Just because you’re a long way from home doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy Thanksgiving right here in Vienna
For many Americans, Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday. A time to reunite with one’s family, without all the stress of the Christmas season. Being far away from your stateside relatives can be sad, yet perhaps a blessing in disguise. Just think: you won’t be tearing your hair out talking politics with your alt-right uncle, be made to feel like an immoral animal murderer by your vegan sister when you tear into that delicious plate of turkey; or lectured to by your undergrad cousin about how the Pilgrims really committed genocide against the native Americans in Massachusetts.
But being in Austria presents challenges, too. First of all, the final Thursday in November is not a holiday here, as it has been in America ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt declared it the official day of giving thanks (read: first day of the holiday shopping season) in 1939. If you work or study, it’s pretty hard to prepare such a multi-course feast. Most of us who want to celebrate at home with family and friends therefore choose to celebrate on the weekend before or after.
Secondly, Austria’s Thanksgiving equivalent, St. Martin’s Day with its traditional roasted goose menu, has just occurred on November 11th and you are probably still working off all those calories at the gym. (And let’s face it: goose is much tastier than turkey).
Lastly, preparing an authentic American Thanksgiving feast is a major pain in the ass. Even if you’ve got a bunch of friends or family to help, it can take days of shopping and slaving away in the kitchen to get all that turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, veggies, pies, etc. ready for serving.
In America, celebrating the holiday in a restaurant is almost unthinkable. But we’re not in America, so why not take advantage of one of the local offers for Thanksgiving dining, and save yourself all that kitchen drudgery as well! Here are a few options we’ve come across — certainly not a comprehensive list, so if you’ve got a better tip, leave a comment or drop us a line.
Marriott Hotel on Parkring
The Parkring restaurant at the Marriott will serve up a “traditional” American Thanksgiving from Thursday to Saturday, November 24-26, from 19:00 on. Their buffet promises two types of Turkey – classic and brown-sugar glazed – as well as side dishes like sweet-potato mash, cranberry-pomegranate chutney and glazed chestnuts. Live music too! All you can eat, for €53 per person.
The hotel restaurant also offers “Turkey to go” – a take-away package for four or six servings (€94 and €135, respectively – order at least five days in advance).
For the really authentic American Thanksgiving experience, head across the lobby to the Champions sports bar to enjoy watching some live NFL on Thursday evening!
Reservations recommended: Call (01) 515 18 6800 or e-mail email@example.com
Parkring Restaurant, Marriott Hotel
1., Parkring 12A
Brickmakers Pub and Kitchen / Big Smoke BBQ
This seventh district gastro-pub will be serving up a Thanksgiving menu on Thursday, November 24th, from 17:00 to 22:00. For €28,90 you’ll get a complimentary warm spiced cider on arrival, followed by a three-course menu featuring wild mushroom and chestnut soup with truffle oil; stuffed turkey breast with seasonal veggies, gravy and cranberry sauce; and homemade pumpkin pie for dessert. Live NFL action will be beamed on the big screen and all American craft beers are discounted (€5 each) for this evening only.
Call (01) 997 44 14 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brickmakers Pub and Kitchen
7., Zieglergasse 42
Frank’s American Bar & Restaurant
Serving dinner portion-wise à la carte or as a three-course menu (€42,50), this restaurant near Schwedenplatz will be serving up turkey with all the trimmings, as well as fine desserts on both Thursday and Friday nights (Nov 24 & 25).
Google Translate tells me that “Thanks-giving” in Irish is “go raibh maith agat a thabhairt,” whatever the hell that means. No worries – at this ninth-district Irish pub, they speak English, and American too! Their three-course menu (€28 for adults, €16 for kids) offers baked ham in addition to the traditional fare, and a homemade pecan pie for dessert. Come earlier, between 17:00 and 19:00, and it’ll cost you €6 less.
This third-district locale is often used for cooking classes and for pop-up restaurants. On Thursday and Friday, Nov 24th and 25th, it will offer a three-course Thanksgiving dinner, plus hors d’oeuvre, featuring “fire-roasted turkey,” for €33 per person.
By reservation only, no walk-ins.
3., Hetzgasse 39
0664 88 36 2242 or e-mail: email@example.com
Democrats Abroad Austria
If you’re an American Democrat, there’s certainly less to be thankful for this year. Nevertheless, Democrats Abroad Austria will be inviting its members and friends to attend its annual Thanksgiving dinner on Nov 24th at the OTTO Biergasthof, hoping to seek comfort in another’s company and, of course, in the food. Sour grapes? In liquid form only.
Only American citizens may buy tickets, in advance (€25 by bank transfer, €15 for kids under 12), but they can invite others. Space is limited to 50 participants, so act quickly!
Democrats Abroad Austria
Call Ashley Arreola, 0650 374 94 81, for more info
Across the river in the 21st district, Strebersdorfhof’s chef Sabine Haas is serving up an American feast on November 24th, but places are filling up quickly for this popular location, so book before November 18th. For €23,90ou can order a portion of turkey and avail yourself of their side dish buffet containing goodies like glazed carrots, sweet potato mash, brussel sprouts and creamy spring onions; or for eight euros more you can order the three-course menu, including corn chowder and apple pie á la mode.
21., Rußbergstraße 46
Call (01) 29257220 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hard Rock Cafe
At the Hard Rocks Cafe’s large restaurant downtown, you can get a traditional Thanksgiving menu (or substitute the meat for a “classic” vegetarian nut loaf) starting at 11:30 (Americans do tend to start their holiday meal on the early side), through midnight. Larger parties can request a whole turkey for carving up table side. €38.95 per person.
A Three-Hour Cruise
The MS Admiral Tegetthoff will debark at 18:30 on a three-hour Thanksgiving dinner cruise on the Danube. For €43, each passenger gets to attack the all-you-can-eat buffet (which features some vegetarian options, as well) and enjoy live music by the Groovecake Factory. Kids five and under can join the fun for free; 6-15 years get 50% off the ticket price.
And here’s some more…
1516 Brewing Company
Nov 24th only, €31 menu
1., Schwarzenbergstraße 2
(01) 961 1516
reserve by phone (0) 677 610 122 53 or e-mail: email@example.com
We didn’t land on Plymouth rock,
Plymouth rock landed on us.
– Malcolm X