Vienna is one of the last places that you would look for Thai food. Don’t worry, I had that impression as well. After being in Eastern Europe for a while, I needed a break from eating schnitzel and pork knuckle at seemingly every meal.
Upon our return to Vienna, we were wandering around the Alexanderplatz area and I noticed a Thai restaurant. I remember seeing it on our previous trip a few years ago, but didn’t think much of it. While passing it this time around, I figured they must be doing something right if they were still around, and in somewhat of a hidden location as well.
Patara Fine Thai Cuisine is located off of the main “street” of Alexanderplatz, which seems to be Graben. It is off a little side street right next to St. Peter Catholic Church. Most people wish to see St. Stephen’s Cathedral, so St. Peter’s is probably often overlooked as it a much smaller church.
We lucked out by being able to grab a table at lunch time. The restaurant was full, and we were flying out later that day, so dinner was a definite no go.
We started off with the Green Papaya Salad, which hit all of the notes that Thai cuisine is famous for: sour, sweet, spicy, and salty. The papaya salad sat upon a bed of field greens, which is a little different. The salad was well marinated, while the papaya still retained a bit of crunch. Crushed peanuts were added to also provide a textural contrast.
The menu features “set menus” or “tasting menus” at both lunch and dinner, but you are also free to order a la carte.
As it was nearing the end of service, we decided to go with the “Thai Set Lunch”.
The meal included a Spicy Lemongrass Soup with Chicken, and a Grilled Prawn with Peanut Coconut Sauce. The soup had a nice strong citrusy punch thanks to loads of lemongrass infusing the broth. The chicken was tender and flavorful. The grilled prawns were marinated and nicely cooked, so they remained tender and succulent.
The Red Prawn Curry with Zucchini came with a side of rice. The curry had a beautiful orange hue, and was bursting with vibrant green colors from the basil and zucchini. The broth was flavorful and smooth, but could have used more heat. The dish was also served with wok fried vegetables with just a splash of oyster sauce to give it a hint of sweetness. The dish was finished off with an orange segment, and a couple slice of refreshingly sweet pineapple.
The Stir Fried Pork Filet with Long Beans was also nicely prepared. The pork was tender and flavorful. The dish also contained bell peppers, which added some extra color and texture. The long beans were tender after a nice bath in hot oil. Instead of fruit, we opted for the banana spring rolls which were topped with honey and cashews. This was certain to satisfy and sweet tooth.
Of course we couldn’t stop there, and got the Pandan Crème Brulee, which was served with a star anise raspberry sauce. The glassy sugary topping had a nice crackling sound upon striking it with the back of a spoon. The custard was silky smooth, with just a hint of pandan leaf hitting the back of your tongue.
Service was friendly throughout. I wish we would have wandered in here a few years ago, as the food in this region of Europe can become somewhat monotonous unless you’re willing to go out on a limb. I have found that on the few times we have strayed from the norm, the results have been rather disappointing. I am happy to report, that this will not likely be the case with Patara.