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Before drumming up your Vienna itinerary, get the most important thing figured out first: where to get your schnitzel. Eating schnitzel is the thing to do in Austria’s capital — and if you don’t believe us, just check the food’s etymology (the ‘Wien’ in ‘wiener schnitzel’ is German for ‘Vienna’). Not to be confused with the hot dog chain, a traditional wiener schnitzel is a piece of veal or pork thinned by a tenderizer and fried in some kind of oil or fat. Not dressed up with anything fancy, the schnitzel is a humble, unpretentious, working man’s dish. The unassuming slice of meat is an integral part of Austrian culture, and it’s also likely to be larger than the size of your face. Without further adieu, here’s where you can find the best schnitzel in Vienna.
Founded over a century ago in 1905, Figlmüller is touted as the ‘home of the schnitzel.’ The house specialty is a gigantic pork schnitzel covered in ‘imperial breadcrumbs’ that spills over the plate and is served with a slice of lemon, a side salad, and a potato salad drizzled in pumpkin seed oil. Figlmüller’s environment is very traditional, with the wait staff dressed in vintage black and white get-ups, and the service known to be exceptional. While this spot is sometimes overlooked as an overcrowded tourist spot, it certainly deserves the fame.
Skopik & Lohn
Skopik & Lohn is an inventive spot where classic Viennese fine-dining meets a 1920s-era NYC bistro. Originally intended to open in New York City, Skopik & Lohn decided to set up shop in Karmelitermarkt in 2006, where its popularity has skyrocketed. The white tablecloths and excellent service make it feel pretty high end, and the streaks of stark black paint on the walls make it feel like you’re in an art exhibit. As far as the menu goes, Skopik & Lohn boasts a wonderful combination of old and new flavors with the obligatory wiener schnitzel — one of the most requested items on the menu.
If you need to walk after your schnitzel after a heavy meal, this walking tour of Naschmarkt — the oldest market in Vienna — is a fantastic way to continue embracing the culinary scene.
Salzamt is tucked away in Vienna’s Bermuda Triangle neighborhood, and visiting here feels like stepping back in time a few decades. While the wiener schnitzel isn’t as large as some of the other places on this list, the seasoning is second to none. The menu rotates fairly frequently, but the wiener schnitzel is a permanent staple. It comes accompanied with potato salad and a side of greens, so you’ll surely leave with a full tummy.
With over five locations across the city of Vienna, Plachutta deserves to be in the conversation on where to score the best schnitzel. While they offer a super wide selection of dishes (their specialty is the Tafelspitz á la Pluchetta, a boiled beef soup), if your eyes and heart are set on schnitzel we recommend you head to their Walfischgasse location. It’s located close to the State Opera House, so you should consider getting dressed in Sunday’s finest and eating here before a show.
Located smack dab in the heart of Vienna, Restaurant Pürstner is a large spot that accommodates up to 100 guests in various dining rooms and outdoor garden areas. The menu has your fix of the classic pork and veal schnitzel but their signature traditional dish is the wiener schnitzel vom Kalb (veal with homemade fried potatoes). Prices here hover around the average, so expect to pay between €12 and €18 ($14 – $20). Once you’ve worked up an appetite for all foods Austrian, embark on this classic food tour of Vienna.
If you’re not in the mood for a fully formal sit-down dinner experience, opt for Cafe Anzengruber. Sandwiched between galleries and shops on a busy cultural street, this spot is popular among locals and tourists alike. If you’ve exhausted your schnitzel appetite, they have a diverse menu that includes Croatian classics, craft beer, and scrumptious desserts. Aside from the food, the environment is extremely warm and welcoming, which makes it a great place to kick back for a few hours.
Schnitzelwirt is hands down the most authentic spot on our list. Granted, it may be a little too authentic for some visitors. The fake flowers on the tables, old-style layout, the German-speaking staff, the non-formal service, and the fact that you’ll be sharing a table with strangers all combine to create a very real Viennese experience. The owners, who opened the shop over 35 years ago, claim their schnitzel is ‘a schnitzel to fear.’ We’re guessing that’s a good thing, although the marketing seems a bit muddy in translation.
Cafe Rüdigerjof is one of those places your Austrian grandmother will be happy to hear you visited. The coffeehouse and restaurant are over 100 years old, so there’s a certain energy, weight, and history you can feel upon entering. The terrace is one of the best in the city, and here you’ll find old folks playing cards while pleasant music strums in the background. Come in the morning for a quiet coffee, or in the afternoon when the crowds roll in and the pints start flowing. And yes, they serve schnitzel. Cafe Rüdigerhof’s version is a bit fluffier and light, which is due to it being fried in lard rather than oil. Wash down the delicious schnitzel with a local beverage from this craft beer tour Vienna.
If you’re spending an afternoon in Vienna’s museum quarter (which is on our Tips for Solo Travel in Austria) and plan on working up an appetite, stop by Glacis Beisl. While there’s tons of competition in the area, Glacis Beisl tops the list. You’ll be forking out around €20 ($22), but it’s one of those schnitzels that dwarfs the size of the plate, so feel free to share with a friend. If you’re still not satisfied after these recommendations, check out Culinary Travel: Countries with the Best Food.