Bäckerei, Beisl, Café, Heuriger, Imbiss, Kneipe, Lokal, Restaurant.
Whatever your choice or preference, there’s no shortage of places for a sip and nosh in the city of Vienna. Over a period of 30 days, an extended stay in the Austrian capital city provides plenty of opportunities to try something new, though truth told, I also prepared a lot of food in the apartment …
I describe below 20 food visits in Vienna, for all the tasty bits including Döner, falafel, finger sandwiches, horsemeat, ice cream, pastries, raspberry torte, roast pork, Shakshuka for breakfast, Viennese veal schnitzel, and shwarma Syrian-style.
20 examples across Vienna
- Abu Elabed: chicken shawarma
- Anker: everyday pastry
- Brunnenmarkt: fruit & veg
- Eisfuchs: in-house ice cream
- Ferhat: veal döner
- Garbanzo (Brunnenmarkt): falafel wrap
- Gumprecht (Karmelitermarkt): horsemeat loaf
- Kutschkermarkt: cherry tomatoes, strawberry cake
- Mayer am Pfarrplatz: caraway roast pork
- Meissl & Schadn: veal schnitzel
- Neni am Naschmarkt: Shakshuka
- Oberlaa (Döbling): raspberry torte
- Plachutta Hietzing: Tafelspitz
- Rüdigerhof: neighbourhood cafe
- Salzberg: braised pork
- Side Kebap: grilled-chicken Döner
- Ströck: everyday pastry
- Tichy: ice-cream dumplings with apricots
- Trześniewski (Westbahnhof): dark bread with hearty spreads
- Vollpension: Kardinalschnitt
Additional nods to:
Next time, I’ll have to include more eating/restaurant time on the “other side” of the Danube river in “Transdanubia.”
Abu Elabed (20.)
Huhnershawarma, syrische Art
For research, I’d been watching Lukas Galgenmüller’s videos about his food experiences in Vienna, including the search for great Döner. One place “out of the way from the inner city” was a big highlight where flavourful chicken shawarma is done Syrian style. I went to the 20th district to discover the delicious difference in preparation style.
Anker, throughout the city
Anker is a Viennese-based chain of bread and pastry shops, ubiquitous throughout the city.
The bakery was established in 1891 by Jewish brothers and entrepreneurs Heinrich and Fritz Mendl. The entire business was forcibly “Aryanized” after the Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938; restitution to the original family came after the war’s end in 1945.
I’m a proud product of blue-collar parents, and that’s provided me with an enduring interest in how and what ordinary citizens eat. Below are examples of common “everyday” pastry, from an Anker store in the Schottenpassage: Erdbeer-Vanille-Tascherl (strawberry-vanilla “pouch”/strudel), Marillenkrapfen (apricot-marmalade filled donut), Marillenspitz (apricot “danish”).
Obst & Gemüse (fruit & vegetables)
In the Ottakring district, the Brunnenmarkt which began in 1786 is one of two remaining “original street markets” in the city. With over 170 stands in a 1-km stretch, this market is Europe’s longest permanent street market. Not only am I hungry, but there’s a cacophony of noise and colour, an organized mass of chaos, all connected by an insatiable desire for food. There’s also a growing Arabic and Syrian scene, on full display from residents and customers and in the shops.
Eis aus eigener Erzeugung (hausgemachtes Eis)
Why did I visit “the fox” multiple times? The seasonal ice cream shop is within walking distance from my accommodations, they’re a cash-only business, and all of their ice cream is made in-house with all of their varieties made in small batches.
This is no ordinary Döner, no ordinary meat sandwich.
Some claim this as one of the best, even perhaps, the best Döner in the world.
This is about fresh bread (no eggs! no milk!) made in-house daily; this is about getting beef from cows bred in the meadows of the Austrian Alps; this is about the “halal” treatment and, specifically, the leg-rump cut from veal; this is about hundreds to thousands of thinly sliced beef all done in-house; this is about the simplicity of seasoning only with salt and pepper; this is about a massive slow-spun skewer column of beef, massaged by the heat and flame from a vertical wood-fired oven.
This is all about reproducing the feel, crunch, and taste of a “Yaprak Döner” to the memory of a small village inside Turkey.
I’m in the 10. (Favoriten), just south of the city’s central station.
One look at Lukas Galgenmüller’s video was all it took.
The Döner is complete only with an Ayran yogurt-drink, in “plain” or “mango.”
Garbanzo (Brunnenmarkt, 16.)
