My favourite cafe in Vienna. For all who appreciate comfortable, well-used, elegantly scruffy interiors, in which a lot of the fittings are probably from the 50s or 60s.
The service is perfect Viennese tradition: efficient and quick (when the waiter isn’t on a cigarette break), skilled (the coffee is fine - rough and strong; the little trays fly around on improbable trajectories, but without spilling a drop) and with just that hint that you’re really bloody lucky to be getting served at all.
Have a grosser brauner: it'll set you up for the day (or night). The large mound of newspapers also meets the requirement of tradition, as does the classic Viennese breakfast of a couple of semmel and perhaps a boiled egg. Perfect for arriving in Vienna from a night train.
It’s opposite Westbahnhof train station, on the corner of Mariahilfer Straße and the Gürtel. When you come out of the main entrance of the station, head straight across the big road, crossing all the tramlines, going past the U-bahn hall, and then its just 10 yards to the right after you get across the last bit of pedestrian crossing. If you’re coming from the underground, there’s an exit right next to the door of the cafe; if memory serves, it’s labelled "innere mariahilferstr".
Mariahilfer Straße 128;
tel: 01 5233183
Cosy pub run by the Schwinzerl family and frequented by a complete cross-section of Graz society. Excellent traditional food. Try the Grauburgunder wine; the Most (cider; a typical product east of Graz, but rarely served in pubs in the city); the knödel mit ei (fried slices of semmelknödel with egg and parsley - a work of art); the frankfurter mit saft (poor man's gulasch- just the gravy, with a pair of frankfurters); the gulasch proper. And if you want a serious dessert (smallest serving is for at least two people) try the gibance ("kipp-an-tse"), a fat pancake oozing with creme fraiche and jam - it's a local legend.
The coffee is also very respectable. Order a verlängerter (say "eee hett gairn an kafay, an ferlengerten bitte").
A wonderful Graz institution, hanging in there in an age of yuppification.
It’s on Mariahilferstrasse, which is the street parallel to the river and one block away from it, behind the Kunsthaus (blue bubble). Stroll across the blue pedestrian bridge by the "island" and head through the nearest gap between the houses - the pub is at the back corner of the house on the left.
Tel: 316 71 20 08;
Tram stop: Südtirolerplatz;
Closed on Thursdays and Fridays, otherwise (unlike many establishments in Graz) it is open all day, including public holidays.
Google map: tinyurl.com/qmuesn
The Liechtenstein Museum opened just three years ago, enriching the already crowded field of
not-to-be-missed Viennese museums. The summer palace of the Liechtenstein family has restored the
palace to house their spectacular baroque collections of paintings and sculpture, which spent long decades underdisplayed in Liechtenstein.
Just floating up one of the grand staircases to the 'Herkulesaal' is to glimpse life as it once was for
this very privileged family; it’s hard to grasp that a whole room-full of Rubens 'cartoons' is privately owned.
Happily the princely collections are now elegantly displayed, including the newly-acquired,
over-the-top Badminton Cabinet and the golden coach which sets the scene as you enter the Sala Terrana. (No surprise that it was sent to Italy in the 1770s to collect the Emperor's bride!) After you view the collection you can stroll through the historic gardens and dine in style at either of the two fine restaurants inside the gates, Rubens 'Palais' or 'Brasserie'.
Scrupulously planned and lit as a fine art museum, the aura of family still hovers over the Liechtenstein Museum, illuminating a golden age of Viennese life and style.
Fuerstengasse 1, 1090 Vienna;
tram: from the Ringstrasse/Schottentor
via route D to Porzellangasse. Entrance is on the little side street,
through imposing cast-iron gates
Recommended elsewhere as a coffee house, it's also a source of decent food - excellent set menus, including vegetarian choices - with much more atmosphere than the sterile Sacher. And the waiters are not nearly so snooty as they used to be. There's an excellent bookshop (Morawa) across the road and another exquisite Konditorei (Heiner).
Wollzeile, not far from St Stephen's (the newer branch in the Fleischmarkt is more of a patisserie);
A museum that is a tribute to the truly unique ecological, architectural and artistic work of 20th-century Austrian artist Hundertwasser. Set among a row of suburban Viennese houses, it defies straight lines with its uneven floors, trees growing from the floor and bold unmistakable mosaics. The museum showcases Hundertwasser's art and life. The cafe/restaurant serves lovely meals and cakes, wine and coffee and is set in an indoor and courtyard oasis.
Untere Weißgerberstraße, 13
Tel: 43 1 712 04 91
Wide variety of musical styles offered in this superbly renovated concert house with three halls. Appreciate the view of ornate ceiling from the balcony. Stay on for a meal after the concert – I recommend “Trios Grande” (four small dishes) having prefaced the concert with a glass or three of sekt and some pumpkin seed bread.
Vienna’s grand coffee houses do not just serve coffee and cake, they also offer a range of meals and drinks. Try Café Bellaria (adjacent to Dr Karl Renner Ring, near Rathaus (the town hall), which may well have a pianist playing. Friendly staff.
