Dining in a giant wine cask or under antlers – Gasthaus Puerstner, Vienna

Located in a grand (1900) turn-of-the-Century building where once the saddlers went about their business, the high-ceilinged rooms at Gasthaus Puerstner are covered in hand-painted wooden panels with rustic furniture and décor. In one room, aptly named the “Cask Room”, you can even be seated inside halves of giant wooden wine casks that have been attached with their bottom to the walls, what’s not to like.

Each room has its own character. The Schankraum (“Front Desk Room”) in the entrance area next to the bar appears to attract a fair few regulars, some of whom seem like they have put up their tents here several decades ago, metaphorically speaking. Like most good restaurants in the centre of popular tourist destinations there is a very high percentage of tourists among the guests, which is fine in our book. We are not locals either, as it happens. A large number of positive mentions ranging from Tripadvisor to the Wall Street Journal did their part.

 

The Haeklplatz (“Knitting Room”) has mainly smaller tables. There is a Cards Room where locals occasionally play Schnapsen (“Shots”) or Preferanzen (“Preference”) just for fun or for mere pennies. The rest of the time the room is used by diners just like the other rooms. The Laubenraum (“The Bower”) has the vibes of a Heurigen, a traditional rural wine tavern where only the wines from the respective village are being served.

The Beisl (“The Pub”) features, for no known reason, the roof of a merry-go-round from the 1900s, while the Kuchl (“Kitchen”) emulates your typical granny’s kitchen.

Having read reviews of long-time guests it can be confirmed that there were next to no changes to the look of the dining rooms during the past 30 years. Having been run by the Puerstner family for three generations, the hunting trophies stem mostly from grandpa Puerstner’s hunting trips.

 

Outside on the pavement you can find seating for a further 40 guests.

Service was almost exceptionally friendly (this is Vienna, after all), very attentive, and quick. It should be mentioned that while it was going to be a very busy evening that night (the last night before the second Covid lockdown), I had arrived very early, before most other guests.

The menu is relatively basic, hearty, cheap and cheerful, catering well to the many larger groups of guests and large numbers of meals served every day to hundreds of happy guests. There are some cosier corners that suit couples and many of the tables seat just four.

I ordered half a litre of Goldfassl lager (€4.70), a Griessnockerlsuppe (traditional semolina dumpling soup, €3.60), and Kasnockn (cheese spatzle, €9.80).

The beer and the soup arrived just minutes after I had ordered. The soup showed solid cooking skills, tasty but nothing noteworthy. As expected, the beer caused no concern either in terms of temperature or quality.

The cheese spatzle were delicious and reminded me that I need to have this dish more often. Such a great meal for under a tenner including a basic but very refreshing leafy side-salad. While I was enjoying my meal, more and more guests arrived and the place began to buzz like it is supposed to.

I spent a very pleasant 50 minutes at this restaurant and would rank it 3.5 out of 5.

Looking for more restaurant reviews? Find out what we thought about Zum Weissen Rauchfangkehrer, Café Landtmann, and Esterhazy Keller, all three in Vienna, The Ninth, London, as well as Folk in Windermere.

Other food posts include our keto-friendly kaiserschmarrn recipe, our clam chowder recipe, the Cambridge Food Tour, and our Bread Ahead baking course in London.

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