If you were to mark on a map all of the recommendable restaurants, bars and cafes around the Karmelitermarkt, it would look like our pimple-ridden face at the age of 14 (we don’t want to talk about it, it was a tough time in our lives). What we’re alluding to is that awesome food and drink places have been popping up in, and around this 2nd district market square in recent years like crazy.
Here are 13 food and drink places in the Karmelitermarkt area that you should definitely check out when after a bite to eat, or a place to meet for coffee or drinks:
Opening times TUE–FRI: 11:30am–2pm & 5pm–12am SAT: 12pm–1am SUN–MON: closed
Just off of the Karmelitermarkt, with a vibe that we can only describe as simple and simply very cool, is Marktlücke. The menu at this smart looking restaurant is all about balance. There’s a balance in the menu’s composition and in the flavours of each dish, from their renowned beef tartar and tuna tartar to the octopus in a wild garlic sauce and shellfish foam dressing, or the creamy truffle infused polenta. Complete flavor satisfaction is what the head chef, Sebastian, attempts to produce daily. Additionally, the selection of drinks doesn’t fall short, either. This place doesn’t worship any nationality’s cuisine, but it does worship the seasons, serving only seasonal dishes, and their creativity makes each dish an original.
Tip: It might not seem like a place that can rock a big saucy burger but Marktlücke has more burger game than Ronald McDonald had in the 60s. So definitely give their Burger a try!
Opening times MON–FRI: 11am–3pm & 6pm–9pm SAT, SUN & public holidays: closed
Just around the corner from the market, set in what was formerly an old Viennese Beisl (a small pub) is Kamala Thai Imbiss. The ambience here is of a typical takeaway, but to eat here one requires time and patience. As the owner Prachaya says, “Everything in Thaliand takes time, especially the food.” Considering every dish here is prepared fresh when ordered, the wait is worth it. As a family restaurant, you’re sure to feel welcome. As part of the recent out-break of pocket-sized quality eateries encircling the Karmelitermarkt, Kamala is not only the cheapest Thai in town we could find, but bursting with the vibrant taste of Thai. It’s the owner’s sister who does the cooking, and the global celebrity dish of Thai cuisine, Pad Thai, is her masterpiece. We’d also recommend the Krapow Gai (Thai Basil Chicken) for those who can handle their spice.
This place takes the cake! (sorry, we had to put it in here somewhere) This cosy little pastel-coloured place is not shy about trumpeting what it’s good at – making cakes. Its name translates to Fat and sugar, and they combine these two things in some glorious creations. This coffee and cake cafe’s motto is – ‘cake makes you happy,’ which is exactly the same as what we plan to have put on our gravestone. The cake varieties rotate regularly and the coffee’s decent. We love the odd furniture arrangement that looks like its been thrown together after a visit to a fleamarket. It’s a small place, so there’s only limited seating and it also has some unexpected opening hours, so plan your visit. They’re a friendly bunch here, and it’s the perfect place for a cosy afternoon meet up for those looking to add a little sweetness to their lives.
Very close to Karmelitermarkt in Leopoldsgasse, you’ll find the corner restaurant that houses an almost legendary pizzeria, serving real “pizza napoletana”.
The unpretentious and relaxed atmosphere of Pizza Mari is mirrored in the following words from its owner, Maria: “If you like the place, then come, if you don’t like it, don’t come.” But in our not so humble opinion, there is nothing not to like about this Neapolitan-style pizza bar, but plenty to love about it. It oozes cool vibes, yet has all the awkward, effortless loveable charm of an Italian Nonna who hasn’t cut her toenails since 1953, and slaps you on the back of the head as she hands you a fat piece of lasagna and yells, “MANGIA!”
This place is honestly Italy, without the cliché kitsch. The retro-styled pizzeria is brightly lit like a petrol station, loud like an Italian in front of a football match, and the pizzas are some of the best in the city. The laminated menu is pizza-only, with a selection of either a red or white base – from the traditional Margherita that is eaten from paper on the streets of Naples, to the funky in-house creations like the Patate (a white, cheese based pizza with rosemary, and potatoes on top). Like a lot of the Italian kitchen, simplicity is the secret recipe … and good cheese.
