Where to Dine with the Locals: 16 Cheap Eateries in Vienna

Depending on where you're visiting from, price points in Vienna can feel steep or perhaps you're just not in the mood for a long sitdown meal. Whatever the reason, the places below serve wallet-friendly, delicious, and quick food. Bonus: they also present a more honest cross-section of Viennese society than fancy-pants restaurants in downtown (District 1).

If you like Viennese sausage shops in theory but prefer things more upscale, then Alles Wurscht is just the place for you. Hiding behind architect Theophil Hansen's 19th century masterpiece for the Vienna Stock Exchange, this new-wave sausage kiosk is the project of fine dining chef Sebastian Neuschler.

Every morning except Sunday, he and a colleague dole out beautifully presented sausages, truffle fries, fried calamari, hand-cut beef tartare to a well-off crowd of nearby office workers. Champagne, rather than beer, is more your speed? Not a problem. All products are sourced from reliable producers; the rolls, for example, come from Öfferl, Vienna's most fashionable artisan bakery. Cash only!

A line usually forms outside La Pausa, a popular pizza shop in Vienna's fashionable District 7. The rectangular slices come with a thin crust (Roman-style) and half a dozen topping options. Spicy salami, bacon and mushroom, fried eggplant, for example. Delicious and cheap. A bigger group can opt for a "meter" pizza, but a single slice, maximum two, will satiate most hunger. A wide beer selection to enhance the mood. Open every day.

Run by an Austrian-Egyptian family, Asala is a small takeout on Alser Straße (District 9), across from the University of Vienna's 18th-century campus. Asala specializes in freshly prepared Egyptian foods; everything is made to order – no stale discs of falafel here. My go-to is the shawarma and the askala iskandrani (roasted bits of beef liver with crunchy greens), but the vegetarian stuff is also excellent, such as the foul mudammas made with slow-simmered fava beans.

Almost everything is memorably delicious, miles ahead of what you get from the competition. Being a halal establishment means they serve no alcohol, but refreshing ayran is available. Things can get busy at midday when students from the campus mob the place, so try going outside of peak lunch hours.

Vienna’s döner game was raised to a new level with the 2022 opening of Ferhat. Inspired by Turkey's top vendors, proprietor Ferhat Yildirim believes a true döner kebab is about the beef and the bread, without sauces masking the inherent flavors. Their meat, for example, is sourced from a Steiermark farmer.

After you order, an employee will shave paper-thin slices of crispy and juicy flesh off the rotisserie with a giant sword-like knife, then toss them onto a thin flatbread (lavash) that had just come off the open oven before you. Dürüms (wraps), sandwiches, and platters are all available. Ferhat is located in the heart of Vienna's multiethnic District 10 and the lively Viktor Adler market is just around corner and also worth visiting.

Opened in 1928 and just a tram ride away from the city center, Leo is the oldest existing sausage shop in Vienna (beloved Austrian Chancellor, Bruno Kreisky, was among the fans). The bratwurst, nicely browned and crunchy on the edges, has yet to disappoint me, but the specialty of the house is the cheese-filled Käsekrainer. Mustard, kaiser roll, a can of beer on the side, and you have a deeply satisfying meal for five euros, whether at 1 p.m. or at 1 a.m. Also served: wine, snacks, cigarettes. Being outside the tourist zones means this is as Viennese an experience as it comes.

Vienna's sausage vendors tend to be old-school establishments where quality or cleanliness isn't always the priority. Wiener Würstelstand, a polished new-wave sausage kiosk, embodies a different ethos: here, the meat is organic; the bread bio-certified; the beers crafty. Not to mention vegan sausages, which are also served.

You could shrug and wave this off as hipster-apocalypse, but places like this will that help sausage shops survive the 21st century (in the city of Gustav Mahler, it's good to remember his famous adage: "Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire."). Naturally, Wiener Würstelstand is located in Vienna's well-off and progressive District 8 and its price points are a bit higher than usual. Also: the wait can be maddeningly long.

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!

You've just gotten out of the Museums Quarter or the Kunsthistorisches Museum, feeling intellectually and aesthetically stimulated, but also desperately hungry and on a budget. What to do? Easy answer: walk to the Alt-Wiener Würstelstand, a traditional standing-only sausage shop just steps from both of these august institutions.

