No matter what you have or haven’t heard about Vienna before arriving here, we’re sure eating at least one Viennese Schnitzel has been on your to-do list from day one.
The Wiener Schnitzel is one of Austria’s most iconic dishes and has been copied, improved upon (highly doubtful, but there you go), and exported to countries all around the world. Traditionally (and legally), a Schnitzel can only be called a Wiener Schnitzel (Viennese Schnitzel) if it’s made from veal. Made from any other type of meat (most often pork or chicken) the Schnitzel has to be called Schnitzel Wiener Art (Viennese-style Schnitzel), and once other ingredients than meat, bread crumbs, eggs and flour come into play, they actually have to be Schnitzel without any mention of Vienna at all. Complicated? Not really – because, honestly, (almost) all variation of Schnitzel this Viennese foodie has ever tried were great in their own right.
But if you want to taste what a “real” Wiener Schnitzel tastes like, you can’t do it anywhere but in Vienna. And we have a handy list of the best restaurants and pubs to do so right here:
Despite being named “Café”, the Atzengruber really is a cross of pub and bar, with a bit of café thrown into the mix, and -without doubt- is the first address for everyone who loves Schnitzel and traditional bohemian cuisine in general. Prices may be a bit higher than in some other places, but the quality and speedy service make more than up for the extra Euro or two you end up spending. Highly recommended!
Where: Schleifmühlgasse 19, 1040 Vienna
Opening hours: Mon – Sat: 4 pm – 2 am; Sun: closed
The Café Rüdigerhof is over a century old and carries all its tradition and charm like a badge. Here, things really are as they were – and as they should be. The Schnitzels (probably the best in town) are still fried in clarified butter instead of oil here (you will taste the difference once you’ve had a few Schnitzel in Vienna), and are served by a waiter full of typical Viennese charm (and that bit of snarkiness we love in a Viennese waiter) who gives the impression that what he is serving you will change your life forever. And he might just be right.
Where: Hamburgerstrasse 20, 1050 Vienna
Opening hours: daily 9 am – 2 am
Web: Café Rüdigerhof
Located near both the city hall and the university, the Café Votiv is a well-loved, much frequented location. It manages to easily bridge the gap between civil servants and students, just as it easily links the best of traditional Viennese food with absolutely superb pastries and coffee. Prices are more than fair and service is super speedy most of the time.
Where: Reichsratsstrasse 17, 1010 Vienna
Opening hours: daily 8 am – 10 pm
Web: Café Votiv
One of the best (and best-known) traditional Viennese restaurants in town, the Figlmüller is the first address when it comes to Schnitzel. The self-proclaimed “Home of Schnitzel” serves Viennese Schnitzel in a truly amazing size – think both of your hands, and then some! The Schnitzel are thin, perfectly fried, and taste unlike anywhere else. But that also means that the Figlmüller is overrun by locals and tourists alike. Make sure to phone ahead if you don’t want to wait for (at times) hours to be seated, and if you can’t get a table at your preferred date, check out the Figls-pub in the 19th district, where the Schnitzel are just as good.
Where: Wollzeile 5, 1010 Vienna
Opening hours: daily 11 am – 10:30 pm
Maybe one of the most idyllic locales to get your Schnitzel-fix, the Gasthaus Birner is definitely worth the trip. Located at the Alte Donau, a former river-branch of the Danube, this pub is the perfect spot to end a relaxed day of swimming, SUPing, or surfing in the height of summer, or a nice long walk along the promenade with the family at any other time. The garden is just lovely and offers the perfect view over the water, and the menu is chock-full with anything that’s traditional Austrian cuisine. And – of course – incredibly yummy Schnitzel!
Where: An der Oberen Alten Donau 47, 1210 Vienna
Opening hours: (summer season) daily 9 am – 12 am; (winter season) daily 9 am – 10 pm
Web: Gasthaus Birner
The Gasthaus Kopp is a true time-trap. There’s hardly any place that serves such great food in such retro ambience. The main restaurant looks just it probably did in the 80s. At least. The walls are decorated with seemingly random nicknack and (what we imagine to be) souvenirs regulars have brought back from their vacations all throughout the country. And the publican is the text-book definition of a Viennese waiter-turned-landlord. It’s charming, it is steeped in Viennese “Schmäh” (i.e. that somewhat biting wit only true Viennese really understand), and it’s the perfect place to sample everything the truly extensive Schnitzel menu has on offer.
Where: Engerthstrasse 104, 1200 Vienna
Opening hours: Wed – Mon: 6 am – 12 am; Tue: closed
Web: Gasthaus Kopp
If you’ve been in Vienna for any length of time, we’re sure you have passed this gem of a pub by without realising that you’ve also just passed by one of the very best Schnitzels and nicest pub-gardens in town as well. Somewhat hidden behind the Museumsquartier, the garden of this locale is a beauty that just oozes calm and relaxation and makes you want to stay for hours and hours. This feeling of being exactly where you’re supposed to be is only enhanced by the truly superb Viennese cuisine on the menu.
