Viennese Cuisine: 21 Traditional Dishes

Viennese cuisine in Vienna in Austria

Viennese cuisine is the only cuisine in the world that is named after a city.

So that you know what Vienna tastes like and what is behind names such as Einspänner, Beuschel or Langos, we have put together the most famous dishes.

Viennese cuisine is best known for its sweet dishes, such as apple strudel, Kaiserschmarrn and Sachertorte, as examples.

The main dishes are meat-heavy, just think of Wiener Schnitzel, boiled fillet and smoked meat. Sauerkraut and dumplings are often eaten as a side dish.

Influenced by Bohemia, Hungary, France and Italy, the cuisine is also varied.

Bon appetit or "an Guadn" and "Moizeit" as the Viennese say ...

1. Wiener Schnitzel

Thin Breaded Veal

Wiener Schnitzel in Vienna in Austria

Wiener Schnitzel is the most famous dish in Viennese cuisine. According to legend, Field Marshal Radetzky brought the recipe for Wiener Schnitzel from Italy to Austria in 1857.

A thin piece of veal is butterfly cut, lightly pounded and salted, then tossed in flour, beaten egg yolk and breadcrumbs in turn, then fried in floating fat until golden brown. Decorate with a slice of lemon and a sprig of parsley. There is also lukewarm potato salad and cucumber salad.

Only veal schnitzel may be called Wiener Schnitzel, the cheaper pork version is called "Schnitzel Wiener Art"

2. Tafelspitz

Boiled Fillet

Tafelspitz in Vienna in Austria

In this dish, beef tail is marinated in strong vegetable broth and boiled for several hours. It is served with potatoes, chive sauce and apple horseradish.

This dish is a Viennese classic. It was the favorite dish of Emperor Joseph I, who preferred it to the multi-course menus that were common at the time. Plachutta restaurant, which has a branch in Wollzeile among other places, is well-known for its particularly good Tafelspitz.

Those who had to sit at the end of the table, i.e. at the top of the table, at celebratory dinners in the imperial court, were served their food last and often had to leave the table hungry, since according to court etiquette the cutlery was shared with the emperor, who of course was served first and therefore the first to be finished and then everything had to be put away.

Afterwards, the hungry guests often went to Sacher to eat, where a dish was prepared that could cook for a long time and was even better as a result - Tafelspitz.

3. Selchfleisch mit Sauerkraut und Knödeln

Smoked Meat with Sauerkraut and Dumplings

Smoked meat with sauerkraut and dumplings in Vienna in Austria

Smoked pork is a hearty and nutritious dish made from cured and smoked pork rib, neck, shoulder, or belly. In addition to salt, potassium nitrate is also used in curing to redden the meat.

Sauerkraut is white cabbage preserved by lactic acid fermentation and seasoned with bay leaves, juniper, caraway, cloves and marjoram. There are also dumplings. In Vienna, this dish is traditionally served as a farmer's feast and must be eaten hot.

4. Schweinsbraten vom Schopf mit Semmelknödeln und Sauerkraut

Roast Pork with Bread Dumplings and Sauerkraut

Roast pork with bread dumplings and sauerkraut in Vienna in Austria

Braised pork from the neck - Schopf - is a traditional Sunday and holiday dish in Austria. The roast is seasoned with cumin, coriander, marjoram and garlic.

Bread dumplings are made from old, thinly sliced bread rolls that are soaked in hot milk and made into a dough with the addition of eggs. The dumplings are then boiled in salted water.

Sauerkraut is white cabbage preserved by lactic acid fermentation and seasoned with bay leaves, juniper, caraway, cloves and marjoram.
The dish is rich and filling, it can be heavy on the stomach.

You can get one of the best roast pork in Vienna at Schweizerhaus in Prater.

5. Altwiener Zwiebelrostbraten mit Braterdäpfel

Old Vienna Onion Roast with Roasted Potatoes

Altwiener Zwiebelrostbraten mit Braterdäpfel

A piece of roast beef is stewed with onions in the oven until it is buttery soft. Then there are roasted onions and fried potatoes. Seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic. A dash of red wine is added to the sauce.

Onion roast beef is a traditional dish and can be found in typical Viennese restaurants.

6. Beuschel

Offal Ragout

Beuschel in Vienna in Austria

Beuschel is a ragout made from lung and other offal such as heart, kidney, spleen and tongue from veal, beef, pork or game. It is seasoned with vinegar, sugar, salt, peppercorns, bay leaf and onions and sour cream. There are also bread dumplings.

