The renowned setting of The Sound of Music is also the same country in which bon vivants can lose themselves in epic culinary and wine adventures. Wanderlust enthusiasts can appreciate Austria’s beauty through its Imperial Baroque architecture, its fairy-tale dreamy palaces, and my favourite, its worldly cuisine. From enjoying a Mozart inspired evening as part of a Michelin star dining experience to savouring delicious wines in the Wachau wine region, or immersing oneself in an authentic farm-to-table eatery in the mountainous regions of Salzburg, dining in Austria has become a favored destination amongst travellers.
Where you’ll want to eat in Vienna
This stunning city, known worldwide for its remarkably rich history and exquisite landmarks, has become synonymous with decadence, sophistication and grandeur. As such, Vienna offers an array of sights and activities for every traveler with the only constraint being the time one has at their disposal.
History buffs will adore the capital city’s plethora of imperial palaces and gothic cathedrals. One such place that I wanted to visit was the famous Schönbrunn Palace, which is deemed as one of the most beautiful palaces in all of Europe. It’s an absolute MUST! The Baroque palace includes an enchanting park, a labyrinth, the Palm House (the largest glasshouse of its kind in continental Europe), the Gloriette and the world’s oldest surviving zoo. I could have spent days lost in its beauty.
Vienna’s culinary scene is nothing short of extraordinary – from the most simple and unpretentious eateries to Michelin star restaurants, gastronomes are spoiled in every sense of the word. While taking in the local sights, you are surrounded by coffeehouses and bistros that are perfect for savouring the moment. One can indulge in many savoury dishes including the classic wiener schnitzels or something sweet and overtly decadent like Vienna’s sacher torte (a combination of two layers of soft and light chocolate cake separated by apricot jam and coated with a chocolate icing) married flawlessly with a glass of Champagne. Say hello to Viennese cuisine!
Seeing that my time in Vienna was limited, I discovered a wonderful way to combine both my loves of classical music and the culinary arts. The mesmerizing Vienna Mozart Orchestra offers an incredible “Mozart VIP” package. This definite bucket list item commences with a dinner at the Michelin star restaurant, Opus, followed by a horse-drawn carriage tour of District 1 and a meeting with some of the performers backstage before the concert. An unbelievable experience in every regard!
If fine dining is at the pinnacle of your ‘must do’ list, then you must treat yourself to an extravagant meal at one of the top 50 restaurants in the world, Steirereck (#10 in 2017). This two Michelin star restaurant is an experience I will never forget. Located in the heart of Stadtpark, this modern day establishment delivers on white-gloved hospitality and sophistication and leaves you speechless after every bite. Just be sure to plan your time accordingly as my three-hour lunch was well worth every minute and every bite!
Be sure to visit these dining spots in the Wachau Valley
Wine lovers cannot visit Austria without making a stop in the Wachau Valley. Located in lower Austria, the Wachau Valley is an oenophile’s paradise. Rieslings and the much loved Grüner Veltliners strive in the valley’s optimal terroir. The region, with its picturesque view of the Danube River, offers incredible wine tastings and wonderful locally-sourced food.
I had the pleasure of visiting two well-known vintners, Domäne Wachau Winery and Holzapfel Prandtauerhof Winery & Restaurant. Guests at Domäne Wachau (referred to as Austria’s white-wine elite) are offered a tour of their grape laden land and a visit to their underground barrelling process, as well as my favourite, a delicious wine tasting. Visitors at the Holzapfel Prandtauerhof Winery & Restaurant are spoiled not only with a varied wine tasting, but they are also immersed in the local cuisine paired with their delicious house wine.
Don’t miss these culinary hotspots in Salzburg
Yearning for a more tranquil country setting? Salzburg provides travellers with lush green scenery and the Alp Mountains in the background…how can one not enjoy this beautiful area?! One thing I learned during my brief time in Salzburg was that the residents are very proud to showcase the fruit of their labours.
Visitors can easily get around this beautiful city and there is no shortage of things to do and see. A visit to the centre of Old Salzburg to explore its famous landmarks such as the Mirabell Palace and its gardens, along with the 900-year-old Hohensalzburg Fortress is a definite must. And, wine lovers will relish in the fact that Salzburg hosts several wine festivals throughout the months of May and June.
For my foodies out there wanting something a bit different, approximately an hour drive from the city center you can have a Sound of Music experience as I did when I visited Winterstellgut restaurant. For those seeking a traditional and authentic farm-to-table experience, this is the place you need to try! What more could you want as you savour Austrian delicacies with the warmest hospitality and the best view of the land, the Alp Mountains, as the backdrop?
Visiting Austria’s famous cities with their awe-inspiring landmarks and taking part in some of their unique culinary voyages left me wanting to return. Indulging in wines made from some of the best vintners in the world to tasting extraordinary Viennese cuisine is what I consider to be a trip that is well worth the time for food and wine connoisseurs alike.