Where: Museumsquartier, Zugang Breite Gasse 4, 1070 Vienna
Opening hours: daily 11 am – 2 am
Web: Glacis Beisl
Everyone who has ever spent the night in Vienna’s Bermuda triangle (yes, aptly named because patrons tend to get lost in there) you probably wished you had known about the Krah Krah before embarking on your epic binge. This pub is perfectly located to serve as first stop on a night out, but is a real treat when the streets are much quieter during daytime hours. The menu might not be the biggest, but here it’s most definitely a case of quality above quantity, so we approve. And after you’ve had your Schnitzel? Make sure to get one of the incredible desserts before you head out to hit the bars!
Where: Rabensteig 8, 1010 Vienna
Opening hours: daily 11 am – 2 am
Web: Krah Krah
The Marks, very probably, is the least likely candidate on this list. It looks hipster. It certainly is hipster. And the last thing you would imagine the menu has on offer is one of the most perfect Schnitzels in town. But they do. Amongst a great variety of (way less traditional) food and superb breakfasts, there it is – traditional, just-like-granny-made-it Schnitzel. And for those of your friends who don’t enjoy meat and prefer a vegetarian or vegan diet? That’s the place to come as well!
Where: Neustiftgasse 82, 1070 Vienna
Opening hours: Tue – Sat: 10 am – 12 am; Sun: 9.30 am – 11 pm
Meissl & Schadn
A restaurant that welcomes guests with the words “Schnitzel Love” written on the window can go either of two ways, right? Fortunately for you (and the Meissl und Schadn), they deliver. Big time. What we love? Well, everything. But most of all, we enjoy being able to watch the cook at work, and the fact that this is one of the very few places where you can choose which type of fat you want your Schnitzel to be fried in (traditional cleared butter, lard, or regular vegetable oil).
Where: Schubertring 10 – 12, 1010 Vienna
Opening hours: daily: 12 pm – 1 am
Web: Meissl und Schadn
The Pfarrwirt (which basically is right next to the Mayer am Pfarrplatz, one of the best Heurigen in the city) claims to be the oldest tavern in Vienna. Whether this is true or not remains to be decided (we should think that the Griechenbeisl, one of the city’s best traditional restaurants might be a real contester here), but what we can say with certainty is that the Schnitzel served here are mouthwateringly good.
Where: Pfarrplatz 5, 1190 Vienna
Opening hours: daily 12 pm – 12 am
There are quite a few things arguing for a visit at the Salzamt: the barkeeper (whom we can’t describe as anything but a real Viennese character), the location (in the heart of the Bermuda-triangle), the waiters that seamlessly switch between German and English, or the lovely garden where you can sit and watch people stroll through the old, cobblestoned street. But that’s not the main reason to come here. And, frankly, neither is the Schnitzel, though it is just perfect. No, what makes the Salzamt a must-see place is the lovingly handwritten (!!!!) menu that changes daily!
Where: Ruprechtsplatz 1, 1010 Vienna
Opening hours: Tue – Sun: 11:30 am – 2 am; Mon: 5 pm – 2 am
The Viennese love their eateries with unpronounceable names (does Trzesniewski ring any bells? If not, go and have a Brötchen and a Pfiff!) and this is tavern no exception! We have to warn you though – the truly excellent menu changes regularly and Schnitzel are not always on. BUT – the team is super friendly and if you call ahead and ask nicely, they will prepare one of the best Schnitzels in town just for you! (Make sure to bring cash as they don’t accept cards!)
Where: Spengergasse 52, 1050 Vienna
Opening hours: Mon – Fri: 11:30 am – 2:30 pm & from 6 pm; Sat, Sun & holidays: closed
Web: Woracziczky Gasthaus
There’s Schnitzel, and then there’s the Nussgart’l. Likewise, there’s traditional Viennese cuisine, and then there’s the Nussgart’l. Yes, this lovely pub offers both, but what you get on top of perfect Schnitzel and great Viennese dishes is a lot of charm, a truly magical garden, and the most perfect spot to have a leisurely dinner with friends or the big Sunday lunch with the whole family and then some. The Nussgart’l may be last on this list, but that’s just because the alphabet demanded it. It really should be number 1!
Where: Vorgartenstraße 80, 1200 Vienna
Opening hours: Tue – Fri & holidays: 11 am – 2:30 pm & 5 pm – 11 pm; Sat 11 am – 4 pm (groups welcome in the evening if they call ahead); Sun & Mon: closed
Web: Zum Nussgart’l