Part of traveling around the world means immersing yourself in the local culture. Mixing with the locals, trying authentic cuisine and embracing your surroundings. And that’s exactly what we did when dining at ef16 Restaurant Weinbar in Vienna.
My solo trip throughout Europe wasn’t exactly solo.
About 5 days into my journey, my brother-in-law decided to meet up with me in Vienna. We had about 3 days together to enjoy boutique hotels, Viennese culture and, most importantly, food.
Darren and I decided that our last night in Vienna together would be spent having the most elegant night ever: seeing Don Giovanni at the opera followed by dinner at ef16 Restaurant Weinbar.
ef16 is an award-winning restaurant and wine bar in the Old University District of Vienna. Known for its Viennese food fare with a splash of Italian cuisine, the cozy restaurant is small in size, but provides a romantic ambiance with a beautiful garden amid Mandala Court and candlelight throughout the restaurant.
After an impressive show at the opera, Darren and I walked down Rotenturmstraße by night and onto a quaint and picturesque alley to find ef16. Though slightly hard to find, we knew we were in for an authentic, Viennese experience.
Unfortunately, I was recovering from my 5-day mystery illness I contracted in Budapest. Which meant Darren would be drinking for two that evening. While I sipped on Viennese water, Darren enjoyed the Jeanny, a crisp and refreshing cocktail made with Bombay Gin, elderflower tea, and ginger lemonade.
But after I stopped wistfully gazing over his drink, we enjoyed our shared appetizer: homemade potato gnocchi with fine veal ragout and fresh truffle oil. The portion size was approximately 5 ounces and perfect for sharing before our other 4 courses. It was incredibly savory and a wonderful preview of what was to come.
It was the end of January in Vienna, which meant soup was in order. My illness held me back from the creamy soup of Hokkaido pumpkin with pumpkin seed oil that Darren devoured. But I had the equally tasty beef broth with basil dumpling and vegetables. The warm broth was perfect, not just for a girl recovering, but for any traveler looking to warm their bones.
After our delicious appetizer and soups came dinner. Darren enjoyed the Barbarie duck breast with a side of traditional, Viennese red cabbage and potato dumplings. Contrary to heavy, Viennese cuisine, I enjoyed the sea bass with herb roasted potatoes and baby spinach. Despite having 2 courses previously, we polished our plates clean.
And finally, the ultimate dessert: Crème brûlée with fresh mango and kiwi yogurt ice cream. Dessert was the perfect palette cleanser and deliciously light.
Aside from enjoying every single morsel that entered our mouths, our dining experience was a tad unorthodox.
A friend of mine from my Uppsala days was now living in Vienna and wanted to join us. Her plus her 3 other guests. But the staff was happy to accommodate our unexpected reservation. They provided excellent and attentive service to both Darren and I and our guests who arrived much later. The incredibly knowledgable and friendly server was very attentive, warm and outstanding.
Our immaculate and intimate experience dining at ef16 Restaurant Weinbar was the best way to end our trip throughout Vienna.