Restaurants for Wine Lovers
Meierei - In 2005 Vienna's fanciest restaurant, Steirereck, reinvented itself when it moved to its flamboyant new city park location and brought in the country's most inventive young chef, Heinz Reitbauer.
In 2005 Vienna's fanciest restaurant, Steirereck, reinvented itself when it moved to its flamboyant new city park location and brought in the country's most inventive young chef, Heinz Reitbauer. Below the cutting-edge main restaurant is a brilliant bistro and dairy bar, Meierie, a theatrical, starkly white space decorated with lime-green swirls and a wall of milk bottles bathed in an otherworldly blue neon glow. To accompany the interesting wines-by-the-glass list, Reitbauer serves dishes like a complex pork hock soup scented with horseradish, and stellar beef tartare with wisps of fried onion. He pays tribute to the restaurant's former incarnation as a dairy depot with an exotic selection of milks—horse milk, goat milk, milk in flavors like tonka bean or geranium—and an astounding list of 150 farmhouse cheeses, many of them Austrian. The undecided can opt for themed plates, such as the "Cheese Tour through Styria," showcasing six of the region's cheeses that can be paired with a glass of Sattlerhof Sauvignon Blanc with hints of spring grasses and elderberries. Address: Am Heumarkt 2A im Stadtpark; phone 011-43-1-713-3168.
Heurigen, the taverns serving young wines and food made from home-grown ingredients, have been fixtures on the outskirts of Vienna for hundreds of years. Now, however, even these bastions of cheap white wine are raising their standards. An insider favorite is Hengl-Haselbrunner, in Grinzing, on the outskirts of Vienna. It's presided over by Matthias Hengl, a 40-year-old ex-musician whose family has been making wine for more than four centuries. Back in the '80s, Hengl's father experimented with international-style Cabernets and Chardonnays, but Matthias believes that the future belongs to indigenous Austrian grapes. He might pour his guests a sprightly Grüner Veltliner or a terrific house Riesling: floral, minerally and compulsively drinkable. He's also the chef and serves prosciutto-flecked baked noodles, awesome potato salad in a puddle of aromatic pumpkin seed oil and divine farmer-cheese dumplings. Address: Iglaseegasse 10, Grinzing; phone: 011-43-1-320-3330.