The 18 Best Schnitzel & Traditional Restaurants In Vienna

Viennese love their local food and, in turn, there are many traditional restaurants called Gasthaus or Beisl (a Beisl used to denote low-priced eateries but today there’s little difference between the two). Viennese food is a collection of borrowings from territories once under the Habsburg crown: knödels (dumplings) from the Czech parts; goulash from Hungary; even the schnitzel – to which every Viennese restaurant claims primacy – harks back to northern Italy. But no reason to judge what’s most logical!

Almost all restaurants serve some kind of offal dishes too – bone marrow (knochenmark), roasted veal kidney (geröstete kalbsleber), sour lungs (salonbeuschel), blood sausage (blunzen). This is typical everyday Austrian fare and you’ll not regret trying them. And of course a proper Viennese meal ends with shredded (kaiserschmarrn) or flat pancakes (palatschinken) generously sprinkled with fruit preserves.

Except for a few expensive establishments such as Reznicek and Plachutta, price points tend to be very similar across the below restaurants, 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, hidden just blocks from Kärntner Straße, 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.” shows a small brass plate bolted onto the bar counter).

The inside is small, cozy, and cramped, with wood paneling and a bar counter evoking traditional eateries. The food is 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.

Gasthaus Buchecker & Sohn is a traditional Viennese neighborhood restaurant, the kind where you won'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 and heart, baked brain with tartar sauce, 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. And please don’t leave without an order of Wuzinudeln, potato dumplings doused in butter and sugary poppy seeds. Mains are €15-20; reservations a must. Open weekdays only!

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 rusticly furnished 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 depicting Habsburg Emperor 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 in price from €17 to €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!

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 of a cow showing where each comes from. Most famous is Tafelspitz, once the favorite of Habsburg Emperor Franz Joseph, from the upper part of the rear leg of a young ox (also known as top round).

The tender meat arrives in pretty copper plates, 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 €85 or so. Advance booking is highly recommended.

Don’t be deceived by the strangly puritan furnishings – a taxidermied cow’s head here, a Virgin Mary painting there – Gasthaus Wolf is a popular neighborhood restaurant in Vienna’s elegant inner-District 4. The dishes, which are meat-heavy, are consistently excellent. Spreadable pork fat with rye; roasted discs of blood sausage (blunzenradl) with bean salad; beef tartare; three kinds of schnitzels; 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. Mains are €17-23.

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. Note that Wolf is closed on the weekend!

Zum Posthorn is a charming neighborhood restaurant not too far from Vienna's city center in District 3, run by the Winkler family (it's nice to see that Winkler junior, in his late twenties, is also involved). Some of the weathered furnishings go back to 1870, but my favorite design piece is the giant wooden cupboard behind the bar where they store wine and beer. At all times, especially in the evenings, 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 in advance (by phone).

Start with the flavor-rich beef broth in which proudly sit two plump liver dumplings and crunchy bits of root veggies, then progress to more dumplings, these ones studded with spinach and parmesan and moistened with melted butter. The schnitzel and the roasted veal kidney with mashed potatoes are also excellent. With mains ranging €11-18, prices are very reasonable for Vienna. Closed on Saturday and Sunday!

I’m always thumbs-up when a young crew revamps a restaurant in a way that's rooted in traditions but stands solidly in the present day. Welcome to Reznicek, located on a sleepy Vienna street near the Liechtenstein Garden Palais 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.

I love beuschel, a traditional plate of sour lungs, and I'm convinced that Reznicek tops the city's beuschel chart: julienned bits of lamb sit 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 €30-38! – 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.)

Located a bit away from the city center near Mariahilfer Straße in District 6, Steman is a classic beisl – local Austrian eatery – that looks and feels the part, too: 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). Mains are €16-22. Steman is still mainly a local’s haunt, many just drop by for a few beers before they hit the sack. Reservations are a must. The owners are also in charge of Cafe Jelinek, across the street, one of the more charming and cozy traditional cafes in Vienna.

