So much more than schnitzel: Food and drink in Vienna

Welcome to Vienna! From traditional Viennese delicacies to international flavors, the Austrian capital beckons with a culinary journey worthy of exploration. To enhance your ECR 2024 experience, we've curated a list of our favorite food spots in town.

To schnitzel or not to schnitzel

One might say a trip to Vienna would not be complete without savoring a Viennese schnitzel. The tender and flavorful cut of meat, known for its uniquely crispy and flavorful breading, is traditionally made from veal. It is a quintessential Austrian dish that embodies the essence of comfort and indulgence.

Figlmüller is a historic restaurant, famous for its large and crispy schnitzel. The cozy yet upscale establishment is located in the heart of Vienna and reservations are recommended. On the eve of this year's congress, long queues of eager diners lined up outside by 6.30 pm.

Tucked away in a quiet corner of Vienna's city center is Gasthaus Pöschl, which is popular among locals and known for its hearty schnitzel and traditional Austrian dishes.

Plantain and injera

The city also offers an array of African culinary delights. While many countries in West Africa have their own variation of jollof rice, often accompanied by sweet fried plantains, the East introduces an equally enticing option: Ethiopian cuisine.

Chef Khalifa Dampha.Chef Khalifa Dampha.

Dampha Kitchen is known for its innovative fusion cuisine crafted by chef Khalifa Dampha. With roots in both Spain and Gambia, he seamlessly blends these culinary traditions with his experience from working in a Mexican restaurant. The result? A mouthwatering menu featuring dishes such as tacos, Gambian empanadas, fried plantains, and Gambian jollof rice. Catch this pop-up kitchen at Soulmate Cocktailbar (Siebensterngasse 60), Mondays to Saturdays from 6 to 11 pm, where fine dining meets the art of mixology.

A meal from Dampha Kitchen.A meal from Dampha Kitchen.

A cozy and vegan-friendly option is Café Lalibela at Schulgasse 7, an Ethiopian restaurant run by a friendly pan-African team. The cuisine is characterized by its unique flavors and communal dining experience. Grilled lamb and kitfo, a delicacy of minced raw beef in flavorful spiced clarified butter, are meat lovers' favorites. Vegans and vegetarians will love the beyaynetu, a colorful mixed platter of vegetables and legume stews served with injera, a spongy sourdough flatbread. The restaurant also serves homemade tej, a traditional honey wine. Pay with cash; reservations are only necessary for bigger groups.

Café culture and brunch

If there is one thing the Viennese love it is having a coffee at one of the many cafés in town. But what if you want to combine a coffee with a hearty plate of food or better yet, a Sunday brunch? We've got you covered....

Exuberantly furnished, Café Savoy is best known for being Vienna's oldest gay bar. The establishment, located at Linke Wienzeile 36, across the road from Naschmarkt, the lively food market, serves excellent Julius Meinl coffee and weekly food specials. Every first Sunday of the month you can brunch here from 10 am to 2 pm, early reservations are recommended at any brunch spot in town.

A lunch at Cafe Savoy.A lunch at Cafe Savoy.

Another popular spot is Café, Bistro, and Bar Adlerhof. With its high ceilings, common for historic Viennese buildings, and the green walls, this eatery exudes the ambiance of an indoor garden with a vintage flair. Offering a plethora of delicious brunch options, including homemade cakes displayed at the front, Adlerhof is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Grandma's pulled noodles or refreshing boba

With such a rich variety of Asian dining options in town, narrowing down just a couple of favorites proves challenging. Nevertheless, these two spots have captured our attention.

LaoLao, conveniently located on Vienna's famous shopping street near Westbahnhof (Mariahilfer Straße 126), is where modern interior design meets grandma's pulled noodles and new takes on traditional Chinese cooking. The restaurant has an upscale feel with a cozy vibe, and reservations are recommended if you want to be seated right away. Try the dumplings!

For those seeking a refreshing and fun beverage experience, look no further than Ichiban Tea, nestled in the heart of Vienna (Capistrangasse 3), you will find a delightful selection of bubble tea, also known as boba. Originating from Taiwan, boba combines a base tea with milk or fruit flavors, sweetened with sugar syrup, and topped with chewy tapioca pearls.

From Marrakesh to the Levant

In a city where elegant aesthetics meet the luxury of comfort wherever you go, our favorite North African and Middle Eastern spots in town are sure to impress.

An ambient highlight in the city is Aux Gazelles (Rahlgasse 5). The urban oasis offers a Moroccan spa experience, a candlelight dinner, or weekend brunch. Guests can indulge in a variety of mezze appetizers, sample the rich and hearty flavors of Moroccan stews, or savor the delicate sweetness of traditional pastries and desserts.

Elissar is arguably one of the best Middle Eastern spots in town (Johannesgasse 27). Showcasing a diverse selection of Lebanese dishes, ranging from traditional mezze platters to hearty main courses and delectable desserts the restaurant is known for leaving customers happy and their souls fed.

We hope to have added some flavor and spice to your ECR 2024 culinary experience.

For more coverage from ECR 2024, please visit our RADCast.

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