When I hear the word ‘Edison,’ I think of both history and innovation, or more specifically, innovation through history. My mind bolts of course immediately to this man, the inventor of the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and the light bulb, someone who looked back at history, saw a need for change, and went for it. So appropriate then, is the name of this new restaurant I’m delighted to share with you: Das Edison in Vienna’s 8th district.
See, this new restaurant, located near the university, is history reinvented. I love the story here—taking the old, making it new…a nod towards the past while stepping forward. Opened just in January, or rather reopened in January, Das Edison was actually a cafe located in this very spot some 90 years ago.
At some point in time however, as it usually goes, it was presumably thought to be old, obsolete, no longer with it. So it became a music shop. Cutting-edge, state-of-the art, and oh so hip. Except we already know how this story ends. When the shop closed its doors a year ago, others opened, and a young group of quality-focused and design-minded individuals (re)introduced a shiny, new cafe, coining it ‘Das Edison,’ as it once was, restoring history while writing a new chapter for this lovely corner establishment. Shall we?
Now a 2-level, 400m² cafe/bar/restaurant, Das Edison has something for everyone. Downstairs is all about flair: an industrial and trendy space with parquet floors, exposed brick, expansive windows, and a bar.
Upstairs is all about fun: a cozy expanse of big comfy chairs, sofas, and books for browsing.
Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it’s open pretty much all the time, daily from 8am to 1am. Such hours here… in Vienna? There’s a new kid on the block, indeed.
We were there with a large group of friends for breakfast. Sitting upstairs, we really enjoyed the living-room atmosphere. Spread out with newspapers, a pup, and big appetites, here is some of what we enjoyed…
A strong melange, to get the day going.
Their freshly-baked, organic bread. Their flaky, buttery croissants. Their home-made, handrolled semmeln.
I chose the “frisch in den tag” breakfast, which was whole wheat bread (not pictured), a mix of fruit and vegetables, a frischkäse spread, some plain, creamy yogurt topped with homemade granola, and little Stück of the daily cake. It was all great, but the granola/yogurt combo was what I remember most. The yogurt was sinfully rich and full-bodied, but not missing the tart at the end that all good plain yogurts must have. The granola was hearty, adding the perfect crunch.
On the side? A darling stack of mini pancakes. Such a treat to find these on a menu in Vienna! Done so right and topped with spot-on maple syrup with a garnish of berries. I’ve been craving these ever since.
My husband was thrilled to find the very thing that makes all Austrian boys’ hearts sing: scrambled eggs with grammeln. I’ve just enlisted his help in explaining what grammeln, an Austrian delicacy is. His response? Straight-faced: “it’s like pan-seared fat with bacon meat.” Naja. I enjoyed them from a distance, but he promises that these were good.
I digress. I’ll share that while all the females at our table thought the portions were totally adequate, our male counterparts felt they could have been a bit more generous. I’ll also say that while Edison is a totally progressive place with an inventive menu, and inspiring design, they’ve still opted (as all restaurants of this size have the choice) to allow smokers downstairs. While the designated area is separated, the unpleasant smoke still found its way to me, as it often does because I am hyper-sensitive in this regard. I’ve hinted at my stance on this in other posts, but I’ll just come out and say it–I really wish Austria would ban smoking in restaurants. This is a very heated issue in this country, as Austria is one of the last (if not the last) bastions of Europe to hold tight to the right, but I wish it would be outlawed once and for all. Great strides have been made in the years I’ve lived here, but there still is a way to go. If you are a smoker, go for it. I just firmly hold to the fact that smoking and indoor dining don’t mix, that all employees have the right to work in a smoke-free environment, and especially that young patrons shouldn’t be subjected to second-hand smoke in confined spaces.
Cafe Edison is in no regard too smoky for me not to return to it, but I just find the policy a bit regressive in such a new and progressive space. I’ve read from others who share my opinion, so who knows…perhaps things will change? Sorry for the tangent.
The place is otherwise a gem, I promise. In addition to the lovely food, spacious digs, and friendly atmosphere, the restaurant has a notable, quirky charm. With little messages like the one above scattered throughout the place here and there, Cafe Edison asserts itself with whimsy as a wonderful addition to 8th district dining.
Once a cafe, then a music shop, and now a cafe again, the beat goes on.
*Pictures #2, 3, 12, and 13 from restaurant website. The rest are by me.