Booked out almost every night, Restaurant Mill is an insider’s tip frequented by a mixed crowd seeking a mixed menu, packed with wholesome quality food that can be dined on in a casual and characterful setting. Oh, and did we mention the wild, ivy-covered outdoor dining area hidden out the back?
Walking down Millergasse on a weekday afternoon, we find ourselves in front of a large and heavy wooden door, that, at a second push, opens to a beautiful, wild garden, where bulky wooden tables are surrounded by ivy – it reminds us of an urban space taken over by a nature gone mad. The plants are climbing all over the walls and places it shouldn’t. There’s an Asian flair in the look of this garden which is set half inside, half outside.
It’s a hot summer day, as we’ve had plenty in Vienna this summer, but the lush and shady garden instantly cool us.
Restaurant Mill is like that highly talented character that doesn’t want the fame, yet just wants to do what it does well, and have people appreciate it.
“We set up in this location not only because it’s a unique space, but because we want people to come to us on this street because they know we’re here, not because they’re just passing by,” one of the brains behind the place, Christian Gottwald, tells us.
Restaurant Mill wants to be the kind of restaurant where you come as you are, casually dressed and hungry, to have a hearty, high quality meal without the fuss.
The restaurant’s main attraction if it’s not the food is certainly their garden. The undercover part of the dining area out back is set in former stables turned garages turned, well, Restaurant Mill’s dining area. It looks like somebody’s shabby chic living room where plenty of laughs should be had over clinking glasses and cutlery. This spills out to an open air area where people are perched on bench seats at big, beautiful wooden tables.
The lunch menu contains a soup of the day, a vegetarian main and a meaty one. This is listed on the menu above a short, but diverse list of appetizsers and snacks to choose from.
We go for the vegetarian option that just so happens to be vegan. The place doesn’t cater to trends, but it believes in dishes handmade from a good, tasty, simple mix of ingredients that just occasionally meet the hype of the moment. We slurp at the seasonal potato-chanterelle mushroom soup (Eierschwammerlsuppe) and a creamy and intensely spiced sweet potato curry.
“Most of the ingredients we source are organic,” Christian explains. “I choose only regional providers because I like to work with people I know personally. Regional, seasonal… I’m not even writing these things on the menu. For me they are self-implied.”
The menu changes every week, so variety is a certainty every time you come here. The dinner menu is just as compact as the lunch one, but somewhat more sophisticated. Here, a mix of appetizers are served before the main, which can be anything from a lamb moussaka, to salmon with zucchini, a risotto, sometimes a curry, or a traditional Austrian dish. There is a choice between several mains, often a good balance between meat-centric ones, a fish option and a vegetarian. And then there is dessert, a different one every night to match the tastebuds that are already well-traveled after the first two courses.
Many guests come to Mill regularly, so the menu has to change often. Since the restaurant is off the tourist track, it attracts locals, regulars, and those who are lucky enough to read about it. So, only those who are looking for it, will find it.
The restaurant, which is not the cheap end, is booked out almost every night. The evening 3-course dinner menu starts at 21€. The popular Sunday brunch attracting a packed house every week is at a fixed price of 19€. “That’s not cheap for a brunch, but the guests know they will get their money’s worth. I mean, we are booked out every Sunday, we must be doing something right,” Christian says.
Restaurant Mill is one of those rare restaurants rejecting the trend of offering home delivery with the likes of UBEReats and Foodora, and their reasoning explains exactly what this place gets right: ‘“a main component in liking in restaurant is, beside the food and the drinks, the atmosphere and experience that comes with it.”
The right combination of these elements is what makes Mill such a special, one of a kind experience in Vienna.