Best Restaurants In Vienna (Austria)

Nothing better to experience the spirit of Austria’s capital than to try the local food, made with fresh ingredients in the best restaurants in town! Here is my personal list of the best restaurants in Vienna.

Austrian Cuisine

Austrian food is very Central European, that is, lots of meat together with either cabbage, potato or dumplings. Although very fond of beef and pork, you will easily find other fancy types of meat here, such as deer, boar, hare, and duck. Austrian butchers are specialists when it comes to special cuts of meat. Those include the Tafelspitz (beef) and Fledermaus (pork).

Apart from that, Vienna has a very strong culture surrounding coffee shops and bakeries. You will taste some of the most delicious coffee and sweets you ever had in your life during your visit here.

What to eat in Vienna

Be sure to wake up early in the morning to visit one of the city’s many coffee houses, for a good classic Viennese breakfast. Timing is key, as close to lunchtime these places get super crowded, thanks to their popularity both with locals and tourists.

For either lunch or dinner, stop at one of the many restaurants in Vienna’s center for a famous Wiener Schnitzel, the classic thin and breaded pan-fried veal cutlet. It is one of the national dishes of Austria, and a favorite of the locals.

For dessert, an Apfelstrudel is mandatory if you wish to experience the best of Vienna. Don’t be fooled, it isn’t a simple pie, but a delicious pastry filled with grated cooking apples, usually of a cristp and tart type such as Winesap apples, mixed together with sugar, cinnamon, and bread crumbs.

Where to eat in Vienna

Coffee & Breakfast

Café Schwarzenberg

Location: Kärntner Ring 17 | Near Wiener Stadtpark
Opening: Mon-Fri 07:30 – 23:00, Sat-Sun 08:30 – 23:00
Reservation: cafe-schwarzenberg.at/

In 1861, the Ringstraße boulevard (considered the most beautiful in Europe) was being built. There, one of the buildings owned by Albrecht Zeppenzauer (a famous silk manufacturer) was rented to Mr. and Mrs. Hochleitner, who decided to open a café at the place.

The coffee house received its current name in 1902, and today it is one of the last Ringstraße cafés, out of the 30 total which existed here. It has carefully maintained the typical atmosphere and tradition of a Viennese Café, as if frozen in time.

Schwarzenberg took a large hit during the World Wars, especially during the Soviet occupation of Vienna. But despite all the destruction, it managed to preserve most of its original architecture while adding up certain architectural details from the multiple refurbishings it went through overtime.

Upon entering the place, you will face the classic square tables with tops made out of hammered brass, which is part of its original inventory. The ceiling, decorated with mosaic panellings with colorful glass and gold plating. It has a very fancy vibe to it, while still managing to feel cozy, especially in colder days.

At Café Schwarzenberg you can find quality coffee consisting of organic Arabica beans sourced from FAIRTRADE-certified plantations in Honduras. Apart from that, you can try a multitude of delicious teas like classic black teas, powerful green teas, or aromatic fruit teas.

But to begin the day, nothing better than the classic crispy bacon with scrambled eggs. That’s my personal favourite, but you can always go for combos that are available, such as the Viennese breakfast which consists of a handmade roll, a croissant, a portion butter or diet margarine, a jar of Staud jam or honey, and a soft boiled egg. Anything here has a superb flavour, which earns the place the title of one of the best restaurants in Vienna.

Lunch & Dinner

Augustinerkeller

Location: Augustinerstraße 1 | Near Wiener Stadtpark
Opening: Mon-Fri 11:00 – 00:00
Reservation: bitzinger.wien/en/augustinerkeller

The Augustinerkeller is one of the surviving ancient monastery cellars in the city center of Vienna, and the carefully preserved ancient vaulting of the cellar can attest to that history.

Previously part of the city’s fortifications, only in 1924 it was turned into a restaurant. From 1954 onwards, the place has been owned by the Bitzinger family, who works hard for keeping the Viennese tradition of the place alive.

Augustinerkeller has a typical cellar atmosphere to it, a very private place where locals gather to spend some time together accompanied by great food. It is impossible not to draw comparisons with the beer halls in Munich, as they have a quite similar ambiance.

The best place to sit here is right near the back, inside one of the many dining booths, which can guarantee the privacy and a quiet meal, even if the place happens to be filled with guests.

What better to eat in a traditional monastery cellar than the traditional Wiener Schnitzel, accompanied by some great local beer? But be prepared, because this original Viennese veal escalope does not come in a small portion in this Vienna restaurant. There will be plenty to feed you for half a day!

