Disco Volante Marinara on the Dancefloor
With Maria Fuchs’ new restaurant, real Italian food has come to the 6th District with an appealing touch of space-age retro
Parli Italiano? Even before entering Disco Volante in the 6th District, it feels like Italy – apart from the rain and the greyness of Gumpendorfer Straße. Instead of "Ziehen" (Pull), the small sign on the door says "Tirare" – which I of course push instead of pull.
Disco Volante’s interior quickly fulfils expectations. A giant silver disco ball at the centre not only makes the restaurant look spectacular, but does the real work: It’s the pizza oven. Real Italians will know that disco volante actually means "flying saucer" – which has little to do with the disco glamour of the 1970s. Still, the space age has a glamour all of its own. And the disco ball draws your attention where it belongs: the pizza.
The rest of the furniture is simple (what could possibly compete with an XXL disco ball?), consisting of dark wooden tables with white paper placemats, wooden chairs and – very fitting in an Italian restaurant – pews, formerly used in a church. After all, the customers here are also strong believers, who will swear that nothing compares to this pizza.
On this rainy Tuesday afternoon the place filled up quickly, mainly with parents and their young children who had just been picked up from school. But there were also single customers reading newspapers or just watching the pizza baker throw the dough into the air, making it swirl, then catching it again, before adding the toppings, as he sang to himself in Italian. He reported that he makes up to 200 pizze per day.
Naples to Vienna
In Italy, pizza is a simple, fast meal, and that’s exactly what it is here.
The menu consists of only one page, and those looking for Pizza Tonno, Hawaii or Quattro Stagioni will be disappointed.
At Disco Volante, you can order Pizze Bianche and Pizze Rosse – with or without tomato sauce – and the toppings are basic, but high quality.
For example, the Pizza Egidio (€9.50) comes with meat from Fleischhauerei Ringl just across the street.
It was after having spent some time in Naples that owner Maria Fuchs decided to bring authentic pizza to Vienna.
When she opened her 2nd District restaurant Pizza Mari in 2008, people were actually standing in line to get a taste of Italy.
In July, she opened her second restaurant in the 6th District, and added some life to Gumpendorfer Straße by putting benches outside the restaurant. Initially meant for staff members taking a break, they were soon taken over by customers getting take-out pizza on warm summer nights and enjoying it outside on the sidewalk.
After my companion and I ordered green olives from the South of Italy as a starter (€2.40), Pizza Marinara (€5.90) and a Pizza Bufala (€9.20), we barely had time to take notes and pictures before the waitress – dressed in a unique blue uniform designed by graduates of the University of Applied Arts – returned with our food. The green olives, were incredibly tasty and bigger than any we had ever seen. The pizze were also different, uneven and each one individual. They really looked hand-made.
My companion’s Pizza Marinara was the real test: Only topped with tomatoes, garlic and oregano, it is a very plain pizza – and you can’t cover up bad quality.
But there was no need to: Just like the Pizza Bufala, made with real Italian buffalo mozzarella, it was made with special flour and had a wonderful sweet taste because of the perfectly ripe Italian tomatoes.
The crust was crisp and a challenge for our forks, while the rest of the pizza was thin. After the first few bites we started to wonder how we could ever enjoy Italian food anywhere else again.
And what would an authentic Italian meal be without some dolce? We decide to share a Torta Caprese (€3.50), a chocolate-almond cake, and regretted our stinginess as soon as we tried the first bite. Clearly some things are not meant to be shared. We topped it off with a grappa (€3.50), the perfect end to any Italian meal.
Disco Volante taught us a lesson: Initially, we thought that the disco oven was the glitziest part of the restaurant, but in fact, it only comes in second.
What is truly splendid here is the food, with high-quality ingredients, a lot of love of detail and the more than decent prices. The mirror-covered oven only adds to its brilliance.
6., Gumpendorfer Straße 98