If you’re a fan of wholesome, hearty dishes, fall-off-the-bone meat, and indulgent comfort food guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, Vienna is the city for you. From buttery and chocolatey schokocroissants freshly baked first thing in the morning and würstel stands grilling mouthwatering sausages to fine-dining restaurants serving authentic wiener schnitzel and sophisticated cafes treating you to sweet slices of sachertorte, you really will be spoiled for choice when it comes to food in Vienna!
We understand that you’ve only got a short time in Vienna, and you don’t want to deprive your taste buds of a sensational experience. To help make sure you have the culinary adventure you were hoping for, follow our tips and try these 15 fantastic Austrian dishes while you’re in Vienna. To make things even easier for you, we’ve added our favorite places in the city to try each of these items!
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The Best Austrian Food in Vienna
1. Wiener Schnitzel
It doesn’t get more Viennese than wiener schnitzel! This iconic dish is really simple, but it tastes fantastic.
It’s made of a delicate slice of veal which is hammered until thin and tender, covered in fine breadcrumbs, and deep-fried until it’s golden brown and wonderfully crispy. For an authentic Viennese food experience, pair your wiener schnitzel with a side of Austrian potato salad.
Although the original wiener schnitzel is made with veal, you’ll struggle to find it made with veal anywhere in Vienna. Instead, most restaurants offer pork and chicken versions, which are just as delicious. Some places even dish up vegetarian and vegan versions.
Where to eat wiener schnitzel in Vienna
For classic wiener schnitzel, we suggest visiting Schnitzelwirt. You should definitely go hungry because this place serves giant schnitzels that are literally bigger than the plate they’re placed on! They also do some really interesting variations – one of our favorites is the one stuffed with cheese and ham.
Landia is an excellent pick for meat-free schnitzels. They make one using seitan and one made with celery root. They also serve some amazing organic wines and beers.
When you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, find your nearest bakery or cafe and order yourself some apfelstrudel. This classic dessert has a fantastically crisp outer layer and a wonderfully soft center that you’ll fall in love with after your first bite.
Apfelstrudel is made of super thin and crisp pastry, similar to filo pastry. The filling (a mixture of apples, raisins, sugar, cinnamon, and breadcrumbs) is generously spread over the pastry, and the whole thing is rolled up before being sliced into portions.
If you look carefully, you can see the swirl in the center. It tastes every bit as good as it looks!
With every bite, the flaky pastry crumbles and reveals the sweet, rich filling inside. It’s the perfect mid-afternoon snack with a coffee – although it can be a little too much for a dessert after a full meal.
Where to eat apfelstrudel in Vienna
Kaffee Alt Wien bakes some of the very best apfelstrudel in Vienna. This authentic Viennese cafe specializes in local dishes and desserts. Their apfelstrudel is baked in-house each day and is incredibly light and buttery.
Erdäpfelsalat is a one-of-a-kind potato salad that you can only find in Austria. Unlike the mayonnaise-heavy potato salad from North America, erdäpfelsalat is a relatively fresh and healthy side that accompanies almost every main course served in typical Austrian restaurants across Vienna. If you’re wondering what to eat in Vienna, you can’t go wrong with erdäpfelsalat.
Austrian potato salad is made with cubed boiled potatoes, red onions, white wine vinegar, mustard, chives, salt, and pepper. Some restaurants include chicken or meat stock, so if you’re vegetarian or vegan, it’s best to double-check before you order it.
The combination of flavors and textures is wonderful! The boiled potatoes provide a gentle, soft bite, while the rest of the ingredients create a rich, smooth creaminess. Erdäpfelsalat is most often served cold, but restaurants sometimes serve it warm in winter.
Where to eat erdäpfelsalat in Vienna
You can find erdäpfelsalat in pretty much every restaurant that serves authentic Austrian cuisine in Vienna. Figlmuller is a great place for classic Austrian food, including the ubiquitous erdäpfelsalat. Here it’s topped with fresh salad leaves for added crunch.
