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Urban Discoveries: Disco Volante

This is part of the “Urban Discoveries” series, in which we seek and discover interesting and well designed places to eat and drink around Europe and especially in Vienna. The article we present you today was written by my colleague and friend Maximilian Martsch, who is a researcher and works on the topic of food history. The pictures were shot by myself. Due to the longer text this time around we decided to change the format a little bit, the pictures are now included within the article and not placed in the end. Thanks to Disco Volante for the invitation and especially to Verena Piontek for the warm welcome and the interview.

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I still remember my visit to the famous Antica Pizzaria Da Michele in Naples and the sensational joy I had enjoying a purist pizza Margarita. The Soft, moist dough and fluffy crust, the rich marinara sauce topped with tasty slices of mozzarella cheese and perfectly balanced with a couple of fresh basil leaves. And it’s not only the food itself, but also the bustling and lively atmosphere. After all pizza is a fast dish, you get in, take a seat, order, eat, maybe round it up with a coffee, and leave again. In many ways it encapsulates the Italian lifestyle in a nutshell.
So in order to get that authentic experience of Neapolitan pizza you have to hop on a train or plan and travel down there, right?

Well, not necessarily…right in the middle of Vienna’s trendy 6th district in the busy Gumpendorfer Straße you can get a taste of Naples’s most iconic dish. The Pizzeria Disco Volante is dedicated dishing out flat pies, topped with all kinds of fresh ingredients right from their steaming hot wood-fired oven. Not only the pizza is all inspired by its Neapolitan models, but also the design of the restaurant.

The name Disco Volante is Italian and means “flying disc” which is first and foremost a reference to the pizza’s flat shape and how the dough is thrown in the air to stretch it out before it’s garnished and baked in the oven. But besides this rather obvious correlation, the name also hints to the true eye candy of the restaurant: the wood-fired oven in the design of a disco ball. We visited during daytime, the reflection of the sunlight in the small mirrors of the disco ball created a distinctive atmosphere. However, the use of colored spotlights combined with Italian disco music also make a visit during the evening worthwhile.


The design concept can be best described as purist and clean. The restaurant immediately reminds one of the unique style of Italy in the 60s, everything looks bright, clean, and minimalistic.
The owners work together with regional producers to ensure the best quality, but you also find imports on their menu like an assortment of delicious Italian lemonades.

The restaurant opened its doors back in 2013 and you might have heard of its sister location “Pizza Mari” located in the 2nd district, which is well known among urban pizza lovers. Both restaurants are owned by Maria Fuchs who fell in love with Naples and its pizza culture while spending an exchange semester there and decided to bring this experience back to Vienna.


All the pizza cooks at Disco Volante are Italians and they must go through a special training before the master the art of pizza making, and it’s really a form of art. The wood-fired oven reaches a temperature of 300–400° and is big enough for eight pizzas baking simultaneously. Due to the high temperature the pizzas can get burned very quickly and need to be rotated repeatedly until there are finished after a couple of minutes. The work requires a crafty technique and a lot of practice. The cooks at Disco Volante know exactly what they are doing and it’s a joy to watch them scurry around the kitchen while cracking jokes in Italian.

Disco Volante doesn’t do home delivery, so you best pick up the phone and order for pick up or you just put on your sneakers and run over there to get your hands on their delicious pizza and indulge in the busy atmosphere of southern Italy.

For opening hours and further info please visit http://www.disco-volante.at

Urban Discoveries: Bros. Pizza

Prologue. This is part of the “Urban Discoveries” series, in which we seek and discover interesting and well designed places to eat and drink around Europe and especially in Vienna.

START GAME. You are in the center of Vienna, walking down Mariahilferstraße and suddenly you see an endearing sign of a Pizza with a Super Nintendo inside the room. You decide to jump in to the tasty world of BROS. PIZZA.

The Pizzeria started a few years ago as a project of two friends deciding to work together – hence the Bros. in the name. Legend has it when they saw the place with many ventilation tubes on the ceiling they thought of Super Mario and they came up with the video game theme of the restaurant.

At Bros. Pizza you order your meal at the bar, either for take away or for dining inside. There is a choice of around 10 pizzas, sometimes with changing additions. We decided for “L’Atomica”, a pizza with a hot toping consisting of Spanish chorizo, mozzarella cheese, caramelised onions and Red Eye hot sauce and for “Hot Goat” also called Pizza Bianca with spinach, mozzarella, goose cheese and pecorino. Both of them were delicious and crisp, the hot one having a nice spicy flavour to it. For drink we just ordered soft drinks this time around, but there is a fine choice of craft beer from the “Brussel Bier Project”.

