Having been in one place for almost two years, you end up with a lot of go-to places. So what are the best places in Vienna?
The Viennese cuisine is usually a fusion of several foreign types of food, presented in an Austrian form.
A small Vietnamese restaurant. So good, in fact, that it deserves an entry all for itself.
Situated in the ultra-trendy MQ opposite the entrace to the Museum of Modern Art, Halle has everything from a six-euro lunch to gourmet food - and it all tastes great. For the times when you're hungry and prefer quantity with your quality, you can go for the Cheeseburger or the Club Sandwich. Both are excellent, and both will keep you full for the rest of the day. Even if you speak no German, you may want to ask for the German menu, as the lunch specials are not printed on the English one.
Right opposite Halle near the QDK (Quarter for Digital Culture) in MQ is Kantine. Not as big as Halle, and with less "upmarket" food while still being of high quality, you can get a great filled pita or Asian here, as well as soups and breakfast.
The Kebab Place at Urban Loritz Platz
I don't even think it has a name, but here it is, marked on the photo. And on the map. Best döner and dürüm I've ever eaten in, well, anywhere. Lean, tender, grilled chicken meat with tomato and yoghurt sauce, all packaged with onion and salad. If you've ever only eaten Swedish kebabs - this is nothing like them. The kebabs served in northern latitudes are rubbery strips of brown meat. These are not. About as addictive as crack cocaine these greasy divine gifts from Turkey make for an excellent snack or late night emergency food.
This cafe at Neubaugasse 39 has the best pasta in town. Of the pasta courses, the gnocchi con manzo is the best by far - gnocchi in a bellpepper/tomato sauce with thin slices of beef. Free wifi as well.
Zanoni & Zanoni
This ice-cream bar just north of St. Stephen's is probably the easiest and most pleasurable way of gaining weight. My preferred mode of doing so is the strawberry crepe, seen to the left.
If you're looking for a pub, you can pretty much find one every ten meters or so. If you're looking for punsch and you're at a Christmas market, that shrinks to three meters so stop looking, you're probably right next to one.
The Westgürtel (west beltway) used to be the closest thing to a red light district Vienna had, and the word "Gürtelkönig" (beltway king) is still used about the more-or-even-more shady characters running the bars, brothels and nightclubs there. (Footnote: Vienna's chief of police was sacked over a bribery scandal. Denying involvement is difficult when faced with a picture of yourself partying in one of the brothels.)
The Westgürtel is still, in many ways, the closest thing to a red light district Vienna has, but a drive was made to clean it up. A bunch of new and spiffy clubs and bars were built in th vaults of the old Stadtbahn bridge running along the Gürtel.
Finally to avoid embarrasment, note that it is "bar" or "pub" or "disco", and not "nightclub". "Nightclub" means "brothel". So use one of the three former unless you actually want to communicate the latter. Asking women you meet for "the best nightclub" is ill-advised.
Having a bit of food and drink at home isn't all that wrong. At the local Billa (there's one every two hundred meters around where I live), you can get most things. I say most things because with stores that small, you really can't fit everything into every store.
This little paint shop is right below my apartment. As in, if I were to drill a hole through the floor, I would end up there. Many shops in Vienna make you wonder how they go round. This one, too. A small shop, specializing in paint kinda out of the way from all major shopping streets. (Their advertising of the Loose Change 9/11[i] video made me think not all paint ended up sold.) Then once I had to fix some damaged paint in my apartment. I broke off a 1cm by 1cm piece of paint and took it down there. Ten minutes later they had kitted me out with a bucket of the exact same paint (it's an environmentally ultra-friendly paint that unfortunately isn't waterproof, therefore you must re-paint with the same type, otherwise the solvent in the new layer will destroy the underlying layers). I should also note that five of the ten minutes were spent waiting in the packed-full shop, and that this was all on a Saturday. I guess they do go round quite well.
This is a Bauhaus-lookalike. Hardware and housebuilding-resources.
Cosmos and Saturn
Cosmos in La Stafa near Westbahnhof at the crossing of Kaiserstrasse and Mariahilferstrasse, and Saturn in Gerngross at Mariahilferstrasse have a solid set of stuff you may need in the ways of consumer electronics. For the more hardcore purchases I recommend:
DiTech will get you the obscure computer parts needed in most cases. USB-to-serial converter? No problem.
In general for electronics there are few general stores for electronics. Or, rather, for advanced consumer grade electronics. I have bought GPS accessories (bike mount) at a cellphone store and candy bars at Cosmos (see above). The product categories are sliced and diced and distributed across the different stores in quite an odd way. When looking for something, say, speakers, you may well do best by checking all the stores. DiTech you can check on the web, Cosmos in particular and Saturn pretty much requires physical presence. I think you can get a PDF of special deals at the Cosmos site, but not anything else.
"Papier sind wir" is the slogan, but there's more here. Greeting cards, boxes, tubes for sending drawings and art supplies can be found here.
There are few places where one can buy English books in Austria - places like the British Bookstore have, for their size, a large collection, but compared to bookstored in Sweden this is quite a pitiful sight. All in all, you're probably better off with Amazon.com.
Despite being the country of Arnold Schwarzenegger, gyms in Vienna tend to be smaller, less well equipped and more expensive than their counterparts in Sweden and California. Most are housed in repurposed buildings - some even in what may have been residential spaces.
U4 Fitness, in the U4 Center right above the U4 Disco can be reached via subway line U4 (station Meidling Hauptstrasse). U4 Fitness was not the cheapest gym, but when measured in bang-for-buck it was way above any other gym I'd seen during my survey. It is spacious and bright and while some of the equipment can be said to be antiquated, the majority is modern.
Being about thirty meters from home, this little place makes up for its lack of space and equipment with its proximity.
Good place to get "dietary supplements", and writing those words I realize that they really sound like a euphemism for steroids and drugs. But in this case they're not. No side effects and also legal. You can pick up same brand protein powder here for about half the price of what it sells for at Sport Experts.
Go by bus from Westbahnhof or Südbahnhof for 6 euro one-way or 11 euro return. If you go by cab, always book a cab via Taxi60160 (+43160160). They will quote you a price, and that will save you some euros as the cabbies are scum. Ok, maybe not all, but the scum make the other 2% look bad.
You can buy passes in vending machines in almost every subway station.
I'm sure there are other things to do than eat, drink, gym, work, travel, read books and play with computers, but I sure haven't found a way to write a guide about them.