Saturday, June 8, 2013

Vienna: ice cream, chocolate and beef

It seems that Vienna is a city for ice cream, chocolate and beef.

Walking in the streets in Vienna, I noticed that there were a lot ice cream parlors and chocolate specialty stores. I also noticed that there were many adults having ice cream while walking! I did not taste ice cream for health reason; I did buy some chocolate from supermarket, not specialty store to taste.

While in Vienna, I was determined to eat local food when possible.

One night I had dinner with a group of professionals from my industry sector at the conference. There were several people who can speak German and knew local food very well. I was told that the Original Wiener Schnitzel of Veal is one of the most popular meal in Austria. Schnitzel of Veal is fried veal - as shown in the following photo. It was kind of like fried chicken cooking wise - a flour covered thin slice of veal is fried, the meat is tender, but fried flour is very salty. At the end of the meal, I left a pile of fried flour in my plate, I saw that my German speaking colleagues finished everything in their plates!

Original Wiener Schnitzel of Veal
On the way to and from Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral) , I passed by Plachutta Restaurant many times. I observed that the restaurant seems to be always full! So I went to the restaurant for dinner on my last day at Vienna.

Plachutta is located at Wollzeile 38, Vienna. It has two dinning areas - one is in the main building, one is in an attached terrace, which is a movable structure. The terrace has a glass roof. We were led to this area. Dinning tables were densely placed to maximize the use of space, it felt crowded but airy. 

Checking on the menu, all entrees are beef related except two. There is also an illustration of a cow to show customer where certain type of beef comes from on a cow's body. At the back of the menus, it is stated that Tafelspitz is its most famous dish. So I ordered Tafelspitz without knowing exactly what it was except that it was similar to a hot pot type dish in Chinese food.

Tafelspitz was broil beef served with spinach, fried potato rosti (like harsh brown), toasted black bread and two sauces - as shown in the following picture.

The broth was delicious, the beef was tender and delicious - but the serving was too large for me. I finished the broth with beef, the spinach, had one piece of bread with a bit sauce. I hate to not finish my order, I had to leave sauces, bread and fried potato on the table.  With appetizer and dessert, this one entree should be good for two!

According to, "The most famous Viennese beef dish is without a doubt a “Tafelspitz”, said to be a favorite of the long reigning Emperor Franz Joseph. And everyone knows that the best place to enjoy a Tafelspitz in Vienna is the restaurant Plachutta, located in the posh districts of Hietzing, Nussdorf and the Vienna City Center."

My rule of thumb that a restaurant that is consistently full must be a very good restaurant, helped me to find this famous restaurant and famous dish "by chance".

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