Tag Archives: vienna

Dining Review: Tian in Vienna, Austria

Tian in Vienna is one of only three Michelin-starred restaurants in the world that I’m aware of that doesn’t serve meat. Joia in Milan is another. I went to Tian for lunch and had a great, affordable vegan meal.

Entrance to Tian

Entrance to Tian

I loved the interior of the restaurant. Super airy with high ceilings. It felt interesting and bright.

Dining room

Dining room

For lunch that day, they offered the choice of 2 or 3 (or more) courses from the light lunch menu, or you could order a 4-, 6-, or 8-course tasting menu. I asked for 3 vegan courses from the light lunch menu (although no vegan dessert option was listed, they substituted a vegan dessert course for me).

Lunch menu

Lunch menu

The amuse bouche was a mushroom foam. It was tasty and savory like any good mushroom foam should be, although it was quite salty.

Amuse bouche

Amuse bouche

The bread service consisted of a delicious house-made ciabatta served with three kinds of olive oil, an extremely rich butter that was almost cheesy, and some sprouts. I’ve never been served sprouts with my bread, but I enjoyed it. It was fun and unusual.

Sprouts with bread service

Sprouts with bread service

As a starter, I received turnips and cabbage. I felt that my dish was a bit confusing, but it was decent.

Turnips and cabbage

Turnips and cabbage

My dining partner had the asparagus as a starter. I felt that the preparation of asparagus at Tian was better than the asparagus dish I had eaten at Steirereck the day before.

Asparagus

Asparagus

My main consisted of sunchokes and spelt. It was a hearty dish and a large portion, although perhaps a little one-note. It could have benefited from some acidity or freshness. My dining partner had the risotto, which was an absolutely massive portion.

Sunchokes and spelt

Sunchokes and spelt

For dessert, I received a plate of chocolate and passionfruit. I loved the presentation, and it was extremely tasty. The brightness and acidity of the passionfruit was a nice contrast to the sinful decadence of the chocolate.

Chocolate and passionfruit

Chocolate and passionfruit

My dining partner had a sour cream strudel, which she also greatly enjoyed.

Apple tart

Sour cream strudel

Overall, the lunch menu was extremely affordable, and I thought the food was quite solid. The three-course lunch menu was only 34 euro, and I’d love to return for the full tasting menu at some point.

Dining Review: Steirereck in Vienna, Austria

One restaurant that I dined at in Vienna was Steirereck, a two Michelin star restaurant. I went for lunch, which was more affordable experience than dinner.

Steirereck is located in a somewhat funky reflective building in Stadtpark. The park itself is also quite nice, if you get a chance to walk around.

Funk building

Funk building

Entrance to Steirereck

Entrance to Steirereck

We were the first guests to arrive for the lunch service. The decor inside was understated and elegant. There are a couple of separate dining areas, so it feels like a more intimate dining experience since you don’t see all of the diners in the entire restaurant.

Table decoration

Table decoration

I went for the four-course lunch menu, as I chose to skip the cheese course.

Menu

Menu

We started with selections from the bread cart. I sampled the black pudding and blood sausage bread as well as the rye bread with honey and lavender. One small downside (or upside depending on your perspective) was that we got the end pieces of the loaves since we were the first table served for lunch.

Ridiculous bread cart

Ridiculous bread cart

The breads themselves were delicious and served with three sticks of butter with different toppings. Not pictured here were the amuse bouches that we were served.

Bread service

Bread service

My first course was the char with beeswax, yellow carrot, “pollen”, and sour cream, one of the signature dishes of the restaurant. It’s a slightly gimmicky dish in that they come out with the char and pour the beeswax in front of you (and then take it away so it cooks), but the char was cooked perfectly and it was absolutely delicious. The caviar served on the side was great, as was the jelly infused with beeswax. A super inventive and wonderful dish.

Char being cooked in beeswax

Char being cooked in beeswax

Cooked char, yellow carrot, "pollen", and sour cream

Cooked char, yellow carrot, “pollen”, and sour cream

My next course was green asparagus with sheep’s cheese, daylilies, and bergamot. To me, this was the biggest miss of the meal. I was hoping for a treatment of vegetables like you might find at L’arpege or Manresa, but this was just not that great.

Green asparagus with sheep's cheese, daylilies, and bergamot

Green asparagus with sheep’s cheese, daylilies, and bergamot

My main course was the charcoal grilled tubers with tumeric “caviar” and shoots. This was a giant portion and generally tasty, but it wasn’t that remarkable otherwise.

Charcoal grilled tubers with turmeric "caviar" and shoots

Charcoal grilled tubers with turmeric “caviar” and shoots

My dining companion ordered the cheese course, and out came an enormous cheese cart. There are so, so many choices in front of you. I’m not a big cheese person, but it might be worth it to order the cheese course just for this experience.

