Steirereck, Austria

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The Michelin-starred Steirereck restaurant in Vienna has been voted the 15th best restaurant in the world according to S. Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. It is certainly the most acclaimed dining establishment in Austria, where it has topped various best restaurant lists for several years running. Presided over by the Reitbauer family, Steirereck offers a modern, innovative take on Austrian cuisine, whilst seeking to preserve originality and remain faithful to regional ingredients. The high quality, awe-inspiring menu is complimented by the flawless service, striking setting, and truly impressive selection of wine, cheeses and traditional breads.

The restaurant is located in Vienna’s central city park and housed in a giant glass monolith that reflects its forward-looking philosophy whilst providing an arresting contrast to the surrounding architecture and old monuments of the park. The venue itself is spacious and sophisticated, and guests are afforded a good degree of privacy from other diners. The restaurant harbours a delightful terrace boasting views over the Stadtpark, one of Vienna’s most charming squares. The service is impeccable, thanks in large part to Birgit Reitbauer, an award winning hostess who caters to her guests every need.

Chef Reitbauer has earned a reputation for highly creative food that combines traditional produce rooted in the terroir with the very latest in pioneering cooking techniques. He has made a point of championing overlooked or rare local ingredients, such as the purple-coloured Beta Sweet Carrot cultivated in a select spot in Vienna. Many of the dishes draw from his native Styrian region and incorporate fresh produce straight from his family’s farmstead.

Thoughtfully crafted and beautifully presented dishes stream out of the kitchen accompanied by helpful printed descriptions. The restaurant’s signature dish is char, a freshwater fish that is cooked in front of guests in boiling beeswax before being served with yellow carrot, pollen and sour cream. Additional highlights of the menu include kohlrabi, lamb belly and sea buckthorn, the grilled alpine ox with miniature white turnips, and turbot in an avocado crust. For those with a sweet tooth the traditional Austrian dessert of Mohnnudlen, made of sweet potato pasta dough, fried and dusted with poppy seeds and icing sugar, comes highly recommended.

Fans also rave about the little extras that come at Steirereck, including the private honey-making demonstrations, particularly thoughtful wine pairings, as well as bread and cheese trolleys which offer an outstanding selection of 100 plus varieties. The restaurant is extremely popular, so reservations are strongly recommended for both lunch and dinner. Before you leave, don’t forget to visit the wonderful Meierei, a traditional dairy situated right next to the restaurant or perhaps take a digestive walk along the elegant Promenade bordering the wonderful Wien River.