As we were brought around Vienna by DH’s Viennese friend, we managed to try quite a few local delicacies, and they were all delicious. Possibly the most palatable meals I have had in my honeymoon. In Prague and Budapest, most of the places we have been were questionable, with a few good exceptions. But everything we had in Vienna was excellent. So what and where do locals eat in Vienna? Let’s start with the first meal of the day, breakfast!
Classic Viennese Breakfast
We were introduced to a typical Viennese breakfast in Café Mozart, a traditional Viennese coffee house near the Opera House.
A typical Viennese breakfast usually consists a Semmel (bread roll with a crispy crust), butter, homemade jam, coffee, and a glass of orange juice.
As a chocolate lover, I was enticed by the wide selection of hot chocolate on the menu, and ordered one for myself. I had a Mozart Schokolade (chocolate), which is hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and marshmallow, and drizzled with chocolate and pistachio sauce. A sinful but totally worthy indulgence.
There was a particular egg option in the menu which is “im Glas” (soft boiled eggs served in a glass), I was curious as to how it looked like, so I ordered it as well. Turns out it is just like the description. Soft boiled eggs served in a glass.
Vienna’s Iconic Dessert
At Café Mozart, I also managed to squeeze in some room for dessert, and I had Vienna’s most iconic dessert, the Sachertorte, which is a really dense chocolate cake with an apricot jam filling and glazed with a chocolate fondant. It is traditionally served with unsweetened whipped cream at the side. And it tasted positively divine.
Café Mozart Where: Albertinaplatz 2, A-1010 Wien Opening Hours: 08:00 to 00:00 daily Website: https://www.cafe-mozart.at/en/cafe-mozart.html
Vienna’s Best Street Food
What kind of street food do the locals in Vienna eat? The answer is, sausages! Sausages are found everywhere in the streets, and there were plenty of stalls selling sausages in Naschmarkt, the biggest street market in Vienna, but the sausages there all pale in comparison to Bitzinger, the most famous sausage stand in Vienna. Bitzinger is conveniently located in between Albertina Museum and the Opera House. The tiny standalone stall in the middle of the street can be spotted easily with its incongruous green rabbit statue sitting atop the stall and the long queue.
The queue is said to be always long, so while we were ravenous, we had no choice but to wait. But it was worth the wait. Crispy, juicy sausages stuffed with melted cheese which went perfectly with mustard. Käsekrainer is a traditional Austrian sausage and a perfect order if you love both cheese and sausages like me.
Where: Albertinaplatz, 1010
Opening Hours: 08:00 to 04:00 daily
Traditional Austrian Cuisine in a Local Restaurant
His friend also kindly helped us make a reservation at a beautiful local restaurant, Plachutta Hietzing, which is very close to Schönbrunn Palace, and recommended us to order tafelspitz. Tafelspitz is beef simmered in clear savoury vegetable broth, served with a side of roasted potatoes, creamed spinach, and two sauces, a sweet and spicy apple-horseradish sauce and a rich egg and mustard white sauce respectively.
The restaurant actually has a menu guide instructing people on how to eat tafelspitz. First, you drink the soup that the beef has been boiled in, then you spread the bone marrow on the toasted rye bread, and finally you eat the beef served with the sides.
Boiled beef probably doesn’t sound like the most appetizing meal, but it was phenomenal, the best meal we had in Vienna. I would definitely love to have tafelspitz again. The beef was soft and fully absorbed the complex flavours of the broth, and the impossibly creamy bone marrow spread triumphs any butter, cheese, jam, or even Nutella spread I have ever had.
Plachutta Hietzing Where: Auhofstraße 1, 1130 Vienna Opening Hours: Mon - Fri, 11:30 to 15:00 and 06:00 to 23:30 ; Weekends and Public Holidays, 11:30 to 23:30 Website: https://www.plachutta-hietzing.at/en
Dining in a Countryside Tavern (Heuriger)
A heuriger is an Austrian wine tavern with homemade food and wine which is only open for a few months during the growing seasons. So during the growing seasons, Viennese locals would definitely head to a heuriger to have delicious homemade delights! And the best place to enjoy it would be in the country. We were brought to Heuriger Sirbu, and the view was fantastic, with the Viennese vineyards all around us. I think I was too hungry though, somehow I forgot to take a photo of the tavern. But I did take photos of the surrounding countryside.
The food, being homemade, lacks the elegant presentation of a restaurant plate, but the taste more than made up for it. Every item was delicious, especially the crispy pork knuckle, you can hear the crunch as you bite in it. I was also taught to drink like the locals do, a spritzer, which a mix of soda water and wine.
I was initially a little apprehensive to try the blood sausage, but it turned out to be pretty good! Crumbly in texture with a mild tangy flavour, it is a sausage that worth trying, even if the idea of eating pig’s blood mortifies you.
The bread dumpling is known as a Speckknödel (German bread dumpling with bits of bacon). Unlike the bread dumpling in Prague, it was not a damp, doughy mess. A savoury mixture of bread, milk, eggs and bacon, it was the right balance of tender and moist, and was accompanied with a side of sauerkraut.
Lastly, I have to make a special mention about Vienna rye bread. They are dense and moist with just the right amount of crisp at the sides, with a tinge of sourdough tang that makes them so different from usual bread. It was my first time trying rye bread, and I fell in love with it instantly, and was very happy that rye bread was a pleasant accompaniment to most of my meals there.
Heuriger Sirbu Where: Kahl Str. 210 / A-1190 Wien Opening Hours: (April-October) Mon-Fri 16:00 to 23:00; Sat 15:00 to 23:00 Website: http://www.sirbu.at