The quirky and unusual Zwölf Apostelkeller restaurant in Vienna is quite literally a buried treasure. In fact, its name translates into the “12 Apostles’ Cellar.” And this keller/cellar is one popular (although kind of hard-to-find) gem.
Located in Sonnengelsgasss, behind St. Stephan’s Cathedral and down some winding streets, this subterranean tavern is worth hunting down. Its current building is above 2 levels of vaulted caves mostly erected in 1561. However, stonework in the lowest cellar boasts the date “1106.”
A keller is traditionally a tavern built underground where a community gets together to eat, drink, and discuss local concerns. And in fact, many town halls all over Central Europe have or had one of these kellers.
The 12 Apostles’ Cellar strives to continue that tradition and describes itself as “a meeting place for old and young.”
Although the menu wasn’t in English, the staff cheerfully translated for us and we found that there was a good offering of traditional Viennese dishes. I ordered Gemusestrudel, or vegetarian strudel, that had a wonderfully rich white sauce.
My Mom ordered Kasespatzle, or dumpling and cheese. This was actually a sort of super yummy baked macaroni and cheese dish. And I’m not ashamed to report that we both cleaned our plates. Completely!
Although there were several tourists in the restaurant, most of the guests were actually locals when we were there, which I always take as a good sign.
The relaxed atmosphere, good wine selection, and surprisingly reasonable prices contributed to a really nice time, as did the old-world interior with stone archways, brick walls, and old-style lighting that gave everything a warm glow.
Highest recommendation to search out and then go underground at the 12 Apostles’ Cellar. Fun, quirky, and good food? What’s not to love??