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Monday, February 6, 2012

Eating in Vienna, Austria: Part One

Secession Building, Vienna

As you all know, I was able to spend 18 days in Central Europe in January.  My husband was teaching a college course there, and I went along to help.  We spent half of our time in Vienna, a city that I am lucky to visit often.  My husband lived there for a year during grad school, so knows the ins and outs of the city, including where to get delicious food off the beaten path.  Even after several trips there, though, I'm still discovering new places

One of our favorite restaurants is Horvath.  Unfortunately my pictures from our anniversary dinner there didn't turn out, but I highly recommend their food: it's always been delicious and seasonal and won't break the bank.  It's located very near the Naschmarkt (large open-air market) and is easy to get to.

Before sharing some of my other favorite spots, though, I'd love to share a few non-food-related pictures (taken during the summer of 2011 and January 2012):

Riesenrad, Vienna
Inside of St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna
Haus des Meeres, Vienna (built in a WWII anti-aircraft tower)
Karlskirche, Vienna
Ever since my first visit to Vienna, my husband had talked about Buffet Trzešniewski, a small cafe that serves one thing: open-faced egg salad sandwiches.  It wasn't until last summer on my third or fourth trip to the city, though, that I actually tried them...it just sounded a little weird to me.  But I'm so glad I did!  These aren't just any ol' egg salad sandwiches, but flavored with items that Americans might find strange.  Pickles, salmon, spicy peppers, mushrooms, herring...the list goes on and on.  And the flavors, although strange to an American palate, actually work.

The eatery is conveniently located about a block from St. Stephan's Cathedral, but is very, very tiny.  There are a couple of sit-down tables inside, but most people stand at the handful of tall tables scattered inside and out.  If you're thinking of going and don't know much German, it would be helpful to take a look at the menu online and write down what you want--or you could be adventurous and just choose randomly!  :-)  It's helpful to know what you want, though, because you order at a counter, and most people are in a hurry.

Once you've ordered your sandwiches, you order your drink and pay.  You'll receive a token for your drink, which you take over to the bar.  The most common drinks ordered are fresh-pressed orange juice and beer.  Besides being so unique, the best thing about this place is that it's cheap!  I think I got three sandwiches and orange juice for about five Euros...not a common feat in Vienna.

Another great option for a quick, but filling lunch in Vienna is a sausage stand.  I've been to many, but thanks to December 2011's Bon Appetit Magazine, I found a snazzy new one with fantastic sausages: Bitzinger. It's located near the Opera...very easy to get to for tourists.

I always order the Käsekrainer sausage, a pork sausage with cheese inside...the oozy cheese gets me every time!  Bitzinger servers their sausages with a healthy dollop of spicy mustard and a slice of fresh brown bread.  Beer is available on tap as well as soft drinks, wine, and champagne!  It's not as cheap as other sausage stands in Vienna, but the quality is a step up.

Typically, you eat on the go or standing up around the stands...here is a picture of my husband finishing his lunch:

We discovered another new restaurant during our last trip, a self-described Jewish/Asian/International restaurant called Bahur Tov.  It's a little out of the way, but I think I may have had the best hummus I've ever eaten there--creamy and flavorful with a spicy pepper salsa laid on top.  I'm not a huge fan of eggplant, but there was not a drop left of the cold eggplant salad they served.  The prices were reasonable, and the staff friendly.

After a long day of sightseeing, you may be exhausted and need a break.  That's where the Palmenhaus comes in handy.  It's a large cafe that serves anything from coffee and cakes to a full menu located in part of the Hofburg palace's garden greenhouse from the early 1900s.  It's very near the palace (obviously), but also to some of the main museums.  The space is light and airy and just plain relaxing.

Although we go there mostly for coffee, tea and desserts, they usually have an affordable lunch menu (daily special) that is decent.  The cakes are delicious, though, and worth a taste!

Because Vienna is such an international city, it's chock-full of interesting eateries.  Have you been there?  Where's your favorite place for a bite?

Hamburgerstraße 2
Vienna, Austria
Monday-Friday, 8:00am-12:00am
Saturday, 10:00am-12:00am
Sunday, 10:30am-3:00pm

Buffet Trzešniewski
Dorotheergasse 1
Vienna, Austria
Monday-Friday, 8:30am-7:30pm
Saturday, 9:00am-5:00pm

Augustinerstraße 1
Vienna, Austria
Daily 8:00am-4:00pm

Bahur Tov
Taborstraße 19
1020 Vienna
Monday-Thursday, 11:00am-10:30pm
Sunday, 11:30am-10:30pm

Location: Next to the Burggarten on the Burgring/Opernring
Hours vary depending on season

**Click here for Part II of my series about eating in Vienna!

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Candy February 6, 2012 at 1:08 PM  

Thanks for the photos and the write up! I have never been to Vienna and would love to go sometime.

Anonymous,  February 6, 2012 at 7:50 PM  

I haven't been to Vienna, but have been to Austria, Germany and Hungary. The food in that part of the world is so not American, I love eating it. Those egg sammies look perfectly delightful. Great pictures, Mindy. Thank you for sharing.

Michelle February 9, 2012 at 3:14 PM  

Haven't been to Austria, but the egg sandwiches look great! (Love the sausages in Germany and Switzerland, so I assume I'd like them there too.)

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