If you’re like me, one of your favourite things about visiting new countries is trying new foods. If you’re in Vienna there are some popular local foods you should try and, after three years of living in Vienna, I have come up with my top eats and treats that I would recommend trying and my favourite place to get each.
No trip to Vienna would be complete without a Wiener Schnitzel. In case you are not familiar with this Viennese favourite, a schnitzel is a thin breaded and fried piece of meat. The traditional meat that is used is veal but you can also find it made with pork. Schnitzel is everywhere in Vienna and you have a seemingly endless list of places to try the local speciality. I have eaten it in many locations across the Austrian capital and I would recommend Figlmüller. This place is famous for their traditional schnitzels and have been making them in Vienna for over 100 years. Don’t be surprised if the schnitzel ends up being bigger than the plate and bigger than your head!
Beef Goulash and Spaetzle
One bar that I would visit regularly is called 1516. The location is great, close to the city centre. The food is delicious and there are lots of great drink choices. Everyone working there speaks English and the menus are in English too. There is a nice big outside sitting area for when the weather is nice. I would recommend ordering the 1516 Brewer’s 100% Beef Goulash.
When my parents came to visit me from Canada, and when a friend came to visit from Finland, I took them both to 1516. The goulash also comes with Spaetzle, a typical thing to eat in Austria, basically pieces of soft egg noodle.
Apple Strudel and Topfenstrudel
If you have a sweet tooth Vienna will be sure to satisfy, as there are lots of great bakeries and cafés all over the city baking fresh treats and sweets that will make your mouth water. There are lots of yummy treats and sweets to choose from but if you want something traditional I would recommend apple strudel or/and topfenstrudel and sachertorte. Apple strudel, I believe needs no introduction. Topfenstrudel is similar to apple strudel except, instead of apples, there is a stuffing of soft white cheese. I am not personally the biggest fan of topfen but I would recommend giving it a try as many people I know do like it.
The next must try dessert when visiting Vienna is sachertorte, which was invented in Vienna in 1832 and is one of the most famous Viennese food specialties. Basically, it is a dense chocolate cake with a layer of jam in the middle. This cake is so popular that it even has its own dedicated day, the 5th of December is National Sachertorte Day! So you must get your hands on a piece while in its birth place.
So where should you go to get Vienna’s favourite desserts? I would recommend my favourite cafe in Vienna, Cafe Central. This is a great place to experience a traditional Viennese cafe and feel like you have stepped back in time. There is usually a line to get in but it moves quickly so don’t give up if you see a line. There are many yummy treats to choose from in the display case up front. This place works a little differently than what you might be used to. You are not given a menu with all the options of desserts, instead you must go to the display cases choose what desert you want, then the person behind the counter will give you a number and you then give this number to your waiter who will go and get your dessert for you. The atmosphere is like no other in Vienna and on some afternoons they have live piano performances.
Another place I would recommend visiting to enjoy a coffee and treat is Aida cafe, which is a chain and therefore has many locations around the city. You won’t experience the ‘wow’ factor of Cafe Central but it has a nice selection of drinks and treats to choose from. There is one right next to Stephansplatz where I would recommend going because they have a nice outdoor seating area in the summer, a perfect place for people watching and enjoying the beautiful surroundings.