Vienna does some great comfort food and tafelspitz is one of our favorites. The perfect thing to enjoy on a cold winter evening, tafelspitz is made of a tender tailpiece of veal or beef that’s gently simmered in a rich broth with root vegetables. This cooking method makes the already delicate piece of meat even more tender while also giving it an earthy flavor.
The meat is typically served with seasonal vegetables, baked potatoes, applesauce, horseradish, and a creamy dill sauce. The broth it was cooked in is also served at the table and makes a wonderful soup.
Tafelspitz first became popular in Austria after Emperor Franz Joseph I declared boiled beef to be his favorite meal. Over 100 years later, tafelspitz is still a remarkably popular food in Vienna and features on almost every typical Austrian menu in the city.
Where to eat tafelspitz in Vienna
Plachutta Wollzeile is our favorite place to enjoy tafelspitz. This restaurant is famous for the classic dish and only uses the very finest ingredients to make it. They serve it with clear beef soup, root vegetables, leeks, bone marrow slices, hash browns, toasted black bread, apple-horseradish sauce, and a chive sauce. It’s a real feast!
If you like chocolate, sachertorte is easily the best Austrian food in Vienna! This iconic dessert is made up of layers of dense chocolate cake sandwiched together with sweet apricot jam. The whole thing is topped with a silky-smooth chocolate coating which almost looks too perfect to eat. It’s usually served with unsweetened whipped cream for the perfect finishing touch.
Sachertorte is so popular that you can find it all over the city. From fine dining restaurants and cute cafes to family-run bakeries and grocery stores, sachertorte is one of the easiest things to find in Vienna.
Where to eat sachertorte in Vienna
For the most authentic sachertorte in Vienna, head to Cafe Sacher. This sophisticated cafe bakes the classic cake following the exact same recipe from 1832 when the dessert was first invented.
Cafe Sacher is incredibly popular, and it’s sometimes very difficult to get a reservation. In this case, Cafe Central is a fantastic alternative. This famous cafe is where Freud and Trotsky used to go when they wanted a chat and a coffee break. It’s also where you’ll find some of the best sachertorte in Vienna!
Even though goulash originated in Hungary, it’s become hugely popular throughout Austria. It was brought over in the 19th century and still features on almost all authentic Austrian menus today.
The perfect food in Vienna when you’re in the mood for something hearty and comforting, goulash is a rich stew made of beef, tomatoes, onions, and paprika. All the fat is trimmed off the beef before it’s added, making it relatively healthy, and the remaining ingredients create a thick sauce that’s packed with flavor.
In Vienna, goulash is most often served with bread dumplings. They’re great for soaking up all the wonderful sauce leftover from the stew, and they make for an incredibly filling meal. If you’re going to order goulash, it’s a good idea to skip the appetizer!
Where to eat goulash in Vienna
Ilona Stuberl is a great place to enjoy goulash. This family-run restaurant was established way back in 1957 and serves up a wonderful selection of Austrian and Hungarian dishes. Here it’s served as a soup with big chunks of seasonal vegetables.
7. Wiener Würstel
You’ll find many food stalls throughout Vienna dishing up all kinds of street eats. If you’re a fan of sausages and hot dogs, you’ve absolutely got to try wiener würstel. One of the most popular things to eat in Vienna, this dish literally translates as “wiener sausage,” and it makes a great snack when you’re sightseeing.
The original wiener würstel is made with beef or pork, but today many food stalls also offer a chicken option. Some places even serve vegetarian and vegan wiener würstels!
You have two options when ordering a wiener würstel. You can have it served on a small paper plate along with slices of bread, mustard, and ketchup. Or you can have it tucked inside a crunchy bread roll that’s been filled with ketchup and mustard – this is the best option if you’re eating on the go.
Where to eat wiener würstel in Vienna
For an extra special wiener würstel, visit Würstelwaggon. This place serves a giant wiener würstel that’s over three feet long! If that’s a little bit too much for you, there are plenty of other sizes available, too. The staff is so friendly here, and you’re guaranteed to have an authentic Viennese food experience.
8. Pork Knuckle
When you’re feeling ravenous, order a pork knuckle and wait to be amazed. A colossal piece of meat that comes from the knee of a pig, pork knuckle is served on the bone and is easily large enough to fill two people up.
