Vienna is famous for its Imperial history, and extraordinary contribution to music. Baroque architecture fills its streets with a noble and dignified beauty. Authors and painters have soaked up its unique atmosphere before launching into inspired and inspirational creativity. And of course, Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychology, is a son of this city. For sightseeing, museums and concerts, this is a must visit city.
But what about food?
I was delighted by the variety, quality and devotion to gastronomy I found in Vienna. It was a struggle to fit in all the places we felt we simply had to visit during our trip. Our list of restaurants, cake shops and cafes was substantial, to say the least. But, in my determination to eat my way across the city, we marched around with purpose.
So here is my selection of my personal favourite food places in Vienna. Fuller posts on some of them will be coming to Snig's Kitchen, so come back if you want to know more about them!
WARNING: Many places close for the weekend. Very few places are open Sunday. Just so you know!
A "Biesl" is a traditional, simple, down-to-earth place to eat. Less a restaurant, more of a canteen or refectory. They typically serve down-home traditional Austrian cooking in basic surroundings, often wood panelled and plain. However, modern Biesl are becoming increasingly popular with the Viennese, serving slightly more sophisticated and contemporary versions of classic dishes in slightly less austere dining rooms. This restaurant, holding one Michelin star gave us a wonderful experience of fine food and great service without fuss or being pretentious. We would have gone back, but failed to realise they are closed in the weekends!
Schulerstraße 4 1010 Vienna, Austria
+43 1 5120302
Open Monday to Friday from 11:30 to 15:00 and 18.00 to 23.00
Closed Saturday, Sunday and holidays
Steirereck currently holds 2 Michelin Stars. It is also ranked 9th in the San Pellegrino list of the 50 Best Restaurants in the world. We booked a table at Steirereck roughly at the same time as we booked our flights, knowing that it is in demand. It was to be our special treat for our 3rd English wedding anniversary. As we counted down the months and later weeks to our trip, we didn't know what to expect, other than amazing food.
What we got was one of the most memorable meals of our lives. Despite its accolades, status and reputation, nothing about the service was snooty. This was sheer class without any of the nonsense of eating at a 'fancy' restaurant. Smiles, chat and a little bit of banter from the staff made this a warm experience where you are not made to feel out of place. The food was off the scale amazing! The presentation was pure art. If you're not convinced that such a highly regarded restaurant isn't po-faced, check out the toilets - someone here has a sense of fun and humour!
Am Heumarkt 2A, 1030 Vienna
+43 1713 3168
Open Monday to Friday 11:30 to 14:30 and after 18:30
Everything is just peachy in the Manner shop! Seriously, everything is coloured in the signature peachy pink which screams out to the hungry customer to buy, buy, buy!
Josef Manner wanted to spread the joy of chocolate to the masses, his motto being "Chocolate for everyone" when back in 1890 he opened his first factory. The most iconic of all of the Viennese chocolates, the Manner Neapolitan wafers can be found throughout the town. Here you can buy larger packs and memorabilia. The crispy wafers are layered between hazelnut cream and can be broken into little manageable bitesized rectangles. They are simply delicious and highly addictive.
I couldn't resist buying a big box to take home! (Sadly it wasn't quite as big as the one you can see me carrying.)
10am to 9pm, open all week (surprisingly)
Imaginative, innovative and gourmet Vegetarian restaurant, with nods to Ferran Adria and Heston Blumenthal for their take on 'molecular' gastronomy. The colours and presentation have to be seen to believed as photographs don't do it justice. Flavours which you can hardly believe can come from simple fruits and vegetables.
Himmelpfortgasse 23, Vienna 1010
+43 1 890 4665
Open Tuesday to Saturday 12:00 to 24:00
Closed Sunday, Monday and holidays
Functional brödchen (open sandwich) eatery off the main shopping street of Vienna, this is a great place to pause and refuel before more sightseeing. Authentic and hugely popular with the Viennese, you can pretend you've been coming here for years after your first reconnaisance visit!
The cakemaker to the Hapsburgs has their historic and sumptuous shop and cafe located just outside of the gates of the Hofburg Palace. The royals did not have far to go for delicious cakes! This is one of the best places to sample the Sachertorte, if you are interested in trying it (more about Sachertorte below). You can see the staff hard at work making these superb creations on your way to the seating upstairs as the kitchen is exposed via giant glass windows.
1 Kohlmarkt 14
Open daily from 09.00 am – 7.00 pm
The sweetmaker to the Hapsburgs, Gerstner's used to make the candied violets to which Empress (or Kaiserina) Elizabeth (known affectionately as Sisi) was particularly partial. In Vienna, her portrait with luxurious flowing hair bedecked with stars made of hundreds of diamonds is found everywhere. Gerstner's have been around since 1847 and their lovely little cafe is right in the centre of Vienna, serving up several wonderful cakes, including Vienna's famous Sachertorte. However, I recommend the Gerstner torte, a special creation, exclusive to the place!
1 Kärntner Straße 13-15 1010 Vienna
+43 1 5124963
Open Monday to Saturday 8.30 - 20.00
Open Sundays and holidays 10.00 - 18.00
Famous and fabulous food market. A 1.5km stretch of delis, ingredient shops, cheese and charcuterie shops, ethnic grocers, snack bars, take aways, cafes, restaurants and bars. Possibly the best food market in the world!
Open 6 days a week and into the night