With Vienna’s intriguing mix of historic and contemporary permeating all aspects of the city, and traditional cuisine influenced by countries such as Turkey and Italy, it’s not surprising there are many special restaurants to be found in the city. Culture Trip caught up with Michelin-star Greek-Austrian chef Konstantin Filippou to find out his favourite places to eat in Vienna.
The Viennese restaurant scene has become increasingly inventive in recent years. Although there are still numerous traditional Austrian places to eat, like a Gasthaus (inn), the city is also embracing international cuisine and modern takes on dining. As chef Filippou explains, “Tradition in Vienna is not only about looks,” he said. “It’s about food, recipes, keeping up with the past, but also bringing it into the future.” From cosy bistros to his favourite place for fish, these are the best restaurants in Vienna according to Filippou.
Located in Vienna’s historic First District, Konstantin Filippou combines fresh, locally sourced ingredients with inventive flavours and recipes inspired by both his Mediterranean heritage and Austrian childhood. Filippou sources the majority of his ingredients from within Austria, including porcini mushrooms from Vienna’s Wienerwald (Vienna Woods) and fish from Attersee in Upper Austria. Both freshwater fish and seafood feature heavily on the menu, the latter delivered fresh by a trusted Croatian supplier. The two-Michelin-star restaurant creates a high-end dining experience with a relaxed modern vibe. Filippou says: “My restaurant is unique because it reflects my personal history, the influences from my childhood both in Austria and Greece.” His signature dish is a variation on a tarama, a Greek meze dish, created from salted Austrian carp, served with char caviar.
If you love wine, this is the Vienna restaurant for you. There is a bewildering variety of red, white, orange, sparkling, sweet and fortified varieties to try at the Heunisch & Erben restaurant. A small but well-chosen menu ranges from pumpkin and butternut squash curry to the classic wiener schnitzel, all of which can be expertly paired with a wine by the restaurant’s knowledgeable staff. A four-course evening meal in the high-ceilinged yet cosy restaurant is a real treat. Filippou says: “I come here for great food and natural wines.” Located in the Third District, it’s ideally situated for tourists hungry after a visit to the nearby Hundertwasser House or Stadtpark.
Zum Schwarzen Kameel restaurant, in Vienna’s historic city centre, has been running for hundreds of years. In 1618, Johan Baptist Cameel acquired the building to sell varieties of spice and gave it its current name, translated means ‘to the black camel’. Since then, guests such as Ludwig van Beethoven have graced its doors, and the building has been rebuilt in Art Nouveau style. It became a restaurant in the late-19th century, and is now also a bar and deli, and popular with diners for the excellent Viennese cuisine and opulent interiors. Zum Schwarzen Kameel is an ideal place to visit no matter your hunger levels, as it is possible to buy snacks and food from the deli or have a sit-down meal in the restaurant. Filippou assures us it is “the classic Viennese restaurant” and a great place to try traditional Viennese cuisine such as tafelspitz (boiled beef), wiener schnitzel or apricot pancakes.
Filippou describes Grace Restaurant as a “creative, cosy spot.” This high-end restaurant in the Fourth District charges up to €89 (£77) for an eight-course tasting menu, with a further €57 (£49) for wine pairings, while a more affordable four-course menu is also available. A former café, Grace Restaurant features pretty, modern interiors and a quiet secluded terrace. Historic features include original wood panelling and tiled floors. Dishes include starters of pumpkin, halloumi, linseed and lovage, main courses of duck, salsify, beans and onions, and apricot pancakes with verbena for dessert. This would be an ideal place to take a partner for a special occasion.
Cocktails and modern interpretations of Austrian cuisine feature at this hip restaurant in Vienna’s fashionable Sixth District. The restaurant, which is run by two friends, is decorated with a wall of mason jars brimming with in-house fermented vegetables and infused spirits. Stunning cocktails and small dishes such as trout, pork belly or beef tacos are created using interesting flavours and techniques to impress diners. There is an outdoor dining area for summer months where guests can enjoy their meal al fresco. Filippou describes Bruder as “creative food with cocktail pairings.”
A fine-dining restaurant with tasting menus at either €95 (£82) or €110 (£95), Pramer and the Wolf takes you on a surprising journey of small dishes, as diners are treated to a tasting menu based on the best seasonal produce available on the day. The creative dishes cooked by chef Wolfgang Zankl are inspired by stints in English and Danish kitchens, and previous menus have included ingredients such as oysters, turbot and caviar. This small restaurant in the Ninth District is unassuming from the outside, but inside the food is outstanding. Filippou says: “This is the new fine dining in Vienna.”
It is not to everyone’s taste, but if you like offal, this is the place to come. This Fourth District traditional Gasthaus features delicious Viennese food as well as fashionable ‘nose-to-tail’ eating at reasonable prices. It also has a good selection of beers and wines. Filippou says: “I like the traditional atmosphere, and the use of innards.” As in most Viennese Gasthäuser, the atmosphere is charming and old-fashioned.
This reasonably priced, traditional Austrian restaurant in the Seventh District is “the best Gasthaus in town,” according to Filippou. This family-run business wins plaudits for its freshly prepared Austrian cuisine made with local ingredients, ranging from offal dishes to goulash and wiener schnitzel. Vegetarians are also catered for with eiernockerln (egg dumplings) and krautfleckerl (cabbage pasta). They serve beer from Carinthia in Austria and the Czech Republic but also have a selection of 200 red and white wines to choose from.
This unpretentious restaurant in the Eighth District serves quite simply the “best fish in town,” says Filippou. As the name, which means ‘goldfish’, suggests, this is a restaurant that celebrates all things fishy. Options range from oysters and champagne to trout caught in nearby Austrian lakes. The simple yet elegant restaurant, which is also a fish shop, is situated on Lerchenfelder Straße, close to the MuseumsQuartier and Vienna’s Rathaus, but slightly off the radar for tourists. Booking ahead is advised, as this intimate venue is often packed out. The daily lunch menu costs €13.80 (£12), whereas menu options range from dishes such as fish soup at €18 (£15.50) to organic char with pumpkin and chanterelle mushrooms for €26 (£22).
Fashionable Skopik und Lohn is a “great brasserie,” says Filippou. The fun, buzzy restaurant located in the former Jewish quarter of Vienna’s Second District, looks like a traditional Viennese café from the outside, but inside, the ceiling is covered with thick squiggly black lines by artist Otto Zitko. The food is Viennese, French and Italian and attracts a young fashionable crowd. Mains range in price from €14 (£12) for an onion tart to €29 (£25) for a filet or rib eye steak.
This ultra-fashionable venue, described as a “deli, design shop and café” by Filippou, is centrally located in the First District of Vienna. Marco Simonis Bastei 10 is a great place in the city centre to grab a reasonably priced breakfast or an elegant lunch dish such as vitello tonnato. The interior is sleek and Scandinavian-inspired. Breakfast is served daily, with a choice of dishes such as shakshuka (eggs cooked in a pepper, onion and tomato stew with feta) or home-made granola. Pastries and cakes are made in-house, as are smoothies and chutneys. There is a choice of two hot meals for lunch. Sandwiches include fillings such as pumpkin and goats cheese or truffled ham and eggs. It is also possible to buy olive oils, wines and other deli items to take away. In the back is a studio selling special design and decorative objects from all over the world.