Steirereck - Vienna

In the middle of Vienna's Stadpark stands a lustrous, mirroring structure. From the front, the permanent installation may even go unnoticed to the uninterested eye as its reflective walls appear to look like more trees- intentional by the architect as to not interrupt the natural space. However, for the reservation equipped foodie looking for the worlds 14th best restaurant -as per the World's 50 Best Restaurants '18 list, the shimmering Austrian cuisine shrine yells out "Welcome to Steirereck restaurant." The reflective labyrinth structure is without contest the most impressive free standing restaurant I've Dined There at. The 2014 addition to the original building is not only visually stunning, it's also an ingenious use of space. The Steirereck team maintain a rooftop garden where they cultivate over 120 culinary herbs from around the world for use in their own kitchen. Steirereck's elegant and bright interior is not to be outshone - play on words - by its exterior. With tall blond wood walls that disappear into illuminated dropped ceilings, a shiny 'Les Grandes Tables du Monde" plaque, luxe concrete and minimalistic grey furniture, the decor speaks the language of fine dining.

Fine dining indeed, using simple ingredients from the country's Styrian region for avant-garde preparations which Steirereck has become synonymous for on the international culinary scene. Two Michelin star Chef-owner Heinz Reitbauer is also a dairy connoisseur, operating a designer milk bar venue, Meierei, in the original building where over 140 cheeses and fresh Viennese pastries are offered daily.  The World's 50 Best writers state "Reitbauer's signature says everything you need to know about his outlook, being equal parts reverence for local ingredients, precision and culinary theater." So without ado, please enjoy the show below. 

Veal Tongue, Carrot Variety with Tangerine & Radish

Dish cards accompany every course served at Steirereck, providing in-depth and pertinent information on each ingredient used for the dish. This can include everything from history, biology, flavor profile, preferred harvest, growers, place of origin, method of preparation and any sauces or vinaigrettes, i.e.: Cured & charcoal smoked for the veal tongue, the marinade for the carrot & radish and the vinaigrette for the veal-tangerine.

 Pike-Perch with Sorrel, Japanese Medlar & Chard

Stunning Steirereck exterior blending in with its environment

Mushroom "Beuschel" with Forest Perennial Rye Bread & Mushroom Plant

Steirereck's rooftop garden

Kid Goat Shoulder with Potatoes, Cucumber & Rosemary Blossom

 Digestif Cart

With over 20 varieties the bread cart is presented at the beginning of the meal to enjoy with salted, unsalted and herb butter. The bread selection is brought out once more before dessert to enjoy with an assortment of cheeses.

 Cheese cart with a selection of over 50 varieties Source: Google Images

 Managed to choose four cheeses.

 Bishop's Hat with Calamansi, Sheep's Milk Yogurt & Einkorn 

Bite size Desserts
1 - Orange Cake bite with Amaranth (in the shrubbery display)
2 - Sweet Potato Petal with Rose Cream and Caramel (in the shrubbery display)
3 - Almond Pastry on Dehydrated Lavender
4 - Medlar Compote with Pecan and Elderberry Sorbet
5 - Homemade Ginger Beer with Lilac Foam

The more I read into Chef Reitbauer and Steirereck's farm to table initiative with the intent and goal of being somewhat self-sustaining, I realized how more restaurants could set similar objectives with innovative ideas. I used to think that farm to table just meant fresher ingredients, but only recently did I realize the it also results in lower carbon footprint on the planet. One example of Steirereck's self sufficiency is solely sourcing their honey from local bee keeper Johannes Gruber. Interesting fact, depending on what's in bloom, Johannes will move the hives, resulting in the honey having a hint of sun flower seeds or wood from the Stuhleck foothills, for example. Another case in point; Steirereck sources a selection of their fish from Lake Hallstatt at 1,665 ft above sea level. Only specialized nets are used for fishing, made to the specifications that only certain size fish will get trapped, letting all younger fish escape, ensuring younger generations grow to reach their full potential. Such details lead restaurants to being the best at what they do and although minuscule in the grand scheme of things, having a positive impact on our ecosystem. For more information on Steirereck please visit

La Degustation in Prague, also paid close attention to their ingredients, down to the animals' diet during different seasons. Check out what their Czech cuisine is all about here.


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