Check out our complete review of Pizza Mari, here.
This calm market square through the week comes to life every Saturday morning, bringing regional farmers closer to families and locals of the 2nd district. Every stand has personality, whether they sell cheese, home made porchetta, or honey fresh from the hive. If there is one thing to point out at this market, it is the incredible Austro-Italian influence that can be found amongst the stands as, you guessed it, most of them are run by Italians and Austrians! Except the Brit Richard, who’s the butcher behind Britwurst, the famous British sausage brand.
Tip: If you want to cook at home on a Saturday night, go to this market without a specific recipe, let yourself be inspired by the seasonal colors and ingredients the farmers bring with them, and take advantage of the free samples on offer. Not only is it the best way to start a meal, they might even convince you to buy a whole wheel of cheese… just saying.
This one is a little further away from the Karmelitermarkt radius, but because it’s so unique, we decided to push it back a few blocks to fit it in to this article. The interior of Harvest Bistro is welcoming with its rustic and chilled look. Not one single table is like the other, just like the guests, it seems. The brunch of this vegan place is something that will hunt meat eaters and vegans alike, with its vast array of dishes boasting exceptional flavours! It’s already a big hit amongst those in the know. True to the meaning of the word ‘bistro,’ food is cooked slow but served fast here, without any quality, or taste being compromised. For many, the items on the menu that steal the show are the curry and burritos. Every day through the week, a midday buffet is laid out in which vegan and vegetarian dishes are mixed and matched, while on the weekend the vegan brunch keeps the place full into the late afternoon. The kitchen is only open until 4pm, while vegan tapas and snacks are served after 6pm.
Located in the heart of the second district, Skopik & Lohn is New York bistro meets Viennese Gasthaus. Opening its doors in 2006, it has become a favourite for its seasonal and high quality food, friendly, knowledgeable and intuitive staff, its old world charm, and also for its Wiener Schnitzel.
The tables are covered in starched white tablecloths, cutlery is shined and the waiters wear white dinner coats. Stark black painted lines zig zag and swirl across the restaurant, making you feel like you’re in an art installation. It is a fabulous contrast to the traditional tables and chairs.
The Schnitzel at Skopik und Lohn has become the restaurant’s staple dish. At one point they even considered banishing the traditional dish from their menu, but there was such an outcry that the Schnitzel remained – a bit like the adult child you love but won’t move out.
Plus: make sure to call ahead for a reservation, the restaurant is popular and is often fully booked.
Opening times MON–FRI: 8:30am–10pm SAT: 8am–2pm SUN: closed
Cafemima is one of those pretty, inviting little cafes lining the entrance to Karmelitermarkt (the entrance directly across from the hippy and psychedelic apartment building) with a beautiful garden out front. Breakfast is the focus, especially on Saturdays when they serve up an all-day-breakfast menu. Their light lunches are also popular amongst those who know it, especially the falafel plate. They’ve also got plenty to offer a vegetarian or vegan, with the chicken sandwich being the odd one out. Plus, the garden is always inviting for an afternoon coffee.
For breakfast, cafemima serves up great omelettes, Viennese breakfasts and a stellar fresh fruit salad (there’s 3 words we never thought we’d utter). Not to mention their house creation, the mima Frühstück, including breaded goat cheese on baguette, mint and honey yoghurt, seasonal raw vegetables, butter and chives.
They also serve a changing lunch menu that includes a soup and a main dish, which is always vegetarian. All dishes are freshly prepared in the small kitchen of this intimate and cosy market stand.
The tiny flowers on the tables make us want to shrink and live in amongst them. It is these very flowers which catch our attention and suck us into Katscheli, the little cafe a short walk away from the Karmelitermarkt.
