If you’ve visited this site frequently enough, you’ll know that my husband is Viennese. Which means he is a terrible snob about pastries and schnitzel. (I’ve told you right? That on our first weekend away, he spent an afternoon educating me on Viennese cakes and cafes, slapping the fork out of my hand because I wasn’t pacing myself adequately for our adventures in excess – how I ask you? Can you not fall for such an original approach to wooing?)
We’ve made our way through many a schnitzel in Berlin, me always deferring to his expertise on the subject of schnitzel “This one’s pretty good, right?” I ask as we slice through schnitzel after schnitzel.
There is always some reason why it doesn’t measure up; there is no volcanic bubbling of the breaded outside, it isn’t thin enough, it isn’t big enough, on and on.
I’m glad he wasn’t with me the other night when I had a schnitzel at Austria in Kreuzberg (although I think it’s inspired that they offer a ‘damen’ portion), it was draped over the potato salad making it warm and breaded outside of the schnitzel soggy (It wasn’t much cheaper than Ottenthal either, €17 compared to €19 at Ottenthal).
In his expert opinion, the schnitzel at Ottenthal is as good as it gets. Coming in second place, the schnitzel at Brasserie Desbrosses in the Ritz and in third place Lutter & Wegner. Worldwide award for best schnitzel goes to Figlmüller of Vienna. A place to worship at the altar of thin, breaded and fried.Which brings me to this point, Ottenthal is not a schnitzel restaurant, it is an Austrian restaurant. A rather fine Austrian restaurant. One that the Michelin Guide has rated as having good value and being charming. In the winter, a lot of the ladies wear fur and the men tend to wear a jacket (no tie). Mozart, that other famed Austrian export, plays and there is even a plaque commemorating him, with a long-stemmed melancholic rose draped over it. It sounds absurdly kitsch to see it described that way when in fact its elegant and somewhat stark.
I’ve eaten other things at Ottenthal, like tafelspitz (before I knew what it was, boiled meat, with sides like creamed spinach, roast apple (but still boiled meat in broth, can’t eat that unless I’m recovering from an illness). Mostly I get the schnitzel (he always gets the schnitzel). It’s dear, €19 but it organic veal and it comes with a large side of exceptionally good potato salad and a lamb’s lettuce salad. Hrabi always has his with a bottle of Almdudler – the national soft drink of Austria.For the benefit of the this blog, we ordered a Kaiserschmarrn with homemade plum sauce. A crazy pancake made with a lot of eggs and then cut up with a spoon (recipe if you want on Delicious Days).
Geez! What a purist.
Restaurant & Weinhandlung
Tel.: 030 – 313 31 62
Daily 17:00 to 1:00
Reservations strongly recommended