Despite being a city steeped in history and to all effects an open-air museum, Vienna throbs with life, with its cafés, concerts and shopping districts. Its streets are filled with young people and its nights are frenetic, Strauss and heavy metal rub shoulders and Starbucks has opened in front of the legendary Sacher Hotel.
While it is easy to survive in Vienna by eating in the beisln, traditional venues of Viennese cuisine offering simple yet stodgy food, it is a little more arduous to enjoy a fine dining experience on a low budget. Here’s how to gain access to some great hotels and luxurious restaurants.
From 0 to 25 Euro
Since no one can really say they have seen Vienna without tasting some Sacher cake, it is worth seeking out the authentic version, even though it is sold in almost all the cafés in the centre of town. The Original Sacher-Torte, as it was patented, has been one of the most famous cakes in the world, ever since it was first created by apprentice chef Franz Sacher in 1832. It is basically a chocolate cake filled with apricot jam and often served with a dollop of fresh cream.
The Café Sacher is annexed to the Hotel Sacher, a magnificent 5-star hotel right in front of the Opera House. On this budget, you can treat yourself to a couple of slices washed down by coffee and, from 10 am to 2 pm you can also order a coffee and a snack in the legendary Blaue Bar of the hotel, where you will be immersed in an atmosphere of brocade wallpaper and velvet sofas, both in a deep shade of blue.
From 25 to 50 Euro
The Opus Restaurant is housed inside the Hotel Imperialand stands as a perfect example of how traditional Viennese cuisine can be transformed into something that is sparkling and contemporary, thanks to Sous Chef Stefan Speiser and his experienced team. For this budget, try the amazing Oibèrico pork served with yogurt, cabbage and mustard as a main course.
The Ritz-Carlton occupying four historical buildings on the Ringstrasse boasts a top floor bar with a panoramic city view, called the Atmosphere Rooftop Bar, where you can sip creative cocktails as you admire the skyline. The most discerning carnivores flock to the Dstrikt Steakhouse attracted by the establishment’s “farm-to-table” philosophy and ingredients brought in straight from the countryside. You will spend 20 Euros for almost two hundred grams of excellent organic beef fillet supplied by a breeder of Salzburg, which may be accompanied with a glass of Australian Cabernet Sauvignon selected from a lavish wine list.
A spectacular all-round view can be enjoyed from Das Loft, a restaurant on the 18th floor of the Sofitel, a hotel designed by Jean Nouvel situated on the Danube Canal, with one wall entirely constructed in glass. This place make the perfect venue for a drink, before or after dinner.
Fabios is a trendy Italian-style restaurant popular with celebrities. The venue offers a dining room and a separate, beautifully designed Lounge Bar. The mood and cuisine are Mediterranean-chic and the quality of the ingredients is tip top. Well worth trying are: the Lemon-flavoured risotto with smoked salmon trout (25 Euro); Beef fillet carpaccio with cream of chilli pepper and ricotta salata (25 Euro) and, extracted from the vegetarian menu, Pumpkin flowers filled with tomato sauce and courgette spaghetti (16 euro).
From 50 to 100 Euro
The Steirereck, owned by chef Heinz Reitbauer, is not just one of the city’s best starred restaurants, but has also won the tenth place in the rating of the World's 50 Best Restaurants. An experience in every sense of the word and a gourmet’s dream but it does not come cheap. Surrounded by greenery, it looks like a metal plate mirror positioned in such a way as to reflect the trees of the Stadtpark. Our recommendations: Courgettes and spelt with the fragrance of orange blossom, pistachio and egg yolk (34 Euro). Wild boar with purple carrots, pineapple and late-growing radicchio (34 Euro), accompanied with a fine glass of wine.
Discover here one of our favourite slow-cooked beef stew recipes, for those that have a whole day to wait for it to be ready. But do not also forget to browse our other four top beef stew recipes from around the world.