A fantastic meal at Restaurant Steirereck wasn’t the only way I got to celebrate my birthday while we were in Vienna. K also treated me to a performance of The Merry Widow at the Volksoper the day after my birthday – a beautiful operetta that was quite hilarious in parts. With the performance starting at 7pm, we wandered down the road to Restaurant Weimar to have a quick dinner before the performance.
First opened in 1900, Restaurant Weimar claims to be one of the oldest traditional ‘coffeehouses’ that are such an integral part of Viennese culture. Given its proximity to the Volksoper, there’s a long tradition of performers, artists, and other people connected with the Opera having their meals at Restaurant Weimar.
Our waiter gave us German menus to start, but quickly switched them for English menus once he saw us just blankly staring at the German wording trying to figure out what everything meant! While I was pretty good at recognising words like “kartoffelkloesse” and “spaetzle”, translating a whole menu was beyond my skill level. He took our drink orders as well – K just had a sparkling water, but I chose one of my favourite German drinks, an Apfelsaft gespritz where a bottle of apple juice is diluted with sparkling water to make it more refreshing and spritzier!
I chose to have the Roasted Sausages for my meal, decadently wrapped in bacon before being cooked to crispy, with the savoury sausage meat near-bursting from its skin. Honestly, I think the sausages would have been tasty enough on their own – the wrapped bacon was overkill, and almost made it too salty.
The sausages were served with an ‘assorted salad’ – iceberg lettuce, spinach leaves, and some cherry tomatoes. A little over-dressed, but then again, I’ve found that to be a problem with almost every restaurant that we went to in Austria and Germany – people seem to get a bit vinaigrette-happy!
K chose the Pork Wiener Schnitzel for his meal. Honestly, not a great schnitzel – you can tell from the photo that the batter was a little bit lumpy and much too thick. It really doesn’t rate well next to excellent schnitzel that we had at Zum Alten Fassl just a few days earlier.
The highlight of the schnitzel was the parsley potatoes that it was served with. The parsley was minimal, but the potatoes were lovely and buttery and soft. Not the best choice if you’re trying to watch what you eat, as the layer of melted butter at the bottom of the bowl was quite alarming!
We finished off our meal with a hot drink each. K had a decaffeinated cappuccino – which was an interesting experience in ordering, as the menu obviously doesn’t state ‘decaffeinated’ coffee at all. Trying to make our waiter understand what K wanted was interesting – for those who need to know for future reference, I believe you ask for “koffeinfrei” in Austria, and “entkoffeiniert” in Germany (someone please correct me if I’m wrong!).
I had a hot chocolate which like the coffee, was served with a little glass of “Viennese water” as per the coffeehouse tradition. It’s a brilliant idea, as the hot chocolate was very creamy and rich and just having a little glass of water to drink after the hot chocolate really helps to cleanse your palate.
A Viennese dessert specialty is the Sacher Torte – a simple chocolate cake covered with a thin layer of apricot jam, before being covered again with chocolate icing. You can just see the layer of apricot jam in this photo. There’s a bit of controversy around the ‘original’ sacher torte and where it was made, but the Hotel Sacher in Vienna seems to have the most legitimate claim – the torte is named after them after all! It’s a beautiful torte, with a surprisingly light cake that is really made perfectly sinful by the rich chocolatey icing and the sweet but subtle apricot jam. This is one to try making at home!
We finished off our desserts by ordering an apfelstrudel – another classic traditional Viennese dessert. I found the crust on this strudel a little bit too thick, but the apple mix inside was quite delicious and reminiscent of Christmas with its hints of cinnamon and other spices.
Restaurant Weimar may be a Viennese classic, but I think that their reputation is helped by their convenient location near the Volksoper. When there aren’t that many other dining options available in the area, they become a default choice for many opera attendees. We certainly had better wiener schnitzels elsewhere, and the other main meals were a little lacklustre. By all means, pop into Restaurant Weimar for a coffee and cake after the opera, but try and look elsewhere for your main meal.
Restaurant Weimar is located at 68 Währinger Str, Vienna.