To Expand Your Culinary Horizons, The Vienna Review Recommends Four Bargain Restaurants
While not as pricy as London or Paris, life is no longer a bargain in Vienna. Rents are steeper, grocery prices are rising, and dining out can seriously damage your budget. For the city’s ever-growing (and perpetually grazing) student population – now numbering some 120,000 – the feeding problem can be punishing.
Because one of the things students like to do most is to hang out with friends, over a cup of coffee or a meal. And with exams, projects and papers ad infinitem, it may not always be possible to cook for yourself, even if you know how. Thus many young adults in Vienna are on a constant search for inexpensive, tasty cheap eats.
Like many things in Austria’s capital, eateries that fill all these criteria are usually not found by chance. It usually takes tips from friends, family and colleagues.
However, moving in relatively closed social circles (as most of us do), we are bound to receive the same recommendations over and over again. This is not ideal.
So with the yearnings of students lying heavily on our hearts, The Vienna Review has made it our mission to discover some new retreats where you can eat in peace for a reasonable price and still get good service and a decent meal.
The following are four restaurants that will allow Vienna’s arme Studenten to expand their culinary horizons, all the while preserving their wallets in a world of relaxed, Bohemian charm.
THE SLY & ARNY
Hidden in an ally behind an enormous steel door – with no indication of what it concealed – this restaurant and bar was nearly impossible to find only a few years ago. And although there is now a small sign marking the entrance to The Sly&Arny, it is still evident that this is a place you would never discover on your own – or even enter on the off chance that you did.
Once inside, however, it is immediately obvious why this cozy little place is loved by all who know it. Specializing in a mix of Asian, American and Italian cuisine, dishes cost less than €5,50 on average, with generous portions.
Among an array of pizzas, meats, fresh bread, and low-fat entrees, the Sly&Arny also serves an assortment of Austrian desserts, which in the past have included strawberry dumplings and Palatschinken, either with jam or a la mode. A list of more than 40 alcoholic beverages proves that the restaurant deserves to be considered a bar as well. Candles light every table and a very friendly and thoughtful staff emphasize the cozy and familiar atmosphere.
Personal recommendation: Ruculasalat auf warmem Pizzaboden (Arugula on warm pizza crust, served with prosciutto ham, balsamic vinegar and parmesean).
FRESH SOUP & SALAD
A small restaurant of only 70m² with limited seating or high standing tables, Fresh Soup&Salad combines quick service and healthy food to create a whole different spin on franchise restaurants. For all those students who are figure- or health-conscious, this is the place to go. The menu changes weekly and always offers healthy choices made without preservatives, flavor enhancers or artificial coloring, everything at a reasonable price of €4 to €6 on average. No alcoholic beverages are served, only the free tap water that comes in biodegradable cups and with a smile – something all too uncommon in Viennese establishments.
Personal recommendation (hard to make, since the menu changes every week): try the pumpkin-coconut-ginger soup, should it be made available again.
SUPPE & CO.
When in desperate need of nourishment, refreshment and relaxation, perhaps after a shopping trip on Mariahilferstraße, this is the place to go. Due to its location on a side street, and its modest sign, Suppe & Co is rarely overcrowded, something that is very important when coming from one of the busiest shopping streets in Vienna. The restaurant mainly serves local cuisine, but also offers dishes from around the world such as Russian borschtsch and certain Italian specialties.
Nomen est omen in this case – Suppe & Co’s main specialty is soup, which is served in many different variations.
Personal recommendation: Vogerlsalat mit Speck, Kartoffeln und Apfelessig-Honigdressing (field salad with diced bacon, potatoes and a cider-honey dressing).
Its slogan says it all: Wash away your thirst, iron out your hunger! Although this location may not be as much of an insider tip as it once was, it definitely deserves to be mentioned. Once an actual laundromat, the Wäscherei now serves international food to its guests, most in their mid-20s and relatively trend conscious. Most diners, however, come here for breakfast and brunch, the latter of which is served Sundays from 10:00 to 16:00. €14 will give you access to anything and everything one can imagine brunch to consist of. Most main courses cost between €4 and €8 and are often available in small and large.
Personal recommendation: Aside from the brunch, try the Gemüse-Wok (vegetable wok, also available with chicken or beef).
Sly & Arny
9., Lackierergasse 5
Starters & Salads: €4
Main Courses: €5.50
Cocktails: €5 (over 20 different kinds)
Suppe & Co
7., Neubaugasse 5
Tue-Fri: 11:30-22:30, closed Mon.
Kitchen open until 22.00
Soup & Salad: €6
Main Courses: €7
8., Albertgasse 49
Starters & Snacks: €5.50
Main Courses: small €6 – large €7.50
Cocktails: €7 (over 25 different kinds)
Fresh Soup and Salad
1., Wipplingerstraße 1
Mon – Fri: 11:00-20:30
Soup & Curry: €4.50
(Prices are on average.)