Vienna’s food scene is more varied than you may think. Bustling markets stand shoulder-to-shoulder with cosy taverns, while elegant restaurants neighbour cool foodie hangouts.
While in the city, there’s nothing like sitting in the window of a steamed-up café, watching the world go by as you tuck into a slab of chocolate cake. The only thing to match it is dressing up and heading to one of the hottest restaurants in town for a knockout dinner.
If you’re keen on doing the above, read our guide to the best restaurants and cafes in Vienna.
Making a pilgrimage to this temple of coffee and cake is on the agenda for most visitors to Vienna. At Café Sacher, you simply must sip on a creamy cappuccino, while indulging in a slice of Original Sacher-Torte – two slices of chocolate cake, sandwiched together with apricot jam. It’s been a secret of the establishment since 1832, with tourists flocking from all over the world to try it.
Meander to this elegant café and order a hot chocolate, as is the Viennese way. Locals have been dining at this culinary institute for more than 200 years, waited on by smartly-dressed staff that refer to customers in the third person. Pastries and cakes gleam from behind the counter – take your pick from apple strudel, plump cream slices and decadent tortes.
If you want a break from the city’s traditional coffee culture, head for Oben. From its rooftop terrace, you can enjoy sweeping views of Vienna while devouring Sunday brunch. Organic juice, salmon, pancakes, eggs and falafel are all on the menu.
Supersense offers a different type of café experience. This arty lunch spot is dedicated to all things vintage, with tech-related memorabilia dotted around the dining room. The menu features freshly roasted coffee, hearty salads and open sandwiches that are all prepared with care. After you’ve finished your food, browse the café’s gift shop, with everything from vinyl records to handmade cards to take home with you.
KAFFEE ALT WEIN
There’s a bohemian air to this traditional Viennese café which has been open since 1922. Take a seat in atmospheric Kaffee Alt Wein, where apple strudel straight from the oven is the speciality – it’s thought to be the best in the city. If you’re after something savoury, you can’t go wrong with a steaming bowl of goulash.
BALTHASAR KAFFEE BAR
The traditional Viennese coffee house takes a turn at Balthasar Kaffee Bar. Here you’ll find a modern establishment that’s the perfect pitstop if you’re after coffee and a couple of freshly-baked pastries – the almond croissant comes highly recommended.
Looking for an international lunch? This café throws the rulebook out of the window with its bold Latino-style interior and Mexican-focused menu. Nachos, burgers and quesadillas are the order of the day, all packed with lip-smacking flavours.
Despite its name, this is much more than a bar. Go to Brau-Bar to experience a Viennese tavern at its finest. At this cosy eatery, you’ll find a collection of Austrian classics – schnitzel with potato salad, roast pork with pickled cabbage, stuffed dumplings – served up with a smile by the friendly staff.
Modern Austrian cooking is the focus at this fine dining spot. Each dish at Veranda is meticulously made from organic, local and seasonal produce. Start with salmon trout ceviche, followed by traditional Viennese stockpot and wiener schnitzel with parsley potatoes. For the swansong, plump for the plum dumpling served with almonds, cinnamon and vanilla.
RESTAURANT ROTE BAR
Dress up to the nines and dine at this exquisite restaurant. Bedecked in ruby red décor, Restaurant Rote Bar exudes old world charm. A live pianist plays as chandeliers gleam and bow-tied waiters glide between tables. The menu changes weekly but you can expect fine Austrian dishes such as braised beef roulade with mashed potatoes and veal schnitzel with parsley potatoes.
Peel off from Vienna’s main streets to this secluded spot along An der Hülben. Inside this atmospheric restaurant you can enjoy classic Italian cooking by candlelight. Divine dishes include melt-in-the-mouth beef carpaccio, tasty seafood spaghetti and salt-crusted sea bass. There’s an extensive wine menu too, for the perfect accompaniment to your meal.
Vienna’s oldest restaurant first opened its doors in 1447 and the list of diners who’ve eaten here is legendary (Beethoven and Wagner included). Eating at ivy-clad Griechenbeisl is a rite of passage for any visitor hoping to explore the city’s culinary scene. All the Viennese classics are on the menu, including roast suckling pig, beef goulash and breaded fried chicken. Polish off your chosen dish inside a cosy vaulted dining room to the sound of live music.
Michelin-starred Steirereck sits proudly on the world’s top 10 best restaurants list. Cutting-edge cooking with an Austrian twist is the eatery’s theme – go for the seven-course tasting menu with wine pairing for the ultimate experience. Highlights to look out for are the char with beeswax and venison with walnuts and gooseberries.
Take a seat in the emerald green dining room of Plachutta along Wollzeile – one of three outposts in the city. The special dish to order here is the world-famous tafelspitz – traditional Viennese boiled beef, served with fresh vegetables, bread and horseradish sauce.
Can’t wait to try out Vienna’s restaurants and cafes?