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The variety of restaurants in Graz is enormous. Prices in even the top restaurants are moderate. You can dine in the hotels (which have some of the best food in town) or in cozy pubs and intimate bistros.

We suggest skipping typical international cuisine and concentrating on genuine Styrian specialties such as wurzelfleisch, a kind of stew, or the different kinds of sterz, a German version of kasha (made with cracked buckwheat or corn). The homemade sausages are generally excellent. Vienna is noted for its hendl (chicken) dishes, but Graz chefs also do chicken extremely well.

The art of beer brewing is cultivated in Graz. Residents especially like the local Puntigam or Reininghaus beer, as well as the Gösser beer, brewed in Upper Styria.

You might want to try Styrian wine, whose grapes grow on steep, sunny slopes. Important varieties such as Welschriesling, Muskat-Sylvaner, Traminer, and the Schilcher (which grows in a limited area in West Styria) have received international recognition. Many wine restaurants provide background music in the evening.

Cafes -- Aiola Upstairs, Schlossberg 2 (tel. 0316/818797), is the trendy bar in Graz, attracting hip young things to its precincts with its striking architecture and its inventive menu. Its greatest asset is a spectacular view of Graz. "Our guests come here to enjoy chill-out grooves," the manager told us. When the weather allows, the cafe turns into one large patio. The location is beside the Uhrturm and elevator. The food is mainly Italian, with a typical meal of pasta, wine, and coffee costing less than 20€ ($32). Open Monday to Saturday 9am to 2am, Sunday 9am to midnight.

Café Harrach, Harrachgasse 26 (tel. 0316/322671), is the most arts-oriented cafe in Graz, attracting lots of students. Because Styria is known for its wine, more spritzers are consumed here than beer. Harrach is like an old Viennese coffeehouse, and local cafe culture at its best is seen here. Many patrons come here and make a night of it. It's open Monday to Friday 9am to midnight, Saturday 5pm to midnight, and Sunday 4pm to midnight.

With a view looking over the open-air market (perfect on a summer day), the popular Café Leinich, Kaiser-Josef-Platz 4 (tel. 0316/830586; tram: 3 or 6), has served good coffee and homemade pastries (rich concoctions using an abundance of fresh fruit and berries) since 1891. Coffee and pastries start at 2.90€ ($4.70). It's open Monday to Friday 7am to 7pm and Saturday 7am to 2pm.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.