Vienna Restaurants

Vienna has tried hard to shed its image of a town locked in the 19th century, and nowhere is that more evident than in the kitchens of the top-notch Austrian chefs who dominate the culinary scene here. They have turned dining from a mittel-europäisch sloshfest of Schweinsbraten, Knödeln, and Kraut (pork, dumplings, and cabbage), into an exquisite feast of international flavors.

No one denies that such courtly delights as Tafelspitz—the blush-pink boiled beef famed as Emperor Franz Josef's favorite dish—is delicious, but these traditional carb-loaded meals tend to leave you stuck to your seat like a suction cup.

The dining scene of today's Vienna has transformed itself, thanks in part to a new generation of chefs, such as Heinz Reitbauer Jr. and Christian Petz, who've worked hard to establish an international brand of Viennese cooking, Neue Wiener Küche (New Vienna cuisine). They have stepped onto the stage, front and center, to create signature dishes, such as fish soup with red curry, which have rocketed to fame; they have fan clubs, host television shows and publish top-selling cookbooks, such as Neue Cuisine: The Elegant Tastes of Vienna; there are star Austrian chefs the way there are in New York and Hollywood, and these chefs want to delight an audience hungry for change.

Schmaltzy schnitzels have been replaced by prized Styrian beef—organic meat from farm-raised cattle—while soggy Nockerl (small dumplings) are traded in for seasonal delights like Carinthian asparagus, Styrian wild garlic, or the zingy taste of common garden stinging nettle. Wisely, Vienna has also warmly welcomed into its kitchens chefs from around the world, who give exotic twists to old favorites.

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  • 1. DO & CO Albertina

    $$ | 1st District | Contemporary

    When you're ready to collapse after taking in all the art at the fabulous Albertina, fall into the museum eatery's high-back, camel-color leather...Read More

  • 2. Restaurant Edvard

    $$$$ | 1st District | International

    This gourmet establishment at the Palais Hansen Kempinski Hotel earned a Michelin star within months after opening last year. Chef Philipp Vogel...Read More

  • 3. Steirereck

    $$$$ | 3rd District/Landstrasse | Austrian

    Considered one of the world's 50 best restaurants, this eatery is definitely the most raved-about place in Austria. It's in the former...Read More

  • 4. Zum Schwarzen Kameel

    $$$$ | 1st District | Austrian

    Back when Beethoven dined at the Black Camel, it was already a foodie landmark. Since then, it has split into a Delikatessen and a restaurant...Read More

  • 5. Amerlingbeisl

    $ | 7th District/Neubau | Austrian

    If you're lucky, you can snag a table in the idyllic garden of this low-key pub, hidden away inside a delightful Biedermeyer cobbled courtyard...Read More

  • 6. Café Central

    $ | 1st District | Café

    Made famous by its illustrious guests, the Café Central is right up there with Florian's in Venice. With soaring ceiling and gigantic columns...Read More

  • 7. Café Frauenhuber

    $ | 1st District | Café

    Repair here to find some peace and quiet away from the busy shoppers on Kärntnerstrasse. The original turn-of-the-20th-century interior with...Read More

  • 8. Café Griensteidl

    $ | 1st District | Café

    Once the site of one of Vienna's oldest coffeehouses and named after the pharmacist Heinrich Griensteidl—the original dated back to 1847 but...Read More

  • 9. Café Hawelka

    $ | 1st District | Café

    Practically a shrine—indeed, almost a museum—the beloved Hawelka was the hangout of most of Vienna's modern artists, and the café has acquired...Read More

  • 10. Café Landtmann

    $ | 1st District | Café

    A century-old favorite of politicians and theater stars (the Burg is next door), this was Sigmund Freud's favored café. Burt Lancaster, Hillary...Read More

  • 11. Café Mozart

    $ | 1st District | Café

    When he stayed at the adjacent Hotel Sacher, Graham Greene loved having his coffee here while working on the script for The Third Man. (Greene...Read More

  • 12. Café Museum

    $ | 1st District | Café

    The controversial architect Adolf Loos (famed for his pronouncement "Ornament is a sin") laid the foundation stone for this coffeehouse in 1899...Read More

  • 13. Café Sacher

    $ | 1st District | Café

    This legend began as a Delikatessen opened by Sacher, court confectioner to Prince von Metternich, the most powerful prime minister in early...Read More

  • 14. Café Schwarzenberg

    $ | 1st District | Café

    A bright-yellow facade and a large terrace welcome all to this café across from the Hotel Imperial. The location is perfect if you want a snack...Read More

  • 15. Cafe Sperl

    $ | 6th District/Mariahilf | Café

    Coffee in Vienna is designed to be savored and enjoyed and one of the most splendid places in Vienna to do just that is at the Sperl. Featured...Read More

  • 16. Corns 'n Pops

    $ | 2nd District/Leopoldstadt | International

    The dining area looks a bit like the set of a modern sitcom. Dining tables are simple and white, and chairs are in white plastic. This ensemble...Read More

  • 17. Demel

    $ | 1st District | Bakery

    The display cases are filled to the brim at the world-renowned Demel, a 200-year-old confectioner famous for sweetmeats that make every heart...Read More

  • 18. Do-An

    $ | 6th District/Mariahilf | International

    This bustling restaurant in a stall along the Naschmarkt is a prime place to stop for a bite and watch the crowds go by. The menu is as diverse...Read More

  • 19. Fabios

    $$$$ | 1st District | Mediterranean

    The easiest way for Viennese to experience sleek, suave, New York–style power dining—short of paying for a round-trip plane ticket—is to book...Read More

  • 20. Figlmüller

    $$ | 1st District | Austrian

    This Wiener schnitzel institution is known for breaded veal and pork cutlets so large they overflow the plate, and it's always packed. The cutlet...Read More

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