Don’t Forget Mosquito Spray

Location:Biergasthof Otto
Address:Altmannsdorfer Straße 101, 1120 Wien
Status:Open (last checked on 20 June 2024)
Eaten:Small portion of spare ribs, ½l Ottakringer Dunkles, 0.33l Ottakringer Brauwerk Black & Proud Porter

Once upon a time, there was no internet. And then one day it became available, to a few chosen managers at first, but also to me, for I was the lucky one responsible for configuring it on the managers’ PCs. Obviously, one of the first queries I entered into AltaVista (or was it WebCrawler?) was “Best Austrian Beer.”

I got quite a few tips, mostly from the page of one beer-loving American student. This was how I learned about the fantastic but now defunct Nußdorfer Brauerei, Kartause Gaming (which was still reachable with a train at the time) and Biergasthof Otto, which was praised not as much for its beer as for its cozy garden. I remember visiting it once or twice, but it was only today – some 30 years later – that I finally came specifically to try Otto’s spare ribs.

While the garden is indeed very nice, the spare ribs are less so. The first bite revealed the nearly complete lack of marinade – the meat was little more than a carrier of the taste of whatever you dipped it into. It also contained a number of annoying small bones, which threatened my teeth and created quite a lot of unnecessary work to spit them out.

On the other hand, spare ribs are the rare dish that usually gets better the more you eat it, and this was also the case at Otto’s. Mainly, this was possible thanks to three different sauces – sweet chili, BBQ and garlic – which were not only varied, but also non-industrial. The small portion of ribs that I had ordered only featured a single rack, but it was perfectly OK size-wise, and I don’t think I would have enjoyed a second one.

I am not sure if it was due to my sitting close to a fountain, but nearly all the positive impressions I got from visiting Otto were, sadly, destroyed by mosquitos, which bit me everywhere, even through my thick jeans. If there were any fairness in this world, the mosquitos should have paid a part of my bill or at least the tip. Otto’s beer garden is great, but if you are planning to visit it in summer, don’t forget the spray.

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