Last month we jetted off to the Austrian capital for a three-day city break. Vienna, with its grand buildings at every turn and enviable choice museums, left a lasting impression on us. Of course, one of the most vital elements of any city adventure is the culinary offerings, and Vienna certainly does not disappoint. After collating some tips from locals and frequent visitors, we spent our days cycling along the grand boulevards and, as always, eating our way around the city. Here’s a collection of some of my favourite Vienna restaurants and eateries, varying from elegant cafes to those all important streets food stalls.
Schnitzel and locals at Café Rüdigerhof
After arriving in Vienna in the late afternoon, we picked up the key from our Airbnb host, who offered up some local knowledge on where to get a bite to eat (this is why I love using Airbnb,local knowledge is invaluable and can save you a pretty penny). Ten minutes later, we found ourselves on the leafy terrace of Café Rüdigerhof, where the day’s newspapers hung from a refashioned coat stand. The clientele was a mix of friends catching up over coffee, grey-haired couples sipping on white wine spritzers and young groups enjoying an evening beer or two. But now for the most important part: the food! We opted for the schnitzel with salad, washed down with a couple of bottles of the popular Gösser beer – all very satisfying. The icing on the cake (no pun intended) was our dessert – a layered heaven of chocolateness, setting the bar high for the rest of our trip. If you want to try traditional Vienna restaurants, where the real locals hang out, don’t miss Café Rüdigerhof.
Old fashioned charm at L. Heiner Wollzeile
Stepping into a Viennese cafe can often feel like stepping back in time, and never more so than at L. Heiner Wollzeile. The waiting staff don Victorian- style attire, whilst the shiniest Mahogany and mirrors adorn the walls. The little details, such as the ornate light fixtures and plush red seating, all make for quite the setting to indulge in a large slab of cake. We each opted for a traditional frothy melange coffee, as well as a sweet treat from the alluring glass cabinet display. My choice: a rich and indulgent chocolate truffle cake, which was both divine and impossible to finish in equal measure.
Street food at the Naschmarkt
Dating back to the 16th-century, this famous market boasts an array of food stalls and restaurants to choose from. The eateries spill out onto the pavement and are positively overflowing with a mishmash of tourists and locals. On a summer evening, this really feels like the place to be. On the second night of our stay, after realising how much we had spent on cake, we decided to opt for a budget eat. About half way along the market, we found a stall serving up impressive-looking falafel pita breads, which lived up their mouthwatering appearance. For a cheap eat and good vibes, forget Vienna restaurants and head straight for the Naschmarkt.
Hip brunch or breakfast at Joseph Brot
The next place on the list came on recommendation from an Austrian friend, who knows Vienna restaurants like the back of her hand. In contrast with many of Vienna’s old fashioned cafes, Joseph Brot is a light and contemporary space without a mahogany table or chandelier in sight. Aside from the vast selection of pastries, the menu offers up a selection of healthy smoothies, brunch staples such a eggs Benedict, and even sweet and savoury vegan dishes. I was on a bit of pastry binge (when in Vienna and all that) so I opted for a chocolate croissant to accompany my coffee. Without being a pastry expert it’s hard to give a detailed review of a croissant, but lets just say it was a melt-in-your-mouth, buttery delight.
Apple strudel at Cafe Eiles
Cafe Eiles: yet another traditional Viennese establishment which makes you feel as though you’ve jumped back a few decades. The decor is perhaps a little tired, but you can’t help but be charmed by the tattered floral fabric seating and the high arched ceilings. We indulged in a apple strudel with a more than generous helping of cream and a coffee each. Although I spotted the odd local, this place felt slightly more touristy than establishments we would usually frequent, but the strudel was GOOD so who cares?
Budget Breakfast at An-do
Last but not least: An-do. As is the case during most of our city breaks, we were staying a little out of the city centre. Not only is this a great money saving option, but means you’re often staying in a more local neighbourhood. And so we found ourselves in an apartment just round the corner from the vibrant Brunnenmarkt and Yppenplatz, the location of this bargain breakfast/ brunch spot. Now, around €8 per person might not sound like a cheap breakfast, but when you take into account the usual price in Vienna restaurants (and that the average coffee costs around €3,50), we thought it was a pretty good deal. I opted for eggs, halloumi, avocado, salad and a giant crusty bread roll, which came complete with a melange coffee and fresh juice. What’s more, the generous portion ended up serving as both my breakfast and lunch – double bargain points!
Find your way
Looking for more culinary inspiration? Check out more of my food guides here.