About €6 will buy you a sizable, nicely crisped sausage with a side of mustard and a kaiser (of course!) roll. I usually opt for the spicy, cheese-filled Käsekrainer, but let your inspiration take you to untraveled territories, be it a Waldviertel, Frankfurter, Bratwurst, or Burenwurst. Open until late night every day of the week.

The long row of Middle Eastern produce vendors in Brunnenmarkt terminates at an excellent food cart: Irakisch Kass. Tasty beef shawarma and veggie-packed falafel sandwiches are the name of the game, at friendly price points. You can combine a visit not only with the market, but the outdoor bars along the neighboring Yppenplatz. It’s the hangout of Viennese alternative types who've been priced out of the city center or turn up their noses at downtown's bourgeoisie.

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!

Weidinger is a very special cafe in Vienna, but – warning! – it may not be for everyone. This unpretentious establishment is located along the Gürtel in District 16, well away from downtown and its tourist and bourgeois-heavy crowds. Some decades ago, the brown walls had to have been yellow, the gray upholstery blue, the formica tables unblemished. Here, you’ll be with regular Viennese: mid-level office workers, community organizers, foreign workers, daydreamers, students.

The low price points and all-inviting atmosphere bring together this eclectic group. Apart from alcohol and surprisingly good coffe, they also serve some basic dishes – goulash soup, scrambled eggs, toasted sandwiches. The evenings draw many Viennese hipsters, as well as card, pool, and bowling players (the bowling alley is below-ground).

Rene's Würstelstand, located on Vienna's grand and high-trafficed Schwarzenbergplatz, specializes in spicy sausages: customers can ask proprietor René Kachlir to blanket their chosen piece of meat in a homemade chili sauce. The spice level of the default "curry" sauce is perfect for my taste, but there's room to ratchet up the heat for adventurous eaters.

Mr. Kachlir's sausages and sauces have proven to be so popular that they're now also sold under his own label at Billa, the local supermarket chain. Note that opening hours are a bit inconsistent and that Rene's is closed on the weekends.

It’s hard to think of a more Viennese sausage kiosk than Südtiroler, located by the city's main train station, the Hauptbahnhof. It's all about the ambiance here, enlivened by an unending stream of eclectic customers and a vendor lady who has, as they say, been around the block. The standout order here is the cheese-filled Käsekrainer “Art des Hauses.”

Art, in this case, translates to a generous drizzle of chopped onions, paprika, curry mix, and big blobs of ketchup and mustard. It’s delicious. Sausages, schnitzels, burgers, and even gabelroller – pickled herring filets – are served. Low price points and open daily until 4 a.m.

Ashraf König is a Syrian food cart lining the long row of Middle Eastern produce vendors of Brunnenmarkt, in Vienna’s District 16. I have two favorites here. First, the fattouh – a bowl of chickpeas, mixed together with hummus, tahini, cashew nuts, coriander, and za'atar. Second, the moutabal, which is a smoky and creamy eggplant spread sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and coated in olive oil and tahini. Note: most dishes are vegetarian and portions could be bigger.

Berliner is a popular destination in Vienna for döners, especially late at night and fueled by alcohol. Berliner, which has nothing to do with the German capital, serves affordable dürüms (wraps) and falafel sandwiches out of an oversized food truck parked, somewhat ironically, by the 18th-century Schottenfelder Catholic church.

There are plenty of bars nearby, this is the fashionable-hipster District 7, hence the nighttime crowd. The döners are tasty, but far from memorable. In 2018, Berliner opened a brick-and-mortar location across the street with an extended menu, but customers seem to prefer the food truck.

Bitzinger is one of the most famous and certainly the most touristed sausage shop in Vienna (past visitors include Mick Jagger). This modern kiosk is located in the heart of the city, right behind the Opera House. While waiting in line, take a glance at the plastic rabbit sitting atop the kiosk as a playful reference to Albrecht Dürer's Renaissance drawing exhibited at the neighboring Albertina Museum.

Apart from classic sausages – cheese-filled Käsekrainer, roast Bratwurst, Frankfurters – there's also champagne for the glitzy post-opera crowd. Once here, spend a moment at the monument against war and fascism across the street.

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).