Zur Goldenen Kugel is what they call an “urtypisches” Viennese Restaurant in Austrian. That is, it is the archetype of everything that we come to expect from a traditional local restaurant, from the ambiance to the waiters and to dishes themselves.
So is Zur Goldenen Kugel located right next to Stephansplatz? Surprisingly not. It is squeezed into a small street behind the gigantic Allgemeines Krankenhaus (Vienna General Hospital) in the 9th district. It is certainly easy to overlook as one gazes at the hideous and imposing double-blocked towers of the hospital. But perhaps that is in part why this hole-in-the-wall has made a name for itself.
The food is truly a cut above nearly any of its type in the 1st district. The schnitzel was likely the best I have had so far in Vienna. And the ambiance is careful to avoid too much association with the cubist medical nightmare behind it. And to top it off, it has one of the friendliest waiting staffs I have encountered.
It is not for the frugal and the atmosphere does tend to err on the side of aristocratic physicians. However, if you still have not really dug into the Viennese cuisine and want to do so outside of the tourist traps, this is a great destination.