The Best Restaurants in Vienna

From centuries-old restaurants and coffeehouses to trendy new bistros, Vienna’s culinary scene is like the city itself—managing to be both classic and cool at once. Whatever your personal style, you won’t want to leave without trying some of its famous desserts, including the legendary Sacher torte.

1060 Vienna, Austria
Street-food markets are all the rage the world over, and in Vienna you have the chance to visit one that’s been around for many centuries. Built literally over the channeled Vienna River, just beyond the Ringstrasse, the Naschmarkt is devoted to what its name happens to sound like in English: noshing. Whether you order a spicy wurst, browse the fish and cheese stalls, or purchase local products like pumpkin-seed oil and apple vinegar, the Naschmarkt is one of the city’s most enjoyable simple pleasures. In recent years, some gastronomic and ethnic food stalls have expanded into full restaurants. For decades, 400 dealers have set up their Saturday flea market next door, where shoppers hunt for bargains among books, record albums and CDs, and antiques.
Donaukanal, Wien, Austria
Central Vienna lies not on the Danube proper, but on its curved canal whose banks were utterly neglected for decades. Today, in warm months, the canal’s banks are a recreational paradise packed with fishermen, bike riders, dog walkers, and joggers. Entire beaches with imported sand and swimming pavilions host a city’s worth of bars and restaurants. Guests at the Strandbar Herrmann, in front of the elegant art nouveau Urania observatory, lounge on deck chairs, while the Badeschiff is a docked boat with a pool. On the left bank of the canal, Tel Aviv Beach bar hosts lively DJ parties on summer evenings. On Danube Island, which sits in the middle of the river, Copa Cagrana Beach has been popular for several decades.
10 Kärntner Durchgang, 1010 Wien, Austria
It’s so tiny that your living room seems spacious in comparison. On a side street off the lustrous Kärntner Strasse, the Loos American Bar was hypermodern back when it opened in 1908 as the Kärntner Bar with a design aesthetic that contrasted with what was standard then during the last days of imperial Vienna. Architect of Prague’s famous 1928 Villa Müller, Adolf Loos used mirrors to expand the mahogany, brass, and onyx interior. Outside, an American flag mosaic pops out from above the entrance and marble pillars. After years of decline, the bar was resurrected by new owners in the 1990s to once again become a landmarked shrine to modernism. The martinis and Manhattans served here are vintage American as well.
Cobenzlgasse 8, 1190 Wien, Austria
It’s the wine. It’s not just the small houses with baroque detailing, or the cobblestoned streets with old trams that wind their way up the Vienna Woods foothills, that make Grinzing the most popular of all of the former villages that have been absorbed into present-day Vienna. The city has by some counts more urban vineyards than anywhere else in the world, and Grinzing’s famous Heurige (wine taverns) draw big crowds. The proprietors of Zum Martin Sepp, across from the parish church, welcome visitors to their cozy courtyard and tavern rooms. Guests enjoy Austrian specialties such as the Kaiserschmarrn pancake dessert and drink house grüner veltliner and other wines, while swaying to musicians wielding the signature folk accordion and playing old Viennese drinking songs.
2A Am Heumarkt
Not only a star in Vienna, but on the world culinary scene, Steirereck is also breaking new ground architecturally. A few years ago, the restaurant, situated in a landmark art nouveau building amid the leafy Stadtpark, unveiled a futuristic redo. Blond wood and a white contoured ceiling now accent the new blocklike spaces which extend outward and whose reflective facade highlights the surrounding parkland. Showcasing chiefly recipes from the Styria province, fixed menus include novelties like char with beeswax, yellow carrot, pollen, and sour cream, while the cheese carts offer a selection of the more than 100 varieties available here. During the meal, a detailed menu card delivered between courses provides information about the dishes you are enjoying. The building’s lower-level Meierei im Stadtpark restaurant is a more casual dining option.
1 Praterstraße, 1020 Wien, Austria
As if floor-to-ceiling Inner City views from an 18th-floor space weren’t enough, the 21,500-square-foot illuminated ceiling by Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist will wow you at Das Loft restaurant. With strict historic preservation building codes long in place that dictated nothing be built higher than the city’s iconic Stephansdom cathedral tower, Vienna was rather late to the game of splashy starchitect buildings. In 2010, however, Jean Nouvel’s Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom opened across the Danube Canal, an area that had been plagued by banal postwar stucco buildings. Now, guests at the hotel’s Das Loft penthouse and panoramic restaurant can not only enjoy beautiful urban vistas, but a popping cocktail scene and modern takes on Austrian dishes.
