What do people eat in Vienna? If you're looking for authentic Austrian cuisine, Vienna is the perfect place to find traditional food. But in this historic city, don't make the mistake of thinking you won't have more modern options. Vienna has a proud culinary tradition that's often based around roasted meats, potatoes, seasonal vegetables, and other hearty ingredients. But you'll also find some great meat-free offerings at the best vegetarian restaurants in Vienna.
The truth is, there are plenty of great things to eat in Vienna, even if you want to stick to traditional cuisine. Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Vienna, and you'll be able to dive into what Austrian cuisine has to offer. Whether you want to dine at a high-end restaurant or try out the best street food in Vienna, you're certain to find something good on the menu here.
Vienna Food: Wiener Schnitzel
Probably the most famous item of Austrian food, you can't pass up the opportunity to eat something named after the city itself. Vienna is called Wien in German, and wiener schnitzel takes its name from the city itself. This popular dish is made with veal that's been pounded thin, breaded, and fried. It's often served with a lemon wedge and either potato salad or mashed potatoes on the side.
Wiener schnitzel is about as traditional as Austrian food gets, and you'll find it on restaurant menus throughout the city. But if veal doesn't appeal to you, you can find versions made with pork or other meats. Look around, and you'll even find some vegetarian versions so that everyone can indulge in this quintessential Austrian meal.
Vienna Food: Apfelstrudel
A close second to wiener schnitzel in terms of Austrian foods, apple strudel or apfelstrudel is a must-try when you're in Vienna. This dessert consists of thinly rolled dough that's filled with apples, sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and bread crumbs. The strudel is then baked until the dough is crispy and the filling is bubbly. Basically, it's an Austrian take on an apple turnover, and for anyone with a sweet tooth, this is non-negotiable. You simply have to try this concoction with its flaky pastry and sweet fruit filling while you're in the city.
Apple strudel isn't the only fruit-based baked treat on offer here, though. Any local bakery will offer plenty of other great treats to accompany your apple strudel, like delicious plum jam turnovers or strudels filled with apricot jam. And in this city famous for its skill with pastry, you won't have to go far to find excellent strudel.
Vienna Food: Kaiserschmarrn
If you want to try something a little different for breakfast while you're in Vienna, look no further than kaiserschmarrn. This dish is a type of pancake that's cut into pieces and served with fruit compote or jam. The pancakes are fluffy and light, while the fruit compote adds a bit of sweetness and texture to the dish. Kaiserschmarrn is a popular breakfast item, but you can also find it on restaurant menus as a dessert.
If you're not sure what kind of jam or compote to choose, don't worry. The most common option is plum jam, but apricot jam is also popular. And if you want something a little different, try rhubarb or strawberry compote. Whichever way you go, kaiserschmarrn is a delicious way to start your day in Vienna.
Vienna Food: Goulash
Goulash is a hearty beef stew seasoned with paprika that's popular in many Central and Eastern European countries. The dish originated in Hungary, but you'll find variations of it throughout the region. In Vienna, goulash is typically made with beef, potatoes, carrots, onions, and paprika. This filling meal is perfect for a cold winter day, and you can find it on menus all over the city.
If you want something a little lighter, try chicken paprikash instead. This dish is similar to goulash but uses chicken instead of beef. It's a great option if you're looking for something a bit healthier or if you're not a fan of beef. But no matter what you choose, goulash is a delicious way to warm up on a cold day in Vienna.
Vienna Food: Austrian Potato Salad
Potato salad is a popular side dish in many parts of the world, but the Austrian version is a bit different from what you might be used to. Potatoes are still the main ingredient, but they're mixed with vinegar, oil, onions, peppers, and sometimes bacon. You won't find any mayonnaise, but the salad is sometimes made with chicken or meat stock, so it's worth asking if you're a vegetarian. Austrian potato salad is usually served cold or at room temperature, making it a great option for a summer day.
If you're not a fan of vinegar, don't worry. Many restaurants will make their potato salad with mayonnaise instead. This version is called "potato salad Viennese style" and is just as delicious as the traditional version. No matter how it's made, potato salad is a great side dish to any meal.
Vienna Food: Sachertorte
No trip to Vienna would be complete without trying sachertorte, a chocolate cake that's famous all over the world. This cake is made with two layers of chocolate cake, filled with apricot jam, and covered in dark chocolate icing. It's rich, dense, and completely delicious.
If you're not a fan of apricot jam, don't worry. You can also find sachertortes with raspberry or plum jam filling. And if you want something a little lighter, try the torte mit schlag, which is a version of the cake without the chocolate icing. No matter how you eat it, sachertorte is a must-try when you're in Vienna.
