Where to Dine with the Locals: 21 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 Vienna's residents than fancy-pants restaurants in downtown (District 1).

If you like Viennese sausage shops in theory but prefer things more upscale, then Alles Wurscht might just be 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 fashionable artisan bakery. Cash only (an ATM is on the premises)!

Opened in 1902, Trzesniewski is an iconic eatery in Vienna’s downtown, specializing in bite-sized, open-faced sandwiches. Despite being deep in touristville, just off the Graben, locals also drop in for a quick bite with a side of small beer. The creamy egg-based toppings are all tasty, as is the horseradish-spiked spread with grated carrots.

Some seats are available, but most people wolf down their sandwiches while standing by the high tables. Trzesniewski has since opened additional locations, but try going to the original one in Dorotheergasse, launched by Franciszek Trzesniewski, a Polish cook, hence the impossible name.

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 – all of them tasty 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 big 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. Being a halal establishment means they serve no alcohol, but refreshing ayran and soft drinks are 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 the 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.

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!

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 roll. I usually opt for the spicy, cheese-filled Käsekrainer, but let your inspiration take you to the road less traveled, 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.

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 ensure that 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.

Time stopped sometime around 1960 at Cafe am Heumarkt and I'm still not sure whether despite or because of this am I such a fan of this place. It’s always very calm and pleasant here: people playing cards, shooting pool, chatting quietly in a corner. The cozy booths are draped in red artificial leather whose decades-old scars are patched up with inordinate black tapes (a few broken springs here and there).

The two no-nonsense servers, who are wonderfully old school and also the owners, have created an intimate, almost family-like atmosphere. Orders might be called out from the other side of the room. The daily specials are delicious – soups especially – and it was here that I had the best plate of cabbage noodles of my life (Krautfleckerl!). Hint: If you like Cafe Weidinger, you’ll like this place, too. Weekdays only!

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, 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 in 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. Weekdays only!

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. 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.

Some decades ago, the brown walls must have been yellow, the gray upholstery blue, the formica tables unblemished. Oh well. Apart from alcohol and surprisingly good coffee, they also serve some basic dishes – goulash soup, scrambled eggs, toasted sandwiches. The evenings draw Viennese hipsters, as well as card, pool, and bowling players (the bowling alley is below-ground).

Located on Vienna's Schwarzenbergplatz just steps from the old city, Rene's Würstelstand specializes in spicy sausages. Customers can ask proprietor René Kachlir to blanket their chosen piece of meat in his homemade chili sauces. 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.

Ströck is a city-wide chain of bakeries, most of them the reliable workhorse type, but I’m here to highlight their Burggasse shop, whose croissants have no equal in Vienna. Freshly made throughout the day, tender and flaky, but also rich and elastic and enclosed in a shiny glaze. Other treats, too, exist – wonderful rolls, Stangerln (bread sticks), breakfast pastries – and a spacious and comfortable dining area where egg-based breakfasts are served. All this in the center of Vienna’s most fashionable neighborhood (District 7).

More than just the car wash hides in the Stiftgasse Parking Garage in Vienna’s District 7 – Hermann’s Würstelstand is a true hidden gem. Even locals are usually unaware of its existence. This being the city’s party district means that Hermann’s is especially lively in the evenings when people from the nearby bars congregate to lower, or raise, their blood alcohol levels. The notably delicious Bosna, a glorified hot dog, is my default order and I think it should be yours, too.

It’s hard to think of a more Viennese sausage kiosk than Südtiroler, located by the city's main train station, the Hauptbahnhof. Accordingly, the customers are an eclectic group. Together with a vendor lady who has, as they say, been around the block, they give a soul to this place. 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 solid and affordable dürüms (wraps) and falafel sandwiches out of an oversized food truck parked, ironically, by the 18th-century Schottenfelder Catholic church. There are plenty of bars nearby, this is the hip District 7, hence the nighttime crowd. In 2018, Berliner opened a brick-and-mortar location across the street with an extended menu, but customers seem to prefer the food truck.

Founded in 1891 and with a rollercoaster history, Anker is Vienna’s largest bakery chain. Chances are that you’ve already passed one of its 92 locations, each with a prominent red and white sign. Given Anker’s reach, its products and prices target the taste and the wallet of the median consumer, that is to say: the pastries are solid and affordable. Of special note are the ground-walnut-filled Nussbeugerls and the delicious apple strudels. This location, in a side street off the Vienna Opera, is central and light-filled and usually not too busy. And open on Sundays.

Bitzinger is one of the most famous and touristed sausage shops 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 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, you could spend a moment seeing the monument against war and fascism across the street.