Midi: Paris for Lunch

A downtown deli brings joie de vivre to Vienna

A cartoon figure sporting a beret, striped shirt and moustache strolls across the tiled walls of Midi, a new deli on Hoher Markt, close to Stephansdom. In case you’re still uncertain where this is going, he’s also got a  baguette tucked under his arm. The spectrum of Gallic delights ranges from traditional to contemporary in its cozy, powder blue interior. Playful Parisian flair at a reasonable price, n’est-ce pas?

Midi is a matter of the heart for former cardiologist Pessah Yampolky and ex-economist Guilhem Baribeaud, two well-traveled citizens of the world who decided to give up their vocations to pursue their passion for la vie française. The grande nation was their culinary compass wherever they went, from Uzbekistan, to Ukraine, Israel, Germany and now, to the heart of Vienna. The proprietors work the counter themselves, emulating their logo in red-and-white striped shirts, enthusiastically serving up flavorful dishes cooked by their chef Franck Sebilleau.

At lunchtime the place provides a snug sanctuary from the bustling 1st district. Imagine yourself watching the sunset from the Pont des Arts and let the simple, authentic selections like Quiche Lorraine and Bœuf Bourguinon (Beef Burgundy) whisk you away with every mouthful to the Seine. There is time to return to the Donaukanal.

Midi provides slow food take-out. That may seem an oxymoron, but is pulled off with panache: Healthy eats like Bulgur and Salads, mouth-watering deserts like Mousse au Chocolat and yellow lemon tartelettes already stand at attention in a sleek stainless steel shelf, quality self-service ready to be enjoyed by hungry professionals, tourists, or homesick émigrés. They manage the more elaborate dishes by sacrificing variety for quality: instead of offering à la carte, they have a daily lunch menu of savory quiches, rich soups and other simple hot meals, providing fresh and instantly gratifying foodie experiences. Take the uncomplicated and easy access associated with a canteen, add Süssmund coffee and French bistro bustle, pair it with a gourmet deli selection, and you’ll find yourself sitting on one of Midi’s hand-crafted wicker stools.

The deceiving simplicity of these delicacies makes the deli approachable and surprisingly affordable. There’s also an assortment of exotic treats ready to take home for your own cooking endeavors, such as black walnut oil, Dijon mustard, canned sardines that melt on your tongue, wine from Bordeaux and pink lady-fingers called Biscuits Rose – best served with champagne.

As a fun fact, the deli’s premises have historical merit: originally a venerable stationary store, a scene from the quintessential noir thriller The Third Man was shot on location. You can enjoy the classic’s camera angle, a view onto the Josephsbrunnen fountain while you eat. A très chic addition to the Viennese lunch scene, Midi makes fancy French tastes accessible for all. Though still the new kid on the block, they’re already buzzing by noon, benefitting from Vienna’s tendency to comfortably balance work and leisure, health and pleasure, as well as quality and budget meals.

Bienvenue au petit Paris.

Hoher Markt 5 1010



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