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Mon | 04:21AM

Food & Dining in Austria


Some say coffee houses and wine taverns are defining characteristics of Vienna, and with good cause. From that, one might think that drinking is the main occupation of the Viennese, but Austrians do have a weakness for good food. Most coffee houses and wine taverns can give any reputable restaurant a good run for its money. The Beisl is a common Viennese name for a small tavern, restaurant or pub serving food. Should you be short of time, the omnipresent Würstelstand (sausage stands) are always worth a visit, serving typically Austrian sausage, a hot dog or a slice of pizza for very palatable prices. The cheapest sit-down food is generally to be found in university restaurants, known as Mensas. Despite only opening on weekdays at lunch time, they are terrific value for the money. Chain-restaurants are also a common thing in Vienna; besides the obligatory McDonald's, there are also Austrian chains like Schnitzelhaus or Wienerwald. And, for those with a penchant for excellent food, Vienna offers plenty of fine restaurants, especially in the inner city (Inner Stadt). These range from traditional Austrian and Viennese cuisine to almost every fathomable gastronomic delight from all over the world.

Dining in Vienna is almost instantly connected with the famous Wiener Schnitzel, but Viennese cuisine has a lot more to offer. It might be wise to carry cash in Vienna, as many restaurants do not accept credit cards.

Coffee Houses

The coffee house is an integral part of Viennese life. On just about every corner you will encounter one of these oases for an excellent cup of Austrian coffee, allegedly the best in the world. Cafe Central is amongst those classic places once frequented by famous turn-of-the-century literary personalities and intellectuals. Sperl is the oldest coffee house in Vienna (established in 1880) with some of the most beautiful old furnishings. Another classic is Cafe Hawelka where the whole gamut of Vienna's society meets, from students to celebrities. In Cafe Landtmann, some of Austria's top politicians and journalists are known to congregate for a cup of coffee. The stylish Cafe Blaustern, however, boasts some of the best coffee in town and customers can watch the fresh coffee being roasted behind the counter.


The Gastgarten or Schanigarten belongs to the Viennese gastronomic scene in the same way that the Alps belong to Austrian topography. The word 'Schanigarten' is synonymous with sitting outside, breathing fresh air (rather than smoke) and enjoying a cool drink under the shade of a tree. Schanigarten are very often small calm areas in the midst of the city. Drop by the Amerlingbeisl to see an unusual example in the inner courtyard of an old building. At Stomach, customers can enjoy Styrian specialities on mild summer evenings. The Schweizerhaus on the other hand, is a typically huge beer garden in the Prater, whilst the rich and beautiful prefer the fine surroundings of the Palmenhaus .


Heurigen are wine taverns serving the year's local vintage (Heuriger) and offer simple but excellent buffets to accompany their home-grown wines. They are found all over Vienna, but the more traditional places are usually found near the vineyards on the outskirts of the city. Grinzing is an example of the typical small villages in which you’ll come across a great number of Heurigen.

Inner City Restaurants

Restaurants serving Viennese cuisine abound in the 1st District. Plachutta is one of the city’s best known places to dine. At Korso, Viennese and international specialities are served with the guest’s choice of wine from their impressive wine cellar. Zu den drei Husaren is on the same exquisite level: formal, elegant, expensive and live piano music. DO & CO boasts a unique location at the Haas-Haus, with a view of Stephansdom and superb food of gourmet quality. For those looking for something Japanese, Yugetsu comes highly recommended. Lastly, Danieli is a popular Italian restaurant serving delicate Mediterranean fare.