What to Eat in Vienna: Traditional Viennese Food You Must Eat in Vienna

What to Eat in Vienna: Traditional Viennese Food You Must Eat in Vienna

Food, glorious food.  I love Viennese food!  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!  And, if you prefer to take a food tour in Vienna I’ve found some corkers for you too, from a market & food tour to a Strudel Show!

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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.

Wiener Schnitzel - What to eat in Vienna - must eat in Vienna
Wiener Schnitzel – What to eat in Vienna

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.

Sachertorte - What to eat in Vienna - must eat in Vienna
Sachertorte – A chocolate cake you must eat in Vienna

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.

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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!

Tafelspitz from Figlmuller - What to eat in Vienna - must eat in Vienna
Tafelspitz from Figlmuller – What to eat in Vienna

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).

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An incredible chocolate & hazlenut creation at Cafe Central - What to eat in Vienna - must eat in Vienna
An incredible chocolate & hazelnut creation at Cafe Central – A definite must eat in Vienna!

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!

Coffee & Cake at Cafe Central (with Wagner the Wombat) - What to eat in Vienna - must eat in Vienna
Coffee & Cake at Cafe Central (with Wagner the Wombat) – What to eat in Vienna – must eat in Vienna

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.  If you’d like to see how apple strudel is made, Schönbrunn Palace do 20-minute ‘Strudel Shows‘ demonstrating the art of strudel-making, which you happily get to taste afterwards!

Apple Strudel - What to eat in Vienna - must eat in Vienna
Apple Strudel – What to eat in Vienna

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.

A yummy cheese plate from Kaseland - What to eat in Vienna - must eat in Vienna
A yummy cheese plate from Kaseland – What to eat in Vienna

And what goes better with cheese than wine?  Just outside the city is the Wachau Valley, where you can take Wachau Valley Winery Biking Tour or go by car to explore the wineries in the Danube valley.  Dürnstein, Wissenkirchen and Spitz are all popular stops along the trail.

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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.

Viennese Wurstel - What to eat in Vienna - must eat in Vienna
Viennese Wurstel – A must eat in Vienna

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!

Colourful Hummus at Neni in the Naschmarkt - What to eat in Vienna - must eat in Vienna
Colourful Hummus at Neni in the Naschmarkt – What to eat in Vienna

Manner Wafers

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.

Manner wafer biscuits - What to eat in Vienna - must eat in Vienna
Manner wafer biscuits – What to eat in Vienna

Food Tours & Foodie Experiences in Vienna

There are plenty of foodie experiences to enjoy traditional Viennese food while you are in Vienna.  I usually love to do food tours, so I think next time I’m in Vienna I’ll give one of these a try!


If you don’t fancy a full food tour, there are other ways to enjoy a Vienna foodie experience, including a strudel show!


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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This post was brought to you as a result of the #wombatsTraveller blog trip, created and managed by iambassador in partnership with wombat’s CITY HOSTELS.  However, as always, all opinions are my own and I maintain full editorial control of the content published here on Tales of a Backpacker.

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Last updated: October 29, 2019

12 thoughts on “What to Eat in Vienna: Traditional Viennese Food You Must Eat in Vienna

  1. The coffee and cake looks delightful Claire. Especially with Wagner the Wombat hanging out with you! Delicious food all around. Rocking post.

  2. This blog post was my bible when I went to Vienna a couple of weeks ago! Thank you so much. I went to the apple strudel show and I really appreciated the veggie schnitzel tip – I actually got to try schnitzel at Landia which was excellent. It was nice not to have to miss out. Also, I tried the Sachertorte at Cafe Demel in the hope it was less dry than the one you had at Cafe Sacher and it was superb.

    I stayed at Wombat’s Naschmarkt on your recommendation as well! Thanks for helping make my trip ace 🙂

    1. Hi Rebekah! That’s awesome, I’m so glad you find this useful! I’m actually going back to Vienna next week and I can’t wait to eat all of this again! I’ll be staying at the Wombats again too, it is such a great location 🙂 Thank you for reading and for your lovely comment – safe and happy travels! xx

  3. I really shouldn’t have read this while drinking coffee because now I realise that I am missing Sachertorte ! How delicious does that look? In fact all the desserts look amazing! You have got some great food photos here

  4. Wow that schnitzel looks amazing. Thanks for all the great tips. I don’t have Vienna on my list of places to go to anytime soon, but I always enjoy a great food posts. Definitely bookmarking this. Thanks for sharing.

  5. This all looks amazing. I had no idea apple strudel was from Austria, although it is one of my favorites, as is wienerschnitzel.
    I also am admiring the hummus tower – that is such an interesting way to serve it.

  6. OMG YES! I love food posts, it makes me so hungry haha. From this list, apple strudel definitely is my favorite. I love it, combining it cream and vanilla ice cream, yummie! Also, I’m Always a big fan of Wiener schnitzels.

  7. OMG I’m drooling. The Weiner Schnitzel, of course. But that hazelnut dessert looks so amazing. I can just taste it from here 😉 I was a bit surprised by the Middle Eastern mezze but I guess it makes sense, and I bet it’s a nice departure when you’re in Vienna. Everything looks delish!

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