A quick lesson in Viennese Küche: the word ‘schinken’ means ham, but Palatschinken has nothing to do with pork. Schinkenfleckerl does though – a sort of pasta dish laced with cabbage and cooked ham. Beim Czaak has a multitude of such dishes, a quintessential Viennese Beisl located on the southern edge of the first district. The restaurant is tucked away at the edge of the confluence of two streets, with a small ‘garden’ in between them both in which people are invited to eat and drink.
The restaurant itself is decorated in the varnished, panelled wood typical of many Beisln; a long, narrow sort of place with a wonderful ambience. This is the kind of place that you should visit if you’re looking for a traditional Viennese food experience in the first district and you’re not looking to break the bank. It’s actually a very nice place for a late evening rendezvous with someone you want to get to know more; the candle-lit interior and hubbub of hushed chatter provide the conditions for a quiet, get-to-know-you-more kind of chat.
I’d recommend any of the dishes: if you’re not sure what they mean, just order anything: you won’t be disappointed. Make sure you try a knödel for pudding, a sort of sweet, doughy ball covered in breadcrumbs and laced with butter – a ‘deftig‘ Austrian dessert! It’s only spitting distance from Schwedenplatz, which means it’s easily accessible; the U1, U4, 1 and 2 trams run close by.