There are the typical Vienna to-dos for any foodie enthusiast who visits Austria’s capital city; from classic cafés to innovative restaurants to ice-cream parlours with 30 bovine employees - this is your under-the-radar foodie guide to Austria, Vienna.
It’s common knowledge that Vienna is known for its café culture and legendary coffee houses, where intellectual discussion takes place while sipping on coffee drinks like the Wiener Melange or an Eiskaffee, a coffee concoction made with coffee, vanilla ice cream and capped with whipped cream that is excellent during a hot summer day.
Most Viennese cafés are also “Konditoreien,” cake shops that serve traditional treats like the famed Sachertorte, the chocolate cake that was invented at Hotel Sacher, or apple strudel.
There are also establishments like Plachutta, where one can find all the Austrian classics, like Wiener Schnitzel, veal that is pounded thin, then breaded and fried, or Tafelspitz, boiled beef with fixings like potatoes and carrots.
Finally there’s Käsekrainer, an Austrian sausage filled with cheese and served with rye bread — an ideal snack after a night of drinking — that’s served at various stands throughout the city.
There’s also the new guard of Austrian eateries that have been popping up throughout Vienna. Head to Karlsplatz in the 4th district to Heuer am Karlsplatz, where chef Peter Fallnbügl sources fresh ingredients from over 30 small farmers and vendors.
Grab a table out on the expansive terrace and go for the Austrian beef tartare, mixed with a fresh egg and guacamole, or the vegetarian paratha, and wash it down with a refreshing shrub - which is basically fermented fruit syrup mixed with sparkling water. Art lovers can even get a glimpse of the works in the nearby Kunsthalle Wien.
If you’re into the whole farm-to-table trend, go into the 1st district to Labstelle, which is tucked away in a little street off of one of the city’s busiest shopping thoroughfares.
Discover the restaurant’s take on modern Austrian cuisine through a rotating menu with dishes like crispy pork belly confit schnitzel with potato, cucumber and cabbage, or its new take on the marillen knödel, the Austrian apricot dumpling, served with butter crumbles and vanilla and pistachio ice cream.
For the new classics, try Zur Herknerin, but make sure to check if the restaurant is open before you dine there. Stefanie Herkner grew up watching her father, famed Austrian chef Heinz Herkner, in the kitchen, and four years ago, she opened her own restaurant in a former plumbing shop that serves classic dishes like stuffed cabbage and apricot dumplings to Vienna’s creative set.
In the mood for a lovely garden setting? Glacis Beisl is the place for tafelspitz and schnitzel.
For something a little more sophisticated, go to Salonplafond, located in the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art (MAK), where you can indulge in dishes made with fresh seasonal ingredients, like octopus risotto, or pork belly with gnocchi.
Craving something sweet that isn’t a decadent pastry or cake? Ice cream lovers, rejoice! There’s Eis Greissler, which employs about 30 cows, and has classic flavors such as hazelnut and dark chocolate, mixed in with the not-so typical, like elderflower, goat cheese, and asparagus.
They may sound strange, but trust us, they’re good.
For vegan ice cream aficionados, there’s Veganista, which has a cookie that uses coconut cream for the creaminess and an out-of-this-world hazelnut, along with innovative sorbets using ingredients like calamansi, a small, tart, citrus fruit that is widely grown in the Philippines.
For more on all things foodie check out our choc-a-bloc Foodie Genre, or lick your lips for more Austrian delicacies picked from our Travel Journal from coffeehouse cool to fave organic foodie lakeside den HECHT!. While in Vienna the creative crowd all know to stay at art hub of creative cool, Hotel Altstadt, with its latest room designed by Vienna Design Week director, Lilli Hollein.