The Best Restaurants
Europastüberl (Innsbruck; tel. 0512/593-01): Head here for spectacular food served among meticulously re-created traditional Tyrolean decor. As business travelers and corporate bigwigs know, its setting manages to be simultaneously rustic and sumptuous.
Fabios (Vienna; tel. 01/532-2222): This is the most sought-after table in Vienna today, attracting the city's glitterati, who rave about the chef's finely honed Mediterranean and international cuisine. Precise, inventive fare is served here, celebrating the bounty of Austria and neighboring Italy.
Goldener Hirsch (Salzburg; tel. 0662/80840): Hospitality has been served up within its thick walls since 1407, but today the victuals are vastly improved, and the clientele is a little more refined. Few other places are as elegant, and during the Salzburg Music Festivals, this is definitely the place to be. The chef prefers the grand bourgeois tradition, and prepares meals with both a jeweler's precision and a poet's imagination.
Maria Loretto (Klagenfurt; tel. 0463/24465): This is the premier restaurant in the capital of Carinthia, site of Austria's summer lake district. A specialist in seafood, the restaurant hauls in raw ingredients from the Mediterranean and Atlantic, and its chefs fashion them into delectable platters.
Restaurant Ferwall (St. Anton; tel. 05446/3249): Set in the high Alps near the Arlberg Pass, this place attracts some of the most discerning palates in Europe. Since 1972, the restaurant has been serving some of the finest fare in Tyrol, with a traditional Austrian and international menu taking on innovative modern twists. The restaurant celebrates Tyrolean country life.
Sacher Hotel Restaurant (Vienna; tel. 01/514560): A celebrity favorite since the days of the Empire, this is the home of one of the world's most famous pastries, the Sachertorte. Against a flaming scarlet background, you can enjoy dishes that pleased emperors -- notably Vienna's famous tafelspitz, the most savory and herb-flavored boiled beef you'll ever taste. Come dressed to the nines and prepare to enjoy a banquet fit for a king.
The Best Dining Bargains
Auerhann (Zug; tel. 05583/275414): Warm, woodsy, and permeated with the aroma of good food and a convivial hubbub from the other tables, this inexpensive restaurant is in a building erected during the 1600s. Its three types of fondue and its fresh trout from nearby streams are among the best in the province.
Gulaschmuseum (Vienna; tel. 01/5121017): Imagine a "museum" devoted to goulash. Here you can find 15 varieties of this savory kettle of goodies inspired by neighboring Hungary, once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Each dish is redolent with the taste of paprika, Hungary's national spice. There's even an all-vegetarian version.
Herzl Tavern (Salzburg; tel. 0662/8084889): Owned by the city's most glamorous hotel, the super-expensive Goldener Hirsch, the Herzl -- in the center of town -- is frequented by some of Europe's most celebrated musicians, who for some reason always demand the finest in cuisine. Here they get hearty food prepared in a traditional style and made with only the finest ingredients.
Hirschen-Stuben (Innsbruck; tel. 0512/582979): This charming restaurant, in a restored 17th-century house, is known for its good Austrian and Italian cuisine served at affordable prices. From stewed deer to the best of alpine lake fish, this one is a winner.
Landhaus-Keller (Graz; tel. 0316/830276): In a historic building with outdoor tables in summer, this cellar serves some of the best local specialties, many based on old recipes handed down from generation to generation. It's hearty drinking and dining here.
Plachutta (Vienna; tel. 01/5121577): The Viennese are fanatical about their tafelspitz the way Italian chefs are firm in their standards for tomato sauce, or American Southerners insist that theirs is the only true fried chicken. No place in all of Austria serves better tafelspitz than Plachutta, which produces 10 different variations.
Restaurant Wirt am Berg (Wels; tel. 07242/45059): With a pedigree dating from 1630, Wirt am Berg boasts a vast wine cellar and flavorful food. Its modest prices draw diners from as far away as Munich.
Weinhaus Attwenger (Bad Ischl; tel. 06132/23327): Some parts of it, built in 1540, were already well established when 19th-century composers Bruckner and Léhar adopted it as one of their preferred wine houses.
The Best Classic Cafes
Café Bazar (Salzburg; tel. 0662/874278): This cafe has been a local favorite since 1906, enjoying a palatial pink stucco setting across the river from the Old Town. It's been fashionable since the days of Franz Josef and the menu never changes -- only the prices.
Café Demel (Vienna; tel. 01/5351717): This most famous cafe in Vienna has a long-standing feud with the Sacher Hotel as to who has the right to sell the legendary and original Sachertorte. Demel claims that the chef who invented the torte left the Sacher to work for Demel, bringing his recipe with him.
Café Frauenschuh (Mondsee; tel. 06232/2312): Deliciously loaded with every imaginable kind of high-calorie pastry, this time-honored place is a cliché of old-fashioned Austrian charm.
Café Imperial (Vienna; tel. 01/50110389): Owned and operated by a grand hotel, this cafe was once a favorite of composer Gustav Mahler. Now it's favored by a chic local lunchtime crowd and offers "the most regal" cup of coffee, pastry, or glass of wine in town.
Café Landtmann (Vienna; tel. 01/241000): The newspapers it provides for its patrons are tattered by the end of every day, and a haze of smoke evokes the back-room machinations of a meeting of political cronies from another era. Sigmund Freud claimed it as his favorite cafe; and after your first 15 minutes inside, you might, too.
Café Munding (Innsbruck; tel. 0512/584118): Plushly decorated and upholstered, this cafe offers a setting from 1720, torrents of Tyrolean color, unusual murals, and platters of food followed by a scrumptiously fattening array of creamy pastries.
Café Tomaselli (Salzburg; tel. 0662/844488): Established in 1705, it provides a rich atmosphere as well as delectably fattening pastries and endless cups of coffee.
Konditorei Zauner (Bad Ischl; tel. 06132/2331020): It's the oldest pastry shop in Austria and the emporium that satisfied the long-ago sugar cravings of such Hapsburg monarchs as Franz Josef. Today, it trades heavily on the aristocratic associations of yesteryear, attracting droves of tourists to its baroque-inspired setting in the resort's center.
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.