As of a decade or two ago, Vienna cuisine was focused on the food of past traditions: heavy pork and potato dishes that made walking around the city afterward seem like an impossible task. Today, those traditions have been put squarely in the past, and although you can still get an excellent schnitzel at many places in the city, Vienna's flavors have evolved into much more than that.
Seasonal is frequently the name of the game, and much of what is served at restaurants in Vienna incorporates ingredients obtained from close proximity to the city. In autumn, you may find that menus fill with different types of game, as this is the traditional hunting season. Even this tradition has evolved, with the heavy venison dishes of the past replaced by lighter fare influenced by other European cuisines and starring meats such as rabbit, boar and pheasant. Middle Eastern immigrants have also begun to make their mark, with olives, curries, falafel and hummus showing up next to Austrian ingredients.
Some restaurants create fusion between Viennese and other cuisines, bringing new ingredients, flavors or techniques to a classic dish. Chefs here have always used the more common parts of the animals but also the less common, a practice which has stuck around, so you can find plenty of calf kidney, head cheese and pork feet incorporated into different preparations. Vegetarian substitutes and reinventions are another common occurrence in restaurants here.
Of course, if you really want it, there are places where you can still get a schnitzel or sausage made the way it's been done for centuries. Viennese desserts, too, are a class of dish that is hard to improve on. No one should leave Vienna without sampling at least a few different flavors of strudel, pancakes (similar to crepes) or sweet dumplings topped with fresh fruit.
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Angyalföldstraße, 1210 Vienna, Austria
Dreifaltigkeitsplatz 3, 2431 Enzersdorf an der Fischa, Austria