So, I have just spent 4 days in Vienna, 3 of which were spent on a workshop and today I had a free day. Even though we were busy during the day, we managed to get into central Vienna in the evenings and explore. The city is beautiful with lovely old buildings and I had no problems despite my extremely limited German.
On the first evening we went to Stephansdom, the main church in Vienna, which was spectacular. We then asked a lady in a shop for a recommendation for dinner and she sent us to a local typical Austrian restaurant on Dorotheergasse called Reinthaler's Beisl. I had smoked pork, sauerkraut and knodel or dumpling. It was delicious although very filling! We tried to have apple strudel for pudding but he didn't have any left. So we had an ice cream walking back to the U-Bahn.
The second evening we ventured out of the U-Bahn at Schwedenplatz and went to a cafe called Motto Am Flusse on the river. This seemed to be an organic restaurant that serves lots of vegan food alongside meat dishes. Also be warned that the menu is only available in German, luckily we had a German speaker with us but the staff spoke good English so it probably wouldn't have been a problem! We started with a delicious carrot and ginger soup with sourdough bread.
Then I had a burger with cheese and speck and potato wedges.
We didn't fancy any of the desserts there so we went off in search of something more Austrian and ended up at Cafe Central, one of the oldest coffee houses in Vienna, previously frequented by Freud. We ordered the Kaiserschmarrn as it was one of the dishes recommended to me by a colleague. Here is me looking very happy with my dessert:
Here is me 5 mins later when I realised just what I'd taken on! The picture was taken without me realising so this sums up beautifully how I felt!
It was huge! Easily enough for 2-3 people! I ate about a quarter and then gave up! So I'd advise you to share!
On the last night we visited the Austrian National Library before dinner. As we arrived about 5 mins before closing the last let us in for free, so we had a quick wander round and it was beautiful, reminded me of the library at Trinity College Dublin.
For dinner we went to Cafe Diglas on Wollzeile, where I finally had Wiener schnitzel, although I went for the pork version rather than veal as the veal was 9 euros more! Again, it was huge!
And came with a potato salad that was very different to the potato salads I make at home.
For pudding I went for sachertorte, another Austrian speciality.
For breakfast each morning I had one of these. It's a croissant but I think it's made out of dough similar to pretzels as it's much darker than a normal croissant.
On the last day I explored Vienna on my own. I went first to the Secession House to see the Klimt Beethoven Frieze. Then to the Kunsthistorichsemuseum, where I found the Vermeer painting, although much of the Dutch art was missing as some of the galleries are closed for refurbishment. Then I went to the Leopold Museum, which was disappointing as they were preparing for an exhibition opening in a few days time so there wasn't much on show. Finally I went to see the Imperial Apartments, silver collection and Sisi museum at the Hofburg. I did a whistle stop tour through as I didn't have much time but the apartments were spectacular. I stopped at a wurst stall for a bratwurst with mustard and ketchup for lunch, basically they punch a hole in a half baguette, squirt in some mustard and ketchup and push in the sausage - delicious!
Then I followed it up with a visit to Demel, which had an amazing selection of cakes.
I didn't have time to sit in the cafe, so I bought an Annatorte to take away and sat in the street eating it! Very chocolatey!
So, how would I characterise Austrian food? Well the portions are large, the food is stick to your ribs and there's lots of cake! I can't wait to come back!