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, near the charming Radetzkyplatz. The inside is cozy and unfussy, fitted with a weathered bar counter, rustic wooden furnishings, and old beer advertisements.

The service is kind, the dishes very tasty. Highlights are the lentil stew with pork cracklings and two voluminous dumplings; the ham noodles (schinkenfleckerl); the schnitzel variations; and the 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 €10-14 mains, it’s your cheapest option for a sit-down meal in central Vienna. Cash and weekdays only!

Gastwirtschaft Blauensteiner is a well-known neighborhood restaurant in Vienna's District 8, where the historic Josefstädter Straße sets off (across from it, Cafe Eiles, is another legendary establishment). As soon as you enter, you'll note the creaky floors and the well-earned patina in both of the high-ceilinged halls. Most of the heavy wooden tables are taken up by regulars, judging by their rapport with the otherwise not especially accommodating waiter.

My go-to starter is the pork in aspic (sülze), fully coated in red onions and doused in sunflower oil (this place is your best chance to convert your friends to this disappearing delicacy). The tender and moist egg dumplings (eiernockerl) are notably excellent, both with bright-tasting salad or as a side dish. I rarely leave without an order of chestnut-filled dumplings (maroniknödel). Mains are €13-18. Nota bene: excellent weekday lunch menu; also open on weekends; cash only!

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 €10-17, 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, by phone, is an absolute must.

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 here is the blood sausage, served on a bed of delicate potatoes and sprinkled with fresh horseradish. Truly memorable. The whole range of local classics – schnitzel, goulash, tafelspitz – are also served, as is a delicious two-course weekday lunch prix fixe and crafty draft beers. €14-20 mains. Also here: kind service; outdoor garden for the summer months; and the city's oldest bowling alley!

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

Adventurous eaters should go with 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. That's right.

Those not into dumplings: order a sausage, another Bohemian favorite (for inspiration, read Joseph Wechsberg’s essay on Prague sausage shops in Blue Trout and Black Truffles). It goes without saying that the beers flowing from the taps are also Bohemian; real Budweiser! Open every day of the week; €12-15 mains.

Opened in 1957, Grünauer is a small, traditional restaurant in Vienna. Lively tables occupied by locals and an informal atmosphere await those who're willing to venture from the city center to this elegant District 7 side street where family members make and serve the food. Despite, or because of, the rustic-puritan decor and the handwritten menu, the dishes are very good – deeply local fare heavy on offal plates.

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

Besides 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 €15-25. Advance booking is recommended (by phone).

Globally known as the temple of fine schnitzels, Vienna’s Figlmüller needs little introduction. Starting in 1905 with a humble city center wine tavern, the restaurant has since ballooned into an 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 €24, a bit pricier than at most places).

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

If you’re like me and get a kick out of weathered, run-down neighborhood institutions with a beating heart to them, 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, surely, but also the surprisingly tasty dishes: cold cuts, schnitzel, meatballs, and even the Kaiserschmarrn can hold its own. And the server-proprietor sisters: Leila and Anna.

They represent the fourth generation at Sittl and treat everyone with the same no-nonsense kindness, whether you're a cool hipster or a downtrodden senior here for a nightcap. Sittl is located on a not particularly pretty part of Vienna by the Gürtel, a car-heavy three-lane road. But once you step inside, 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. Closed on weekends!

The beguiling aromas of bubbly hot butter fill the low-lit 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 a few pan-Asian dishes as one of the chefs comes from a Vietnamese family. Mains are €15-18; craft beers and local wines comprise the drinks menu.

Rankings are based on a combination of food/drink, atmosphere, service, and price. To remain unbiased, I visit all places incognito and pay for my own meals and drinks. I never accept money in exchange for coverage. If you've enjoyed this article, please consider supporting me by making a one-time payment (PayPal, Venmo).