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Its time to look at the Best of Vienna 2017, as the new year is lurking just on the horizon. These are the brunches, restaurants and experiences that I enjoyed most in Vienna over the year – not necessarily that they are brand new to the city this year. I’d like to think I know all there is to know about Vienna, but this year proved again that Vienna is full of wonderful secrets to enjoy.
As always, this selection is based purely on my opinion and experiences, so I’d love to hear in the comments what you enjoyed as the Best of Vienna for 2017. Let’s get into it!
Best New Brunch Vienna
The outdoor terrace, the cute cosy decor, the eggs benny on the menu, there’s a lot of reasons Cafe Telegraph stole my heart this year. But let’s be real, they sealed it with this beauty:
Yes, that is an avo-burger. You know I can’t resist avo on toast but these guys have taken avocado appreciation above and beyond. It’s the burger we definitely don’t need, but I love these guys for embracing their avo love as fiercely and ridiculously as I do. I don’t even know how you’d eat this but that is clearly irrelevant!
Cafe Telegraph has a fab location in the 9th district, one of the best brunch menus in town and a very lively atmosphere. Definitely my favourite find of 2017 – and if you want to visit for brunch I definitely recommend you book in advance as it is a certified hotspot.
Runner Up: Salonplafond.
Super cool Nordic vibe and really delicious organic, locally sourced meals. I’ve stopped by for coffee and nibbled a few brunch items here, but am very much looking forward to making this a regular brunch spot in 2018 because it is a delightful atmosphere in a very convenient location in the heart of the city.
Best Wine Bar Vienna
Although I can never pronounce the name of this kitschy-cool wine bar correctly, I absolutely love the place. If I’m honest it’s one of my favourite wine bars the last few years running. I love the location, the outdoor terrace in summer, the hipster Pac-Man decor and fresh white room, the local wines that don’t leave you with a bangin’ hangover and of course, there’s this:
That is the best damn meat and cheese platter you ever did see. Zum Gschupften Ferdl serves up local, organic bio produce and pitch themselves as an ‘urban heuringer’ – I just call it my favourite wine bar in the city. Absolutely the best wine bar of 2017 and probably the one we’ve frequented most often.
Runner Up: Palais Coburg Wine cellars
At the opposite end of the spectrum, I discovered the hugely varied, diverse and frankly, posh wine cellars in Palais Coburg this year after taking a tour of the hotel. They have more wine collected than you could ever hope to get through, but my god the setting is breathtaking. There’s 6 different cellars and wine tours run regularly, so I have a full cellar tour and tasting on my list of things to do for 2018!
Best Cocktail Bar Vienna
Miranda Bar is our staple cocktail bar to stop by on a Friday summer night after work, and accidentally not leave until the wee hours. It’s not as fancy as The Sign Lounge (which is great for special occasions but pretty swanky). I prefer Miranda Bar for taking friends who are only in the city for a weekend and want a taste of ‘real’ local living. The cocktail menu is always being shaken up (puns always intended) in line with the season and the service is relatively friendly for Vienna.
You can find cheaper cocktails, and maybe even fancier served ones, but Miranda Bar is my pick for 2017 for the comfortable, fun atmosphere and their terrace in the summer months that we most definitely inhabited regularly!
Runner Up: Lamee Rooftop
This one is great for girly drinks with a view. I’ve perched a few summer nights up here, chatting away with friends feeling more glamorous than I actually am because of the location, view and relative affordability of the drinks considering where you are. (Proof I take everyone here in this fun YouTube clip!)
Lamee looks right over St Stephens Cathedral and has bright, colourful decor and coloured pillows to lean back on. I love bringing friends here to ogle the view and enjoy the sunset candy colours over Vienna.
Best Burger Vienna
You would have to be living under a rock not to have heard of Le Burger restaurants, the Austrian homegrown burger chain that drove out McDonald’s on the main shopping drag of Mariahilferstrasse. In my opinion, you can’t go past a decent, cheery and affordable locals favourite like Le Burger. Their sweet potato fries are unbelievably good.
The kicker for me here are their ‘low carb’ burgers that come with lettuce wrapping instead of burger buns (yes, I get teased every time I order it that way, but dammit it tastes good!). My go-to burger is the low carb Mediterranean and it is honestly one of my favourite indulgence meals of the year. This is the kind of restaurant you can bring your folks, have a cheap date night or meet up with friends before a film. And it is always busy!
