Naturkost St. Josef (Austria – Vienna)

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated May 31, 2012.

Naturkost St. Josef is a popular vegetarian, organic restaurant attached to a small grocery store in Vienna’s 7th district.

The restaurant is only open during lunch hours. It’s self-service: you order your food at the counter, pay at the cashier, and take your tray to the upstairs cafeteria-style dining room, which seats about 70 people. Lunch is served from around 11:00 AM – whenever they finish cooking – until they run out of food, sometime between 3:00 and 4:00 PM. (That’s according to one of their staff members.) Try to get there early. Naturkost St. Josef is incredibly popular among the locals who work in the neighbourhood, and it gets very busy fast.

The food is fantastic. There’s a buffet with salads and antipasti, the majority of which are vegan. My favourites are grilled pumpkins with parsley, yams with sprouts, a spicy aubergine salad, and I also love their potato salad. You can choose from about a dozen different vegan salads and antipasti, all organic of course. I eat frequently at this restaurant, and I always sample a few of their creations from the buffet. The price is based on weight: 100 grams cost 1.79 Euros (including tax).

I also love their vegan kebabs. The kebabs can be ordered with either yoghurt dressing or a spicy, creamy vegan dressing. The kebabs are quite large, and cost 4.80 Euros.

The menu changes daily. There’s always one choice of soup and one main dish, which you can both order in two sizes. Soups cost 3.30 or 3.60 Euros, and the main dishes are 7.50 or 8.90 Euros. As this is a vegetarian restaurant, the main dishes are always prepared in such a way that they can be veganized. (I’m not sure about the soups – I’ll have to get back to you on that.)

In addition to the daily specials, there’s always a small selection of other dishes to choose from; however, most of these are not vegan.

© Ingrid Haunold

Good news: Naturkost St. Josef recently started to offer vegan desserts on Mondays and Wednesdays. This is a trial run. If there’s enough demand, they might start offering vegan desserts on other days of the week, too. I bought a strawberry cake with a cream filling on my last visit, which just happened to fall on a Wednesday.

This restaurant is very vegan-friendly, even though it can be a bit confusing, if you’ve never visited before. Most vegan dishes aren’t labelled clearly. I spoke with the owner recently and he encouraged me to ask, if I’m ever unsure about a certain dish. There are tentative plans to label the vegan salads and antipasti at the buffet, but the owner told me that they were “better at cooking than writing.” That’s fine by me.

There’s free tap water to drink, which is made available in large pitchers. Just pour yourself a glass. They also offer fresh squeezed juices and other drinks. Last time I visited, I bought an organic raspberry soda (2.60 Euros).

The restaurant is adjoined by a small organic, vegetarian grocery store (they’re both in the same room, really). You can buy vegan snacks there, however, the store is mostly geared towards lacto-vegetarians. For example, they don’t sell vegan fruit yoghurts, and no vegan wines; but it’s a small store, so naturally its selection is limited. I still try to pick up a thing or two whenever I visit, to support this small Viennese business. A favourite are beauty products from Lavera (watch out for the Vegan Society’s sunflower symbol, as not all of their products are vegan).

Address: You can either enter through the grocery store at Zollergasse 26 or through the restaurant, at Mondscheingasse 10-12, 1070 Vienna

Opening hours for the grocery store: Monday to Friday 8:00 AM – 6:30 PM, Saturday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM; closed on Sundays. Lunchtime buffet from around 11:00 AM until 3:00 or 4.00 PM (whenever they run out of food). You can pay by cash or credit card.

Phone: +43-(0)1-526 6818

They don’t have a website.

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