There’s nothing quite as gemütlich (cosy + homey) than the wood paneling, the bench booth seats, the floral prints on the table cloths, and the dead dear head hanging on the wall to be found at an Austrian Gasthaus (tavern). And the meat-heavy dishes, with dumplings on the side, will have you falling asleep at the table before you even have a chance to order desert, or to saluting the meal you’ve just devoured with a schnapps.
We’ve made you a list of the best and most gemütliche Gasthäuser in Vienna to retreat to when in need of some home cooking to warm you up from the winter’s cold.
Gasthaus Pöschl – gemütliche Gasthäuser
Where: Weihburggasse 17, 1010
Hiding in plain sight, we find Gasthaus Pöschl in the middle of the first district, a stones throw from Stephansplatz. Stepping inside, immediately noticeable is the large bar in the middle of the popular Gasthaus that dominates Pöschl. Regulars and tourists crowd around, sipping their Czech beer, dining on their dishes piled with hearty Austrian cuisine.
The rest of this tasetful, yet unpretentious space is packed to the brim (beware you might be rubbing elbows with your neighbouring diners). At Pöschl, you’ll feel right at home. The service is efficient and friendly. The menu is updated daily, based on the seasonally available ingredients, and the ambience is truly Austrian. Being suckers for Schnitzel, we tried one and it was fantastic, served with a potato salad to die for. When the sun’s shining, Pöschl takes over a large part of the lovely cobblestone square, Franziskanerplatz, making it one of the most charming places for a meal or a drink on a hot, breezy Vienna evening.
The place is run and owned by the locally well-known actor, Hanno Pöschl, and his wife – author of cookbooks and kickass cook – Andrea Karrer. Gasthaus Pöschl has updated the old Gasthaus look, but kept the cosiness, and the traditional menu.
Gmoakeller – gemütliche Gasthäuser
Where: Am Heumarkt 25, 1030
The Gmoakeller is one of the oldest taverns (Wirtshaus) in Vienna. It is a cosy restaurant set in a cellar neighbouring the Wiener Konzerthaus and the Akademietheater. Here you’ll witness the rare sight of elegantly dressed men in tuxedos drinking beer on tap and ripping into Sacherwürstels dunked in mustard and horseradish. It’s a special place where all the great things of Viennese culture come together.
This makes it, at first glimpse, hard to rate; the rather casual setting, lit mostly by candlelight, is contrasted by the elegantly dressed regulars of dames and gentlemen who are dropping in before or after a concert at the neighbouring venues. Meanwhile, the menu, drinks and prices cater to one and all. Well-known Austrian classics fill the menu, including daily specials that are usually seasonal surprises. They have Austrian beer, as well as a good variety of international brands and craft beer. The waiters are charming, attentive and smiling, always up for a chat and happy to offer recommendations.
Gasthaus Wild – gemütliche Gasthäuser
Where: Radetzkyplatz 1, 1030
Dressed up like an elderly gentlemen who wields a cane and a monocle and wears a felt alpine cap with a feather sticking out, Gasthaus Wild is right up there as one of the cosiest Austrian Gasthäuser. Spruced wood paneling, a beautiful bar with beer taps and wines as far as the eye can see. Gasthaus Wild is wild for wine, by the way, and has been known to many in the 3rd district as a favourite local for ages, especially since it’s rebirth in 2002 when it went from a bum of a Beisl (bistro-pub) to its handsome looks of today. The menu carries all of the flavoursome favourites such as goulash, schnitzel with potato salad, and paprika chicken with Spätzle (egg noodles), while on occasion they’ll feature game meat main dishes (hence, the name).
Heidingers Gasthaus – gemütliche Gasthäuser
Where: Selzergasse 38, 1150
Heidinger’s might very well be the black sheep of this list. We’d also rank it as having the owner with the driest Wiener Schmäh. Tucked away behind Rudolfheim’s eponymous church – deep in Viennese country – Heidinger’s is one of Vienna’s best-kept Wirtshaus secrets. It’s probably less fashionable than some of the other Wirtshäuser on this list, but it doesn’t at all suffer as a result. Invest enough time here and you’ll become a bona fide Stammkunde (regular).
The drinks are served within minutes, while the food isn’t half bad either. With a menu that is divided by animal – pork, chicken or beef – Heidinger’s specialises in the typical Vienna fare with a twist (anyone whose curiosity isn’t aroused by Gulasch in a light batter, frankly, is no fun in our book), as well as offering a selection of fantastic local wines, this place has to rank as one of our favourite Gasthäuser to hide out in.
Gasthaus Quell – gemütliche Gasthäuser
Where: Reindorfgasse 19, 1150
The Ur-Wirtshaus (Ur is a prefix put in front of words to emphasis them). Gasthaus Quell has a long and dignified and famed history for churning out some of the best Viennese Küche around, and for good reason. The centrepiece of the increasingly hip 15th district’s hippest street, people flock from miles around for the lashing of Gulasch they’ll get at Quell. Actually, you could pick anything from the menu and expect a food-gasm. The grub is just great.
The atmosphere inside is appropriately Beisl-like. It’s interior has more wood than a Norwegian pine forest and the décor wouldn’t have looked out of place in our nan’s house. What we really like about the place is that it manages to appeal to a young crowd, but remains utterly unpretentious. It also has a spectacular Schrebergarten, positioned on the street opposite a church where there are rarely any cars.
