As we were brought around Vienna by DH’s Viennese friend, we managed to try quite a few local delicacies, and they were all delicious. Possibly the most palatable meals I have had in my honeymoon. In Prague and Budapest, most of the places we have been were questionable, with a few good exceptions. But everything we had in Vienna was excellent.
Classic Viennese Breakfast
We were introduced to a typical Viennese breakfast in Café Mozart, a traditional Viennese coffee house near the Opera House. A typical Viennese breakfast usually consists a Semmel (bread roll with a crispy crust), butter, homemade jam, coffee, and a glass of orange juice. I don’t drink coffee, so I ordered a hot chocolate instead. It was a Mozart Schokolade (chocolate), which is hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and marshmallow, and drizzled with chocolate and pistachio sauce. Sounds extremely sinful, doesn’t it? There was a particular egg option in the menu which is “im Glas” (soft boiled eggs served in a glass), I was curious as to how it looked like, so I ordered it as well. Turns out it is just like the description. Soft boiled eggs served in a glass.
Vienna’s Iconic Dessert
At Café Mozart, I also managed to squeeze in some room for dessert, and I had Vienna’s most dessert, the Sachertorte, which is a really dense chocolate cake with an apricot jam filling and glazed with a chocolate fondant. It is traditionally served with unsweetened whipped cream at the side. And it tastes positively divine.
Best Street Food
And we were brought to Bitzinger, which is the most famous sausage stand in Vienna, and is conveniently located in between Albertina Museum and the Opera House. There was a long queue, but the queue is said to be always long, so there was a bit of wait though we were ravenous. But it was worth the wait. Crispy, juicy sausages stuffed with melted cheese which went perfectly with mustard. Käsekrainer is a traditional Austrian sausage and a perfect order if you love both cheese and sausages like me.
Traditional Austrian Cuisine in Local Restaurant
His friend also kindly helped her made a reservation at a beautiful local restaurant, Plachutta, and recommended us to order tafelspitz. Tafelspitz is beef simmered in clear savoury vegetable broth, served with a side of roasted potatoes, creamed spinach and two sauces, a sweet and spicy apple-horseradish sauce and a rich egg and mustard white sauce respectively.
The restaurant actually has a menu guide instructing people on how to eat tafelspitz. First, you drink the soup that the beef has been boiled in, then you spread the bone marrow on the toasted rye bread, and finally you eat the beef served with the sides.
Boiled beef probably doesn’t sound like the most appetizing meal, but it was phenomenal, the best meal we had in Vienna. I would definitely love to have tafelspitz again. The beef was soft and fully absorbed the flavours of the broth, and the bone marrow spread triumphs any butter, cheese, jam, or even Nutella spread I have ever had.
Dining in a Countryside Tavern (Heuriger)
A heuriger is an Austrian wine tavern with homemade food and wine which is only open for a few months during the growing seasons. And the best place to enjoy it would be in the country. We were brought to Heuriger Sirbu, and the view was fantastic, with the Viennese vineyards all around us. I think I was too hungry though, somehow I forgot to take a photo of the tavern. But I did take photos of the surrounding countryside.
The food may look simple, but they were pretty delicious, especially the crispy pork knuckle, you can hear the crunch as you bite it. I was also taught to drink like the locals do, a spritzer, which a mix of soda water and wine.
Lastly, I have to make a special mention to Vienna rye bread, they are dense and moist with just the right amount of crisp at the sides, and a tinge of sourdough tang that makes them so different from usual bread. It was my first time trying rye bread, and I fell in love with it instantly, and was very happy rye bread was a pleasant accompaniment that in most of my meals there.