Moroccan: Petit Maroc
The fragrant vapours steaming from the traditional terracotta tagines at Petit Maroc promise a feast that will dazzle the palate. A savoury couscous served alongside crisply cooked vegetables and a fine selection of wines, including some of Moroccan provenance, put North Africa back on the culinary map. There no kitsch Arabic decor here; this is a soberly contemporary dining spot with discreet oriental elements that provide a homely atmosphere. Co-owner Samad, a celebrated DJ, makes sure the music is in tune with the menu. It’s as if Marrakech were around the corner.
Petit Maroc, Neubaugasse 84, 1070 Vienna, +43 (0)1 944 5566
Korean: Kim Kocht
Prepare be awed at what Miss Kim will conjure onto your plate. You will have the choice between just two menus, one fish, one meat, but either will give you enough to talk about for a week. Kim’s avant-garde approach is an ingenious fusion of Western and Asian styles, and, though her three- to five-course-menus feature tiny servings, they are rich in originality; unexpected flavour combinations are deliciously accompanied by aesthetic beauty. The Korean-born chef has a loyal following among locals and visitors alike, so be sure book well in advance.
Kim Kocht, Lustkandlgasse 4, 1090 Vienna, +43 (0)1 319 0242
Italian: I Carusi
You can of course go to Fabios, the coolly chic Italian spot in one of Vienna’s most expensive neighbourhoods, and mingle with the city’s high society. But if you are keen on enjoying the warm and authentic atmosphere of cucina Italiana, take a walk to Vienna’s seventh district and enjoy contemporary interpretations of simple Italian classics such as pizza at the fabulously vivacious I Carusi. You will quickly find yourself in an animated conversation with the Italian waiters while sipping on a glass of fine Italian wine recommended by Stefano, I Carusi’s Sicilian-born-and-bred proprietario.
I Carusi, Kirchengasse 21, 1070 Vienna, + 43 (0)1 524 0314
A daily delivery of sparklingly fresh tuna makes Unkai at the Grand Hotel Wien Austria’s number-one destination for aficionados of authentic Japanese cooking. Delight your tastebuds wtih a delicately perfumed sea urchin to start, relish a finely sliced sea bass or devour a masterly salted squid. (Bigeye tuna is no longer available for sustainability reasons.) For a complete Japanese experience, book a table in one of Unkai’s tatami rooms, decorated with traditional rice straw mats, where waiters wearing kimonos serve in style. The rooms come with a view: a tiny Zen garden lends a Far Eastern mindset.
Unkai, Grand Hotel Wien, Kärntner Ring 9, 1010 Vienna, +43 (0)1 5158 09110
Achilleus, the most intriguing Greek in town, is as invincible (in the culinary stakes at least) as his classical namesake. Located in a tiny, ancient street behind St Stephan’s cathedral, not far from the Greek Orthodox church, Achilleus is much frequented by Vienna’s Greek community. The orektika (traditional Greek starters) are the most authentic west of the Peloponnese. The genuinely Greek-island feel is reinforced by friendly, gregarious Greek locals arguing over what to recommend for dessert. Their final answer: galaktoboureko, a scrumptious milk pie with rich filo pastry.
Achilleus, Köllnerhofgasse 3, 1010 Vienna, + 43 (0)1 512 8328