If we look at my last week rationally, we'd have to admit that it wasn't exactly successful. I flew from London to Vienna to pick up my Diploma. I left Vienna after eight days and four trips to various offices of the university without my diploma. Because the diploma they had wanted to give me not only stated the wrong citizenship, but also had my incomplete name. And so the only mission I had - pick up a piece of paper - failed. And I had spent well over 100 Euro to have it fail. So yes, looking at things rationally my last week was kind of a disaster. But, let me tell you something. Life is much more fun when you're not looking at things rationally. Especially, when you can look at things like this.
Which is exactly what I did. I spent the last week going back to my favorite Viennese cafés and restaurants, eating my favorite dishes and snack foods that I had missed so much and had been craving ever since my departure. I enjoyed abundant breakfasts, inexpensive lunches and delicious dinners, sipped coffee in traditional coffeehouses and walked around Vienna's 1st with the most amazing Falafel wrap in my hand. And it was wonderful. Even more so, because I did all of that while catching up with my much missed friends. In fact, it was so wonderful, that I'm kind of happy they messed up my diploma. Because that means I have to go back and do this all over again.
A taste of my Vienna
Since I didn't do much cooking last week, as I was mostly coffeehouse and restaurant hopping, I decided I would share some of my favorite places to eat/drink coffee in Vienna with you. This is by no means an all-inclusive list - I am sure after I post this I will think of 15 other places that should have also been included. Also - if you go to one of these places and it isn't good, please let me know. Owners/cooks can change and since I am no longer living in Vienna I might not be aware of negative changes.
Obviously, Vienna is famous for its Kaffeehäuser. And I spent many an hour sitting in both traditional and more modern ones
studying drinking coffee and philosophizing about life. In addition to serving all different kinds of coffees and teas, most coffeehouses serve a variety of cakes, little snacks and typical Austrian dishes.
My favorite traditional coffeehouses
You can sit here and read newspapers all day, enjoy their breakfast, three course lunch menu (for under 10 Euro) and à la carte dinner. Delicious food, nice atmosphere.
This spacious, 100+ year old coffeehouse offers coffee with vodka (or rum or orange liquor), cream and chocolate shavings in addition to the typical kleiner Mocca or Melange. They also serve traditional Austrian food and a wide variety of cakes including the classical Topfen and Apfelstrudel.
It's Saturday, 4am and you are craving Eierspätzle (egg dumplings) or a Wienerschnitzel after a long night out? You'll find this place open and ready to serve. During the day it's a great coffeehouse, situated across from the busy Naschmarkt, which you should check out if you haven't yet.
Kleines Café (no website)
Franziskanerplatz 3, 1010 Wien
Klein is German for small, and that is, in fact, what this coffeehouse is. Very small, and almost always packed. But if you manage to get a seat - stay and enjoy the people-watching or one of their breads with chives and tomatoes.
My favorite modern cafés
This was my living room during my first year in Vienna, not only because I had an all-you-can-drink coffee pass but also because they had couches to sit on and I didn't. They use fair trade and organic products, serve breakfast till 10pm and offer lunches for under 6 Euro. While the food isn't always perfect, they do make a good espresso.
Cafés at the MuseumsQuartier
Cute café, serves a variety of galettes, crêpes, waffles and salads and offers a nice brunch on the weekend.
A small café which opens at 5pm and offers a daily changing vegetarian menu.
Also good: das möbel, Latte Grande, Lux, (all three have serve a great brunch) phil, Rochus, Café Europa, Österreicher im MAK (good lunch food and scene).
Interesting: Caffé Couture (Garnisongasse 18, 1090 Wien). A room with a top-notch coffee machine and one large communal table. And a guy who makes amazing coffee and tells you to "pay as much as you wish".
Some of my favorite restaurants in Vienna
The menu constantly changes. They buy market fresh, seasonal produce every week and when they are out - they are out. That's why you should go to eat there at the beginning of the week!
This restaurant is famous for its Tafelspitz, boiled beef, a Viennese specialty, which they serve with a variety of sauces, and a side of cooked spinach and potatoes.
Consistently good food, from the Wienerschnitzel to the roasted Knödel with eggs.
Great food, but its claim to fame is its Susie-Torte, which I can't describe as anything but a chocolate bomb.
Stomach (no website)
Seegasse 26, 1090 Wien
Seasonal menu, great food, and in the summer you can dine in their nice quiet courtyard.
Wickerl (no website)
Porzellangasse 24a, 1090 Wien
The opening Wienerschnitzel photo is from this place. It was great, but a little bit small. You can get a delicious Fiakergulasch (Viennese gulasch garnished with fried Viennese sausage, fried egg and a pickle cut and spread into a fan) and Palatschinken filled with apricot jam.
Situated at the Karmelitermarkt, a small food market in the 2nd district, Madiani serves typical Georgian dishes such as Khinkali, dumplings which are filled with either spiced meat, mushrooms or cheese and are also extremely delicious. Very nice atmosphere and friendly service as well.
Go for the pizza.
Serves expensive but very delicious Japanese food.
Two cheap eats worthy of mention
My all-time favorite Falafel Wrap
I googled "best falafel wrap" in NYC, and went to the top two, and they didn't even come close. The wrap is packed with four falafels - which they fry in front of you -, hummus, techina, eggplant salad, shredded red cabbage, carrot and white cabbage salad, Sauerkraut and green salad. And I believe that it is one of the best-tasting and most filling things that 5 Euro can buy you. Needless to say, I went there twice last week.
Of course, you can also get it in a pita and while I always take it to go and then happily walk around the 1st district, you can also take a seat and even order something else off their large menu.
I basically lived off Ströck's Aboriginesweckerl for over a month, during a very stressful period, where I was literally out of time/energy to cook. The bread is made from a mixture of all-purpose and rye flour, contains peas, carrots, walnuts, sunflower and flax seeds and is topped with sesame and poppy seeds. Sometimes I just ate the bread alone, other times I bought one filled with cheese, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, red pepper and bean sprouts. I missed this so much, that I ate it three times in the last 8 days and took five empty Weckerl home and froze them. The day I find a recipe that comes close to this bread will be a very happy day.
Now excuse me while I go book another flight to Vienna...