18 of the Best Schnitzel & Traditional Restaurants In Vienna

Viennese food is a collection of best-of dishes from territories once under the Habsburg crown: knödels (dumplings) from greater Bohemia; goulash from Hungary; schnitzel from northern Italy, for example. The city's countless traditional restaurants – Gasthaus or Beisl – usually serve some kind of offal dish too, such as roasted veal kidney (geröstete Kalbsleber), sour lungs (Salonbeuschel), and blood sausage (Blunzen). And of course a proper Viennese meal ends with shredded (Kaiserschmarrn) or flat pancakes (Palatschinken) generously sprinkled with fruit preserves.

Except for a few very pricey establishments, price points are similar across the restaurants below, with €16-22 mains and affordable local wines and beers.

It’s a challenge to find true-to-Vienna traditional Austrian restaurants in the tourist-saturated city center (District 1), which makes the existence of Gasthaus Pöschl all the more precious. Yes, some tourists also stumble in here, but you’ll notice the lively banter between the kind waitstaff and the longtime regulars (“Christian Gihl, from 6 p.m.” warns a small brass plate bolted onto the bar counter).

The inside is small, cozy, and cramped, the food more elevated than the informal decor would indicate. The specialty of the house is manyfold; you’ll not regret ordering the flavorful beef broth soup (Rindsuppe), the Tafelspitz, the deceptively simple-sounding rice and meat combo (Reisfleisch), the crispy and juicy schnitzel, the mushroom ravioli (Steinpilzeravioli), the caramelized Kaiserschmarrn, and the feather-light Topfenknödel. Pair them with local wines and beer and be sure to book ahead (by phone). €15-25 mains.

Rebhuhn is a tried-and-tested traditional restaurant near the city center in District 9. Both Viennese families and tourists come here for uncomplicated but reliable local Austrian fare – potato soup, fried chicken salad, schnitzel, goulash, roasted pork belly, apple strudel, you name it. Not all the mains, which are priced €12-18, are going to blow your mind, but Rebhuhn is an authentic portal into everyday Austrian dining. Beers and low-priced wines are available. Service is kind and efficient. Advance booking is an absolute must.

Located off Mariahilfer Straße in District 6, Steman is a typical Beisl – pretense-free neighborhood eatery – that looks and feels the part. Wooden bar counter, unadorned white walls, creaking floors, increasing noise levels as the night progresses. Most Austrian classics are available and taste pretty good.

I’ve had excellent beef in aspic drizzled with red onions (Sülzchen), Goulash, Schnitzel, Tafelspitz, Kaiserschmarrn, and cottage cheese dumplings (Topfenknödel). Steman is still mainly a local’s haunt, many just drop by for a few beers before they hit the sack. Mains are €16-22, reservations a must. (The owners are also in charge of Cafe Jelinek, the traditional coffeehouse across the street.)

Plachutta, the Viennese high temple of boiled beef, hardly needs introduction. Enter this oversized downtown restaurant any time of day, and you'll find elegant local Viennese of all ages (and tourists, too) sitting around tables set with white linen. 13 cuts are available, as are helpful charts showing where each comes from. Most famous is Tafelspitz, once the favorite of Franz Joseph, from the upper part of the rear leg of a young ox (also known as top round).

The tender meat arrives in a pretty copper pot and submerged in a flavorful broth alongside bone marrow, carrots, and thin noodles. Spoon up some of the liquid, slather the marrow on toast, then settle yourself in for the main prize. Don't forget about the sides: horseradish slicked applesauce, chive-laced sour cream, and rösti (shredded and fried potatoes).

The Plachutta family owns several restaurants, but this one, in the city center, is best known (their first location, opened in 1987 is in the suburb of Hietzing). A meal for two with a drink will set you back by €90 or so. Advance booking is highly recommended.

Gasthaus Buchecker & Sohn is a traditional Viennese neighborhood restaurant, the kind where you don't find an open table most days. The family establishment is located in the old-money, upper-middle-class part of Vienna, behind the Karlskirche in District 4.

Buchecker’s claim to fame is offal dishes: baked and roasted veal liver; sour lungs with dumplings known as Beuschel, sweetbread (if all this gets you salivating, consider the offal platter for two). Those not into intestines can find equally tasty treats. The beef broth with dumplings is among the best in Vienna, as is the schnitzel, be it pork, veal, or chicken. Please don’t leave without an order of Wuzinudeln, potato dumplings doused in butter and sugary poppy seeds. Mains are €15-20; reservations, by phone, a must. Open weekdays only!

Zum Posthorn is a busy neighborhood restaurant in Vienna's District 3, run by the Winkler family (it's good to see Winkler junior, in his late twenties, also being involved). Some of the weathered furnishings go back to 1870, but my favorite design piece is the giant wooden cupboard behind the bar. At all times, the small tables are filled to the brim by local regulars that may include the Austrian President, Alexander Van der Bellen, so be sure to book ahead (by phone).