The dish can be found on the menus of typical Viennese restaurants.

7. Goulash

Meat and Vegetable Soup Seasoned with Paprika

Gulasch in Vienna in Austria

Goulash is originally a Hungarian dish that came to Vienna in the early 19th century.

Lean beef cut into cubes is cooked with plenty of onions and water until the meat is tender, the sauce is thickened with flour. The cooking process takes several hours.

It is seasoned with paprika powder, juniper berries, marjoram, cumin, salt, pepper, a dash of vinegar and more paprika powder. Many variations of goulash have evolved over time.

  • Juice Goulash: With the goulash that is so popular in Vienna, the sauce is not bound with flour, it is cooked until the sauce is creamy.
  • Fiaker Goulash: Also known as "Men's goulash", it is also served with fried Frankfurter sausages and decorated with a fan-shaped pickle and a fried egg, along with bread dumplings.
  • Karlovy Vary Goulash: bound with sour cream and flour and served with dumplings.
  • Szeged Goulash: Cooked with sauerkraut and sour cream and served with potatoes.
  • Gypsy Goulash: contains beef, pork and lamb as well as diced tomatoes, potatoes and green peppers.
  • Sausage Goulash: With Jagdwurst instead of beef and the sauce is seasoned with ketchup, and includes macaroni.

Goulash is a classic tavern dish, but it can also be found on the menus of upscale restaurants.

8. Wiener Gulaschsuppe

Viennese Goulash Soup

Viennese goulash soup in Vienna in Austrai

Viennese goulash soup is made from beef or pork, onions, garlic, tomato paste and diced potatoes. It is seasoned with cumin, paprika powder and marjoram. The goulash soup gets its spiciness from finely chopped peppers, and it must be served very hot.

Even if you can find it in all Viennese restaurants today, the goulash soup originally comes from Hungary. "Gulyas" is Hungarian and means cattle herder.

9. Wiener Grießnockerlsuppe

Viennese Semolina Dumpling Soup

Viennese semolina dumpling soup in Vienna in Austria

This semolina dumpling soup is a classic in Viennese cuisine. Foamy butter is mixed with eggs and semolina, formed into dumplings and then cooked in beef broth. To serve, the semolina dumplings are sprinkled with finely chopped chives. It is seasoned with nutmeg.

Even the Habsburgs loved soups, a preference that can be traced back to the 16th century. That is why soups still play an important role in Viennese cuisine today. Semolina dumpling soup can be found on the menus of typical Viennese restaurants.

10. Frittatensuppe

Sliced Crepe Soup

Frittatensuppe in Vienna in Austria

This crepe soup is a clear beef broth with a filling of crepes cut into strips. It is also known as crepe soup, or pancake soup. The crapes, which are baked from a slightly liquid dough, are cut into strips after they have cooled down and beef broth poured over them just before serving.

The word Frittaten comes from Italian and means omelet.
It is one of the most popular dishes in Viennese cuisine and is on the menu in almost every Viennese restaurant.

11. Erdäpfelsuppe

Potato Soup

Erdäpfelsuppe in Vienna in Austria

This is a potato soup, as potatoes are called Erdäpfel in Austria. The hearty soup is prepared with onions and bacon, possibly also with paprika, and is seasoned with bay leaves and pepper.

When potatoes were brought to Vienna in 1588 by the botanist Charles de l'Ecluse, they were thought to be poisonous for a long time. Only during the food shortage during the Napoleonic Wars did they suddenly gain in importance.

Potato soup is served as a starter in Viennese restaurants and is particularly popular during the cold season.

12. Frankfurter Würstel

Vienna Sausages

Frankfurter Wurstel in Vienna in Austria

Wiener Würstel are called Frankfurter Würstel in Vienna. Sausages are usually served in pairs, a sausage served individually is called a "Einspänner". This is not to be confused with the Einspänner, which is also available as coffee in traditional Viennese coffee houses.

A variant is the Käsekrainer, which also contains Emmental cheese cut into small pieces. It is part of the standard offerings in all Viennese sausage stands. There is also mustard and white bread.

You can get the best sausages at the Bitzinger sausage stand, which is probably Vienna's best-known. There is a booth at the Ferris Wheel in Prater and one at Albertina Museum.

13. Spargel


Spargel in Vienna in Austria

Asparagus is grown in Marchfeld, harvest time is April to June. Marchfeld is an approximately 900 m2 large plain that lies east of Vienna and is bordered on the east by the river March. Marchfeld is regarded as Vienna's vegetable supplier and as the granary of Austria.

