Gastwirtschaft im Durchhaus brings Viennese cuisine into the 21st century

Let’s face it: Neubau, Vienna’s ultratrendy 7th district, may have gotten a little too fashionable. Some of Vienna’s most exotic eateries have made their home here, and dinner options now include artisanal burgers, Japanese udon, Vietnamese pho, burritos and fajitas. So you may be forgiven if, spoiled amid all this choice, all you want is a Wiener Schnitzel and a pint of local beer.

Fortunately, those yearning for a bit of Viennese soul food can now turn to Gastwirtschaft im Durchhaus (Inn at the Durchhaus), which reopened with a new concept this May to bring down-to-earth Viennese delicacies back – albeit in a hip, updated style. Its name derives from its unique location: It’s hidden away within a Freiwilliger Durchgang (voluntary passage) between Lerchenfelder Strasse and Neustiftgasse. This charming remnant of days past is a standing invitation for pedestrians, granting permission to take a shortcut directly through the Durchhaus (through house) through several private residential courtyards. It is one of those humble, magical details that make Vienna stand out, giving the Gastwirtschaft a quintessentially classic vibe before you even enter.

Despite being fairly new, Gastwirtschaft im Durchhaus has already made a name for itself – during our visit, it was filled to capacity despite its spacious premises, including a roomy salon in the back and a cozy séparée for semicasual first dates. Bright white walls harmonize with the neo-rustic wooden furniture, highlighted by a turquoise bar, generous lighting and various deer heads on the walls (which we were assured died of natural causes). The careful balance of old and new makes for an excellent mélange of traditional flair that still caters to contemporary sensibilities.

Never too old

“New Viennese cuisine” is what it is all about here – a fancy term indicating that their vegetarian options go beyond a side order of dumplings or potatoes. We started with an excellent fresh Frittatensuppe (bouillon with shredded pancakes) and then moved on to a veal schnitzel prepared the traditional way – fried golden brown in lard, with potato salad on the side. Exceedingly tender and juicy, the portion was huge and very reasonable at €16.50.

We also tried the chanterelle goulash, one of their seasonal dishes from the menu – unfortunately, the delicate mushrooms were overwhelmed by the paprika, losing too much of its character. We finished with their Süsses Gspusi, a sugary meltdown of mousse au chocolate, caramel ice-cream and fresh fruits – order it to share if you are even slightly concerned about your sugar intake. As for drinks, four beers await on tap, including a craft brew as an inescapable nod to the times; the wine list is compact but still offers a nice variation of local and domestic varieties.

But a true Beisl isn’t just about food and drink: A generous dollop of Wiener Charme is a vital ingredient. In that regard, Durchhaus delivers as well: Our host for the evening rocked a pointed goatee and looked like he personally waited on Archduke Franz Ferdinand himself; a staunch gentleman of the old school, he could not have been more hospitable.

Putting a modern touch on tradition is a delicate operation. With its fantastic venue, decent price range and exceptional takes on the classics, Durchhaus appears to have already conquered a spot in the golden Viennese heart.


Gastwirtschaft im Durchhaus
7., Neustiftgasse 16
Tue-Sat 17:00-00:00
durchhaus.at

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Andreas Rainer is a journalist and writer based in Vienna. He lived across the pond in the U.S. and Canada for three years which gave him a new love for Vienna from an outsider's perspective. He headed the Vienna branch of the San Francisco based food app Yelp for the past six years, making him a prime source of insider knowledge on new restaurants hidden bars. He authored the Guide Book Vienna for Germans (2017) and made the short list (2015) and long list (2016) for the "Wortlaut" short fiction contest, tweets at @an_rainer