Dining in Vienna. After four decades of Gasthaus experience in my native Wien, let me share where best to extend your taste repertoire beyond Schnitzel. When in Vienna, a relaxed Viennese Gasthaus (tavern) with quality cuisine is likely all you need. In the past years, I have seen many traditional Gasthäuser refine their menus and upgrade their interiors to follow local demand for quality food. As a result, do copy my shortlist of eateries, most of which you won’t find in a standard guide book. Price indications are based on a main dish.
1. Salon Plafond
Dining in Vienna. Because of its location in the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) this Wirtshaus or Gasthaus has always been at the pulse of time. Managing the balancing act of contemporary upgrades while staying true to its traditional philosophy Salon Plafond serves culture on a plate: the cauliflower soup is light and foamy, and the good old Backhendl (breaded chicken) tastes even more gorgeous thanks to its buttermilk marinade. Like the menu, the interiors masterfully mix old and new beneath the Salon’s stunning waffle-slab ceiling. Guests sit on historic mid-century furniture by Oswald Härdtl. Some of the benches display the vibrant plant fabrics of Josef Frank, which the MAK next door has exhibited before.
Location: Stubenring 5, A-1010 Vienna
Opening hours: daily, 10. 00 am to midnight
Dining in Vienna. More embedded in Vienna’s neighborhoods than Salon Plafond, the Prinz Ferdinand is a gem of a traditional Beisl (inn). First and foremost, the Prinz lures you right into the eighth district of Josefstadt where it’s at its most beautiful. Inside the gorgeous Biedermeier town house, you realize the careful upgrade of a traditional Gasthaus even before you taste it: while the dark wood panels, simple globe lamps and white table cloths are typical for a Beisl they feel crisp.
The menu is local seasonal and varied, from Schnitzel and gulash to fresh fish. Since Prinz Ferdinand places importance on seasonal specialities it makes a great restaurant to celebrate St. Martin’s with a traditional roast goose in early November. In the summer people love to eat in the outside area on the square under shady trees.
Location: Bennoplatz 2, A-1080 Vienna
Opening hours: Mon to Sat 10.30 am to midnight; Sundays and public holidays 10.30 am to 11.30 pm;
3. Gasthaus Appiano
Dining in Vienna. In a quiet side street close to Ringstrasse and Votivkirche, the Appiano celebrates Viennese tradition while it confidently embraces Italian influences. A little Vienna Woods charm resonates from the black-green-white interior that boasts a traditional tiled stove for cold winter nights. Since the menu is varied, this is a perfect place to dig deeper into Austrian cuisine, for example with Styrian beef stew (Steirisches Wurzelfleisch), fried goats cheese with local asparagus or home made plum jam dumplings (Powidltascherl) with grey poppy seed. If you like unusual schnaps, this is a great place to try some.
Location: Schottenbastei 4; A-1010 Vienna
Opening hours: Mon to Fri 12.00 noon to 3.00 pm, and 6.00 pm to 11.30 pm; open on certain public holidays (see website);
4. Dining at Vienna’s Servitenwirt
Dining in Vienna. Even since Servitenwirt’s modern Austrian cuisine has reached award-winning levels it still manages to go unknown even among local gourmets like my friend Sandra. Since I took her to this quiet gem in Servitenviertel, one of Vienna’s most beautiful neighborhoods, she is truly grateful. Dining beneath Servitensquare’s shady trees next to Vienna’s oldest baroque church, Servitenkirche, we tried a few of the restaurant’s signature dishes: steamed ravioli of greaves, pork cheek with polenta and spinach, and black pudding and porcini sausage. For dessert, we shared delicious apricot Palatschinken with chocolate sauce.
Inside, Servitenwirt displays typical tavern interiors, from the taproom at the entrance to wooden benches and chairs, and crisp-white table cloths.
Location: Servitengasse 7; A-1090 Vienna
Opening hours: Mon to Sun 10.00 am to midnight;
Dining in Vienna. “Why can’t you order various small Austrian dishes anywhere, rather than just one large portion per person?”, asked Viennese caterers Schwarz-Hirsch. And then they set up Feinkosterei, an Austrian word creation of the German word Feinkost (deli). Even though locals quickly warmed up to the tapas style of their Austrian dinners I think travellers benefit even more: Now, newcomers to Vienna or visitors on a short stay get to know Austrian cuisine more quickly by ordering two to four different dishes per person as a main course. When I went there I had a delightfully cooked mix of beef goulash, Wiener schnitzel, spinach dumplings and grilled char on beetroot purée.
Besides, the restaurant is located on one of the city center’s most beautiful cobblestoned squares.
Location: Judenplatz 7; A-1010 Vienna
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 11.00 am to midnight; Sunday 11.00 am to 11.00 pm
Dining in Vienna. Like in the good old days Austrian actor Hanno Pöschl (who also owns the Kleines Café opposite) prefers to have his menu. For example, the traditional Viennese breaded chicken (Backhendl) is still marinated here over night which gives it a distinct flavour. The Viennese Reisfleisch (rice stew with beef) comes like my grandma used to prepare it, just better: with hearty smoked paprika and grated cheese on top. In addition, the Gasthaus also serves contemporary classics such as Cesar salad and Scotch eggs.
Formerly called Immervoll, Gasthaus Pöschl shares the lovely outdoor space at Franziskanerplatz with Restaurant Artner and Kleines Café. To get space outdoors during the warmer months, make a reservation.
Location: Weihburggasse 17; A-1010 Vienna
Opening hours: daily from midday to midnight; kitchen open from midday to 10.30 pm;
Dining in Vienna. A few metres from Sigmund Freud Museum you fall right into a tavern from the Vienna Woods. The Rebhuhn is one of the best classical neighbourhood taverns, serving great traditional Viennese cuisine. When I lunched there on a weekday and was surrounded by elderly local couples, students and working people on their lunch breaks.
My gulash was lovely, the regional wine fantastic. A must-do insider eatery. (I just hope those ceiling lights will be exchanged…)
Location: Berggasse 24; A-1090 Vienna
Opening hours: daily, 11.00 am to midnight; kitchen open until 10.30pm; in July and August Gasthaus Rebhuhn is open from 6.00 pm to midnight; closed on 24th and 25th December, and 1st January.
My Tip: For more inspiration and a good 30 percent off your restaurant bill, book at local restaurant site Delinski.
to focus on Schnitzel, visit the best Wiener schnitzel restaurants the Viennese love, too
get an overview over my favorite Restaurants in Vienna