Hamburg has a great choice of restaurants, and I had been eyeing up a lot of places online, which I wanted to check out. Right after arriving in Hamburg, I therefore sat down in my hotel room to make some reservations. To my big surprise, getting a table turned out to be quite a challenge, and none of the places on my list had seats available. Then I remembered reading about a restaurant, Bistrot Vienna, that didn’t take reservations but offered tables on a first come, first served basis. This was my chance, and I didn’t want to miss it.
I already went at 18:00, and I was the first guest to arrive. The kitchen didn’t open until 19:00, so I ordered a glass of red wine to keep me company while waiting. 20 minutes later, the restaurant was packed, and people were waiting in the bar and in a long line outside.
Apparently, most of the other diners knew each other as well as the staff, and people were talking across the tables. A lady had brought her dog along, but it was too big to fit under the small table, she shared with her friends, so some of the other diners at a larger table suggested that the dog could move to their table instead, which both the dog and the lady were fine with.
Everybody was very friendly and spoke to me in German. I think they felt sorry for me, dining out on my own, and some of them looked a bit confused, when I started taking pictures of my food.
The 3-course menu for 25EUR seemed like a really good deal, but I was curious about the wild boar ragout, so I decided to go for a la carte. I studied the handwritten menu carefully, but even if I had been fluent in German, I don’t think I would have been able to read it (and I thought my handwriting was difficult to read!).
I ended up ordering Ferkelkopf Carpaccio, which sounded tempting, even though I didn’t have a clue about what Ferkelkopf was. Turned out it was baby pig’s head. It wasn’t raw (thank god!) but more like a thinly sliced terrine. Not the most visually appealing dish, but the truffle vinaigrette and celeriac on top worked out well with the meat, and it tasted good.
The wild boar meat was like a gamey version of slow-cooked beef, and it was so tender, I could have eaten it with a spoon. A big Tyrolean Knödel was resting comfortably on top f the ragout. A Knödel is a kind of dumpling made from old bread and/or potatoes, lard and onions. I’m usually not a big fan of Knödel, but together with the ragout, it was exquisite, and I enjoyed every bite of it. I skipped dessert, because I was too full. Besides, the massive crowd of people waiting outside didn’t really made me want to linger, so I asked for the bill.
Dining at Vienna was a very nice experience, and in spite of all the hype, it still feels like a true neighborhood gem thanks to the staff and the very local clientele + dog. If you’re in Hamburg without a table reservation, head over to Vienna, but make sure to come early, or be prepared to wait.
// I was invited to Hamburg by Hamburg Tourism. I made my own itinerary and visiting Bistrot Vienna was my own idea, and I went as an ordinary guest and paid for food and drinks out of my own pocket.//