It may have given its name to a schnitzel, but there’s so much more to Vienna’s food scene than delicious stodge. A cultural melting-pot since the days of the Austro-Hungarian empire, it’s got an incredibly vibrant culinary heritage that incorporates everything from Israeli mezze to hotpots. Sweet stuff, obviously, is a big deal here in Austria’s cake capital – alongside traditional treats like Sachertorte and strudel (finding your favorite is a quintessential thing to do in Vienna) you’ll find some unexpected (and delicious) stuff. Vegan banana split, anyone? Tour the city's top attractions, then stop in at one of these spots for a meal you won't soon forget.
Best restaurants in Vienna
What is it? A subterranean bar-slash-restaurant in the cool 7th district. Erich is tucked away down the side of Sankt-Ulrichsplatz, and it’s easy to walk past it – but you’ll be glad you didn’t. From breakfast tacos to salmon poke bowls and dairy-free sundaes made in collaboration with Veganista, Vienna’s first all-vegan ice cream parlour, it ticks all the boxes around the clock.
Why go? For great coffee, modern takes on Austrian classics like Kaiserschmarren pancakes, and an unbeatable after-dark vibe. The gin-and-tonic menu is the best in the city, too.
What is it? A super-cool all-day eatery in Vienna’s biggest food market, the Naschmarkt, serving Tel Aviv-style breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Grab one of the coveted tables outside, get a plate of the filo cigars filled with spinach and sheep's cheese and soak up the atmosphere.
Why go? As well as being a great spot for refuelling mid-shop, Neni serves the best modern Middle Eastern food in the city. The shakshuka is as good as it gets, but it’s worth branching out and ordering the Israeli breakfast: labneh, scrambled eggs, olives, salad and one of Neni’s famous fluffy pita breads. They do a dynamite Reuben too – come hungry.
What is it? Small plates and natural wines right in the heart of the city. Next to Viennese fine dining fixture Konstantin Filippou, O Boufes is an industrial-chic bistro of the kind you’d find in London, Paris or Berlin’s edgier districts. With its bare walls and Klimt-gold accents, it’s a real looker – and the dishes are works of art too.
Why go? This is some of the most exciting cooking in the city right now: think veal tartare with miso, capers and egg yolk, prawn chowder with mustard caviar and spicy cabbage, and mangalitza pork with crispy rice. The low-intervention wines are thoughtfully chosen: ask for some suggested pairings and settle in for a night to remember.
Price point? Blowout.
What is it? Erich’s sister restaurant is busy, buzzy and serves up reliable excellent pan-European plates from early morning until last orders. It’s always packed on the weekends, but it’s great for a weekday dinner too: think sweet potato, quinoa and hummus salad bowls, brioche-bun burgers and wild-boar schnitzel.
Why go? Brunch-wise, this is the place to be. Whether you max it out with a fully loaded breakfast sandwich or keep it light with a detox smoothie and sourdough toast, you’re guaranteed to leave with a smile on your face.
What is it? The grandest of Vienna’s grand cafes, this storied legend was frequented by everyone from Trotsky to Freud in its heyday. Today it’s definitely a tourist attraction (you won’t find many locals braving the line outside), but it’s worth battling the crowds for its outstanding pastry section.
Why go? The queue can be 50 people deep at peak times, and once you’re inside the service is pretty brusque, but this is a living piece of history. Order a huge slice of warm, icing sugar-dusted applestrudel with vanilla custard, and wash it down with a whipped cream-topped mocha.
What is it? Great value dim sum, hot pot and noodles in a loft-style dining room – it’s easy on the wallet, but a night at Mama Liu & Sons still feels like a treat.
Why go? The fried and steamed dumplings are a standout, and it’s worth saving space for less obvious dishes like smacked cucumber and homemade tofu balls. The huge, hearty hotpots easily feed two – choose between a vegan version, a seafood one and a meat feast. If you’re travelling solo you can park yourself at the bar with a cocktail and a 10-piece dim sum set for under €20.
What is it? A decades-old favourite in the fifth district that’s kept its edge, thanks to regular revamps and a seriously sexy menu. It’s great for people-watching too: don’t be surprised if you spot one or two visiting A-listers amongst the stylish regulars.
Why go? With its bare walls and plush green velvet seating, Motto looks the part – but the aesthetics are backed up by top-class cooking. Go for their elegant takes on traditional favourites like tafelspitz (boiled beef) and strawberry nougat dumplings.
What is it? Vienna’s world-famous botanical hothouse (think Kew with a fancier roof), overlooking the stately Buggarten gardens, is home to an all-day brasserie. The menu is Austrian-meets-Mediterranean, with a strong selection of wines by the glass, expertly mixed cocktails and desserts to die for. Frond memories guaranteed.
Why go? Where else can you tuck into dumplings surrounded by loads of lush tropical foliage? It’s especially inviting on a chilly day: follow up one of the hearty lunch specials (mushroom ragout, strozzapreti with veal bolognese) with a slice of warm almond-and-chocolate cake and stewed plums.
What is it? Formerly a grungy bar, Randale has livened up Kettenbrueckengasse with its ‘gram-friendly decor and creative pizzas: you can pick from the likes of fennel-infused boar sausage, walnuts and truffle oil, or rocket, tagliata and tomatoes.
Why go? It’s basically impossible to have a bad time here. The vibe is laid-back and the pizzas themselves are perfection, with blistered, chewy crusts and just the right amount of sauce. The folks behind the bar know their stuff, too – this is one of the few places in Vienna serving mezcal-based cocktails.
What is it? Part cafe, part co-working space, this is how 21st century Vienna does kaffee und kuchen (that’s coffee and cake). Owner Charles Fürth used to work in advertising before being bitten by the bean bug, and the whole place is a testament to his passion for crafting the perfect brew.
Why go? The coffee is sourced directly from hand-picked suppliers and roasted on site – you can really taste the difference. Throw in freshly baked pastries, the day’s papers and a wood-burning stove, and you have yourself an unbeatable breakfast spot.
What is it? Vienna’s best-loved Japanese-fusion restaurant specialises in sensational sushi and sashimi. From dragon rolls to thinly sliced Iberico pork with truffle teriyaki glaze and dreamy donburi bowls, this is the kind of place where you’ll want to order the entire menu.
Why go? Getting a table here takes some doing (it books up fast), but persevere – every mouthful is a delight. The staff are brilliant too – let your server know what you like and your budget, and they’ll do the rest. Left it to the last minute? Try the Mochi Ramen Bar, which is walk-ins only.
What is it? A bookshop that’s also a bar, which also does a banging breakfast? It can only be Cafe Phil. Vienna’s quirkiest hangout shouldn’t work, but it does – crash on the comfy leather sofas with a plate of falafel and an arty zine, and watch the world go by through the window.
Why go? Set yourself up for a long day of pavement pounding with one of their rib-stickers, served until 4pm: scrambled eggs with spicy tomato relish, porridge and berry compote, Austrian cured meats and cheeses. And if you stick around into the evening, you might catch a party or one of the DJ sets.