Flavor-rich beef broth, plump liver dumplings, schnitzel, roasted veal kidney with mashed potatoes, pancake desserts – the whole range of Viennese classics proudly represent themselves. With €11-18 mains, prices are reasonable for the city. Closed on the weekend!

Don’t be deceived by the idiosyncratic furnishings – a taxidermied cow’s head here, a Virgin Mary painting there – Gasthaus Wolf is a beloved neighborhood restaurant in Vienna’s elegant District 4. Of the two wood-paneled halls, the dining room is in the back, while the front is reserved for customers who stick to beers and wine. Things can get loud and lively; it’s here that you might fall into a conversation with a retired tennis professional or the local gentleman who dropped in with his cavapoo for a night cap.

The dishes, meat-heavy of course, are excellent. Spreadable pork fat with rye, roasted discs of blood sausage (Blunzenradl) with bean salad, beef tartare, three kinds of schnitzel, knödels, slow-cooked duck layered with braised red cabbage. The wine list is local and well curated, featuring top producers such as Weninger and Uwe Schiefer. €17-23 mains. Dinner only and closed on the weekend!

Gastwirtschaft Heidenkummer masks itself as a neighborhood restaurant, but it’s well-worth a visit from downtown. This being Vienna’s well-off District 8 means a bourgeoisie air pervades the rustic premises, but not in a pretentious way. Waiters know most customers by name and treat newcomers with friendly deference. The walls are crowded with artworks, most of them modern but there’s a curious concentration of paintings and busts of Franz Joseph. Positively quirky.

I haven’t been able to go wrong with anything on the focused menu. Flavorful liver dumpling soup in a steaming and rich broth; a gentle disc of blood sausage on a bed of apple compote and potato cream (called “heaven on earth”); eye-catching and delicious beef tartare; jam-filled crepes (Palatschinken). They range €17-25. Such traditional Austrian dishes call for local beer or wines, Gemischter Satz for example, made from various grape varieties grown together in Vienna’s vineyards. Advance booking is a must. Closed on weekends!

Globally known as the temple of fine schnitzels, Vienna’s Figlmüller needs little introduction. The humble city center tavern, which opened in 1905, has since ballooned into a restaurant empire with six locations, hundreds of employees, and an annual turnover in excess of €30 million. Today, Figlmüller is a restaurant for tourists – a big and successful commercial enterprise. Most of my Viennese friends have never been, preferring smaller family restaurants with comparable food.

If you do decide to try it, know that pork schnitzel is the name of the game; the thinly pounded, tender loin arrives enclosed in a crunchy crust and dangling off the plate. The potato salad on the side is less memorable than the main act, which is indeed among the best schnitzels in Vienna (together with the side, it comes out to €27, a bit pricier than elsewhere).

The original location, Figlmüller Wollzeile, is rustic and cramped, while Figlmüller Bäckerstraße, just steps away, is more spacious and modern with a wider menu (reservation to both).

Reznicek is an upscale restaurant hidden on a sleepy Vienna street near the Liechtenstein Garden Palace in District 9. The short menu of Central European classics – Cordon bleu, Paprikash, Palatschinken – aren’t so much reimagined as they are elevated to near fine dining level (the owners come from the Michelin world). Add to these a few choice meats, flatfish, and an exhaustive list of wines served from delicate Zalto glasses.

Reznicek tops the city's Beuschel chart: this traditional plate of sour lungs appears as julienned bits of lamb sitting in a rich and bright sauce while a soft brioche waits on the side for its turn to mop up the leftovers. Comparable praise is due for the pure-tasting monkfish (again, that sauce) and everything else I've tried. Sadly, the steep price points – mains are €30-40 – render Reznicek a special-occasion restaurant for most of us.

(If you’ve also wondered about the name, the answer is prosaic: the restaurant is located on Reznicekgasse, named after the Austrian composer, Emil von Reznicek.)

Looking for a wallet-friendly Viennese family restaurant where tourists rarely set foot? You won’t even need to walk far from the city center for Kolonitz Beisl, a deeply local eating and drinking joint in District 3. The inside is laid-back and cozy, fitted with a weathered bar counter and rustic wooden furnishings. Service is kind, the dishes very tasty.

Think lentil stew with pork cracklings and two voluminous dumplings, ham noodles (Schinkenfleckerl), schnitzel variations, Böhmische Palatschinken filled with plum jam (powidl) and poppy seeds. The customers include middle-aged Viennese intellectuals with a fondness for low-priced alcohol and a taste of home. With €10-15 mains, it’s your cheapest option for a sit-down meal in central Vienna. Cash and weekdays only!

