Steckerlfisch – we just love saying that word. If you have no idea what this is, you are missing out on a delicious piece of Austrian culture. The word ‘Steckerl’ in this Austro-Bavarian specialty gives away how this fish dish is prepared – a fish (typically trout) skewered on a stick is positioned with their tails in the air, angled above the embers of a grill. Beforehand, the fish has been marinated in a hearty mixture of oil, spices and garlic, making the skin extra crunchy when done well.
While you’ll find Steckerlfish in every lakeside town in Austria, it’s not easy to find in Vienna. However, we’ve found 3 places doing a masterful job of the Austrian summer hit dish, the Steckerlfish.
Strandcafé – Best Steckerlfisch
Where: Florian-Berndl-Gasse 20, 1220
Daily: 10am–12am (kitchen 11:30am–10pm)
Ribs and a riverside view typically attract the masses to Strandcafé, however the Steckerlfisch also deserves a mention for this summer favourite Gasthaus’ fame. While the Steckerlfisch here is served in a more formal fashion than tradition allows (on a plate rather than wrapped in paper), this steals nothing from the taste. The skin is crispy and marinated to perfection, while the fishy flesh falls of the bone. Served with a slice of brown bread, garlic butter and a lemon wedge, your Steckerlfisch experience here at Strandcafe is complete. We’d recommend you pair it with a glass of the Budweiser Budvar beer fresh from the tap, and perhaps a side of their tasty flat fries if you’re feeling like going all out. The view here is what the Austrians would sigh and call ‘Herrlich!’ (heavenly) and the summer vibe is intoxicating.
Steckerlfisch = 14.90€
Budweiser Budvar 0.5l = 4.40€
Restaurant Flamingo – Best Steckerlfisch
Where: Kuchelauer Hafenstraße 56, 1190
This one is worth the journey: as soon as you step out of the bus and walk along this peaceful part of the Danube river towards the Flamingo restaurant, you’ll feel like you’re on holidays in the South. Little kids feeding swans, people leisurely paddling up the river, and the promise of fresh fish all add to the feeling.
Situated right next to the Danube, Flamingo has a generous Gastgarten, complete with old trees that provide you with shade on the hot summer nights.The place is packed, and it’s a Wednesday night when we visit.
The menu has much more to offer than Steckerlfish – as Osman Özgan the junior chef tells us jokingly, it is a Turkish restaurant offering international cuisine. While we order the trout and Gilthead Sea Bream, Osman surprised us with a mixed seafood platter that had us grinning with satisfaction from one ear to the other (and had the people next to us throwing us envious glances). And then the star of the evening arrived, the famous Steckerlfisch. It’s everything we had hoped for – grilled to a crisp on the outside, and juicy on the inside. We just kept on saying, ‘I can’t believe how tender this is.’
We suspect the secret behind the restaurant’s success is the freshness of the ingredients and the unpretentious way in which the dishes are prepared, as well as the gorgeous location and the seemingly never-ending friendliness of the waiters.
Good to know: We recommend you make your reservation early enough to catch one of the tables right next to the river. Also, this seems like a good spot to bring and impress a first date.
Trout: 9,90 €
Sea Bass: 12,90 €
Rib Eye Steak: 16,90 €
Hafenkneipe – Best Steckerlfisch
Where: Untere Donaustraße 47, 1020
Daily: 4pm–12am (in case of good weather, open in the summer months)
Hafenkneipe is one of the original bars that setup on the Donaukanal and to this day it’s still a favourite for many. Standing alone a little removed from the crowds of beach bars further upstream, you’ll find a bunch of people chilling on Hafenkneipe’s drink crates and deckchairs, while enjoy the Donaukanal breeze. You’ll also find a stand attached to the bar grilling and serving up trout on a stick, the mighty Steckerlfisch. Served with tzatziki, a slice of lemon, and all-you-can-eat bread, the fish comes served in the traditional no-fuss way – on a piece of waxy paper. The Steckerlfish is the right amount of burnt, seasoned beautifully, and juicy on the inside (it literally falls off the bone).
And the waterside setting completes this pretty summer picture.
Plus: you’ll definitely want to get a classic Austrian sweet, a Schwedenbombe (chocolate puff), for desert after your fish – it’s the Austrian thing to do
Good to know… Hafenkneipe also serve up a good pizza.
Pizza Margherita= 6,50€