Ridiculous cheese cart

Ridiculous cheese cart

Cheese service

Cheese service

The dessert courses were great and satisfying. My dining companion had an absolutely delectable souffle; I had a wonderful preserved calamansi (a citrus fruit) with cream cheese, gingerbread, and walnuts. Interesting flavors, good contrasting textures, and not too sweet. Everything I want in dessert.

Souffle

Souffle

Preserved calamansi with cream cheese, gingerbread, and walnuts

Preserved calamansi with cream cheese, gingerbread, and walnuts

Finally, there were some petit fours from the kitchen. They were cute, if a little simple.

Petit fours

Petit fours

Peek into the kitchen

Peek into the kitchen

Overall, it was an enjoyable dining experience. The char was by far the best dish of the meal, but otherwise, I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend this restaurant.

Hotel Review: Radisson Blu Style Hotel Vienna, Austria

I stayed at the Radisson Blu Style Hotel in Vienna on a trip to central Europe last year. I booked this hotel with points when Club Carlson was still offering a one award night free for every award booking and when the highest category of hotel was only 50k points (instead of 70k points). In spite of the devaluations on the award redemption side, Club Carlson can still offer some great values in Europe, especially if you’re into manufactured spending since the credit card still offers 5x points on all spend.

This hotel has a super great location. It’s conveniently located just steps from the Herrengasse station on the U3 subway line, and it’s within walking distance to much of the inner stadt. It’s also right next to Cafe Central (although I found that place to be overrated).

Entrance to the hotel

Entrance to the hotel

I tried to check in early to the hotel (a consequence of most flights from the US to Europe is the early morning arrival times). The agent at the front desk told me that the hotel room would be ready in 30 minutes, so I left my luggage and went for a short walk.

Hotel lobby

Hotel lobby

I was assigned a twin room. The room had a slightly odd shape, but it was comfortable and quiet. The furnishings were basic but perfectly adequate, and I enjoyed the decor of the room.

Twin beds

Twin beds

TV and desk

TV and desk

Bathroom

Bathroom

As a welcome amenity for being a Club Carlson Gold member (a benefit of the credit card), I received a small bottle of champagne.

Welcome amenity

Welcome amenity

Hotel bar

Hotel bar

The hotel had a small sauna as well as a very basic gym for guests to use.

Sauna

Sauna

Basic gym

Basic gym

In general, the staff was very friendly and attentive, and I enjoyed my stay. This hotel was a great deal at 50k Club Carlson points for 2 nights, but I’m not sure how I feel about 70k points per night now. But it’s a great location with comfortable rooms and good service.

Tokyo for the New Year: Austrian Airlines Business Class Schengen Lounge Vienna (VIE)

Austrian Airlines Business Class Chicago to Vienna
Austrian Airlines Business Class Schengen Lounge Vienna
Austrian Airlines Regional Business Class Vienna to Prague
Turkish Airlines Regional Business Class Prague to Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Business Class Istanbul to Tokyo Narita
Park Hyatt Tokyo
Shinjuku Kuyakushomae Capsule Hotel
Ushigoro
Hilton Narita
Narita-san Shinsho-ji
Swiss Business Class Tokyo Narita to Zurich
Park Hyatt Zurich
Oneworld Lounge Zurich Airport
Swiss Business Lounge Zurich Airport
Austrian Airlines Regional Business Class Zurich to Vienna
Austrian Airlines Business Class Vienna to Chicago


Since I was connecting to a Schengen flight, I cleared immigration and security and then headed to the Austrian Airlines Business class lounge in the Schengen area.

My first order of business, as it usually is after getting off a long-haul flight, was to take a shower, and I was glad to see that a Schengen lounge had multiple showers available. It seems like a lot of people had the same idea as I did, though, as there was a waiting list for the shower by the time I was done, and it looked to be all people who were on my same flight.

The shower room was perfectly functional, although it didn’t have a toilet. But it was clean, not too stuffy, and the water temperature and pressure were good, which is all I really need in a shower room.

Shower room (1 of 2)

Shower room (1 of 2)

After showering, I explored the lounge. It’s worth noting that there appeared to be separate lounges for business class, Senator (Star Alliance Gold), and first class, with business class being the “worst” or least premium. But for a business class lounge in a relatively small airport, I thought that the amenities were pretty good. Beyond the showers, there were work stations, a relaxation room, plenty of seats, and fast wifi.

Computer stations

Computer stations

Recliner in relaxation room

Recliner in relaxation room

TV area

TV area

Lots of seating

Lots of seating

Bar area

Bar area

The biggest thing that I found lacking was the food options. I was there during breakfast hours, and all there was to eat was some breads, yogurt, and cereal. I didn’t partake as I had eaten the pre-arrival meal on my flight to Vienna and thought that they would probably feed me on my next flight as well, but you’re probably not going to find anything too satisfying within the lounge.

Cold drinks

Cold drinks

Alcohol

Alcohol

Breads and snacks

Breads and snacks

Breakfast

Breakfast

Overall, it’s good for what’s essentially a business class domestic lounge as there are showers, plenty of seating, and fast wifi. But it’s not a place I would go out of my way to visit by any means.