Just picture this – it’s Saturday morning and you’ve walked the round of the bustling Kamerlitermarkt several times looking for a place at one of their many cafes to sit, but to no avail. The little man in our heads tweaks our hunger nipples (yes, your brain does have nipples – it’s a scientific fact) and is yelling and screaming at the handsome people sitting back with their Melange and their little breakfasts – bastards! And then we stumble upon Katscheli, the cafe/ bar/ our saviour. One thing delights us instantly about this place: whoever decorated it understood the beauty in subtly and small things – the bent forks used as coat hooks on the wall, the old Wiener café chairs pulled up to modern plain tables, and once again, the tiny flowers. These small details are framed by plain modern furniture, no fancy stuff. It’s as if they have used no other makeup but a bit of mascara to bring out Katscheli’s eyes. At night, it’s a smoky bar, through the day it serves small breakfasts (until 12pm), tapas and sandwiches.
Opening times MON–FRI: 11am–12am SAT–SUN: 10am–12am
The name translates as ‘beautiful pearl,’ and this is exactly what this modern take on an Austrian restaurant is…is what we would say if we were lazy restaurant reviewers that say even the toilets at Flex smell like potpourri. Schöne Perle has had plenty of praise heaped on it throughout it’s life, and some of it definitely was earned. The dishes whipped up here are deeply rooted in the Austrian kitchen, but are a healthier, cleaner, tastier, and organic version of what you’d have slapped in front of you in most Gasthäuser (traditional Austrian restaurants). It has the staple dishes of Tafelspitz (juicy and organic) and a Schnitzel that is highly regarded, while they also cook with the seasons, with pumpkin dishes covering the menu in autumn and asparagus in spring. The tall arched windows and the light pine tables and chairs lend it a bright and pleasant ambience.
Don’t let the name fool – while they’re stocking quality wine, it’s all about burgers at Weinschenke. This place is the stuff of legends when it comes to serving up meat in buns. There are 9 different burgers to choose from, 1 of which is vegetarian and another is vegan, which is a polenta bun stuffed with hummus and other veggie goodies. Exciting names such as Tijuana Picante and Billy the Kid draw attention, and the plates piled with burger and little flying saucer fries draws a fierce hunger. The choice of sauces is plentiful, with a homemade BBQ sauce, Thai curry and truffle mayonnaise sauce in the mix. We love the odd marriage of wine and burgers here. We highly recommend reserving, as seats are limited, especially in winter when the garden closes up.
Opening times MON–THU: 4pm–1am FRI–SAT: 4pm–2am SUN: 12pm–12am smoking
The owners revived it from a local alcoholic’s dive to a popular hangout for all sorts of people. The Tachles ethos is, ‘this is where life happens’. Sitting there munching on the house speciality of delicious homemade Polish Pierogi, we see couples touching hands across the table, groups of friends loud and laughing, two girls engaged in an animated political conversation – this is actually one of those places you enter and you realise it has a living, beating heart. Tachles attracts life. People meet over their wooden tables, under the dim light for love of each other, or conversation, or for the love of the vast range of Polish beer and the delicious menu (If you don’t choose the Pierogi, try the spaghetti, or the Palatschinken (crêpes)). Silent films of Marx Brothers, Charlie Chaplin or Laurel and Hardy are forever projected on the wall, while music fitting for the warm atmosphere can be heard. Find our full review of Tachles, here.
Story behind the name: Tachles is a Yiddish word that means, ‘Klartext’ in German, and in English it means to speak clearly and literally. ‘I like this a lot in a world in which we often hide’, the charismatic manager Daniel tells me.
This is a Japanese bar way beyond a sushi bar – here, you’ll get the whole kaiseki experience. This refined and neat Japanese brasserie takes its small plates to the next level. The small portions – whether it be the teppenyaki items, the flamed grilled salmon sashimi, or the 24-hour braised ribe eye – is better shared, so you can time when the delectable dishes make you all say, ‘fuck, that’s good,’ in unison. The ramen and the miso is also slurp-worthy.
The dishes are laid out stunningly on the beautiful Japanese crockery that only adds to the experience. If you’re not into making choices, you can simply order the 3 (32€), 4 (42€) or 6 (69€) course menu. You won’t be dissappointed.
Good to know… they also host cooking classes here. Check out the details, here.