Sometimes, you’ll be walking along the street in Vienna and hear the sounds of glasses and cutlery clanging, and the murmur of a crowd of people chatting, laughing and enjoying life, but you won’t be able to see where it’s coming from.
Behind some seemingly normal looking buildings in Vienna are hidden restaurant and cafe gardens – this is the source of the sounds of good times. Unique to this city, these inner courtyard oases in the city provide a green, shady escape of calm.
Here are 11 idyllic hidden restaurant and café gardens to escape to in Vienna:
Opening times MON–THU: 6pm–12am FRI: 6pm–1am SAT: 12pm–1am SUN: 12pm–12am
The 19th district version of the experimental sushi restaurant, Dots, is a true treat to the eye…not to mention the tastebuds.
While the garden is huge, it doesn’t try to fit in as many tables as possible, yet rather only houses a few tables. This means this is one of the most peaceful and relaxed gardens on this list.
With colourful lanterns strung across the garden, and the well thought through and original design found at all Dots restaurants, Dots im Brunnenhof is a special spot. The waiters are well dressed, and so is the delicious and inventive (and quite pricey) sushi. The garden is surrounded by white picket fences, including along the balcony that looks over the inner courtyard garden below.
This place is a far cry from the other take away sushi places found around town. This is sushi as a dining experience.
Opening times MON–FRI: 4pm–11pm TUE–THU: 11:30am–2:30pm SAT: closed SUN: 11am–4pm
Bulky wooden tables and bench seats scatter the Restaurant Mill’s garden. Nature is taking over this urban space, with ivy climbing all over the walls and places it shouldn’t.
There’s an Asian flair in the look of this restaurant’s garden, which is half inside, half outside. The inside part is set in old stables, turned garages, turned, well, open restaurant dining area. It looks like somebody’s shabby chic living room where plenty of laughs should be had over clinking glasses and cutlery.
Mill believes in keeping things casual, while serving up cuisine that could take on any fancy restaurant in flavour and quality. Mill’s garden is booked out most nights, so be sure to give them a call and reserve before you turn up here. And don’t be surprised if they tell you that they’re booked out all week, however, this special place is worth the patience. Oh, and they have an amazing weekend brunch!
Known as Café Jetzt, or simply ‘Das Jetzt’, this location in the 17th district is one of those places that qualifies as a second living room where you’ll instantly feel at home. Stepping into the garden’s intriguing labyrinth of a layout, a blast of 90’s nostalgia hits you when you first spot the psychedelic silkscreen posters by Frank Kozik, allegedly the owner’s favourite artist.
The focus is definitely on the drinks and their generous prices – seriously, a Gin Tonic mixed from Nether Austrian X-Gin and Queen’s Tonic from Ottakring is only 3.90€ – what is this? Paradise? On the subject of drinks, the Basil Crush (4.90€) is a delicious must-try.
The free, friendly atmosphere and the mutual respect between staff and guests make up a big part of Jetzt’s personality and what makes it so unique. Throw in the fact that entry is always free, including when a weekly DJ rotation that may satisfy even the most obscure of music tastes is happening.
There are also singer/songwriter evenings organised by the Vienna Songwriting Circle when creative minds get together, and small concerts every once in a while – none less than Nino aus Wien has played there. It’s easy to see why people keep returning to Jetzt. And the inner courtyard garden is one of it’s major drawcords. It may be out of the way being in Hernals, but if your looking for a drinking hole to hideaway with a group of friends, this be the place.
Opening times MON–FRI: 7:30am–10pm SAT–SUN: 9am–10pm
Hiding in the retro setting of the Hotel am Brillantengrund lies some of the best Pinoy (Filipino) vegan food being cooked up this side of the equator.
In between the canary yellow walls and super sweet looking flowers of the Hotel am Brillantengrund’s courtyard, the food and beautiful setting has locals going for a holiday for a lunch break or dinner at this hipster hotel.
Good things are happening in the kitchen hidden behind the retro bar of the restaurant where vegan, gluten-free, Pinoy food is being cooked up. Yes, in the kitchen of a hotel that looks very traditionally Austrian – one already gets a kick out of the stark contrast and quirkiness of it all.
It all makes sense when you’re told that a Philippino family is running the place (with the star mum of a cook doing the cooking). The breakfast is also popular here, while the drinks menu is worth coming here alone for to enjoy in the idyllic garden.
Gergely’s could be considered an insider’s tip amongst those mad for meat in town. Hidden away, down a cobblestone side street in the 5th district, some of the juiciest cuts are being sizzled up.
There are two things that we really love about this place – besides the knife-cuts-into-it-like-butter steaks – the charming and shady garden hidden in the cobblestone courtyard out the back, and the affordable prices. Actually, this has to be one of the most fairly-priced steakhouses we’ve been to in this city.
They’ve got steak from cow’s of all nationalities – Argentine, Austrian, Australian – and also in all the favourite cuts. Meanwhile, the wine menu is full of the bold reds that you want to throw back with your steak.
