It is a pleasant surprise to find that Landia, only steps away from the traffic and noise of Mariahilferstrasse, offers a peaceful and cozy atmosphere where you can enjoy friendly service and fresh food. The delicious air that swirls around the small restaurant is very inviting as is the eclectic yet simple decor – the colorful spines of countless travel guides line the walls suggesting both the lure of adventure and the familiarity of the living room.
Landia offers daily specials in addition to a small but diverse menu (note: the online menu is not as extensive as its live counterpart). True to its name, all menu items are vegetarian and available in vegan and/or gluten-free form upon request including all of the usual suspects – gulasch, rumproast, schnitzel, and cordon bleu. What is the magic ingredient in preparing these meat-based dishes for a meat-less crowd? Seitan! I have long been a fan of seitan but I have not been able to find a brand in Austria (read: Merkur) that I genuinely like. This means that I have to make it myself, and while I enjoy what is essentially baking without baking, it is a lot of work considering that no one else in my circle is willing to enjoy it with me. Austria is a meat-based food culture – any old cafe or restaurant menu will confirm this observation – but tofu and seitan – prime among the meat substitutes – are on the rise in the land of pork and plenty.
After all my talk of seitan, you may wonder at the fact that I did not, in fact, order seitan – instead, I opted for the zuchinni cordon bleu with potatoes and tartare sauce (something I am less apt to make on my own). I ordered the vegan version of the dish and it was excellent. The zuchinni was coated in a thin layer of seitan and then dressed up and fried like a schnitzel – inside, the vegan cheese was melted and velvety (a claim that not all vegan cheese can make!), adding a smooth texture to the crunch of the fresh zuchinni and crispy coating. The potatoes were seasoned with salt and served with rucola rather than parsely as is standard in Austria. Finally, the tartare sauce – also vegan – added a bite to the dish that really made it stand out in my mind. (Side note: I love condiments – yea, I’m that girl, dipping a pretzel in mustard in the beer garden).
My friend ordered the samosas with tahini, an eggplant and tomato chutney, and a small side salad including carrots, apples, and beets (note to self: use apples in salads). This also tasted great although a little heat in the eggplant and tomato chutney would be much appreciated.
The next time I come to Landia – and there will be a next time – I want to get my hands on their pumpkin lasagne…and if all else fails, I’m signing up for the seitan gulasch WITH dumplings.
Landia vegetarisches und veganes Restaurant