Universitätsring 2, 1010 Wien, Austria
Don’t let the umlaut throw you off. Vestibül restaurant occupies an original vestibule in the Burgtheater, known for having one of Vienna’s most gorgeous interiors. And the space is not just any vestibule, but includes both the porte cochere for the Hapsburg coaches that would arrive at this famous imperial theater and the marble-lined hallway leading to the guests’ private loges. Located across from City Hall on the Ringstrasse, Vestibül is under the guidance of one of Austria’s most celebrated chefs, Christian Domschitz. His menu is not flashy, but rather rests on superb takes on traditional dishes, such as his signature Hummerkrautfleisch—creamy cabbage with lobster.
Burggarten 1, 1010 Wien, Austria
With glass walls that can soar as high as 50 feet, Palmenhaus is dramatic, but it’s also a quiet and calm place smack in the heart of Hapsburg-era Vienna. As the name suggests, the Palmenhaus is a greenhouse of the variety that nations of the 19th century were so good at creating to show off palms and other exotic plants plucked from the colonies. And thanks to a $17 million renovation in the 1990s, yes, Palmenhaus still has palm trees and tropical flora, as well as a lepidopterarium, or butterfly house. As Vienna’s palm house looks over the lush Burggarten park, its broad terrace makes for the ultimate spot to sit under sunny skies and sip a riesling or quaff a beer. On summer Fridays, DJs and live musicians perform.
Franz-Josefs-Kai 2, 1010 Wien, Austria
When you’re looking for a fun night out, why not opt for one right on the Danube? The chic Motto am Fluss restaurant is located within the terminal for the Danube Canal ferries, but it’s like no dock you’ve ever seen before. The futuristic and super-bright space looks like a sleek cruise ship itself. On the lower level, the restaurant, with its black-and-white-checkered floor and silver orb lamps, reflects Venetian influences. Here, you can linger over breakfast in the café until 4 p.m. In warmer months when the weather is good, the terrace is the place for cocktails or biodynamic Austrian wines. On weekends, DJs add to the already-high cool factor in the trendy riverside spot.
Bäckerstraße 6, 1010 Wien, Austria
Don’t even think about leaving Vienna without having at least one schnitzel dinner. Sure, you can find the crispy breaded veal and pork cuts at restaurants all over town, but where you want to go is to Figlmüller, where the pork schnitzels are a good foot in diameter and spill over the edge of the plate. Just minutes from Stephansdom cathedral, the original, rustic Figlmüller is tucked into a narrow shopping gallery between streets. Just outside the passageway, the Figlmüller family’s sister restaurant Lugeck opened in 2014 with upscale cuisine served in a gorgeous art nouveau building. Its interior is done in a contemporary beechwood look, and its front terrace looks right at a towering statue of Gutenberg on Lugeck Square.
5 Bognergasse
Zum Schwarzen Kameel’s unusual moniker, which means At the Black Camel, grabs your attention. It’s a play on the name of founder Johan Baptist Cameel, who opened the establishment back in 1618. Appointed a spice purveyor to the Hapsburg court in 1825, Zum Schwarzen Kameel is today a restaurant, with a separate delicatessen that makes good sandwiches and a gourmet shop selling fine cheeses and wines. The Kameel interior is justly famous as well, with a wood-paneled art nouveau dining room that (of course) postdates the era when Beethoven frequented the restaurant. The area around its Bognergasse location is now a stone-paved pedestrian zone with luxury shops, which makes the Kameel’s front terrace a delightful place to stop for a drink or meal.
Fleischmarkt 11, 1010 Wien, Austria
You might not think of Vienna as a very Greek city, but guess what: The oldest restaurant in town is the Griechenbeisl, the Greek Tavern. Back in the late 15th century, Levantine traders lodged in this building on Fleischmarkt street, and its hodgepodge of rooms in which many a historic figure have dined hasn’t changed much since. The walls of the Mark Twain Room are decorated with autographs by the great scribe and many other notable figures. Despite its name, the Greek Tavern specializes in schnitzel and other dishes that are as pure Austrian as can be. And the live music you enjoy while dining won’t be made by a bouzouki, but by a Viennese zither. Out front there is a plaque commemorating the 17th-century minstrel Marx Augustin, famous as the subject of the song “Oh Du Lieber Augustin.”