For something completely different try Café Hawelka, the traditional haunt of artists and writers. You may be served by old Mr Hawelka himself, or one of the family.
Dorotheergasse (off the Graben one minute from Stephansplatz)
What could be better than a beer clinic? This is a traditional Austrian tavern situated in the heart of Vienna. Try the dunkles (dark) beer for a change. Hearty Austrian food. Try the bauernschmaus if you are very hungry and like meat/sausage, it comes with a dumpling. Friendly staff and lots of interesting rooms.
tel: 533 75 98 12;
Take Tram D to Nusstodorf. Walk up across the hill to Kahlenberg through lanes fringed by vineyards and wine gardens, where people go in the autumn to drink the new wine. Once you enter the Vienna Woods, you will see violets, aconites and celandine among the trees if you go in the spring. It was at Kahlenberg that the Polish king John Sobieski said mass before leading his army down to defeat the Turks in 1683. Sit on the terrace of the hotel for coffee and strudel and look at the fantastic view of Vienna, the River Danube and the Danube Canal.
The Secession houses Klimt’s Beethoven Frieze and various paintings. It is a very beautiful building and the artwork is amazing.
Also in the area is the Naschmarkt, which is on all week, except Sundays, and sells everything form spices to clothes. I visit every time I go to Vienna, which is about 3 times a year. I bring back the best paprika outside Hungary and flower petal tea. It is very cheap and great quality.
Mon-Fri 6am-6.30pm, Sat 6am-5pm,
Food stalls: Mon-Sat 6am-1opm, farm produce market: Sat 6am-5pm
Secession Friedrichstraße 12, A-1010 Wien; U4, U2 Karlsplatz;
Naschmarkt is near The Secsseion you can see it form the entrance.
Fancy giving the Hapsburgs a bit of lip? Then, if your nerves are up to it, go to the creepiest crypt in Europe.
The Kapuzinergruft (Capuchins' Crypt) lies is in the depths of the Capuchins’ Church (also known as the Church of St Mary of the Angels) and contains the bodies of over 100 members of Austria’s former imperial family – the famously lippy and chinny Hapsburgs.
The administration of the building remains in the hands of the monks, so your visit gets off to a suitably spooky start as a heavily becowled figure emerges silently from behind a curtain to collect your entrance fee and, crooking a bony finger, leads you down to the stygian gloom of the crypt itself (OK – I might have seen too much Scooby Doo in my youth).
And there the whole gang are. Not buried, you understand, but just lying about in their coffins. Sarcophagi are arranged in neat rows as if the Hapsburgs are saying “we may be dead and our empire may have crumbled to nothingness – but we’re not about to let our standards slip”.
The most elaborate tomb belongs to Emperor Franz Josef (the one with the unfeasibly large whiskers who reigned for ages and died in the middle of the first world war). He is flanked by his wife, the Empress ‘Sissi’ and his son Rudolf – tragic principal in the notorious Mayerling affair. Round the corner is Empress Maria Theresa to whom Haydn dedicated a symphony and her son Emperor Josef II – the so-called ‘enlightened despot’ – whose own contribution to Vienna’s musical life was to lambast Mozart for producing “too many notes”. “What a despot!” Mozart was heard to remark (or something very like that).
It is more than a little macabre but visit the Hapsburg stiffs in the Capuchins’ Crypt – where history comes, um, alive.
Neue Markt Square
A brilliant out-of-the way restaurant with cheap, huge plates of schnitzel. Much better than some of the tourist traps in the centre of town.
Neubaugassse, 52, 7th district; Volkstheater or Neubaugasse underground stop
The restaurant in the Museum fuer Angewandte Kunst (Museum for Applied Arts). It is run by Helmut Oesterreicher who for many years cooked in Austria's best and most expensive restaurant, the Steirereck. Here he has changed his style completely. He cooks excellent traditional Austrian and Viennese fare which everybody can afford. It's at Stubenring 5 - get the No1 or 2 tram.
Wombats operate two hostels - one in Munich, and the original in Vienna. The hostels in both cities are models of how hostels should be run, with a friendly atmosphere, spotless rooms, a free laundry and a bar. The free "welcome drink" at said bar is a nice touch too, even if it is just half a pint.
tel: +43 1 897 23 36
This is a Viennese boozer in the 7th district with some fine beers, particularly the popular Hanf (hemp!) beer. You can also get excellent and inexpensive local food here, such as Blunzengröstl (large dollop of blood sausage with fried potatoes and onions).
Siebensterngasse, next to the British Council in the 7th district
Really great bar in the 1st district. It is a brewery that serves its own delicious beers (wheat beers are very good) at very reasonable prices. Has a good mix of locals and foreigners, although it does have a bit of an Anglo feel to it as you can order in English, but sometimes that's a good thing. Nice cheap food too (6- 10 euros for a substantial meal) - far superior to the average crap served in UK pubs or the overpriced gastro fare. I'd be doing the place a disservice by not mentioning how gorgeous the barmaids are too.
1st district, Krugerstrasse 18 / Schwarzenbergstrasse 2
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