Food, glorious food. In Vienna I decided not to do a food tour as usual, instead, I found the best places to eat in Vienna all by myself. There are so many choices when deciding what to eat in Vienna so I tracked down some traditional Viennese food that you simply must eat in Vienna. I’ve picked out my favourite traditional Austrian dishes, and some of the best places to eat them, so you know exactly what to eat and where to eat in Vienna!
What to Eat in Vienna: Wiener Schnitzel
This surely has to be top of any lists of what to eat in Vienna, and even what to do in Vienna. Also written without the space in Austrian German, Wienerschnitzel is one of Austria’s national dishes and is a thin veal cutlet, which is breaded, and pan-fried. In Vienna, the Wiener Schnitzel varies in size and is often large enough for two people to share. Usually served with a slice of lemon and potatoes, this was my favourite Viennese dish.
Where to Eat the Best Wiener Schnitzel in Vienna
Almost every restaurant in Vienna has schnitzel on the menu, but Figlmüller serves one of the best wiener schnitzels in Vienna. It is HUGE and easily serves two people. There are several Figlmüller restaurants in the city, and they are often packed with tourists and locals. It is worth the wait. Traditionally a specialist in coffee, I also have to mention Café Central, because I loved the wiener schnitzel here.
Vegan & Vegetarian Schnitzel in Vienna
If you are vegetarian, don’t worry – you can also try a veggie-friendly version of the classic schnitzel in Vienna. Try Das Agustin or Landia to try a vegetarian schnitzel and other tasty meat-free options.
What to Eat in Vienna: Sachertorte
The classic chocolate cake, Sachertorte is a chocolate cake, topped with a thin layer of apricot jam and a smooth chocolate topping. The cake was first created by Franz Sacher, who was instructed to create a new dessert for Prince von Metternich in 1832.
Where to Eat the Best Sacher Torte in Vienna
The Sacher Torte caused a lengthy ‘cake war’ when both Café Sacher and Café Demel entered into a lengthy legal fight over whose right it was to own the label of ‘the original Sachertorte’. In the end, both sides agreed that Hotel Sacher could say they have “The Original Sachertorte” and Demel uses Eduard-Sacher-Torte to decorate their cakes. Both are supposed to be excellent, although the one I tried in Café Sacher was a little dry. I hope to try Demel’s next time! The Sachertorte I tried at the excellent Vollpension (photo above) was beautiful.
What to Eat in Vienna: Tafelspitz
Tafelspitz is a dish of boiled beef, served with horseradish and/or applesauce, and usually potatoes. Figlmüller is also famous for this, but I tried it and much preferred the wiener schnitzel. To me, the beef was a little boring, so I ended up leaving some of mine and chowing down on the schnitzel instead! I later learned that the broth which comes with the beef should be eaten before the beef, so perhaps that makes a difference! If you like beef then it is a great option to try, let me know what you think!
What to Eat in Vienna: Goulash
Similar to the goulash in Hungary and Czech Republic, goulash is a thick meat stew usually made with beef and flavoured with paprika, tomato, and other spices. I had gorged myself on goulash in the Czech Republic so I didn’t try it in Vienna – it is on my list for next time! In Vienna, goulash is usually served with potatoes, bread rolls or the smaller Austrian dumplings (Semmelknödel).
What to Eat in Vienna: Coffee & Cake
I am not a coffee lover myself, but was surprised to learn that coffee is HUGE in Vienna! There are cafés and coffee houses all over the city, and Viennese people love to pop in and enjoy a nice coffee every chance they get. A Wiener Melange (Viennese Blend) coffee is very similar to a cappuccino, a small espresso served with half steamed milk and topped off with milk froth. I still don’t really understand the difference between a cappuccino and a melange, but maybe you can ask for both and do a taste test! Coffee is often accompanied by delicious cakes, like the Sachertorte, strudel, and any assortment of cakes, pastries and sweet delicacies. The cakes at Café Central were divine!
What to Eat in Vienna: Apple Strudel
Austrians definitely have a sweet tooth. Apple strudel is one of the most famous deserts in Austria, and all around this part of Europe. Made with pastry stuffed with apples, raisins, and flavoured with cinnamon and a sprinkling of sugar, apple strudel, or apfelstrudel as it is called here, makes for a great dessert, or as a sweet snack with your coffee.
What to Eat in Vienna: Cheese & Wine
It hadn’t occurred to me that there was good cheese in Austria, I think spending too much time in Latin America I forgot how much we Europeans LOVE cheese. I tried a (mostly) Austrian cheese plate at Käseland in the Naschmarkt and was a very happy bunny indeed.
And what goes better with cheese than wine? Just outside the city is the Wachau Valley, where you can take a bike tour or go by car to explore the wineries in the Danube valley. Dürnstein, Wissenkirchen and Spitz are all popular stops along the trail.
The Best Cheap Eats in Vienna
Würstel (Viennese Sausage)
Oh yes, Austrians love a good sausage, and Vienna is no different. On pretty much every street in Vienna, you will find fast food places selling various types of würstels. Unlike typical hotdogs in the US or UK, würstel sausages in Vienna are served sliced, with a generous dollop of mustard and/or ketchup, with a couple of slices of bread or a roll on the side. A cheap & meaty treat, würstels are great to grab on the go. You can also get spicy or cheesy sausages too.
Turkish & Middle-Eastern Food
There is a large community of Turkish people in Vienna, and their cuisine now forms a staple part of Viennese cuisine. The huge Naschmarkt is one of the best places to find falafel, hummus and kebabs, to either take away or eat in. I ate at the extremely delicious Neni and loved everything we tried!
This isn’t a traditional dish as such, but you really have to try these! Manner has been making their bite-size Neapolitan wafer biscuits since 1898 and they are as much a part of Viennese food culture as the schnitzel. They are crunchy wafers layered with a creamy chocolate and hazelnut spread, and they are seriously addictive! You can buy them in most shops and supermarkets, and there is a special Manner shop next to St Stephen’s Cathedral and at the airport.
Where to Stay in Vienna
I stayed at the Wombat’s Vienna Naschmarkt hostel, which is right next to the Naschmarkt food market. I love the location of the hostel as we could go to the market any time and pick up fresh food or grab dinner, and it was a short metro ride or 20 minutes’ walk to Stephansplatz. The hostel is clean, safe and had a bar downstairs, so it was easy to meet other travellers.
Have you been to Vienna? Which food did you enjoy – any other dishes that people must eat in Vienna? Where is your favourite place to eat in Vienna? Let me know in the comments below!
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