March 15th is a lovely day in old Kaisermühlen, the quasi-island sitting between the new and old Danubes, because this is start of summer hours for several of the lakeside restaurants.
Now when it comes to dinner out in Vienna, Kaisermühlen is normally the domain of the businessman and the UN delegate, not a traveler. I have invited a number of coworkers from out of town for a drink and a meal nearby when they cannot be bothered to head into the first district. And though many nearby restaurants are standard fare, Zur Alten Kaisermühle stands out as a reason to head across the Danube, regardless of travel purpose.
The location, while not that easy to find, is one of the best spots on the alte Donau, the closed off channel of the Danube that now forms a recreational lake. In the warmer months, the restaurant primarily serves to a number of tables and bar benches outside on the shore of the channel. The setting is idyllic on a long sunlit evening for a crisp beer or a Grüner Veltiner.
The restaurant is a traditional Austrian Wirt and has better than average Austrian fare. While a bit more expensive, the food quality is definitely reflected and the location provides the rest of the reasons for choosing this Wirt over others.
For those who want to head off the beaten inner-city district paths and onto the shimmering Danube, Zur Alte Kaisermühlen will be more than rewarding enough for one summer evening.