In Vienna, asparagus is usually eaten with Hollandaise sauce and boiled potatoes.

14. Leberkässemmel

Meatloaf Sandwich

Leberkassemmel in Vienna in Austria

Contrary to what the name might suggest, Leberkäse does not contain liver or cheese, but is a boiled sausage. Its angular pie shape is characteristic. A roast of pork and bacon is placed in box-shaped roasting pans and then cooked in the oven creating a meatloaf.

It is seasoned with curing salt, pepper, coriander, ginger and mace (mace).
This meat loaf is a sandwich and consists of a thick slice of meat loaf served in a bun cut in half. Typically, the Leberkässemmel is eaten with mustard and pickles.

It is sold at almost every street kiosk, but Leberkas Papi has the best. There are branches at the main train station and in Operngasse.

15. Langos

Fried Potato Bread

Langos in Vienna in Austria

Langos is Hungarian and means flame. It is a flatbread that is fried in hot oil. In Austria, Langos is made from potato dough, after baking it is salted and brushed with garlic oil.

There are numerous Langos stalls selling this hearty snack. Langos is also popular with wine and enjoyed with punch and mulled wine at the Christmas markets.

16. Brettljause

Meat and Cheese Board

Brettljause in Vienna in Austria

This dish is a snack is a snack plate with sausage and cheese. As the name suggests, Brettljause is served on a wooden board. It is very popular as a snack. It is traditionally served in wine taverns.

A Brettljause includes bacon, salami, cheese, ham, cucumber and pickled onions. There is also butter and fresh farmhouse bread.

17. Marillenknödel

Apricot Dumplings

Marillenknödel in Vienna in Austria

Apricot dumplings are a traditional Bohemian-Austrian pastry in which pitted apricots are placed in a ball of dough and then boiled. Then they are rolled in browned breadcrumbs and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

The apricots are grown in the Wachau, this seasonal dish is very popular as a dessert. In the past, when meat was not eaten every day, the dish was considered a filling main course.

18. Eismarillenknödel

Iced Apricot Dumplings

Eismarillenknödel in Vienna in Austria

Ice apricot dumplings are offered at the Viennese Eissalon Tichy. The dough is replaced with vanilla ice cream and the dumplings are rolled in slivers of nuts.

Kurt Tichy invented this variation in 1967 and even if it took a while before he won the hearts of his customers, this specialty is now indispensable, every week 3,000 ice apricot dumplings are produced.

19. Sacher Torte

Cake with Apricot Jam and Chocolate Frosting

Sacher Torte in Vienna in Austria

This dish was invented in 1832 when Prince Metternich commissioned his court kitchen to create a special dessert, but the head chef fell ill and the baker's apprentice Franz Sacher took over this task at short notice. He invented the famous Sacher cake, which was later perfected by his son Eduard Sacher and offered in the hotel of the same name, which opened in 1876.

The ingredients are not very spectacular, a dough made of butter, sugar, eggs, chocolate, flour and vanilla is divided in the middle after baking, spread with apricot jam and covered with chocolate icing.

The traditional Café Sacher in the hotel of the same name produces around 300,000 Sacher Torte every year, which requires 70 tons of apricot jam per year.

20. Palatschinken


Palatschinken in Vienna in Austria

Crepes were known to the Romans in ancient times, and it was the Roman legionnaires who brought the pastry to Europe.

Today, Crepes are an integral part of Viennese cuisine and one of the most popular pastries among Austrians.

A very thin dough made of flour, milk and eggs is baked in the pan and then filled with different fillings according to taste, ranging from jam and marmalade to fruit salad, ice cream or nougat, there are many different variants.

Palatschinken can be found as a dessert on the menu of every Viennese restaurant.

21. Melange

Mild Espresso with Hot Milk and Foam

Melange in Vienna in Austria

Melange has been the most famous Austrian coffee specialty since 1830.

The name derives from the French word melanger, which means to mix. A melange is a 1:1 mixture of a mild espresso and hot milk. There is milk froth on top.

The preparation is very similar to a cappuccino. Both coffee specialties have the Capuchin coffee from Vienna as their origin. This one is a small mocha with a few drops of whipped cream. They give the coffee the color of a capuchin cowl. Hence the name cappuccino in Italy.

There are small differences between melange and cappuccino. A cappuccino uses more milk froth and a stronger espresso with a 1:2 ratio between coffee and milk froth.

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