Pork knuckles tend to look a bit dry on the outside, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The hard outer shell is actually crispy, crunchy fat, which is incredibly addictive and flavorful. The expert cooking process (pork knuckles are cooked slowly over a low heat) ensures the meat becomes incredibly tender and practically drops off the bone when you touch it with your fork!
This classic dish is best enjoyed with a side of Austrian potato salad, plenty of mustard, and a large beer. If you’re searching for the best Austrian food in Vienna, you need to search out a place that serves up pork knuckle.
Where to eat pork knuckle in Vienna
Schweizerhaus in Prater Park serves up some of the most amazing pork knuckles we’ve had anywhere in Europe. Its location makes it a great place to stop when you need to re-energize for more rides and rollercoasters.
The pork knuckles here are beyond huge, and you can choose from a selection of Austrian side dishes. There are plenty of other local foods available if you’re in the mood for something else, too.
Viennese locals absolutely love meaty dishes, which is why you’ll find ribs on almost every restaurant menu throughout the city. Marinated in all kinds of drool-worthy herbs and spices before they’re slowly roasted until juicy and tender, Austrian ribs are something you’ve definitely got to try.
The best ribs in Vienna are lightly charred and crunchy on the outside with a distinctive smoky smell. As you bite into your first rib, the crisp exterior will give way to wonderfully tender and juicy meat, which quite literally falls off the bone.
We may reserve BBQs mostly for summer, but there’s nothing like digging into a great big plate of ribs on a chilly December evening in Vienna. It’s the best food in Vienna to warm you up so you can face the snowy walk back to your hotel.
Where to eat spare ribs in Vienna
Ribs of Vienna is a must-visit if you’re craving amazing ribs while you’re in the city. This restaurant specializes in ribs and dishes up a mouthwatering selection of pork spare ribs smothered in all kinds of different sauces. Ribs of Vienna is almost always packed, so we definitely recommend making a reservation before you go.
Austria boasts a host of tempting desserts, and Kaiserschmarrn is one of the most unique things to eat in Vienna that you really won’t find anywhere else. Almost like eating breakfast for dessert, this dish is guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth while also filling you up.
Kaiserschmarrn is made of light and fluffy pancakes which have been roughly chopped up and mixed with sweet applesauce. The dish is lightly sprinkled with powdered sugar before being served. It sounds more like a breakfast dish than a snack or dessert, and it’s sometimes eaten as a light lunch in Vienna.
The original Kaiserschmarrn is made from just pancakes, applesauce, and powdered sugar, but some places put their own spin on the dish. Caramelized raisins, plums, cherries, and nuts can all be used to add an extra layer of flavor and texture to the dish.
Where to eat Kaiserschmarrn in Vienna
Heindls Schmarren & Palatschinkenkuchl is our favorite place for Kaiserschmarrn in Vienna. As well as the classic version, this Austrian restaurant makes all kinds of interesting variations, including ones made with everything from stewed apricots and caramelized walnuts to cranberries and poppy seeds.
If you’re ever in a Viennese cafe and you see buchteln on the menu, you’ve got to order it! This comforting sweet dish is made of yeast rolls which are so light and fluffy that you’ll think you’re eating a cloud. The gentle golden crust is a little crisp as soon as the rolls come out of the oven, but it softens up wonderfully as it cools.
The buchteln dough doesn’t contain much sugar, so it’s not overly sweet. The delicious sweetness comes from the amazing filling. Each roll is filled with a local jam called Powidl. It’s a delicious prune jam that takes each buchteln to a whole new level.
Some places bake their buchteln without the prune jam and serve them along with a sweet vanilla sauce. Whichever option you try, you’re sure to love them – especially if you nibble on one while sipping a cup of freshly-brewed Viennese coffee.
Where to eat buchteln in Vienna
Café Hawelka is a fantastic place to try buchteln. This rustic, authentic Austrian cafe is well known for making some of the best buchteln in the city that are bursting with delicious plum jam. The place has barely changed since 1939 and looks more like a cozy living room than a cafe.
