Black camels are rare, and perhaps none more so than To the Black Camel – a restaurant that’s been waiting for you since 1618.
Vienna regularly tops the charts when it comes to best-quality-of-life cities to live in. Reasons like abundant parks, Secessionist and other imposingly majestic architecture, the unhurried pace, cafes where locals seem to find hours to spend over a beer or a coffee with Shlag (cream), impeccable transportation that includes non-claustrophobic above ground trams, and an ongoing veneration of classical music. If you’ve ever watched the Viennese New Year’s Eve concert on TV, you’ll likely know it takes place in the Muisikverein concert hall, noted in architectural textbooks as the one to study because, yes, you guessed it, it’s tops in the world.
To the Black Camel has a sprawling, canopied outdoor seating area, a cozy indoor one, a delicatessen, and gourmet shop too. For meat-based eaters it’s a place to try a true Viennese classic – the famous Wienerschnitzel. It’s not a hot dog, as the name might imply, but a pounded, breaded veal cutlet. And note: always made from veal. Served with a side salad of greens baroquely festooned with sliced boiled potatoes, and a glass of Grüner Veltliner, you’ll linger a while just like the locals.
Your writer was ready to order a Sachertorte, the famous Viennese chocolate cake made with apricot jam, when a friendly Austrian couple suggested I try the house special: the Punschkrapfen. The somewhat stumbly name (for non-German speakers) belies the wonders of this pink desert. It’s a bite-sized rum filled sponge cake that’s deeply glazed with a shell of pink icing.
It’s Marie Antoinette worthy. Her girlhood was spent in Vienna, after all.