To get the full experience, make sure to order one of the excellent wines from the restaurant’s own wine cellars or a bottle from the refreshing private brand draft beer “Opernbräu”.

Gasthaus Reinthaler

Location: Gluckgasse 5 | Near Albertina
Opening: Mon-Fri 09:00 – 23:00, Sat-Sun CLOSED
Reservation: gasthaus-reinthaler.at/

Gasthaus Reinthaler is the place for those who are looking for comfy and homemade food at the heart of Vienna. Gasthäuser are typically family-owned inns or taverns and commonly have up to three generations of a family working together to serve their guests. To find a place like this in Vienna’s city center is quite a catch.

The interior is mostly wooden, as in the style of the village’s Gasthäuser. It is one of the most home-like environments I have seen in the dining scene of Vienna’s city center, breathing the spirit of Gemütlichkeit.

Right by the entrance, you can sit to have a nice beer with friends, but if you wish to eat make sure to reserve a place in their Speisezimmer. Although this is not a fancy restaurant, it is often packed due to its coziness and delicious homemade food.

Here I always order the king of all cozy Germanic meals: the famous Schweinebraten mit Knödel (roasted pork with dumpling). The one prepared here did not make me think twice about placing it in my list of the best restaurants in Vienna. It makes for a perfect evening meal and a must-try together with the Wiener Schnitzel.

Brezlgwölb

Location: Ledererhof 9 | Near Judenplatz
Opening: Mon-Sun 11:30 – 22:00
Reservation: brezl.at/

If you wish to experience a piece of Viennese history while eating some delicious food, the Brezlgwölb is the right place for you. The building was first mentioned in registries back to 1341 when it hosted the leather and dyers’ guild. But it dates far back: the first basement level was at ground level in Roman times. Taking a staircase on the left, you will be able to see a Roman wall with a window opening.

While most of the restaurants in Vienna have a completely imperial atmosphere, the Brezlgwölb goes a little bit back in time. The basement-like structure, the candlelight dining, and the waitresses dressed in traditional clothing make you feel like you are in medieval Vienna.

I cannot stress this enough, the place is absolutely gorgeous and the perfect place in Vienna for a romantic date. The cozy architecture and candlelight dining, combined with the delicious warm food, contribute extensively to this.

Here you can try any of the most traditional dishes from Austria, like Wiener Tafelspitz and Wiener Schnitzel But if you happen to come on a Thursday during lunchtime, make sure to ask for their Roasted beef liver with puree and fried onions. It is simply too good. To complement the meal, ask for their wine card and you will surely be pleasantly surprised.

Sweets & Desserts

Hofzuckerbäckerei Demel

Location: Kohlmarkt 14 | Near Hofburg Palace
Opening: Mon-Sun 08:00 – 19:00
Reservation: demel.com/en/

Demel opened its doors officially in 1786 and is one of the most traditional confectionery in the whole of Vienna. Its salons still present themselves today in the beautiful Rococo style of the famous architects Portois & Fix.

The Hofzuckerbäckerei soon became the central meetup place for sweet-lovers, especially members of the bourgeoisie. Franz Josef and Elisabeth themselves loved the food of this place and have it regularly delivered to the Hofburg Palace.

Hofzuckerbäckerei has a very strong imperial feel to it. Upon entering you will face the long halls with tall ceilings, and the classic wooden furniture waiting to accommodate you. The service is very friendly and gentle, making the overall experience of snacking in Vienna a very pleasant one.

Although they also serve hot and warm meals, as well as full breakfasts, I absolutely adore this place do to its broad selection of delicious sweets. On the image above you can have an idea of what to expect: Frou Frou, Obers-Cremeschnitte, Lemontorte, and a wide variety of ornamented cakes.

Also important to mention is that everything here, from cakes and pastries to strudel and petit fours, is made in-house, by hand, and with heart. That is something that very few places can be proud of saying, and adds up to the experience of the place.

Vienna’s Coffee Houses: The History Behind The Tradition

When Coffee Became A Thing

No one trully knows how the first coffee houses appeared in Vienna, but legend has it that it took place right after the second Turkish siege on the city, in 1683.

Soldiers from the Polish-Habsburg army found a sack with weird beans that they thought to be camel food. Jan III Sobieski, the Polish king, gave these sacks as a gift to one of his officers, called Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki, who supposably started the first coffee house.