Vienna Food: Tafelspitz
Tafelspitz is another popular Austrian dish, and it's perfect if you're looking for something hearty and filling. This boiled beef dish is usually served with vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and celery. It's also commonly served with applesauce on the side.
If you're not a fan of beef, don't worry – there are plenty of other options on the menu. Tafelspitz can also be made with chicken or veal, so there's sure to be something to please everyone. And no matter what you choose, you're sure to enjoy this delicious Austrian dish.
Vienna Food: Schinken-kase Toast
There's nothing fancy about ham and cheese toast, but leave it to Vienna to elevate what should be a simple dish to something really special. This dish is made with thin slices of bread, topped with ham and cheese, and then toasted until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
If ham isn't really your thing, there are plenty of other topping options to choose from. You can find this dish with all sorts of different toppings, including mushrooms, onions, peppers, and even avocado. And no matter what you choose, you're sure to enjoy this delicious Austrian snack. It also makes an excellent street food while you're on the go exploring the city, so you can eat like the locals do without having to carry a plate of wiener schnitzel on the subway with you.
Vienna Food: Spargel
If you're visiting Vienna in the spring, make sure to try spargel, Austrian white asparagus. This seasonal vegetable is only available for a few weeks each year, so if you're lucky enough to be in Vienna during that time, make sure to try it.
Spargel is usually boiled and served with potatoes and hollandaise sauce, but it can also be grilled or roasted. It's a delicious way to enjoy asparagus, and it's the perfect dish for a springtime meal.
Vienna Food: Viennese Coffee
Vienna was the home of café culture long before the rest of the world got wise to it. The coffee houses of Vienna are a legendary part of the city's culture and were frequently patronized by the likes of Lenin, Freud, and other towering figures in European history.
Vienna's coffee shops offer more than just coffee. They're great places to try small snacks and an impressive variety of cakes and other dessert items, but coffee fans will love the history and atmosphere of locations like Café Central. You'll also get to choose from an incredible selection of coffee drinks, all made with exquisite care and attention to detail. If you're a coffee lover, make sure to add a visit to one of Vienna's many coffee houses to your list of things to do.
Vienna Food: Pastries
We've already mentioned apple strudel and sachertorte. But the truth is, Vienna is known for its baked goods, and they have been an important part of the Austrian food scene for centuries. Cafés and casual restaurants serve what can sometimes be a bewildering variety of sweet treats, so if you have a sweet tooth, you'll be in heaven. Tuck into a dense chocolate cake with a side of vanilla ice cream or donuts dusted with powdered sugar, and you'll wonder how Viennese food lovers manage to keep all their teeth. Still, this is a big part of Austrian food culture, and you don't even need to wait until after dinner. In Vienna, it's perfectly acceptable to have a slice of cake in the middle of the day to accompany a delicious Viennese coffee.
Vienna Food: Pretzels
You might not think of pretzels as traditional Austrian food, but they actually have a long history in the country. In fact, the first recorded mention of pretzels in Austria dates all the way back to the year 1096.
Pretzels are a popular snack food all over the world, and you'll find them everywhere in Vienna. They're often sold by street vendors, making them a great snack to take with you while exploring the city. Be sure to try a traditional salt pretzel, or go for something different and try a pretzel with some cheese or chocolate.
Vienna Food: Viennese Sausages
No list of Viennese foods would be complete without mentioning sausages. These simple but delicious snacks are a staple of Austrian cuisine, and they can be found at just about any food stand or street vendor in the city.
There are all sorts of different sausages to choose from, but some of the most popular include bratwurst, weisswurst, and kasekrainer. Most sausages are served on a bun with mustard and ketchup, but you can also find them on their own if you're looking for a quick snack. No matter how you eat them, these Viennese sausages are sure to hit the spot.
If you're not familiar with what Austrian food has to offer, you may be surprised when you visit Vienna to see just how many delicious things there are to eat. You may also be surprised how thin the residents generally are, given the hearty and filling nature of Austrian dishes — not to mention all those delicious pastries. Luckily, the best hikes in Vienna can help you work off excess calories so that you can still fit into the clothes you packed.
As it is in many other countries, in Austria, food is a big part of the local culture, so enjoying the best food the city has to offer is a way of experiencing that history and culture for yourself. Check out Austrian restaurants or visit one of the thousands of Viennese coffee shops in the capital, and you'll be taking part in the traditional Austrian way of life. There's much more to Austrian food than just wiener schnitzel, so try some of these delicious dishes and get a better insight into Vienna's famous food.