving in Vienna with only a few minutes before registration for my meeting closed and running around again like a madman trying to find the registration office only to arrive as they were carrying away the boxes, I needed something to change my luck, and this was it. An octopus appetizer that melted in my mouth! Delicious young deer (Reh - not venison, but young deer, or as my waiter put it "bambi") with a peanut crust! Curd dumplings for desert were a disapointment only in the standard set my the first two dishes was so high . . . this was the high point of my dining journey in Vienna.
Walter Bauer was so good, I returned several nights later, with a group from the meeting. This time I had the partridge, followed by wild boar with brussel sprouts and a potato gratin. Both were also wonderful and very flavorful. One of my companions complained that her lamb chop was too rare, so I exchanged some boar for the lamb; it too was good, although a bit rare at the center. A chocolate hazelnut cake/torte for dessert was very good, although good enough to end a meal anywhere else, could not match the rest of the meal.
I also had the chance to dine at Feles, not once but twice! It is a short distance from the center of Vienna, about 30 min away - from the U6 Wahringerstrasse stop take the 40 or 41 tram a few stops to Gersthof Bahnhst then a short walk. The first night, there was an off the menu special (and I was able to get the last serving) - roast goose with red cabbage, dumplings, and roasted chestnuts! Very strong goose flavor, wonderful earthiness of roasted chestnuts, cabbage for some balance. The dumplings were a bit bland by comparision. (as a side note, Sunday night I could not find an open restaurant that did not seem touristy, so had the goose dinner at the hotel - although the goose was moist, it lacked flavor, and there were no chestnuts) The second night started with a curry lentil soup (pureed) with a single large shrimp, perfectly cooked, in the center. This was followed by roast pork with polenta and olives, with caramelized goat cheese with apple and pumpkin for dessert (sounds a bit odd but a savory dessert). Next to the first night at Walter Bauer, these were the next best meals I had while in Vienna (and half the price).
Another two meals were at Zum Firsteren Stern. Octopus risotto starter was delicious, although the octopus did not melt in my mouth. Wild lamb tenderloin in a paprika sauce was also good, and followed by a panna cotta. for the return visit, octopus with lemon and celery leaves followed by pork in a plum sauce. The food was good, but not the dining experience of the other two places; however it is more convenient than Feles, only a block from Am Hof within central Vienna.
Zum Schwarzen Kameel was unremarkable. a luke warm soup, lamb. Not disappointing, but not as memorable dining as the other places. Perhaps I should have avoided the dining room and had my fill of canapes instead.
Weininger Heuriger was the disappointment of the trip. It is way out of town: 2-hour round trip by public transport (plus a 10 min walk) only to be told they would not seat me despite half the tables being empty. I really did want to experience a good heuriger while in Vienna, but the time wasted finding this place left my grapes sour.
I also ended up at Griechen beisl downtown, near Schwedenplatz. Yes, a tourist dive (I was dragged there by friends from the meeting), and the tafelspitz was about as good as my first attempt at at roast (ie needing all the help from accompanying sauces, and then some), but everyone agreed the eisknodel dessert was a hit!
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