Best Spot for a Romantic Dinner
The Sacher Hotel Restaurant, in the Hotel Sacher Wien (tel. 01/514560), is a showcase for imperial Vienna. Franz Joseph's favorite dish was tafelspitz, a delectable boiled beef dinner that's still served here, along with various Viennese and international dishes. And, the fabled Sachertorte was invented here.
Best Spot for a Celebration
When you want to take your significant other or a group of friends to a special place, Altwienerhof (tel. 01/8926000), serving Austrian and French cuisine, is a discriminating choice. A private home in the 1870s, it's now one of the city's premier restaurants. Of course, if it's a real celebration, you'll order champagne, but if not, you can choose something from its wine cellar, one of Vienna's largest.
Best Cafe Dining
Installed in the old glassed-in palm garden of Kaiser Franz Josef's palace, Palmenhaus (tel. 01/5331033) has been restored to its original splendor. The hottest cafe restaurant in Vienna, it features well-honed Austrian cuisine.
At Steirereck (tel. 01/7133168), which means "corner of Styria," the decor is pristine and pure, with original beams and archways transplanted from an old Styrian castle. Murals also add to the elegant ambience, but the food is what brings most guests here.
Best Wine List
There are far more elegant restaurants in Vienna and far better places serving haute cuisine, but the wine list at Weibels Wirtshaus (tel. 01/5123986) is definitely for the connoisseur. Discerning Austrians flock here for the simple but tasty food and a wine list that includes some 250 varieties. All the vintages are Austrian.
Most Stylish Restaurant
Bankers, diplomats, and Helmut Lang-clad hipsters agree on only one thing: Mörwald im Ambassador (tel. 01/961610) is the most fashionable joint in town. Noted for its first-rate Viennese cuisine, it virtually celebrates food itself. All the specialties are perfectly prepared and imaginative. Look your best if you show up at this stylish enclave of fine dining.
Best for Kids
Gulaschmuseum (tel. 01/5121017) will make a goulash lover out of the most stubborn of kids. Inspired by Hungary, the kitchen prepares some 15 varieties of this world-famous dish.
Best Viennese Cuisine
There is no more traditional place to dine in all of Vienna than the Wiener Rathauskeller (tel. 01/405-1210), a cellar-level restaurant in Vienna's Town Hall. Partake of authentic cuisine in atmospheric rooms, and dine in a style similar to that which Mozart enjoyed. Live musicians entertain as you sample your Wiener schnitzel.
Best Hungarian Cuisine: If you can't visit neighboring Budapest, you can get a taste of Hungarian fare at Kardos (tel. 01/5126949). Try all the Gypsy schmaltz favorites, including Lake Balaton-style fish soup.
The freshest seafood in Vienna -- flown in from the North Sea or the Bosphorus -- is available in the center of town at the Kervansaray und Hummer Bar (tel. 01/5128843). Here, you'll find Vienna's finest lobster catch.
Sweet tooths flock to the legendary Café Demel (tel. 01/5351717), which took the Hotel Sacher to court over the recipe for the original Sachertorte. Demel also boasts Vienna's finest array of pastries and delectable desserts like gugelhupfs (cream-filled horns).
Best Afternoon Tea
Situated across from the Hofburg, the grand Café Central (tel. 01/5333764) is an ideal location for a spot of tea. The decor evokes the rich trappings of late imperial Vienna. You'll find a wide selection of tea (and coffee), as well as a rich variety of pastries and desserts.
In a style that would have impressed Maria Theresa herself, Café Imperial, in the Hotel Imperial (tel. 01/50110389), prepares an outstanding breakfast buffet on Sundays beginning at 7am.
Best Music Feast
To a true Viennese, a meal is not a meal without music. At Wiener Rathauskeller, in City Hall (tel. 01/405-1210), you'll enjoy all the schnitzel and sauerkraut you can eat while listening to musicians ramble through the world of operetta, waltz, and schrammel.
Best Picnic Fare
Head for the Naschmarkt, the open-air food market that's a 5-minute stroll from the Karlsplatz. Here you can gather all the ingredients for a spectacular picnic and then enjoy it at the Stadtpark, the Volksgarten, or even in the Vienna Woods.
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