The restaurant “Der Kuckuck” is situated in a building which originated in the Middle Ages. The “Paltisches Haus” (named after Count Palfin around 1700; it became “paltisch” only through a spelling error) on Himmelpfortgasse 15, with its groined vaults from the 16th century, a baroque façade from the late 17th century, the pretty gable and the beautiful Renaissance portal, is culturally and historically one of the most interesting secular buildings in Vienna.
The “Paltisches Haus” stands on ground which was already settled by the ancient Romans. Excavations in the cellar produced a Roman marble head, a torso and other pieces from antiquity, which are now exhibited at the City of Vienna Historical Museum. The present building – not to mention the Romanesque core of the former Himmelpfort Monastery – is over 400 years old. By the late 18th century it had become a burgher’s house and was refurbished in the baroque style.
Words simply cannot describe the individual aura of the house, with its nooks and crannies, the random charm of its rooms, and yet its spaciousness. Carefully furnished in every detail, it warms even the casual visitor with a welcoming, homely atmosphere, in which the virtues of two epochs – the Middle Ages and modernity – fuse into one harmonious whole. And visitors often come into the small courtyards – for instance, to see the ancient well, which is 60 feet deep and the only inner-city well to reach down to the level of the Danube.