The smart thing to do is to eat a full meal before heading into a street market. The bright colours and delicious smells have only deepened my hunger. My brain fires just enough to remind me I should have something not-meaty today, and sure enough, Garbanzo comes into view. There was once a time, many years ago, when I was immensely skeptical of falafel, until someone corrected me and righted those doubts. That’s my reminder when I bite into freshly made deep fried spheres of chick-pea deliciousness, all warm and dressed in a soft lightly-grilled flour wrap. Add to a locally made cola, Tirola Kola, and Garbanzo’s falafel wrap makes a good start to the Brunnenmarkt experience.
Gumprecht (Karmelitermarkt, 2.)
I got interested with Gumprecht after watching a short video by Vienna Tourism about “weird food”. With several brick and mortar locations throughout the city, the Gumprecht specialty is horsemeat, and I want to try their version of “Leberkäse” (a kind of sausage meat loaf). I’ve made my way to the Karmelitermarkt at the closing stages of the market day, and at the Gumprecht shop, I mention how I’m here to try something new. By comparison to other beefy-porky Leberkäse, the Pferdeleberkäse has a similar texture, consistency, and fattiness; but I also think the Gumprecht version has a richer and more fuller flavour.
Cherrytomaten aus Kroatien, Erdbeerfleck
In the Währing district, the Kutschker market which began in 1885 is one of two remaining “original street markets” in Vienna; the other is the Brunnenmarkt.
My eyes get grabbed by the pretty reds. I get some Cherrytomaten (cherry tomatoes) from Croatia: with just the right snap, they’re juicy and sweet like honey, as promised by the vendor. I then get a single order of Erdbeerfleck (strawberry cake): lots of fresh Austrian strawberries on top of sponge cake soaking up all the very berry goodness.
Mayer am Pfarrplatz (19.)
Kümmelbraten / Kümmel-Schopfbraten
I’m a fan of old-fashioned cooking, whether it’s Mum’s Cantonese cuisine or long-standing traditions in the German-speaking world. In the former Beethoven residence, Mayer has on offer what I’ve been searching: Kümmel-Schopfbraten (Kummelbraten, Schopfbraten) or Viennese-style caraway roast pork. It’s easy to confirm how well white wine pairs with roast pork.
Meissl & Schadn (1.)
The schnitzel lives and shines brightly at the centre of the “heliocentric” meat-eater system. The church is the kitchen. The (high) priest is the cook or chef, whose preparation and blessing include the “holy quad of ingredients”: veal cutlet (Kalbfleisch), flour (Mehl), egg (Ei), and bread crumbs (Brösel).
Neni am Naschmarkt (6.)
I’d heard about them before: I’d seen how good their homestyle cooking is, and how their roots and influences come through in preparation and taste. The entire operation is run by Chef Haya Molcho with her four sons whose initials form the word NENI. With multiple locations in Vienna, their restaurant in Naschmarkt opened in 2010.
It’s already +18C/65F at 8am, and I make the short way to the market. When I arrive, Neni is coming out of the daily slumber, but quiet becomes hopping within the hour on a bright Friday morning.
I order freshly-squeezed orange juice; a “melange” (with the prerequisite glass of water); and an Israeli breakfast “Red Shakshuka”, consisting of fresh tomato ragout, 2 organic eggs, fresh herbs, pita. I add a portion of grilled Merguez sausage for extra oomph.
Soon, food arrives and there are wild splashes of red, yellow, and green; creamy runny egg yolks smoothly mixing with the mild acidity of the tomato chunks in the ragout; the slightly spicy just-chewy sausage in balance with the oh so fluffy pita. The giant piece of bread is just enough to scoop up the rest of the tomato goodness.
Oberlaa (Döbling, 19.)
After a quick wander in Vienna’s 19th district, I find the “Konditorei Oberlaa” confectionary cafe for an afternoon coffee sit-down. “Oberlaa” is a local cafe chain, and one my host recommended because there are many locations throughout the capital city. The cafe is about two-thirds full with local residents. And then there’s me; and that’s ideal.
I gotta admit to something. While I like to hoover down a Ritter Sport square now and again, I don’t like desserts dominated by chocolate. I’ll always go where there’s fruit instead.
And that’s why I’ve ordered a portion of raspberry jelly tart: thin flaky but solid crust, wafer-thin layer of semi-sweet chocolate, sponge cake (to soak up the fruit juice), fresh raspberries, raspberry jelly. Sweet and tart; moist and flaky.
