When it comes to dining in Vienna, some quintessential experiences come to mind. Coffee and cake at Hotel Sacher. An enormous schnitzel down a cobblestone alley in the 1st. Traditional fare at a Heuriger. Although in truth I usually prefer other cuisines to that of liebe Österreich, I still find my way to its specialities from time to time; last Saturday marked such an occasion.
Weingut am Reisenberg takes traditional Heuriger dining to a higher level. Literally. Situated atop a Berg in the 19th, it is a restaurant that seemingly hovers over the city, resting ever so slightly upon endless rows of grapevines. One of a handful of places here I know of with a major scenic wow-factor, it is one of my favorite restaurants to bring guests to when introducing them to town. Vienna is one of the few capital cities in the world that can claim its own vineyards, and this restaurant really conveys the unique marriage of Land and Stadt we have here. Shall we take a peek?
This is the backdrop to a meal at Weingut am Reisenberg. Watch the sunset up there on a late summer evening with a glass of wine in hand and all is right in the world. Yet how does one get up there in the first place? You know the old saying, ‘it’s the journey not the destination’? Here I’d say it’s both.
After landing in Grinzing, the rest of the way to Weingut am Reisenberg is done on foot. Head up Cobenzlgasse and then take a left at Oberer Reisenbergweg. You’ll slowly wind your way up a steep and narrow path, passing vineyards as you climb. This walk is gorgeous. I felt this way the first time I did it and I still feel this way now–this in a major city? Vienna is special.
The entrance of Weingut am Reisenberg appears on the left after you’ve meandered up. Follow the signs, walk through, and take your seat at what is essentially, Vienna’s most refined picnic. Seated elbow to elbow with other patrons at long tables, who knows whom you might bump into. The place draws somewhat of a sheeky meeky crowd and it fills up fast. Whatever you do, make a reservation. It’s very sad to walk all the way up that hill on a beautiful summery night, hungry, with moments to spare before the sun sets and be told, sorry ‘keine Plaetze’. Or so I’ve heard.
And what about the food? This particular evening was spent with friends. Our table featured an array of the restaurant’s options.
We started off with a mix of Aufstriche. Spreads. There was the standard liptauer, egg with chives, basil with pine nuts, and of course, verhackertes. I tried all three but the latter and they were incredible. Fresh, bursting with flavor, and just splendid when paired with the most perfect farmer’s bread. Pillowy in the middle with a crunchy crust. This the stuff Austrian food dreams are made of.
We were joined this evening by a nice Grüner Veltliner from the Kamptal Region which we used to make spritzers. Dear old Sturm was also dabei, as he tends to be throughout Austria in September and October. Steady does it.
And as for the mains, it was quite the mix. Stuffed peppers with parsley potatoes, schweinsbraten with dumplings, and wurst. Hearty, traditional, Austrian fare. I had the peppers which were delicious and to my surprise, filled with Reisfleisch. Not sure why I was expecting a vegetarian filling, especially since I’ve lived here for five years and know not to expect such a thing, but in any case it turned out to be a lucky occurrence. Autumn is approaching and as the sun set on this evening, the temperatures cooled. Blankets were passed around and I was grateful to have something substantial to warm my bones. Let’s be honest. The Sturm helped too.
We and the other diners above weren’t the only ones at Weingut am Reisenberg enjoying our evening. Down below, there is a swanky lounge and garden for private events. On this particular evening, a wedding reception was underway, heart-shaped balloons to boot.
What a gorgeous backdrop to celebrate ‘I Do’.
It’s not all heart-shaped balloons and pastel skies, however. There is one little element that might mar your otherwise lovely visit. The service. It leaves much to be desired. You’ve been forewarned. Align your expectations to avoid disappointment. Oh, Vienna.
Yet the trek is worth it, oh so worth it. New perspectives of Vienna are gained from way up above, sitting among the vines as the city lights come into view below and the Riesenrad twinkles in the distance.
This city, grumpy waiters and all of it. It’s something else.
Weingut am Reisenbergweg
Oberer Reisenbergweg 15