Austria - Zum Schwarzen Kameel
Traditional Austrian restaurant in Vienna
Owner: Maître Restaurateur Peter Friese
" The restaurant is honoured to be part of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs "

The Zum Schwarzen Kameel is a traditional Austrian restaurant in Vienna’s Bognerstrasse. Featuring a classic Art Nouveau style interior, customers can choose to dine in style in the intimate restaurant; grab a sandwich at the deli counter; or a drink at the bar and simply relax.

Once frequented by one of Austria’s most famed painters, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, (who drew the logo still used to this day), as well as famous composers including the Maestro himself, Ludwig Van Beethoven, the Restaurant Zum Schwarzen Kameel has a long and rich history.

It was founded by Johan Baptist Cameel, after whom it is named, as a market store selling exotic spices (Vienna was an important trade route to the Ottoman Empire). A wine tavern was added in the 1820s and it became renowned for sourcing the best wines from all over Europe, imported by the barrel and matured in three storeys of cellars before bottling for sale.

One of the highlights of the long history of this business was being granted the title of Imperial Court Supplier in 1866 by the Emperor.

The business was taken over by the Friese family in the late 1950s and it has continued to thrive as a restaurant, bar and delicatessen, serving high quality food and wine, which remains the cornerstone of its success.

In the aftermath of World War II when food was in short supply all over Vienna and delicacies were particularly scarce, people had to create meals from ingredients that could be sourced from the farmers working land in the suburbs. Current owner, Maître Restaurateur Peter Friese’s mother was particularly inventive and her black bread sandwiches, filled with simple ingredients, became a popular, wholesome meal, accompanied by a glass of good quality wine.

In this way the Restaurant Zum Schwarzen Kameel became established at the heart of a tradition that typifies Vienna; the tradition for customers to meet for a chat in the morning; a coffee and sandwich for lunch; or a glass of cool wine and a quick meal at the end of the working day. Black bread sandwiches, served from a tray on the deli counter, remain a popular item today.

The Zum Schwarzen Kameel is a uniquely egalitarian venue in Vienna. Clerks, dancers, shop owners, opera singers, taxi drivers, artists, writers, technicians, lawyers, students and film stars mix with professors from universities, doctors or those who would once have been termed ‘noblemen’; all are welcomed as guests and can often be found sitting side-by-side, chatting animatedly of the events of the day.

The restaurant is honoured to be part of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, which has a common tradition - that of sharing food and wine in an amicable spirit of camaraderie.

Amanda Roberts
Editor, Revue internationale de la Chaîne