During the waiting time (which usually is not very long) you are invited to play Super Nintendo, it’s not just there for decoration – indeed it is working actually! The available games are changing but when we were there we could play Street Fighter during the waiting time and after the meal. What a great idea! There are also other nice easter eggs referencing video game culture and especially the Super Mario Bros. in the room – just keep your eyes open.

BROS. PIZZA is open daily from Monday to Sunday from 12:00 to 15:00 and again from 17:00 to 21:00 and on Sundays from 12:00 to 20:00. You’ll find it at Zollergasse 2, close to U3 Neubaugasse. For more info check out their Facebook page.

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Urban Discoveries: BrewDog Tallinn

In “Urban Discoveries” we seek and find interesting and well designed places to eat and drink. Usually in or around Vienna, but this time around we checked out for you a new place for craft beer in the city of Tallinn, Estonia.

BrewDog by itself of course is not new but an already established brand from Scotland. They are a craft brew company but also licence pubs. Estonia is new to the family. The first BrewDog was opened just a couple of months ago in the fresh Rotermanni Kvartal (Rotermann Disctrict) right around the corner of the magnificent old town of Tallinn.

It is a welcoming place with lots and lots of choice for beer lovers. There are some staples, but much of the menu is changing constantly so to offer new brands for trial. The prices are modest if so not as cheap as you would expect from a former Soviet country. Estonia certainly is becoming more and more part of the West (or North). The barkeepers are always up for a chat and are very friendly. They will gladly explain to you the nuances and differences of the assortment. Don’t be shy!

You’ll find more info about the place right here. They also have a well done Instagram account.

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Urban Discoveries: Karma Ramen

Asked about a common Japanese dish most people would say Sushi instantly. Travelling Japan though you notice that Sushi is not as prevalent as you would think (though when you get it it’s so much better! A must at the fish market in Tokyo) and you learn that the true Japanese national dish is something else and it is called Ramen. Japanese people really love Ramen.

Basically Ramen are noodles in a bowl. They are sold in small restaurants specialised just in this particular dish. These places are very cozy and often run by families. Sometimes you pay at a machine and make your order there handing the receipt from the machine directly to the cook. Better known in the West is the instant variation of the dish: Instant Ramen.

But the real thing is so much better. In Vienna you can try them at Karma Ramen close to Kettenbrückengasse (subway U4). Not only you get delicious food there but also a nice atmosphere. The place celebrates Japanese influenced pop culture with posters and Godzilla. Because there is never enough Godzilla. Right?

Karma Ramen is open from Monday to Saturday from 11:30 am to 14:30 pm and from 18:00 pm to 23:00 pm and Sunday from 11:30 am to 16:00 pm.

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Urban Discoveries: Onisando 鬼サンド

Before we start I’d like to introduce to you a new series on michaelhoffman.at. In Urban Discoveries I am going to present interesting places to eat, drink and generally have a good time in Vienna and elsewhere in Europe. There is no regularity here and mostly my usual photography series will fill the pages, but this is definitely a new addition to the site. To continue my Japanese theme I followed over the winter (one more series is due!) let’s start with a Japanese place in good ol’ Vienna.

Onisando is a pretty fresh endeavour by the guys behind Karma Ramen. Like Japanese noodles the roots of the dish lie in late 19th century Japan. In the Meji restoration period as this time is referred to by historians the country opened up after a prolonged period of reclusiveness and let in foreign influences in culture, religion and cuisine. Katsu as the sandwiches Onisando are offering are called were probably invented in a restaurant in Tokyo in 1899 called Rengatei. Orinally it was a Japanese version of a very European dish – beef or pork cutlet with breadcrumbs. Hence the Japanese word katsuretsu for cutlet, or just short katsu. Later customers demanded  a takeaway version of the dish and so Tonkatsu was created, basically Japanese style cutlets served with cabbage in a sandwich topped with sauces.

And that’s exactly what you get at Onisando for prices around 7 to 10 Euro for a set with Miso soup and apple. There are a couple of staple sets with meat, vegetarian and dish options and limited editions which change around twice a month. Very delicious was a Matcha desert I got to try which is still in development and not yet finalized (last picture). Very interesting too is the general style of the shop. It’s quite small and cozy and hence very Japanese. But the art envisioned by the Polish artist NDZW merges Austrian with Japanese culture by placing Katsu sandwiches in different very Viennese spots – like for example the ferris wheel Riesenrad. Notable too are the strict geometric forms like you seem them very often in the land of the rising sun.

All in all Onisando is a very nice experience with good food and affordable prices. It is open weekdays from 11:30 to 15:00 at Fleischmarkt 26, 1010 Vienna. For more info please visit https://www.onisando.at. Thanks for inviting @kju_rose an me in.

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