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Tastes of Vienna: Delighting in life with all five senses

People at a Heurigen Tavern, sitting at tables
People at a Heurigen Tavern

Viennese cuisine  is the only one in the world named after a city. Vienna is also the only metropolis worldwide that has a substantial amount of viniculture within the city limits.

And the Vienna coffeehouse is known the world over as an oasis of that special warmth and congeniality known as gemütlichkeit. A third institution is the typical Viennese bistro known as a beisl. It is no wonder that the beisl, the heuriger and the coffeehouse are the three pillars of Vienna’s culture of enjoyment in all its attractive diversity.

Viennese gemütlichkeit

The Viennese like things gemütlich, that is simple and cozy. The Vienna beisl is just that. These bistros are known for always serving tasty down-to-earth fare – from schnitzel and goulash to pan-fried liver and pancake desserts like kaiserschmarren. This reliability has led to a renaissance in beisl culture. It is flourishing in establishments such as Ubl, Gasthaus Wolf or Glacis Beisl  as well as the much-cited Wirt am Eck.

Incidentally, at those beisls and elsewhere, people enjoy the good wines coming from the 700 ha of vineyards in Vienna. Top gourmet temples have also long been fans of Rieslings and Weissburgunders from Vienna. And of a specialty called Vienna Gemischter Satz. For this type of wine, which recently received a DAC quality mark, the grapes of at least three white wine varieties are planted together and pressed together. Visitors to typical heurige wine taverns enjoy the new and the old Viennese wines along with hearty dishes from the buffet. There are dozens of these cozy and romantic taverns on the edge of Vienna in wine villages like Grinzing and Nussdorf.

The Viennese coffeehouse culture

Viennese coffeehouses have always been considered an oasis of that brand of cozy congeniality known as gemütlichkeit. And since 2011 the traditional Vienna coffeehouse culture has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Traditional cafés like Central, Landtmann, Museum or Demel entice visitors with coffee in a variety of guises, international newspapers, and an array of delicious pastries. Modern versions of this genre like Leopold or Balthasar make the tradition all the richer with their stylish flair. A close relative of the café is the pastry shop. Their mainstays, tortes and cakes, ensure a sweet time Vienna style enjoying Bundt cakes, Sachertorte & Co. Recently, chocolatiers have also entered the scene, offering sweet temptations such as Xocolat, Fruth and Blossoms for Nibbling.



Gourmet restaurants in Vienna

Vienna has its gourmet temples on one end of the enjoyment spectrum – for instance, Silvio Nickol Gourmet Restaurant, Konstantin Filippou or the Steirereck in Stadtpark, ranked No. 17 on the “World's 50 Best”. On the other end of the spectrum is ... fast food! But with a special Viennese touch: A stop at a sausage stand is considered a fashionable thing to do, especially after a fancy dress ball, sometimes also following a concert or opera.

The city has an abundance of tasty experiences in store for visitors, from down-to-earth to organic or ethnic. They are often combined ideally with a surprising ambiance.

No matter whether you're dining with a view in "Das Loft" restaurant in the Jean Novel Tower on the Danube Canal or have a drink at the American Bar, whose interior is the work of the innovative architect Adolf Loos. No matter what you choose, you will soon see that visual and taste experiences go hand in hand.

Outdoor markets in Vienna

In Vienna, every market has delights to offer. But several areas entice gourmets with enormous variety in a compact space. For instance, the Naschmarkt. This is probably the most fascinating of the Viennese markets, offering exotic products from around the globe as well as a myriad of trendy eating establishments right in the market and the streets surrounding it – from ON Market to Amacord. Brunnenmarkt and Yppenmarkt also have popular restaurants like Wetter and An-Do while the Marktlücke  and Pizza Mari are definite talking points just around the corner from the Karmelitermarkt. Three other neighborhoods of culinary interest are Spittelberg, Margaretenplatz and the Freihausviertel.

A host of special culinary events – from the Vienna Culinary Festival in Stadtpark to the Vienna Wine Hiking Day and the Escargot Festival add further sensual facets to the rounds of delicacies.