Sometimes, life gets so busy that meals become crackers with peanut butter, or frozen pizza, or a bowl of cereal. It’s food I guess, but eating this way for too long–which I usually rationalize helps keep things simple–leaves me actually craving simplicity more than anything, often in the form of real food with real ingredients. Back to basics, if you will. To flour, eggs, and milk. To pots and pans and cutting boards. To fresh vegetables. To time, enough to savor every bite.
If I don’t end up in my kitchen to handle this hankering, Cafe Der Provinz, in Vienna’s 8th district, also does the trick. I recently paid this gem a visit and am delighted to share it with you here on ye old blog.
Cafe Der Provinz achieves simplicity at its finest. A small, cozy restaurant, it lacks pretentiousness while exuding charm. Home on a beautiful street, Maria-Treu-Gasse, which features the beautiful Piaristenkirche at its end, this restaurant invites you in and gladly has you stay a while.
With a wine crate kitchen, rustic wooden floors, and a mini book nook in the back, Cafe Der Provinz feels more like stepping into the countryside home of a long-lost Tante; you’ve never been before, but you immediately feel at home. And when Tante cooks? She cooks from scratch using only the freshest and most local ingredients she can find. And it tastes so. good.
The menu at Cafe Der Provinz features only Breton galettes, waffles, crepes and salads. That’s it. A Breton galette is essentially a thicker crepe, stuffed, and made with buckwheat flour, which lends to a wholesome and nutty flavor. It tastes healthier because it is healthier. The restaurant mills this flour on-site, so it’s as fresh as can be for the galettes. On this day, a friend and I each had one. Mine, above, was a galette with cheese, topped with an egg and garnished with pumpkin seed oil. €4.80.
I also enjoyed their ‘Che’ salad, a simple mixed salad with avocado. It usually comes with tomatoes, but due to the fact that tomatoes in February have no taste whatsoever, it looks like the wise folks at Cafe der Provinz knew better. Olives, it was.
Along with the salad came this basket of…? It took me a moment before I realized that these were dried galettes! Enchanté!
My friend had the ham and cheese galette, also topped with an egg and garnished with pumpkin seed oil. €6.40.
These galettes are just a delight. The buckwheat flour results in a wonderful texture with a slight crunch, all the more discernible due to the melted cheese that awaits you with your bite.
And the ultimate icing on top of the cake–er, egg on top of the galette? Nearly everything in this restaurant is organic. Everything except 13 items, which you can find listed on the website. Health nuts, this place beckons! And those afraid of health nuts? Give it a try. It’s necessary to know what real food actually tastes like, lest you forget when life gets in the way. Also worth mentioning? How fair the prices are here considering that organic ingredients tend to be costly. How relaxed the atmosphere is, how it lends to lingering.
Cafe Der Provinz
*Pictures 4 and 5 from restaurant website.