There are three things anyone who is exploring Vienna cannot miss: the many Viennese cafés, the impressive architecture and the “g’schmackig” – that is, delicious – food. On our Royal night out in Vienna, you will find out the best places to eat Sachertorte, marvel at the buildings and indulge your palate.
Once meeting places for the artistic, academic and literary elite, Viennese coffee houses are still known well outside the city and even the country. There is one on almost every corner in Vienna, and they are a large part of what makes the city so charming. We certainly do not want to miss that, so we start our afternoon with a coffee and a slice of genuine Sachertorte in Café Sacher Wien. Our taste buds are happy as we set out on a 15-minute walk towards Schwedenplatz. On the way, we admire the “Steffl”, the magnificent St. Stephen’s Cathedral: definitely a highlight for all fans of Gothic architecture. We will stay here a bit, because our next “destination” only comes every 30 minutes.
Sightseeing by rail
When we get to Schwedenplatz, it is time to get on board. We are taking the bright yellow Vienna Ring Tram on a relaxing tour of the famous Ringstraße. As we pass the old town centre, we admire Vienna’s most famous sights such as the State Opera, the Hofburg palace, the Austrian parliament building and the Burgtheater. The tram is equipped with its own multimedia system, so passengers can each select their own languages and listen to detailed information about passing buildings on headphones. Eleven languages are available, including a special programme for children. One special treat is the programme in Viennese dialect, recorded by actor Karl Merkatz – you cannot beat that for local charm.
Fine dining over the rooftops of Vienna
The Vienna Ring Tram runs for the last time at 5.30 p.m., which fits perfectly into our plan. We use the time before dinner to get dressed up because we have to look quite smart where we are going. The 57 Restaurant & Lounge is on the other side of the Danube in the spectacular Meliá Vienna hotel in DC Tower 1 – Austria’s tallest skyscraper. The restaurant’s sophisticated, elegant interior shows the excellent taste to go with its impressive exterior. From the 57th storey – the name says it all – we enjoy a breathtaking view of the city and the Danube.
Our dinner leaves nothing to be desired. The menu offers something for each individual taste, but is limited to a selection of true culinary gems. Head chef Rene Poysl loves to surprise his guests with unusual combinations of flavours. He specialises in international culinary creations inspired by Spanish cuisine and coupled with the best in regional products. Wine-lovers also get their money’s worth because sommelier Sebastian Maier knows the right bottle for every meal. In short, the 57 Restaurant & Lounge thrills our hearts and palates.
To quench our thirst, we leave the skyscraper and return to the city centre. The First Floor bar is known for the large, eye-catching illuminated aquarium behind the counter. The aquatic plants sway softly back and forth to create a particularly relaxed atmosphere. We may not see any colourful fish, but the drinks menu offers a huge selection of cocktails in their place. The drinks are served in an attractive style but without too many frills. The bartenders know a thing or two about mixing drinks and grant every wish with plenty of dexterity and a charming smile on their faces.
From autumn until spring, guests can enjoy live music once a week. Every Thursday, jazz musicians delight their ears and take them back in time. The timelessly chic interior is no less tasteful: much of it, including the elegant wood panelling, comes from the legendary Mounier Bar of the 1930s. The First Floor bar manages to bring together the old and the modern to create a unique atmosphere of well-being – contemporary and yet warm. The perfect setting for a relaxing after-work drink with friends. Or – as in our case – the perfect close to a truly Royal evening.
After so many rich impressions for all of our senses, we are tired but happy. It is time to say goodbye until the next Royal night out.