The Rise Of Coffee Houses

The Blue Bottle‘ is the name Kulczycki gave his coffee shop, the supposed first of Vienna. However, although this legend is much alive today, Vienna’s first coffee house was actually opened by an Armenian businessman named Johannes Diodato in 1685, one year prior to the Blue Bottle one. Many of the stories about Kulczycki were actually invented by Gottfriend Uhlich, a german playwriter, in 1783.

The Top Cafes in Vienna

With plently of stories to tell, Vienna’s Coffee Houses are a must-see when visiting the city. Here are my top picks for Coffee Houses to visit in Vienna.

Café Frauenhuber

Location: Himmelpfortgasse 6 | Near the Franciscan Church
Opening: Mon-Sat 08:00 – 22:00, Sun 10:00 – 22:00
Reservation: cafefrauenhuber.at/

Frauenhuber is one of the coziest and most welcoming cafes in the whole of Vienna. Despite not existing officially in the 18th century, the restaurant which operated in the building frequently held concerts from famous musicians, including those of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven.

If you are looking for a place to sit and enjoy a good moment of peace, Frauenhuber is definitely the place for you. It has a very calm atmosphere and the staff simply couldn’t be more polite and helpful, apart from also being extremely well-dressed.

A definite go for the place, in case you have company, is the Frühstück für Zwei (breakfast for two), which contains either melange coffee or a pot of tee, two slices of bread, two portions of butter, two yoghurts, two boiled eggs, croissant, ham, cheese, salami, as well as a glass of prosecco or freshly pressed orange juice. That should be enough energy to help you explore the city for hours.

Café Landtmann

Location: Universitätsring 4 | Near the City Hall
Opening: Mon-Sun 07:30 – 20:00
Reservation: landtmann.at

Landtmann is a juggernaut of elegance. You will not find the usual hipsters here, but rather the economic and intellectual elite of Vienna. No wonder it was a preferred meeting place for Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung.

Here you can either reserve a booth inside of the building, where you can enjoy the decoration and a cozier atmosphere; or sit on a regular table at the external area, which is brighter and fresher. Either way is good, since the food is the important thing here. Apart from the regular dishes, here is where you can try the original Wiener Apfelstrudel, which recipe comes from the Schönbrunn imperial bakery.

As this is one of my favorite places in town for a snack, I often order the Landtmannwürstel (Landtmann sausages), which comes accompanied by Goulash gravy, pickled cucumber, regular and sweet mustard, horseradish and a bread roll. Not the heaviest of meals, but enough to keep you going and definitely delicious, especially the bread together with the gravy.

Café Central

Location: Herrengasse 14 | Near the Volksgarten
Opening: Mon-Sat 08:30 – 17:30, Sun 10:00 – 20:00
Reservation: cafecentral.wien

Right after opening its doors in 1876, Café Central quickly became an important intellectual meeting spot in Vienna, guesting various famous (or rather infamous) personalities from history, such as Adolf Hitler, Leon Trotsky and Josip Tito.

Due to its iconic status, the Café Central is filled with tourists almost all day long, with queues going as far as 20 people waiting for a table to be freed. To avoid this, the best idea is the visit the place right after its opening hours, then the chances of getting a free spot and enjoying some quiet time are higher.

You can stop here for a quick Klassiches Wiener Frühstück (classic Viennesse Breakfast), which contains a hot drink of your choice, homemade roll and croissant, soft boiled egg, and organic butter, jam or honey.

Amazing Things To Do In Vienna, Austria

Explore the National Library Hall

The biggest Baroque library in the whole of Europe, the State Hall of the National Austrian Library is almost 80m long and 20m high. The dome is magnificently decorated with frescoes by the court painter Daniel Gran, and the shelves contain more than 200,000 volumes, including the comprehensive library of Prince Eugene of Savoy as well as one of the largest collections of Martin Luther’s writings from the Reformation Era.

Ordered by Emperor Karl VI, the former Court Library was created in the first half of the 18th century as a private wing of the Hofburg imperial residence. It was built by Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach according to plans of his father, Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach.

Enjoy a Carriage Ride

One thing you will always see in Vienna are horse-drawn carriages taking people across the city. At the end of the 19th century, the carriage business began to boom: more than a thousand fiakers (how the carriages are called by the locals) were on the road in Vienna between 1860 and 1900.

The drivers used to be very famous characters from the city, and also sometimes performed as singers. They were also known for their discretion, and not sharing with anyone what happens inside the carriages. It is safe to say that the experience is very similar to that of the gondolas in Venice.

