Hands up if you’ve ever gone to a restaurant after hearing a glowing report from a friend, only to experience a dining disaster?
Did it lead you to question your friend’s gastronomical judgement? We sometimes wonder about our friends, too, but Vienna has taught us to wonder no more. It is has nothing to do with your friend, my friend, any friend. It’s the restaurant or more specifically, the restaurant staff.
We rarely go on dining guidebooks when choosing a restaurant in a strange city – we prefer to wander the streets, scrutinize the posted menus, and then peer inside the windows to check out:
- The age of the diners – a crowd of mostly under-25s are not likely to share our restaurant-experience goals. They are probably there to see the other under-25s of the opposite gender. We are somewhat over-25. We are just there for the food.
- The facial expressions and postures of the patrons: Do they look ticked? Bored? Do they wear the cavernous visages of the starving-to-death-while-inside-a-food-establishment? All of the above is very bad.
- Cleanliness: If we see a smidgen of filth, we stay away. We do not go on travel-holidays just to spend time getting fluids pumped into us intravenously in a hospital ER.
To get to the point, we employed this rigorous selection-method in Vienna, landing here, at this restaurant pictured above – the charming “Fuhrich” eatery.
The place was packed, but the waiter directed us upstairs where we found an
empty dining room with windows overlooking the street. Perfect. We love eating in an empty dining room, which is almost impossible to attain because of our deep suspicion of empty restaurants.
Our waiter, a charming fellow with a perfect sense of timing, proceeded to usher us through a wonderful dinner. Dave dined on Wienerschnitzel, which I protest out of pity for the poor calf, while I had a tender steak, not feeling quite so sorry for the fully grown cow. The food at this establishment is fabulous. The setting is dreamy at the end of Führichgasse, a quiet lane off Kamtner Strasse, one of Vienna’s main pedestrian avenues.
We left happy, confident that we could heartily recommend this restaurant that was a delight on all levels.
Two days later, we went back. That turned out to be more of an adventure dining-wise than we expected. I’ll write about it tomorrow and the importance of watching out for the overworked and testy maitre’d.