The rare inner-city Heurige, Weinstube Josefstadt, is exactly what it says on the box. And you’ll discover this upon entering this secret little hideaway in Vienna’s 8th district. That is, if you manage to find the place. It’s one of those places you could pass every day on your way to work and never notice it. Look for the lantern outside that you normally see hanging outside of this city’s Heurigen (wine taverns).
Cutting through a small walkway, the sound of the city fades behind you as you enter an unexpectedly lush garden. It’s quiet, with just a few tables occupied as we take our seats just after opening time. Ernst, the manager, ensures us that’ll change soon. He hands us a beer each, without spitting in it (this is no ordinary Heurige).
The Weinstube has an impressive selection of wines from all over Austria, but they’re proud to serve the quality Czech Kozel beer, as well.
The ‘stube’ opens every day at four sharp, and not a minute earlier. Ernst tells us they need the time to cook all their food in the morning and afternoon. All of their warm and cold dishes are freshly prepared in their kitchen every day.
By the time we leave, the garden is almost filled with people enjoying the shaded garden on a scorcher of a Viennese day. The clientele is diverse; students rubbing elbows with pensioners and a few in-the-know tourists snapping pictures.
We recommend… you indulge in the warm and cold Austrian-style Heurige tapas here.
Opening times MON–FRI: 9am–8pm (when the weather is nice, open until 10pm) SAT: closed SUN: 10am–6pm
Garten Cafe is a place like no other in Vienna, perhaps even the world, and it’s not even trying. It may also be one of the calmest places in the world. With tables and chairs set up in the grass of a shady inner courtyard, this city oasis of a cafe has an old Vienna charm that can only come naturally.
It has a homey outdoor garden with an unmistakable Austrian flair. The 6th district cafe looks rather like a little ‘Beisl’ (pub) from the outside, making the garden a true surprise when walking in.
Serving Austrian simple classics – breakfasts all day, toasts, egg dishes and pastries, the food is simple and not groundbreaking, but more like comfort food. Coming for an Iced coffee or a beer makes more sense here. This is the kind of place that makes you hope that some things never change.
Opening times MON-THU: 5pm–12:30pm FRI-SAT: 3:30pm-2am SUN: closed
This is a very special place in Vienna’s 6th district for those that are in love with the cultures and colourful cuisine of Latin America.
The inside has both a modern and rustic look about it, while hidden away out the back, they have a magnificent garden in the courtyard of an apartment block. And it’s normally alive with people dancing Samba, Tango, Salsa, or some other impressive looking Latin American dance. The food here is very tasty, and some of the best Latin American cuisine (with most dishes hailing from Mexico and Peru) in the city – it challenges the lame stereotype-looking dishes that many Mexican restaurants serve up in Vienna. We’re in love with their yam fries!
Good to know… Mi Barrio also has a concert hall where they host all kinds of events so keep an eye on their Facebook page!
This café inside the Volkskundemuseum in the 8th disctrict’s got a charming interior, but what we love even more is its beautiful, hidden al fresco garden set out back in the inner courtyard.
This one’s truly made for fairytales and a great breakfast spot to linger for hours over a weekend brunch (or weekday breakfast), but you gotta’ reserve well in advance, or you may miss out.
The food is wholesome and tasty, and they’ve got a good breakfast selection. Also, make sure to take a look at their oh-so-hip coffee creations, or try one of their homemade cakes. If you want to find out more about this hidden breakfast gem, read our full review on Hildebrandt Cafe.
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.
Pizzeria da Filippo is one of the best tapas places in the city with a holiday-feeling garden out back. If you’re scratching your head wondering why a place calling itself a pizzeria, you’re enthusiastic head scratching is not misplaced. We were also confused when our Spanish friend announced as we approached the arched entrance, ‘this is the place’, while claiming that we had arrived at one of the best spots for Spanish tapas in the city.
Within a typical setting you’d see in Spain – a white walled, massive courtyard, filled with big groups of people, floored with gravel, red and white table clothes – is like another world which one could easily walk by everyday along Thaliastrasse, without knowing it exists.
The servings here are big, so don’t be turned off by the prices attached to the tapas. The Pulpo a la Feira (octopus marinated in oil and parika) we order is tender while the fish soup is the best we’ve ever tasted in this city. The Salpicon de Mejillones (muscles in a lemon marinade) and the croquettes deserve a hearty ‘Ole!’.
Every dish they put down on our table makes us grateful for having been introduced to this Spanish secret. This is the most authentic tapas we’ve had in Vienna, full of flavour … and garlic.
Café Diglas on Schottengasse may look like just another traditional Viennese coffeehouse in the first district, but when you walk through the café to the back, well, you’ll be in for a surprise! Awaiting you is a huge green oasis of a garden from the coffeehouse where you’re surrounded by chestnut trees.
If you don’t know the legend that is Cafe Diglas, the coffeehouse serves up quality coffee and cakes, as well as a raft of traditional Austrian dishes. Oh, and the interior is just as charming as the chestnut tree fringed garden.