On my first trip to Vienna,
I learned about a restaurant
too good to be true.
The restaurant, Der Wiener Deewan, serves buffet-style Pakistani food – to my taste buds and olfactory perception – no discernible difference between it and Indian food. At Deewan, diners eat all they can eat – as much as they wish to eat – and pay whatever they wish to pay. Eat as much as you like, pay what you want. How could this be?
My first reaction was how could any restaurant stay in business with such an off-balance policy? What if I ate a ton and wanted to pay a penny? No problem, said the cashier. It’s as stated: Pay what you wish.
So off I went with Xin, my Viennese host who told me about Deewan. This I had to see for myself. Of course on our way there I asked if the food was of low or poor quality. Was it good? Was it fresh? Was this place some sort of roach-infested dump?
None of the above.
First, the food was pretty good. It was so good I wish I had the stomach to go back for a third helping of rice and potatoes and the curried stew. Even the vegetable medley was cooked to perfection. But with seconds, I was stuffed. I don’t eat much. Never have been able to stuff my face silly at those all-you-can-eat joints while my friends got their money’s worth – and then some.
If you can imagine Indian food, you will have a sense of Pakistani food. And my dear Indian and Pakistani friends, I know you will argue I just committed heresy by suggesting there’s no difference between the two. Again, the only difference to me is in the nationality of the hands preparing it. Needless to say, because Deewan is so cheap, it draws lots of university students who have better things to spend their money on than food 😉 and budget travelers. But it’s a well-known local spot. Most people know it. Well, most people under 30. It caters to the young and hip and hipster. I’ve been to Vienna twice and each time I’ve paid a visit to Deewan. It’s, of course, worth it.
Here is its website with more photos and location information. If you do go, yes, pay as much as you wish, but don’t be
a total jerk! 😛