Wollzeile 38, 1010 Wien, Austria
Perhaps “boiled beef in broth” doesn’t sound quite as alluring as its German name of Tafelspitz. Yet Tafelspitz was the preferred meal of Emperor Franz Joseph, and it remains a favorite Viennese dish. There’s one establishment, Plachutta, that has cornered the market on fine Tafelspitz; the eponymous gastronome Mario Plachutta has raised his preparation of the modest rump cut served with roasted potatoes, minced apples, and horseradish to a gourmet level. The main restaurant sits on the popular Wollzeile shopping street just a block from the Ringstrasse, but the chef has also built a mini empire of jade-toned Plachutta restaurants—including one in a lovely Biedermeier cottage and another near the Schönbrunn Palace in Hietzing.
4 Philharmoniker Str., 1010 Wien, Austria
As rivalries go, this one is up there with Coke vs. Pepsi. Which of these two cultural institutions’ pastry chefs make the best version of Vienna’s famous Sacher torte? The Hotel Sacher is a historic property and, by legal right, has been recognized as the original home of the classic dessert. But a few blocks away on posh Kohlmarkt street, just steps from the Hofburg Palace, the pastry shop Demel proudly still carries the official title of royal confectioner. Both houses ship this spongy chocolate cake, covered with chocolate icing and layered with apricot jam, all over the world. But nothing beats tasting the sweet treat right there in old Vienna.
Kärntner Ring 17, 1010 Wien, Austria
Lovers of Vienna’s homegrown early-20th-century Wiener Werkstätte design style will want to visit the Café Schwarzenberg: It was the preferred haunt of Josef Hoffmann. The illustrious architect who cofounded the Werkstätte drafted many ideas there that came to fruition. Opened on the Ringstrasse in 1861, the café takes its name from the nearby square that is itself named for the Prince of Schwarzenberg, a prominent Austrian field marshal in the Napoleonic wars. Guests are treated to huge vaulted windows under high ceilings and those who sit outside on the terrace enjoy views of the illuminated Karlskirche dome while they sip their Einspänner coffee with its dab of whipped cream on top.
Herrengasse 14, 1010 Wien, Austria
Maybe the most stunning of the many palatial mid-19th-century commercial edifices around the Freyung section of Vienna’s Inner City, the Italianate Palais Ferstel hosts the ground-floor Café Central and its tiny outdoor terrace. Fittingly, as it is perhaps the landmark among Vienna’s old-world coffeehouses, Central is, well, central: It boasts a prime location by the Hofburg Palace, meaning it’s touristy for sure. But one look at the forest of Gothic Revival columns and vaulted ceilings in the cathedral-like interior of this former bank building, and you won’t mind if you have to wait a few minutes to be seated. Central has an extensive menu and a huge periodical collection to peruse before you head back out to tour the Inner City’s treasures.
11 Gumpendorfer Straße
How’s your billiard game? With three antique tables, Café Sperl is old-world Vienna at its best; the year 1880 appears in their logo, after all. Sperl’s sumptuous art nouveau interior—wood paneling, hanging lamps, plaster figures on the ceiling—is said to be the city’s only coffeehouse space that has never been modernized. Since it’s in the southwest Mariahilf district, off the path usually beaten by travelers, you’re not likely to encounter many tourists here. Yet, given that its location, on the Gumpendorfer Strasse and by the famous Naschmarkt, is newly trendy, you should hurry there before it gets discovered. On Sunday afternoons, it adds live piano music; in warm weather, there’s sidewalk seating where you can enjoy one of the dozens of different coffee drinks.
4 Universitätsring, 1010 Wien, Austria
How can you pass up ordering an Apfelstrudel in one of Dr. Freud’s favorite coffeehouses? Open since 1873 at the bottom of a neobaroque structure with a wedding-cake facade, Café Landtmann is perhaps the oldest establishment along the Ringstrasse, meaning that it even predates the glorious Burgtheater next to it. The Gustavs—Mahler and Klimt—and Marlene Dietrich were just some of the many luminaries who frequented the establishment over its near century of existence. In recent years, the Landtmann added a glassed-in patio out front for even better Ringstrasse views.
Spittelberggasse, 1070 Wien, Austria
It’s not yet Brooklyn, but the Spittelberg quarter in the Neubau district is arguably Vienna’s newest trendy spot. As neighborhoods go, Spittelberg is tiny, made up of old working-class blocks with an unsavory past. But Spittelberg lies in the shadow of the mega-successful MuseumsQuartier, and the bars and restaurants tucked into leafy courtyards behind Biedermeier buildings are hopping now. Thankfully, a village feel remains on the quiet pedestrianized streets and alleys where, in warm weather, Schanigartens (Vienna’s version of outdoor restaurant seating) appear. Amerlingbeisl, Bohème, and Witwe Bolte are three of the most popular bistros, along with newcomer Das Spittelberg. The neighborhood’s Christmas market, with its glühwein kiosks, is perhaps the top one in the city.
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