Scientists have proven that food tastes better when eaten outdoors. Ok, we may have made this up, but wining and dining at a table under a shady tree, while the sun is shining and bouncing off your wine glass is one of the highlights of summer. And Vienna has plenty of opportunities to eat al fresco.
Schanigärten, hidden gardens, sidewalk gardens – here are 10 of Vienna’s best restaurants for outdoor dining.
Opening times MON–FRI: 4pm–11pm SAT–SUN: 12pm–11pm
Kitchen: Tex-Mex Summer garden described in two words: holiday and streetlamps
This Tex Mex Estancia, perched on the Prater’s sweeping boulevard, the Hauptallee, is at its best in summer due to its shady, green garden. Serving up one of the best spareribs (seasoned with a delicious chimichurri marinade) in town alongwith a range of tame tasting tapas, Estancia Santa Cruz sets the scene with a Latino flavour, including Gypsy Kings on the speakers, and the waiters determination to speak to you in Spanish. This goes nicely with the smell wafting from the grill, and the constant action to watch on the Hauptallee bike and skater highway in front.
Kitchen: Inventive Asian Summer garden described in a few words: charismatic and cosmopolitan
Set next to a playground, under a mighty big shady tree – with a bench seat wrapped around it – the China Bar’s summer garden has a lively atmosphere that is unique in Vienna, although there’ll be no need for that at this time of year. Also having made it into our 2015 Summer Bar tour, this restaurant, created by the charismatic Simon, not only serves up some of the most bold (and spicy) Asian dishes in town, it also has an interesting drinks menu. Simon describes the feel of the place to be like a European translation of an Asian street food scene. “The idea is that the China Bar is not contained by four walls, but spills out into the open, onto the street.”
Price guide Fish with seafood soup in a claypot = 14.60€ Sweet and spicy salmon in a black bean sauce = 13.50€ Dumplings made with buckwheat = 8.70€ Tsingtao beer = 3.70€
Kitchen: Modern Austrian with a hint of oriental influence. Summer Garden described in a few words: intimate and hidden
An old favourite amongst the locals, the Amerling Beisl’s courtyard garden possesses a special intimate character. Tucked away off of a cobblestone street in the 7th district, once you walk through the arched entrance, your heart rate drops to a calm murmur, similar to that coming from the tables of people at this popular summer ‘beisl’ (German for ‘pub’, although this is nothing like a pub). With grape vines draped across the courtyard’s glass ceiling, most of the tables are shaded by Balinese style umbrellas, sneaking in an Asian flavour. Meanwhile, most dishes are a modern take on the typical dishes served up at an Austrian Gasthaus – schnitzel, salads, grilled marinated meats with sides. Their breakfast is also a hit.
Kitchen: Traditional Austrian Summer garden described in a few words: old-school Austrian charm
This place is like your old Uncle Franz whose worn a tie and hat everyday of his life, eats his Knödel (dumplings) and Schweinsbraten (roast pork) at 5pm every day, and has nosehair that sway when he breathes. Prinz Ferdinand is a typical Austrian restaurant with a charming and lovely Gastgarten for afternoon lunch with the parents, or a summer evening glass of wine. We recommend you drink wine, as they do have an impressive list of Austrian wines on offer. The menu is brief, but with all the Austrian kitchen staples, from Tafelspitz (boiled beef) to seasonal specialties like Eierschwammerlknödel (dumplings with a mushroom sauce). It is a little on the pricey side though, being located in the 8th district. They do offer a daily menu for around 8 € though. They have a garden both out the front and within a hidden courtyard – both just as charming.
Kitchen: traditional Nepalese Summer garden described in a few words: Buddhist Monk meditating on the top of a mountain in the Himalayas with a subtle breeze running over his bald head
This place is all the calm you would expect from anything connotated with the meditative calm country of Nepal. Yak und Yeti is one of those places that beam the pride the owner has for their culture. Everything here is an expression of Nepalese culture, especially the set menus made up of the countries traditional cuisine. With Tibetan prayer flags and stringed lights strewn above, the garden in this little hidden courtyard is truly a pleasant place on a summer’s evening. Every night has a different set menu for a fixed price. We particularly love Thursday ‘Momo Abend’ nights in which you can eat as much as you want of the Nepalese version of dumplings. There’s always a vegetarian option on offer, and the mango lassi is a must.
Kitchen: Italian and traditional Austrian Summer garden described in a few words: Like an Italian piazza, minus the fancy sculptures and fountains.
Sharing the vast cobblestone space in front of the Maria Treu Kirche, food is worshipped respectively by three different restaurants. You can turn up here and choose between authentic quality pizza from the Italian restaurant Il Sestante, or typical Austrian kitchen from the 300-year old monestary cellar turned restaurant, Piaristenkeller, or the more reasonably priced Kaffeehaus, Maria Treu Café, also boasting a typical Viennese kitchen. Which ever you choose, you’ll be sitting in amidst the lazy-Sunday-afternoon atmosphere of this charming square that conjures thoughts of Italy.
Opening times MON–SAT: 5pm–11pm SUN: 12:30pm–9:30pm
Kitchen: Traditional Austrian Summer garden described in a few words: gmiadlich (translation: comfortable), beer, barbecue and schnapps in somebodies garden.
In a quiet, idyllic courtyard, surrounded by a fence, that typical scene only seen within the heurigens (wine taverns) in Austria can be found at the Wirtshaus Kaiserwalzer 2.0. With vines covering walls, and those typical hard chairs found in every gastgarten, eating al fresco here is confirmation of the good life we lead in Vienna. They offer a raft of goodness from the grill, from mighty spareribs, to trout, steak and grilled chicken. Meanwhile, they also offer the other celebrities of any Austrian menu, from deep-fried chicken to schnitzel and the other dishes that move with the seasons, e.g. mushroom-based dishes. Be sure to finish with a schnapps – you can’t fight tradition.
Kitchen: traditional Austrian with a few of their own specialties Summer garden described in a few words: a fairy tale on a hill
The Villa looks like it’s been taken out of a fairy tale book, and the massive al fresco garden makes us want to abandon our seat at the table (after eating, of course), and go roll around and make out with somebody in the grass. As much as we try to avoid this worn out word, this place is ‘romantic’. It’s no secret amongst the locals, yet possesses legendary status. Villa Aurora is famous for its rolled-up-like-a-cigar version of a deep-fried Cordon Bleu, meanwhile the rest of the menu is typically Austrian. The view over Vienna from the garden is made for sunsets.
Opening times MON–FRI: 7:30am–10pm SAT–SUN: 9am–10pm
Kitchen: creative Philippine cuisine, Viennese, Mediterranean Summer garden described in a few words: If this restaurant was a human, she’d be our regular, kooky one-night-stand
Pretty petunias hang from the balcony that surrounds the funky summer courtyard at the Hotel am Brilliantengrund. With their keen eye for detail, the crowd from Brilli have managed to make a hip hangout out of an old Vienna hotel. The palm trees are a nice touch, while the tables and chairs look like they’ve been transplanted from the poolside of a movie set starring Bill Murray. And the appeal for this place doesn’t stop there. With talented cooks in the kitchen, the restaurant serves up a creative and unique menu, full with a Philippino influence. They have a changing daily menu, and are becoming increasingly known for the vast range of vegan dishes they’re offering.