Tag Archives: mediterrannean food

Child-Friendly Restaurants

Q. Have you found any good restaurants that you feel comfortable taking kids to? (Posted 11/26/2012)

A. Yamm!, right by Schottentor UBahn, has a small indoor playground! It’s not big, but it’ll buy you 20-30 minutes to eat. Not open on the weekends, for some reason.

A. Fischer Brau on Billrothstrasse in the 19th.

A. We like Figls (they have a kids menu) and Feurwehr Wagner (nothing for kids in winter –playground in summer– but are often empty enough for them to run around). We went to Bamkraxler this weekend in Nussdorf (there’s a playground and small tables for the kids) – not the best ambience for adults but fun for kids. (Read our review of Bamkraxler here.) We also like Agnes Brunnl in the woods too – they are on a playground/sledding hill in winter.

A.  Our favorites that have high chairs include Bieramt (1030), Blaustern (1090, bordering 19th), Yamm! (1010), Pasta e Basta (1010), Orlando di Castillo (great for breakfast, 1010) and Vapiano (which I realize we have in DC, but it is still a good kid friendly place ).

Rathaus Film Festival

One of the highlights of our past two summers in Vienna has been the music film festival. A large screen is placed in front of the Rathaus, and hundreds of chairs and bleachers are put out so people can enjoy the music films that are projected onto the screen. The music films are shown nightly at sundown, and range from classic operas and ballet performances to modern jazz and rock & roll.

Get your free musical performances here!

Get your free musical performances here!

About 20 food stands are set up along the path leading from the ring road to the front of the Rathaus, representing culinary delights from both Austria and as far afield as Australia. Each booth also offers a couple signature cocktails, and the Ottakringer Brewery has a stand offering an amazing variety of brews. There are also a couple ice cream and coffee trucks interspersed with the food stands. The “culinary strasse” is open from 11:00 a.m. to midnight.

Food stands and seating

Food stands and seating

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

  • Visit the event’s website (German)
  • Visit the Vienna tourism board’s website (English)

 

Review: Restaurant Noir

Imagine impenetrable darkness. Have you ever done a tour of a cave where they turned off all the lights and it was so dark that it did not matter if your eyes were opened or closed? That kind of darkness. How would you feel about eating a five-course meal in such darkness, pouring your own beverages and feeding yourself soup? In my case, it was the most fun I’ve had in awhile.

Our friends from the States are visiting for a week and we made reservations at Restaurant Noir, located at Neubaugasse 8 in the 7th district (close to the aquarium).  The restaurant does themed dinners and last night’s theme was stories from the “1001 Arabian Nights.” When we arrived we were seated in a (lit) lounge, offered some “Oriental” tea, and given the menu so we could choose our “menu” (in the Austrian, “set meal” sense of the word).

We were not choosing what we were eating, mind you. There were five options: vegetarian, fish, poultry, fish, or mixed. There were clues about what the courses were and the language was phrased within the style of the evening’s dining theme, but you did not know exactly what you were getting. You told the host whether you wanted three, four, or five courses and which option you wanted. (I went with the fish, in case you were dying to know.) This was also the time to tell the staff if you had any allergies.

Once you ordered you were asked to leave watches, phones, etc. in a locker in the lit area of the restaurant, then the guide came to gather up all the people being seated at the reserved seating time. The guide was a blind person who led the diners down a pitch black stairwell into the (also pitch black) subterranean dining area, brought your plates and took them away, provided more drinks as necessary, and brought you back to the lit area at the end of the meal. Everything else (pouring the drinks, eating your meal) was up to you.

I’ll admit that being utterly unable to see was freaky at first, but the guide was very comforting in many senses. She had a great sense of humor and made us laugh to break up the anxious mood, and she offered sugar water to help relax people who were having a harder time to adjust. She also brought us “puzzles” to solve in between courses: bags of spices to sniff, toys to identify by shape, different type of textiles to feel.  There was also an auditory show between the courses, but it was all in German so a lot of it was lost on us.