Runner Up: It’s all about the Meat Baby
Open only in the summer months by the Donaukanal, I loved this spot for post Spritzer dinner by the water. They have gigantic, fresh and dripping burgers, with some excellent craft beers on tap too. Definitely a favourite for the summer fun days!
Best Austrian Restaurant Vienna
Like most of the delicious places in Vienna, you would never notice this little Beisl as any different from the outside, but holy moly their meals are some of the best in the city and priced much more affordably than other ‘big name’ Austrian restaurants.
They do the hearty Viennese Tafelspitz, Schnitzel, Beuschel, huge dumplings and really good soups too. Basically if you want the best authentic Viennese cuisine in a beautifully restored and maintained 1800’s-style pub, this is where you should go. The old wooden bar looks untouched since the place opened 100-off years ago. Anthony Bourdain also anointed Wratschko’s as a must-eat in the city, as I found out after visiting, and who am I to argue with him? Go here instead of Plachutta’s, it’s much more accessible and the food is equally good, if not better!
Runner Up: Zum Blauen Esel
Ok by now long term readers will know this is our local, right near Schönbrunn Palace, that serves up insanely good schnitzel, cheese boards, wine and Kaiserschmarrn among its rotating seasonal menus. This year I’m including it in the best of because they appointed a new chef and it’s taken things up a notch. So come here for the host, the atmosphere and the food – we’ll probably see you there.
Best Luxury Hotels Vienna
Thanks to some exciting freelance work with Forbes Travel this year, I was able to nosy about some of Vienna’s fanciest luxury hotels to review. I’ll be sharing more in-depth reviews of each for you guys in the New Year buuuut if you’re nosy I’m happy to report the best luxury hotel in Vienna for 2017 is
It’s really the attention to detail at the Ritz Carlton that sets it apart. Supporting local cake-pop businesses at reception, making families welcome in their lounge areas, and running one of the best rooftop cocktail bars and in house steak restaurants in the city.
They make all of these features accessible to guests and locals alike, and although it is a beautifully restored palais and 5 star hotel, you don’t ever feel too overwhelmed to enter – they strike the right balance of luxury rooms and service, with friendliness. It’s an accessibly luxurious hotel in the heart of Vienna that deserves the Best of Vienna 2017 spot.
Runner Up: The Grand Hotel Wien
They have 5 (!!) in house restaurants and the best Gugelhopf cake in the city, not to mention a glorious location on the Ringstrasse with exits into Ringstrasse Galerien stores. If you want beautiful old-world style and luxury, the Grand Hotel rooms keep the historic Imperial air, but have updated the decor and colour schemes with tasteful modern design. A super friendly option with intriguing meal options.
Best Adventure Activity Vienna
I was terrified to try this in the summer, there’s just a cable lift going in a loop along the Donaukanal and you grab on with a wakeboard strapped to your feet. Basically unless you are a pro it’s bonkers.
It’s tough, but I’m so glad I persisted in trying, even if I only stood up a few times, it was so much fun! I kind of love that Vienna has this outdoorsy, adventure vibe to it, only a little way outside of the city centre. But I think I’ll stick to Paddleboarding for now!
Runner Up: Ice Skating on Neusiedlersee.
We were lucky enough to have a cold winter where the lakes and canals of Vienna froze over enough to skate on. I wrote about my fear in skating on open ice here, so had to mention it as one of the most adventurous activities in Vienna for the year, even if it was only fleeting! I’ll never forget skating along the Alte Donau where we normally swim in summer, unbelievable. Definitely one of my best of Vienna 2017 experiences!
Best City Tour Vienna
I’ve been raving about these tours for 12 months now, since I first experienced them in January. In fact, I found them so informative for locals and travellers alike, that we’ve taken them again and still got a lot out of it. If you haven’t taken a tour already, you should definitely book one, it’s an eye opening experience in understanding homelessness and how you can help.
Plus, by taking the Shades Tour you are supporting a local social enterprise startup AND helping the guides work they way back into employment. A really rewarding experience all round.
Runner Up: Instant Tours Wien
A fun and creative way to see the city, while enjoying the retro flair of using just a Polaroid camera to capture the memories. I loved my Instant Tour of the creative districts of Vienna, and can especially recommend on a sunny day to make the most of the city.
So there you have it, my wrap up of the best of Vienna in 2017, and a few places I’ll be exploring next year. Can’t wait to find more hidden gems and explore the city further, I’m convinced every district has it’s treasures and I’m determined to find them.
What are some of your best finds of 2017? Let us know in the comments!
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