One of the best ways to start the day in Vienna is with a schokocroissant. This beautiful breakfast dish is a buttery, flaky croissant that’s been filled with rich chocolate.
Not many people know this, but the schokocroissant was actually invented in Austria before the pain au chocolate was created in France! If you’re looking for sweet things to eat in Vienna, you’ll love indulging in schokocroissant.
These pastries are so popular you can find them all over Vienna, from grocery stores to bakeries and cafes. If you find buttery pastry and melted chocolate to be a little too much for breakfast, consider ordering a schokocroissant as a snack or sweet treat to go with your afternoon coffee instead.
Where to eat schokocroissant in Vienna
When you’re craving buttery pastry and rich chocolate, we recommend heading to Anker. This cafe has multiple branches throughout the city, so you’re sure to come across one during your visit. Here the croissants are practically oozing with melted chocolate, and you’ll find even more delicious chocolate melted and drizzled on top of the pastry.
Another dish that originated in Hungary but was adopted by Austrian people under the Empire, Palatschinken is a simple dessert made of crepes and apricot jam. The ultra-thin crepes are cooked in a skillet before they’re generously spread with apricot jam. Each crepe is rolled up into a cylinder and served for a wonderfully sweet end to any Viennese meal.
The crepes used to make palatschinken are slightly thicker than French crepes but not as thick as North American pancakes. And while apricot jam is the traditional filling, some restaurants and cafes mix things up and fill the crepes with Nutella and sliced bananas, melted chocolate and crushed walnuts, or sweetened cream cheese.
For an extra indulgent experience, consider asking for some vanilla ice cream to go with your palatschinken.
Where to eat palatschinken in Vienna
Heindls Schmarren & Palatschinkenkuchl isn’t just a fantastic place for Kaiserschmarrn – it’s also our favorite spot for palatschinken. Here you’ll find a huge number of crepe dishes with all kinds of sweet fillings, from sweet plums and crunchy nuts to fresh strawberries and sour cherries.
Erdäpfelsalat is probably the most common side dish you’ll come across in Vienna, but knoedel is a close second. This hearty side is best described as a boiled dumpling made from either potatoes or flour and is another must-try food in Vienna.
Viennese locals love knoedel so much that you’ll find it comes as part of many different meals. You can enjoy small dumplings as part of a soup appetizer and large dumplings as a side dish to typical main courses, such as pork knuckle. You may be surprised to hear that some places in Vienna serve knoedel as a dessert, too!
Dessert knoedel is usually made of flour and contains all kinds of fillings, such as sweetened cream cheese, plums, apricots, and jam. You’ll find them on the dessert menu of most Austrian restaurants, as well as in almost every Viennese coffee shop.
Where to eat knoedel in Vienna
You’ll find some of the best knoedel in Landtmann Cafe. This impressive coffee shop has been running since 1873 and dishes up incredible Austrian food. If you’re in the mood for something savory, you can enjoy potato knoedel along with beef goulash. For a sweet treat, opt for the curd knoedel served with a berry compote.
You may not think a simple dish of asparagus deserves to be on a list of the best things to eat in Vienna, but then you’ve never tried Viennese asparagus! Known locally as spargel, this dish is an absolute must-try if you’re visiting the city in spring. If you think you’re not a fan of vegetables, this is the dish that will change your mind.
Spargel is at its absolute best between late April and June, during which time you’ll see countless restaurants offering spring asparagus specials. Some restaurants get really creative with the veggie, but we prefer to keep it simple.
The classic way of serving this dish is to drizzle pieces of asparagus with melted butter and lemon juice before sprinkling breadcrumbs on top. It’s delicious!
Where to eat spargel in Vienna
Witwe Bolte always offers a special asparagus menu in the spring. It changes every year, but you can usually expect things such as asparagus salad with hazelnuts, asparagus soup with tomato and basil, asparagus with hollandaise sauce and parsley potatoes, and asparagus risotto with salad.
There you have it! The best Austrian food in Vienna. What are your favorite things to eat in Vienna? Let us know in the comments below so we can add them to the list!
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