Vienna's bon viveurs could hardly wait for the opening of Konstantin Filippou's new restaurant in April 2013. After cooking his way to a Michelin star at Novelli, this exceptional young chef is now serving up modern fine dining bearing his distinctive signature at Konstantin Filippou, a new city center eatery where grey walls and light wooden tables make for an unfussy dining experience. Not too far from Filippou's, near Karmelitermarkt in the second district, is Una Abraham's new restaurant das Engel. The restaurateur can already boast a string of successes in Vienna, and this little establishment really stands out thanks to some beautiful interior design including a glittering golden floor, antique pharmacy fittings which serve as the bar, and a small separate room decorated in lush red. On the menu you'll find sophisticated interpretations of regional cuisine.
Located in basement premises in the 8th district, Speisekammer sees itself as more of a culinary workshop than a restaurant. Offering its diners a choice of three set menus to choose from every evening, one of which is simply a list of ingredients, the chefs are free to express their own personal take on good food, which mean there's always a surprise in store. So at Speisekammer, innovative menu combinations, use of ingredients and preparation techniques is very much the order of the day. April 2013 saw the opening of Simon Xie Hong's On Market right opposite one of Vienna's gastro hotspots, Naschmarkt. After the successes of On and ChinaBar, the chef and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner's newest creation is a 600 square meter restaurant with open-plan kitchen, bar and club. Asian seafood cuisine with plenty of vegetables reflects Xie Hong's Chinese roots, and he draws comparisons between his menu and Mediterranean cuisine. The Art Deco themed basement night club is due to open in September 2013.
There's also a thriving bar scene around the Naschmarkt area. The fashionable Theobaldgasse in the 6th district, just off Vienna's number 1 shopping street Mariahilferstrasse, is home to the cafe-bar Wellmann. Colorfully decked out in original seventies wallpaper, you'll find musical entertainment in the form of DJs spinning their discs, or on Thursdays free unplugged live music. Classic cocktails and long drinks set the tone in the more subdued, minimalist surroundings at If Dogs Run Free on Gumpendorferstrasse.
Puff, a few doors down and opposite Café Sperl, is a new addition to the bar scene. Formally a bordello, the name is a cheeky reference to its chequered past as the word Puff is Viennese slang for a brothel. The interior is by local design studio Walking Chair, with drinks served from an eye-catching bar and enjoyed in chic, leather upholstered seating. Look out for the novelty cocktail machine and the light fittings made from plastic bottles. The focus of the drinks menu is an impressive selection of highballs. Roxy in Operngasse was a Vienna favorite from its opening in the sixties until its closure last year. But it's made a comeback, and partygoers can once again dance to eclectic music sounds in its plush retro interior.
And one more treat for foodies: Vienna's very first vegan ice cream salon, Veganista Ice Cream in the 7th district, opened just in time for the Viennese summer at the end of May. Soya, oats and coconut milk are used as substitutes for milk products, and the cones are made out of corn starch. Even the fixtures and fittings are produced from animal-free vegan materials.
- Konstantin Filippou, Dominikanerbastei 17, 1010 Vienna, www.konstantinfilippou.com
- Engel, Grosse Pfarrgasse 5, 1020 Vienna, www.dasengel.at
- On Market, Linke Wienzeile 36, 1060 Vienna, www.on-market.at
- Speisekammer, Tigergasse 31, 1080 Vienna, www.speisekammer.at
- Wellmann, Theobaldgasse 11, 1060 Vienna, www.cafewellmann.at
- If Dogs Run Free, Gumpendorfer Strasse 10-12, 1060 Vienna, www.ifdogsrunfree.com
- Puff, Girardigasse 10, 1060 Vienna, www.puff-bar.at
- Roxy, Operngasse 24, 1040 Vienna, www.roxyclub.org
- Veganista Ice Cream, Neustiftgasse 23/3, 1070 Vienna, www.veganista.at