New Openings 2014 - Eat, drink, and be merry
The 2014 was certainly a significant year for Vienna’s dining scene. There are progressively more restaurants debuting this year that have innovative approach to cooking and a good eye for styling. Dining out is hardly ever just about the food. The setting, socializing and the mood are equally important. A meal will taste better when paired with a sophisticated design and the right atmosphere. Thus, I am very pleased to share with you my personal favourites list.
Newcomer of Latin American cuisine that has opened in place of the former restaurant Indochina 21. It flaunts delicious food, great wine list and flamboyant interior. Their portions might appear rather small, but the cook’s approach to cooking and serving is totally worth a bite. Menu is fine and well balanced: choose between fish, meat and poultry or various vegetarian options. They proffer so-called packages – the choice of few cold starters, main dishes and desserts – which is a good way to try out what a restaurant has to offer. A broad wine list and good choice of beer, whilst the cocktails menu is a feast for the eyes. There is also a stylish cigar lounge downstairs with raw brick walls, comfortable retro armchairs, 60s tables and lamps.
Open Monday – Friday: 12 p.m. – 11 p.m., Saturday: 17 p.m. – 11 p.m. Nearest underground stop: Stubentor U3
LE'O Restaurant & Bar
© Le'o Restaurant & Bar
A family enterprise of Levon Merkurov and Ovanes Pogosyan was the most announced opening of the year. The interior with dressed stone tables, elegant armchairs, alluring lighting, fresh flowers and Art Deco elements is truely remarkable. Their modern European cuisine is just a dream. My favourites are delicious bruschetta set, monkfish Carpaccio, original salads, incredible pumpkin soup, appetizing truffle pasta, tasty steaks - all beautifully served. The limited wine list (only four choices of red) is totally compensated by mouthwatering desserts; especially tiramisu and banana tart. An amazing food, welcoming staff, a deluxe ambience and soft tunes played by the resident DJ are all what you might need for a wonderful evening. The space is rather small, so bookings are highly recommended.
Open Tuesday - Thursday: 12 p.m. – 12 a.m., Friday - Saturday: 12 p.m. – 2 a.m., Sunday: 12 p.m. – 12 a.m. Nearest underground stop: Shottenring U4
The newest project of the Sushi Academy, run by a lovely couple: Wolfgang (the chef and Asian food expert) and Ryok Krivanec, is located around Karmelitamarkt. It offers business lunch, dinner and catering bringing the real taste of Asia to Vienna. The design of the place is neat and modern. It has a fine wine-list with convincing positions, as well as Asian, international and the local beer such as the famous draught from Lower Austria - Weitra. But it’s the food you have to come here for! There is fresh delicious sushi and sashimi, sensational ramen, incredible Donburi, which by the way you don’t find often in Vienna; but also all kinds of meat, fish and vegetables prepared on the wooden stove grill after Japanese Robatayaki tradition (literally "fireside-cooking”). This place is totally worth a visit as it proposes a marvelous combination of freshly made high-quality food, laid back ambiance and very friendly staff.
Open Tuesday – Saturday: 12-15p.m. and 18-22 p.m. Nearest underground stop: Taborstrasse U2
This new hot spot of Vienna is a fine addition to the Spittelberg district. The fine dining, weekly lunch menu, a café, a bar and a patisserie - this voguish establishment has it all! Good to see that casual fine dining has finally made it to Vienna. It seems like the chef knows a magic trick turning simple ingredients (only organic regional produce) into culinary masterpieces. It is a very memorable dinner experience - welcome snack to start with, then the choice between a set menu and a la carte - I won’t disclose the servings – I will let it be a pleasant surprise. Nice background lounge music, great décor softened by many natural wood pieces and scandi chairs, attentive classy waiters, delicious meals and great wine list are their claim to fame. Well, on the other hand fame is their second name since Lenny Kravitz himself was spotted helping out in the kitchen not long ago. The portions are small and that's fine as they leave plenty of room for desserts, which are, trust me, something to write home about. Hanging out at the bar for a pre- or after-meal drink is indubitably worthwhile. It is top quality food with a little extra thrill. Plus you never know who you might run into here. The café-pâtisserie offers small bites, freshly baked breads (also from sour dough!!!) on top of hand-made pralines and chocolates.
Open Restaurant: Mo – Sa: 11-2 a.m., Sunday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m., kitchen till 4 p.m. Café-Pâtisserie: Mo - Fr: 9 a.m. - 11 p.m., Sa - Su: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Nearest underground stop: Volktheater U3, Museumsquartier U2
The Room – Sofiensäle
© The Room at Sofiensäule
Lately Vienna boasts a great restaurant scene, but the Room manages to pull off the impossible. It combines delicious food (fusion of Austrian cuisine, indisputable international classics and well-chosen seasonal highlights) served in impressive ways with extremely friendly service, yet chilled atmosphere of let's-hang-out-with-friends-and-have-fun. The bar in the middle of the restaurant, apart from being a total eye-catcher, fulfills its purpose – creates an inviting place to sip a cocktail and enjoy the finest music. The high quality menu is well differentiated, includes many vegetarian options and is fair priced. The Room design is quite a special mixture of timeless Sofiensäle architecture and contemporary pieces. Comfortable niches (great for the groups) are aligned along the bar and there are more seatings at the back. Beautiful Morocco tiles stand out and the dimmed lights create a perfect ambience. Another advantage - it is opened daily, from the early morning till late at night.
Open Monday: 8-12 a.m., Tues - Thurs: 8-2 a.m., Fri - Sat: 8-4 a.m., Sun: 8-12 a.m.
Nearest underground stop: Landstrasse U3/U4, S-Bahn "Wien Mitte"
© Das Kolin
Das Kolin is a modern restaurant a stone's throw away from Votivkirche with inviting atmosphere and attentive service. The whole place is about balance starting with a space arrangement: it is divided into the cozy café, trendy restaurant and the cool bar; to well picked menu, including amazing seasonal offer and the great bar list with large choice of beer, cocktails and spirits. The choice of fish and vegetarian dishes does not omit burgers and steaks to stay in line with the latest city hype. Fast and competent stuff, fresh and tasty food as well as chic interior are all contributing to comfortable feel. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, so come and check for yourself, especially now with cheese fondue on the offer which is the best remedy against the gloomy days, coupled with a glass of fine red, of course.
Open Mon - Thurs: 11-12 a.m., Fri: 11-2 a.m., Sat: 4 p.m. - 2 a.m. Nearest underground stop: Schottentor U2