Schutzhaus am Schafberg – gemütliche Gasthäuser
Where: Czartoryskigasse 190–192, 1170
SUN & public holidays: 10am–10pm
This is a clean, modern gasthaus whose dishes and space are what would happen if an authentic Austrian Gasthaus and an elegantly hip restaurant had a baby. The minimal rooms and big windows create a comfortable atmosphere in which you could sit all day sipping at a beer or wine while reading, or bring your partner’s parents from abroad for the real Austrian experience. The spot is situated a good 25 minute trip from the city centre, but worth the schlepp (trip). With a beautiful view and a green surrounding, the Schanigarten is impressive in summer.
While the menu is stacked with the typical meat-heavy options, we appreciated that there were at least a few vegetarian options as well. What we enjoyed even more was the ‘Nutellapalatschinken’ (Nutella crepes) and ‘Schokomousse’ we had for desert.
Das Rebhuhn – gemütliche Gasthäuser
Where: Berggasse 24, 1090
Daily: 11am–12am (In July and August the restaurant is closed on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays)
Das Rebhuhn is a unpretentious old-school Austrian Gasthaus, and a favourite amongst those living in the 9th district. The simple wooden décor, punctuated with obscure ornaments, plenty of coat hooks and two wood fires, all combined, makes you feel at home, alongwith the warm greetings of ‘Grüß Gott’ from the staff and guests, alike.
The food, like in all the best Gasties (yes, we just made that word up, and yes, it’s going to catch on) is not only seasonal but also hearty, heart-warming and exactly what one needs on a cold day. We almost felt that we’d be stepping out onto a ski slope, rather than a freezing Viennese street, when leaving this wonderful place.
Ottakringer Landhaus – gemütliche Gasthäuser
Where: Albrechtskreithgasse 38, 1160
Sitting amongst residential housing, homes for the elderly and Fiaker horse stables somewhere between the 16th and 17th district, the Ottakringer Landhaus is not really calling out to you in terms of its location. Nor will anyone tell you, “that’s where it’s at” – but we’ll tell you that’s where delicious Viennese Hausmannskost is at!
The Ottakringer Landhaus is a traditional Viennese restaurant with a colourful history. The building itself was built in 1865 and used to be a “horse changing station.” Yes, you read that correctly: almost 150 years ago, tram line 43 used to be a horse-drawn tramway, making it not only the most hated, but also the oldest tram line in Austria. After Vienna introduced electric trams, the stables were used by one of Vienna’s Fiaker families who sold the property in 2000. Luckily, after 6 years of vacancy, the Bures family acquired the premises and lovingly restored it.
The menu features a selection of Austrian classics and internationally inspired dishes and changes quite often in order to accommodate seasonally available produce, which is mostly sourced from regional suppliers.
Gösser Bierklinik – gemütliche Gasthäuser
Where: Steindlgasse 4, 1010
Although the name might conjure up images of a sterile and clinical-like environment, the Gösser Bierklinik is nothing like a hospital. This famous Gasthaus dating from the 1400’s is nestled in the heart of the First District, just off the Graben. The Gösser Bierklinik is favoured by the Viennese and tourists alike and no, they do not serve beer intravenously, and yes, we asked. A converted and now covered courtyard is the heart of the restaurant, while small arched rooms surround it.
There is even a cannon ball still lodged into a wall: dating back from an Ottoman Empire siege in the 17th century. Nowadays, hopefully, no renaissance weaponry will interrupt your dinner of Schnitzel and Zwickl (An Austrian unfiltered beer).
The Gösser Bierklinik, as you probably have already guessed, serves the beloved local Goesser beer on tap, and in bottles, so don’t even think about walking in with your can of Ottakringer Blech. Beer wars are real, everybody. Once seated, the waiter will ask you what you would like to drink and if you say “beer” he will then proceed to list the following: Gösser Spezial, Gösser Stiftsbräu Dunkel, Gemischtes hell oder dunkel, Gösser Zwickl, Reininghaus Pils, Schladminger Märzen, Altbrünner Gold and you may want to hide under the table and/or order a Coke. Our suggestion is to go for the classic and order a large Zwickl.
But let us not forget about our arteries either. The Bierklinik offers a large range of “Schmankerln” and our personal favourite on a cold winters night is the Fiakergulasch – named after the horse and carriage drivers.
Gasthaus Nestroy – gemütliche Gasthäuser
Where: Weintraubengasse 7, 1020
The 2nd district’s beloved family-run Gasthaus Nestroy has the feel and the looks of a mountain cabin. Here, you can order a range of quality German and Austrian beers by the litre and a wide range of Schnapps to please anybody brave enough to shoot the fiery and sweet liquid at the end of their meal – for indigestion purposes, of course. The fixed menu stars all of the Austrian Gasthaus favourites, including a quality Zwiebelrostbraten (Roast beef with fried onions on top), quality fried chicken dishes, from Backhendl salad, Cordon Bleu to deep-fried filled chicken breast paired with the common side of parsley potatoes. There’s also a changing daily menu full of alternative dishes, that has been known to include the likes of burgers and risottos. Their daily dish comes at a cool 9 € and is available until sold out.
Stammkunden (regular cusomters) line the bar most nights, while the booth bench seats, embroided with little green deers, are a cosy spot to spend a night chatting, eating and drinking with friends. Did we mention the beer that can be ordered by the Mass?