Gastwirtschaft Blauensteiner is a popular neighborhood restaurant in Vienna's District 8, where the historic Josefstädter Straße sets off (across from it, Cafe Eiles, is another legendary establishment). A well-earned patina has accumulated in both of the high-ceilinged halls. Most of the heavy wooden tables are taken up by regulars judging by their rapport with the not especially accommodating waiter.

My go-to starter is always the pork in aspic (Sülze), fully coated in red onions and doused in sunflower oil (your best chance to convert your friends to this disappearing delicacy). The tender and moist egg dumplings (Eiernockerl) are notably excellent with bright-tasting salad on the side. Close out with the chestnut-filled dumplings dessert (Maroniknödel). Mains are €13-18. Nota bene: excellent weekday lunch menu; open on the weekend; cash only; reservation by phone!

Zur Stadt Krems is a longstanding traditional restaurant deep in the heart of Vienna’s hipsterville in District 7. Overindulged on flat whites at Jonas Reindl or on natural wines at Cafe Kandl and now in search of something solid and unfussy? I hear you.

The signature of the house is the blood sausage, served on a bed of delicate potatoes and sprinkled with fresh horseradish. Truly memorable. The whole range of local classics such as Schnitzel, Goulash, and Tafelspitz are also served as is a tasty two-course weekday lunch prix fixe and crafty draft beers. €14-20 mains. Also here: kind service; outdoor garden; and the city's oldest bowling alley! Weekdays only.

Even by Central European standards, the food of Bohemia – in today’s Czech Republic – is carbs-heavy, which is another way of saying that it’s delicious. Am Nordpol 3, located by Vienna’s Augarten in District 2, is a neighborhood restaurant specializing in the knödel-forward dishes of this former Habsburg dominion.

Adventurous eaters might opt for an all-dumpling meal: liver dumpling soup followed by meat-and-pork-crackling-filled dumplings with mixed sauerkraut on the side, and potato dumplings with sugary poppy seeds to finish.

Those not so much into dumplings could order a sausage, another Bohemian favorite (for inspiration, read Joseph Wechsberg’s essay on Prague's sausage shops in Blue Trout and Black Truffles). It goes without saying that real Bohemian Budweiser flows from the taps. Open every day of the week; €12-17 mains.

Opened in 1957, Grünauer is a small, traditional restaurant hiding in Vienna's otherwise fashionable District 7. This is a family enterprise of the best kind: lively tables, informal atmosphere, a handwritten menu. Despite, or because of, the rustic-puritan decor, the dishes are very good – deeply local fare heavy on offal plates.

Sour lungs, veal kidney, dumplings filled with pork cracklings (Grammelknödel). Less adventurous eaters will also find Austrian classics to enjoy. The extensive wine list covers all regions of Austria. €17-23 mains. Open weekdays only and advance booking, by phone, is a must.

The beguiling aromas of bubbly hot butter fill the dim inside of Automat Welt, a casual neighborhood restaurant on the less trodden, working-class side of Vienna's Leopoldstadt (District 2). The restaurant is known for its schnitzels, made from pork and fried in clarified butter. The vibes are informal: part of the space is reserved for darts players and there's a corner with books and board games (the Czech author, Bohumil Hrabal, inspired the restaurant's moniker).

The notorious schnitzel is tender, crunchy, and fragrant – every bite demands another. As I did, you might also wonder why butter isn't the default cooking fat for all schnitzels (prosaic answer: it's more expensive than vegetable oil). The slim menu usually also features pan-Asian dishes as one of the chefs comes from a Vietnamese family. Mains are €15-23; craft beers and local wines comprise the drinks menu.

If you’re like me and get a kick out of weathered neighborhood institutions with a beating heart, then be sure to mark up your map with Weinhaus Sittl. The patrons span Viennese young adults, senior citizens, and everyone in between. What draws them here? The friendly price points and the tasty dishes: cold cuts, Schnitzel, meatballs, and the Kaiserschmarrn all hold their own.

The server-proprietor sisters, Leila and Anna, represent the fourth generation and treat everyone with the same no-nonsense kindness, whether you're a cool hipster or a downtrodden senior in for a nightcap. Sittl is located on a not especially inviting part of Vienna by the Gürtel, a car-heavy three-lane road, but the venerable patina of the place, which opened in 1914, will make you forget the noisy traffic outside. In nice weather, try the outdoor garden too. Weekdays only!

In addition to Gasthaus Pöschl, Zu Den 3 Hacken is your best bet for a traditional Austrian meal in Vienna if you don't wish to leave the city center (District 1). Elegant local Viennese and tourists share the rustic interior fitted with wooden panels and benches of this historic building that has been a guest house since the 17th century. Besides the usual Austrian standouts, adventurous eaters can pick offal-dishes: bone marrow with toast, roasted veal liver, sweetbread with potato salad. Not everything is a hit, but most plates deliver, as do the local Austrian wines. Mains are priced €17-25. Advance booking is recommended (by phone).