The coffee is steaming hot, strong, foamy. The drink’s slight bitter and creamy combo provide the right caffeination counterpoint.
Plachutta Hietzing (13.)
I’m eager to try the Tafelspitz at Plachutta after reading reviews and watching videos. The cooking method reminds me of Mum’s beef soup, but it’s also a reminder of the universality of food.
Café Rüdigerhof resides within a modest building designed in the Art Nouveau style by Oskar Marmorek in 1902. The location was both attractive and close to my month-long stay; this review rated a “plus,” because the cafe is frequented by the city’s residents. On an overcast day with the threat of rain-showers, I step inside to a relaxed comfortable environment. I’m quickly seated, and within minutes, I order my first Wiener Schnitzel (for this 2022 visit).
Mittagsmenü mit Nachttisch, Getränk extra
I’ve been running errands and food shopping for most of this weekday morning. Naturally, the munchies hit, and it’s time to visit one of the many neighbourhood restaurants for their weekday lunch specials. Down the street at Salzberg, there’s subway construction in the area, but they still have tables outside on the sidewalk. I get Sauerbraten mit Weisskohl und Brotknödel (braised pork served with cabbage & bread dumplings; carbonated unfiltered apple juice), Apfelstrudel (apple strudel), and gespritzter naturtrüber Apfelsaft (carbonated unfiltered apple juice).
Side Kebap (5.)
I love Döner, as I’ve shown above at Abu Elabed and at Ferhat. I “needed” to find something similar close to my apartment stay, and what’s closer than steps outside U-Bahn station Pilgramgasse. Recommended in district guides, this tiny family-run joint produces good lamb and chicken Döner. This is one place where I can “sprinkle” my limited Turkish (Merhaba, Teşekkürler, Gülegüle) into my conversations in German.
Ströck, throughout the city
The “Italiener” reminds me of the Italian hard raisin-filled Christmas breads, except the Viennese version is smaller, made with quark mixed in the flour for a slight sour edge, lighter in texture and consistency, and sprinkled with sugar on top. With nods to the Czechoslovak “koláč” (“wheel”), the Topfengolatsche is made with Danish-like pastry and filled with quark (slightly sweetened and smooth curd-cheese).
The Viennese are very fond of ice cream and apricots that’s typified by Marillenknödel (apricot dumplings). At Tichy, their union is a marvel delivered in their invention and specialty Eismarillenknödel (ice cream apricot dumplings). Each ball consists of vanilla-flavoured ice-/whipped-cream around a “core” of apricot purée, then covered with finely grated roasted hazelnuts (feinste Vanilleoberscreme mit Marillen; geriebene geröstete Haselnüsse). I’m asked if I want 1, 2, or 3 balls; perhaps, the maximum is too much for one person to consume at one sitting. “Quatsch”, I say; I want all 3. And thus, the tasty truth is a trinity: creamy, fruity, crunchy.
Trześniewski (Westbahnhof, 15.)
Brötchen mit Brotaufstrich
I’m at Vienna’s Westbahnhof (West train station) to run a couple of errands, when the munchies strike. In the food court on the upper level under the vast space of the station’s central hall is Trześniewski, whose motto is “die unaussprechlich guten Brötchen” (unspeakably good sandwiches).
Trześniewski (roughly “ches-nee-ev-ski”) has delivered “finger food” open-faced sandwiches to the Viennese for over 120 years. Their main shop is by St. Stephen’s Cathedral, plus several locations are found throughout the city.
A variety of rich spreads of the meat, fish, and veggie variety are topped onto small rectangles of solid black/rye bread, about 4 cm by 2 cm in size. Another big selling point is every “sammy” is made by human hands.
Kardinalschnitt mit Schlagobers
I never knew my grandparents. Perhaps, that’s why the ambience at Vollpension is for me very inviting: it’s a warm comfortable ambience inside a “family basement,” with all of the baking done in-house and made with love by Viennese Omas and Opas. That’s how I relay my story, arriving 8000 km from the other side of the world for the experience. And maybe, that’s how their generosity extends to a 2nd, if smaller but zero-charge, piece of dessert on my plate. Yes, it may be more expensive compared to other “coffee and cake” cafés in the city, but I like seeing the retired but active people who made my cake today.
Visits to all establishments mentioned here were neither requested nor sponsored. I made all photos above with a 6th-generation iPodTouch (iPT6) and Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime (X70) in May and June 2022. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-gTD.