Pay Respects at the Imperial Crypt

Below the humble church and monastery of the Order of the Capuchin Friars, the mortal remains of the rulers of the Habsburg empire are laid to rest. Walking through the Capuchins’ Crypt takes you through 400 years of Austrian and European history, from the Thirty Years’ War to revolutions and the first ideas for a united Europe.

Each sarcophagi was designed and built individually by the greatest artists of the time, in order to sybolize the life of the royal who has passed away. Signs of transience and faith reflect personal trust in God and humility before their Creator. Today, the mortal remains of 150 Habsburgs rest in the Capuchins’ Crypt.

Visit the Mozart House

Mozart, the famous pianist, moved to Vienna in the early years of his life. There he often performed as a pianist, notably in a competition before the Emperor with Muzio Clementi, a competition that would established him as the finest keyboard player in Vienna. Today a museum, you can visit the house where he lived while he furthered his pianist career in Vienna. 

Wander by the St. Stephen’s Cathedral

In the middle of the 12th century, Vienna was starting to become one of the most important centers of the German civilization. And the four little churches that existed there were no longer sufficient to cover the religious needs of the demanding population.

The current Romanesque and Gothic form of the cathedral, seen today in the Stephansplatz, was largely initiated by Duke Rudolf IV and stands on the ruins of two earlier churches. Today, it is the most important religious building in the city, having been witness to many turns in Habsburg and Austrian history.

See the Monument to the Plague Victims

Vienna, being a trade cross-road during the 17th century, was the perfect place for a large epidemic. During the Great Plague of Vienna, it is believed that between 12.000 and 75.000 people have been killed by the hands of the Bulbonic plague.

Unlike in the previous plague outbreak, when people were simply ostracized and left untouched, this one got taken care by the Church. A religious organization known as the Brotherhood of the Holy Trinity created special plague hospitals to take care of the victims.

The current monument was built in 1693, in the place of a simpler column erected during the plague by the Brotherhood. The figures at the very base represent the triumph of faith over disease, while the middle of the sculpture is dedicated to coats of arms and a praying figure of Emperor Leopold I, and at the very top one can find golden cherubs and other religious figures.

Relax at the Schmetterlinghaus

At the heart of Vienna you will find a unique, tropical oasis of relaxation: the butterfly house. In one of the most beautiful Art Nouveau buildings in the world, you will enter a fantastic world dedicated to the most tender and colorful animals, the butterflies.

The place itself is a massive greenhouse with tropical fauna and flora, emphasis on the 500 butterflies living there, each displaying beautiful and invididual color patterns. It is quite warm and humid so be prepared to sweat a little if you visit it during the winter. Make sure to climb the stairs inside of the giant tree trunk, so you get a view of the entire place from above.

Take a Look at the Roman Ruins

Where Vienna now stands used to be the Roman military camp of Vindobona. The asymmetrical layout of this military camp, which deviates from the classical standardised Roman encampments, is still recognisable in Vienna’s street plan: Graben, Naglergasse, Tiefer Graben, Salzgries, Rabensteig, Rotenturmstraße.

Apart from that, many of the ancient buildings from the camp are still visible throughout the city. The most notable places where you can see these ruins are at the Schönbrunn Palace Park and right on the street in front of the Hofburg Palace.

Pass by the Hungarian House

For those who do not know Elizabeth Báthory, she is believed to be the most successful female murderer of all time, having tortured and killed over 600 virgin women in order to drink and bathe on their blood. All this to fulfill her belief that doing so would keep her eternally young. 

At the turn of the 17th century, the ‘Blood Countess’ lived in this very house at 12 Augustinerstrasse, where she began her ‘career’. The city’s nearby markets served as a hunting ground for her servant Ficzkó, who was instrumental in providing a steady stream of young Viennese maids for the countess.

The place is not really open to the public, so all you can do is take a look at the facade and imagine what sort of thing happened inside this horrific place.

Visit the Vienna State Opera

The Vienna State Opera is a Renaissance Revival building with as many as 1.709 seats, being the first major building on the Vienna Ring Road. It is closely linked to the Vienna Philharmonic, which is an incorporated society of its own, but whose members are recruited from the orchestra of the Vienna State Opera.

The Wiener Staatsoper is one of the busiest opera houses in the world producing around 50 operas per year and 10 ballet productions in more than 350 performances. Make sure you see the building at night, as the lights outside make for an unforgettable sight.