Many thanks, first of all, to everyone - especially Sturml! - who has weighed in recently on restaurants in Vienna. There's a huge amount of information already in threads here, and after spending some time reading them all I'm still not sure I've got much of an idea about it. But that's not exactly why I'm posting.
Next Monday is my girlfriend's birthday, and we'll be spending Saturday-Tuesday in Vienna (we live in London). She's never been to Austria, and is very interested in discovering the food of the region. On Monday evening the agenda is a great meal in sumptuous surroundings. The question is - where?
The obvious choices from what's been posted here seem to be Steiereck (which isn't tempting at all - it looks over-priced and like it's trying too hard), Schwarzes Kameel (which doesn't look very special), Anna Sacher (closed Mondays, a pity because it looks gorgeous!), and Walter Bauer (about which I can find very little information).
We're staying at the new Sofitel, so I'm curious to know if anyone's tried "Le Loft", and whether that could be an option. I have a feeling, though, that she'd prefer a grand, traditionally luxurious dining experience for her birthday - something along the lines of the Anna Sacher, a beautiful room with refined Viennese food or innovative food that is inspired by the local cuisine.
Other meals - Sunday night we'll be at the Staatsoper for the ballet, so any tips on where nearby to eat afterwards - late on a Sunday evening - are much appreciated; for coffee houses - Landtmann? And we'll try Gmoakeller, and look at Rudi Beisl, and Sperl for the garlic soup (maybe at lunch, since it's close to the Belvedere). Meanwhile, a friend has recommended Drei Jacken, Pohl, Figlmuller for schnitzl, Schweizerhaus, Mnozil, Steirerstoeckl, and Friseurmueller for grinzing. I'm also told that Fruth is a fantastic spot for patisserie/viennoiserie.
Any reactions or advice gratefully welcomed...