All this is to say that it was a very fun experience. But what about the food? My god, the food! Let me put it this way: after the first course I gave up all attempts to use utensils and greedily ate up my food using only my hands. Even better, I was able to give in to my long-held desire to lick my plate clean because no one could see and judge me. From this you should infer that the food was that good. Everyone at our table was in agreement that the food was phenomenal.

After we were done (it was a two-hour experience), the guide led us back to the lit area of the restaurant. The staff served us coffee and we talked about what we thought we had eaten, and what we thought the various spices, toys, and textiles were. The guide then gave us pictures of everything that we ate, and this was the most interesting part of the entire evening. In my case, I had eaten an entire lemon’s worth of lemon wedges without having a clue.

I also ate: pea soup with a shrimp skewer, a salad topped with smoked salmon and green beans, salmon with rosemary potatoes and lemon wedges, grilled shrimp and snow peas, and chocolate mousse with cherries and red chili powder. When we left the restaurant satiated and happy, we were given bottles of the restaurant’s house white wine to take home with us.

This was a fantastic evening, though given its price tag (340 Euros for four five-course meals and two bottles of wine) I think it was a once in a lifetime experience. I highly recommend going to this restaurant with some old friends for a fun evening with great food.

for more information:

Al Fayrooz

Al Fayrooz Lebanese restaurant, located at Universitätsring 8 in the 1st district, is a great place to go when you want to try something different and a little exotic. We had a mixed plate starter, which was about ten bowls of various food drizzled in olive oil: hummos, Mediterranean salad, stuffed grape leaves, baba ghanouj, pickles, olives, falafel, fried cheese, and a few things that we didn’t recognize but tasted fabulous.

Our main was a mixed grill, which included chicken, steak, and a kebab served with toasted pita slathered in something orange and delicious, grilled onions and tomatoes, and a rice/pasta pilaf.  Everything was so good that within ten minutes the plate was clean. The wine that we washed the dinner down with was good, albeit overpriced (30 Euros for a local red).

And of course we had dessert, which was another mixed plate that surprisingly did not include any of the restaurants’ five varieties of baklava (one of our friends had the baklava plate). Our dessert was rose-flavored Turkish delight and a custardy phyllo square. The Turkish delight was not so great, but the custard more than made up for it.

The best part? We had purchased a Groupon and only paid 44 Euros for this feast. If you are interested in trying a wide variety of foods at a small cost, I’d suggest watching Groupon because Al Fayrooz has had several offers through Groupon recently. If the above review is not enough to interest you, I will add that Al Fayrooz also has a hookah lounge, and live music and belly dancers on the weekend.

for more information:

Where to go for Greek food: Aphrodite

IMG_0105If you are craving good, comfort Greek food in an atmosphere that feels like you are visiting a good friend’s home, you must check out this little secret place in Währing: Aphrodite on Gentzgasse close to the Volksoper/Währingerstrasse stop on the U6 line (no website).
IMG_0106This cozy little restaurant is run by a very nice Greek family – the owner will greet you as you walk in the door and often you will hear the son playing his violin for dinner guests. The decor has a very Mediterranean feel to it and the food is a little piece of Greek heaven! We usually opt for the Apollo plate for 2 people which feeds 2 adults and 2 kids without problem (and the kids usually talk themselves into a nice side of tsatsiki and bread or french fries)! They are very accommodating to little kids too and sneak our toddlers gummy bear treats at the end of our meal (and us some ouzo!) so it’s no surprise that we keep on going back. A definite must visit if you like Greek food and company!
The Apollo Plate for 2!

Restaurant information (no internet site):

  • Gentzgasse 23 – 1180 Vienna; phone 01 478 04 55
  • closed Sundays and Mondays
  • public: 40/41 tram to Kutschkergasse or U6 to Volksoper

Recommended by Nicole