A small island of Viennese-flavoured Englishness rests alongside the Alte Donau lake. Das Bootshaus captures the feel of a genteel rowing club environment.
- Upmarket restaurant with fine food & friendly staff
- Reached via a broad lakeside paved footpath
- Includes open-air waterfront seating with pleasant views
- See also:
The boat house
We eat out somewhere new about once a year (cough, cost of living crisis, cough), which is one reason you get very few restaurant reviews from me.
But some places feel like they deserve one. Like Das Bootshaus, a lovely restaurant on the banks of the Alte Donau lake with both indoor and open-air lakeside sections.
Perhaps the theme helps: Das Bootshaus translates to The Boathouse in the rowing sense of the word.
Some 35 years ago, you’d have found me at the front of a rowing eight, bellowing instructions and vainly attempting to steer an ancient hulk of a boat through the icy cold of the early-morning Thames.
Happy days…right up until they threw me in the river (a tradition, not a punishment), and I enjoyed a mouthful of a chemical cocktail apparently meant to be river water. I still glow in the dark. Anyway…
Das Bootshaus has a charming Oxbridge summer feel to it: halcyon sun-filled days of Pimms and polite conversation.
Extensive outdoor seating extends out onto the lake with views across the water and to the reed banks and woods (actually a climbing park) of the Gänsehäufel island opposite.
The restaurant faces west, so I imagine you can relax on the water and watch the sun go down in tandem with your drink of choice.
Inside lives up to that elegant Oxbridge feel, as evidenced in Chesterfield sofas and wicker lamps.
The owners themselves have a family connection to high-level competitive rowing and describe the desired style as that of a “British-Viennese rowing club.”
(Press photo © Jan Lackner)
Two sculls hang from the ceiling, and the walls have race boat seats, oars, and photos of rowing teams and medal winners.
That atmosphere has seeped into the menu, too, which included an English breakfast and fish and chips on our visit. Indeed, the menu has a strong fish flavour to it, but with other options (including just enough vegan and vegetarian ones to keep me happy).
We had breakfast, which came beautifully presented with decent portions.
Another bonus is the cake selection: Das Bootshaus shares ownership with locations like Café Landtmann and thus also draws on the family group’s in-house patisserie.
(Press photo © Jan Lackner)
Kitted out in their casual nautical colours and styling, the staff proved assiduously friendly and efficient. We had a dog with us, for example, and a cup of dog biscuits materialised on our table without asking.
The waitresses and waiters also showed unflustered calm in a torrential August downpour that had everyone scurrying to indoor seating.
The elegance and location comes at a price, of course. Das Bootshaus belongs to the more upmarket segment of Viennese restaurant life. Our five-person breakfast with a couple of drinks each and two cakes worked out at about €150 without tips. We ate and drank well on it, though.
That elegance and location also translates to popularity. Although we could have walked in on a Sunday morning, it might be wise to reserve a table.
How to get to Das Bootshaus
Despite the lakeside location, you can find Das Bootshaus relatively quickly via public transport and a short walk.
Take the U1 subway to Alte Donau (this line leaves, for example, from Schwedenplatz, Stephansplatz and Karlsplatz stations in the centre).
Come out of the station and go left and left again to cross over the Alte Donau along Wagramer Straße. As soon as you reach the other bank, turn right down the flat, paved lakeside footpath. Walk about ten minutes to reach Das Bootshaus.
Address: An der unteren Alten Donau 61, 1220 | Website