TIAN in Vienna is Austria’s only Michelin-starred vegetarian restaurant – it won a star in 2014, three years after opening – and one of only a handful in the world. Tyrol-born Chef de Cuisine Paul Ivic, who oversees both the restaurant and a bistro in Vienna, and TIAN in Munich, loves the challenge of cooking this way and of sourcing the finest local organic produce.
There are myths to be busted too, he says. “The biggest challenge, even after eight years of vegetarian cooking, is working against the prejudice that vegetarian cuisine is boring, tasteless and not satisfying or filling.” That said Ivic is an omnivorous chef and his guide to where to eat in Vienna includes plenty of places to enjoy the meatier side of this great eating city.
Breakfast and coffee
Ivic often heads to Parémi, a boulangerie/patisserie in the 1st district for a croissant and an espresso in the morning but says the best coffee in the city can in fact be found at Balthasar, across the Danube Canal in the 2nd. “Otto, the owner of Balthasar, is a wonderful guy with a great mindset. He pays special attention to where and how his coffee is produced. Otto can describe every new taste perfectly. Plus, every coffee he makes is absolutely perfect,” says Ivic.
When it comes to wines, Ivic likes to keep it natural and he loves the combination of local natural wines with bistro-style food. His first port of call is always MAST, “The best wine bar in Vienna, owned by two of the best sommeliers in Austria [Matthias Pitra and Steve Breitzke],” he says. MAST offers a humble six-course tasting menu at dinner and a handful of dishes at lunch too.
For traditional Austrian food Ivic recommends Hausmair’s Gaststätte. Like Ivic at Tian, chef-owner Herbert Hausmair uses regional produce from organic farmers with sustainable practices. “His broths for clear soups are phenomenal and the amazing taste comes only from the great products he uses, says Ivic. “His cuisine is honest; the restaurant is charming, and the goulash is simply sensational.”
Lerchenfelder Str. 73, 1070 WienWebsite
Another great place for goulash, particularly erdäpfelgulasch, aka potato goulash, is Am Nordpol 3, located on an unassuming street in the 2nd district. “I love the potato goulash at Nordpol. It’s almost as good as my mother’s,” says Ivic. “The location itself is a bit bizarre, it’s the restaurant of an artist. If you love bohemian cuisine then it’s the right place for you".
Am Nordpol 3
Nordwestbahnstraße 17, 1020 WienWebsite
Another little traditional place I can recommend is Schank zum Reichsapfel. They have the best Kärtner Kasnudeln [a kind of filled pasta] – the recipe comes from my wife’s grandmother’s best friend.”
Schank zum Reichsapfel
Karmeliterpl. 3, 1020 WienWebsite
Fine dining restaurants
Vienna is blessed with 13 Michelin-starred restaurants at time of writing, including the three-star Amador, with most to be found within the historic centre. Many of the chefs are great friends, says Ivic. “Michelin chefs that I’m friends with and I love to visit at their respective restaurants are Konstantin Filippou, Juan Amador, Silvio Nickol, Heinz Reitbauer at Steirereck and Markus Mraz at Mraz & Sohn,” he says.
Steirereck, located in the pretty surrounds of the Stadtpark, is perhaps the best known internationally, having hovered around the upper rankings of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Chef Reitbauer’s signature there is a dish of char cooked in hot beeswax at the table, served with pollen and sour cream.
More bars with food…
Bruder - Photo Manuel Haring
Bruder is a particular favourite of Ivic’s. A tavern-like bar and restaurant, it offers beers, creative cocktails and home-infused liqueurs alongside a reasonably priced menu of local dishes, with main courses €20 or under. It also happens to be co-owned by former Tian pastry chef Lucas Steindorfer.
If you fancy venturing out of the city a little, head to Wieninger am Nussberg, one of a handful of vineyard bars in the hills overlooking Vienna. It’s a great place to enjoy local biodynamic wine and snacks, while watching the sun set over the city. “They have great brettljause which is cheese, pickles, different spreads, ham, sausages and bread served on a wooden board and to be shared with friends,” says Ivic. You can even hike the hills, stopping off at the various vineyards along the way for provisions.
Wieninger am Nussberg
Eichelhofweg 125, 1190 WienWebsite