TWO DAYS IN VIENNA
The Austrian capital of Vienna is undoubtedly one of the best cities in Europe. With beautiful baroque architecture, grand royal palaces, world famous galleries, and countless classical music venues, Vienna is a dream destination for art and culture. It’s often touted as the European Capital of Culture in fact, though Paris and indeed our very own (pre-Brexit) London might have something to say about that.
It’s also a city that has always had food and drink at its heart, with an deeply ingrained coffee culture, winemaking history, and traditional dining halls still proving an irresistible draw. As we found on a recent trip, however, Vienna’s dining scene is also enjoying a modern makeover, with smart new wine bars, bakeries and restaurants popping up all over the city.
It’s a short flight from London and very easy to get around, so it’s perfect for a weekend break. In short, if you haven’t been before, or you haven’t been for a few years, now is a great time to visit Vienna. Read on for our top tips on where to eat, drink and sleep on your Two Days in Vienna.
This smart little wine bar and restaurant wouldn’t look out of place in London or Paris, with its whitewashed walls and modern furniture. There’s plenty of substance with the style however – MAST are serving some of the best food in the city, and they have a Michelin Bib Gourmand to prove it. You can get a couple of small dishes and a few glasses of wine, or go for the full Chef’s Choice 6 course tasting menu for €65, which we’d definitely recommend. We loved the creative dishes such as sprouts with lardo and fried shallots, and black pudding dumplings with cabbage, as well as the paired Austrian wines to go with each course.
Porzellangasse 53, 1090
Konstantin Filippou is one of Vienna’s best chefs, with two Michelin stars to his name. If you’re not in the mood (or don’t have the budget) for fine dining however, then head to his relaxed wine bar O Boufés, which is located right next door to his main restaurant. This lively spot has an exceptional list of Austrian wines and schnapps to try, as well as modern variations on classic bistro dishes. We absolutely loved the ox tartare with egg, dashi, hazelnut and cauliflower, and the schnitzel made with Mangalitza pork, and served with cucumber, anchovies and sour cream.
Dominikanerbastei 17, 1010
The mini Mochi empire comprises the Mochi Ramen Bar, the O.M.K takeaway shop, the original Mochi, and their newest venue, Kikko Ba. It’s one of Vienna’s hottest restaurants and it’s definitely one we’d recommend if you’re looking for a fun dinner in a buzzy venue. It’s a small plates set up, with a short sharp menu that includes lamb gyoza, ‘patatas bravas’ with Japanese curry sauce, and an epic chicken katsu sando. The service can be a little slow, but it’s as much about the drink as it is the food, so settle in with some cocktails, sake, or some local wines and you’ll be in for a good night.
Schleifmühlgasse 8, 1040
If you’re into sweet stuff, then Vienna is an absolute dream. Sure there are the famous places like DEMEL, which are very traditional, and quite touristy, but there are also a crop of modern Viennese bakers bringing something new to the party. Top of your list should be Joseph Brot, which has a few locations around the city – if your hotel doesn’t include breakfast, at least make sure it’s near a Joseph Brot! There are incredible cakes, pastries, and breads available throughout the day, and some locations have more of a sit down vibe with a small bistro menu too.
Various locations (you’ll never be too far from one)
You should go for at least one super traditional meal while in Vienna, and Gasthaus Pöschl ticks all the boxes. This is the ideal place to get your schnitzel and beer fix!
Weihburggasse 17, 1010
Another must-eat traditional food item in Vienna is the humble hot dog. We can highly recommend the currywurst from the little takeaway stand Bitzinger Würstelstand, which is right outside the Albertina museum.
Albertinaplatz 1, 1010
Vienna’s Coffee Culture
Vienna’s coffee house culture has been a huge part of daily life here since the 19th century, offering a relaxed meeting place and a healthy dose of coffee and cake. Many of the best, such as 160 year old Café Schwarzenberg and the elegant Café Sperl, also have regular live music. Our favourite, however, has to be Café Prückel – it’s like a time warp and the perfect place to have a break from sightseeing.
A lot of Vienna’s cool new restaurants are centred around natural and biodynamic wines, of which there are several excellent producers in Austria. Bar Krawall is a great place to start discovering Austrian grape varieties beyond the classic Grüner, such as the fruity light red Blaufränkisch. It’s a tiny space at at Vienna’s best market, the Naschmarkt (itself worth a visit) so be prepared to stand if you don’t snag one of the few tables. If you do have dinner at Kikko Ba (see above), then Bar Krawall is a great place to come for a few drinks before, as it’s only a few minutes walk away.
Naschmarkt 975, C8, 1060
One of Vienna’s hot new openings in 2019, Bruder is both a restaurant and bar, although we only went by for drinks. It’s a fresh concept for the city – with a focus on fermentation, the back bar is lined with colourful jars of Bruder’s own house made bitters, vermouths, and liqueurs distilled from the likes of tree bark and fir. Foraged ingredients also play a part in many of the cocktails. It’s an interesting spot and definitely worth coming by for a drink or two.
Windmühlgasse 20, 1060 Wien
Heunisch & Erben
Heunisch & Erben is a bar, restaurant, and wine shop but again, we only stopped by for a couple of glasses of wine. It’s a nice space to hang out in and it’s only a few minutes walk from the train station (which has a fast airpot connection) so if you have some time to kill before heading to the airport, this is a great choice. There’s a big selection of both Austrian and international wines by the glass and although we can’t vouch for the food, they do have some killer bread and butter to nibble on.
Landstraßer Hauptstraße 17, 1030
‘Café’ is a bit misleading here – Kleines is a dimly lit, cosy little bar serving fresh Austrian beers and wines. The bohemian atmosphere and cast of local characters reminded us slightly of The French House in London so if that’s your vibe, you’re going to love Kleines.
Franziskanerpl. 3, 1010
As mentioned in the introduction, there’s a hell of a lot of things to see and do in Vienna. If you can only fit a couple of galleries in, we’d say that the Albertina should be top of the list. Located in an old Hapsburg royal residence, The Albertina is one of Vienna’s cultural gems, with modern artworks by French impressionists as well as the city’s native son, Gustave Klimt. We also loved the State Rooms, an area of the building that’s been restored to show the grand living quarters of the Hapsburgs, complete with chandeliers, murals, wall coverings, and marble statues.
Albertinaplatz 1, 1010
Kunsthistorisches museum (Art History Museum)
This is top of the list for most visitors to Vienna and is one of the most famous galleries in the world. It’s an incredible ornate building set in the heart of the MuseumsQuartier with a world class collection of renaissance artworks by the likes of Bruegel and Titian. To be honest, it’s worth going in just to look around inside the building.
25 Hours Hotel
Set within the MuseumsQuartier, the 25 Hours Hotel is perfectly located for a weekend of sightseeing and eating. Rooms are spacious and modern, with bold design throughout: huge murals, bright colours, and neon lights are crammed on to every surface. It might even be a little too OTT with all the slogans and circus patterns but for the price and the location, we can forgive it. There’s also a fun rooftop bar with outdoor terrace plus an Italian restaurant and a breakfast buffet stocked with pastries and Austrian cheese and charcuterie.
Rooms from £78 a night
Lerchenfelder Str. 1/3, 1070
Words: Joel Porter