Where to eat meat in Vienna - The Pork Stelze Edition

Ok, it’s definitely time for my long overdue follow up to What to order in Vienna – part one! In that post I focused more on wintery dishes. No surprise considering that I find so much of Austrian food in Vienna to be quite heavy. Today’s recommended dish is actually no different, however it is most famously eaten during the summer months. In fact, I have long been recommending this to my guests on my kayak and wine tours as I have never eaten better pork in my entire life…

The Viennese Stelze

What is a Stelze?

The dish in question is called a Stelze in Austrian German. Basically, this is a huge pork knuckle, which is first boiled with caraway seeds to produce tender salty meat before then being roasted to create the most amazing crispy crackling. A Stelze is typically served with a couple of pieces of sourdough bread, and some small servings of grated horseradish, and one or two mustards to dip your meat into. Word to the wise – the grated horseradish is definitely NOT shredded mozzarella, so unless you’re into food masochism then don’t make the same mistake as my brother by helping yourself to a large spoonful on its own – horseradish has the same effect as wasabi!

Stelze side orders

One Stelze is easily enough to share between two people, and if you don’t eat that much, it could even be shared between three. Expect to pay around €22 once you’ve added the basic extras including mustard, horseradish and bread, These tend to come as standard, but, of course, many people will also supplement their order with fries, potato salad, maybe a rosti with garlic puree, or a side of sauerkraut. Personally, I recommend sauerkraut as its acidity cuts through the fattiness of the meat perfectly. Apparently, it’s compulsory to eat Stelze while consuming copious amounts of beer. I mean, what could possibly be more Austrian than ploughing through your food while intermittently smashing beer glasses with friends?

Where to eat meat in Vienna?

Well, you can find them all over Vienna, but perhaps the most traditional spot to eat a Stelze is the old imperial hunting grounds, and modern day theme park, Prater, in Vienna’s 2nd district. The Prater park itself is definitely worth a visit while you’re in Vienna regardless of whether you’re a pork fiend or not. It always has a fun summer vibe due to all the amusement rides and generally happy and smiling people milling around. There are also lots of green spaces around there to enjoy, the ultra-modern architecture of Vienna’s University of Economics, and one of Vienna’s most famous landmarks – the Riesenrad (big wheel). Anyway, back to where to eat this porky masterpiece…

Which restaurant should I visit to eat a Viennese Stelze?

My first ever Stelze was at ‘Zum Englischen Reiter’ (the English Rider). This is a traditional Austrian restaurant with loads of indoor and outdoor seating located right in the middle of the amusement park, among the rides. Just over the road from there is also the ‘Schweizerhaus’, which can be best described as a culinary machine. It’s extremely busy throughout spring and summer, but because it is so vast you can usually find a table, as so many people are constantly coming and going. The Schweizerhaus is also where many football fans congregate before the national team plays its games so it generally has a lively, almost Oktoberfest style beer hall atmosphere, yet most of it is outdoors. A stone’s throw from the Schweizerhaus, you’ll also be able to find a Stelze at ‘Kolariks Luftburg Restaurant. All three of these establishments are guaranteed to give you meat sweats, no worries.

prater park riesenrad big wheel

We hope that this post has not only helped you to decide where to eat meat in Vienna, but also educated you on one of the city’s most famous culinary treats. A couple of minor caveats here: 1) don’t expect great (or even good) service at these places –  the waiters tend to be very busy (not that that should ever be an excuse), and you may have to wait a while to get your order off, especially in the Schweizerhaus; 2) on occasion some parts of the meat around the edges of the knuckle can dry out a little due to the skin roasting process. However, neither of these are a big deal, so go to the Prater, eat your pork, drink your beer and experience a big part of Viennese life!

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