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A connoisseur of the good life shares insights on Vienna dining

View of Schönbrunn
View of Schönbrunn

Otto Wiesenthal, owner of Vienna's charming Hotel-Pension Altstadt, is a connoisseur of the good life and an expert witness on Vienna's restaurants, from the simplest Beisl to the fanciest Michelin-starred establishment. For his guests, he has published a booklet that lists his favorites in several categories. He has given us permission to pass on some of his capsule reviews.


A Tavola

The little sister of Cantinetta Antinori offers the homey comforts of a simple Italian Osteria. High standards with homemade pasta and great lamb dishes. Large selection of quality wines which are also offered by the glass.
Weihburggasse 3-5, tel. 512 79 55, fax 512 79 551

Il Mare

A firmly headed family endeavor with possibly the best wood oven pizzas of Vienna. Always booked solid and well attended by staff of the publishing houses in the surroundings. Plain ambiance with simple wooden tables. Grappa for real grown ups.
Zieglergasse 15, tel. 523 74 94


The forte of this small restaurant is the freshly prepared seafood in all variations. It is strongly advised to follow the recommendations of the waiters since some of the freshest fish is not even mentioned on the menu.
Marc Aurel-Strasse 8, tel. 535 6518


This Italian place in the beautifully renovated Palais Harrach has been offering consistently fine quality since its opening. In the summer, the outdoor seating area on the patio is one of the most gorgeous in the city. Beware of the charming escort.
Freyung 3/Palais Harrach, tel. 535 30 87


A mixture between Italian Osteria and restaurant with a stylish ambiance and a strict distinction between the types of cuisine, depending on the time of day. Pizzas and simple meals especially for lunch, sophisticated cuisine in the evening. Lots of candles.
Himmelpfortgasse 3, tel. 513 7913

Crêperie Brasserie Spittelberg

Located on the Spittelberg with a wonderful outdoor seating area, this place offers French specialities and especially a large selection of creative crêpes. Try the excellent moules mariniere in mussel season. Young clients.
Spittelberggasse 12, tel. 526 15 70.



Located on the Grinzing border in Armbrustergasse, this Heuriger offers space from 6 up to 20 guests. Lovingly decorated, a place with style and a gorgeous garden. The cuisine is distinctly different from the area's tourist Heurigen places. Beautiful people.
Armbrustergasse 5, tel. 37 22 11-0

Am Reisenbergweg

Once upon a time a dentist wanted to convert an old Heuriger into a villa, but he did not count on the strict rules. Now his son runs this Heurigen with the greatest view over Vienna. A place to hang out and dream - especially in the afternoon.
Oberer Reisenbergweg 15, tel. 320 93 93


Located in the center of Neustift am Walde, this large country house is a popular Heuriger for family parties and corporate events. Decorated in comfort and style. Large terraced garden. Excellent food.
Rathstrasse 54, tel. 440-3844.


This place offers the best bottled wine within Vienna's city limits. Fritz Wieninger is one of Austria's top young vintners. His mother and brother take care of this distinctive Heuriger in Stammersdorf. Try the souffles.
Stammersdorfer Strasse 78, tel. 292 4106.

Off The Beaten Path

Café Drechsler

After a night that did not want to end this coffee house opens its doors at 4am. A Wiener Schnitzel for breakfast and the newspaper fresh off the press may not be everybody's liking, but some just don't want to go home.
Linke Wienzeile 22, tel. 587 85 80.

Alt Wien

A heavy spot in the Bæckerstrasse close to the Bermuda Triangle. Meeting point of artists and the left half of Austrian politics. The proper place for the famous last glass after a long night in Vienna bars.
Bæckerstrasse 6, tel. 512 52 22

Gmoa Keller

Nothing has changed in this place since the 50s when it had its heydays. The same floor, the same tables, and the same hostesses; two unique characters who already kicked out a federal chancellor or two. Self-service.
Heumarkt 25, tel. 712 53 10

Ernas Abendland

A place without a menu, where actually most people are acquainted somehow, everybody talks to each other, most of the time someone sits at the piano and plays. A genuine spot for communication. The food is unspectacular but well prepared.
Gardegasse 2, tel. 526 96 78.


One of the oldest Yugoslav restaurants of Vienna, adjacent to Stadtpark. You really feel as if you were in another country, the authenticity is amazing. A favorite among American guests of the hotels close by.
Am Heumarkt 5, tel. 713 71 02.



You should not enter this place which is close to Naschmarkt before 8pm, by which time the musicians start their sobbing melodies. Typical cuisine with barbecue and caviar. The enchanted audience loves it.
Mühlgasse l/Schikanedergasse 7, tel. 587 74 44

Wiener Rathauskeller

Those who really believe they have to hear typical Viennese music and practice their waltzing, have found the perfect spot here in the cellar halls of the Rathauskeller. Cuisine is good standard. Parking is difficult because of the tour buses.
Rathausplatz l, tel. 40512 19-0.

Figlmüller - Grinzing

For several years the famous Vienna Schnitzel place has had a subsidiary in Grinzing. The first Grinzinger Heurigenshow performs here, with musicians and singers presenting a charming mix of typical Viennese songs and dances.
Grinzinger Strasse 55, tel. 320 42 57