Like most twenty first century capital cities, Vienna is a gastronomic delight where you can find almost any style of cuisine you could wish for.
This article ignores almost all of them, however, and explains where you can find the best, or at least most authentic, Viennese food going.
1. Korso Bei Der Oper
According to reports from people who can afford to eat there, the Korso Bei Der Oper is one of the best restaurants in Vienna. This is comforting as it is certainly one of the most expensive as my short and unhappy visit demonstrated. The food is reported to be simple but refined and worth the price if you can afford it. The restaurant is part of the Hotel Bristol which lends it even more elegance and, as the name suggests, is very convenient for the Staatsoper. Reservations are essential.
About as far in tone as you can imagine from the Korso Bei Der Oper is the Schweizerhaus.
Set in the middle of the Prater and with its own very large garden, Schweizerhaus provides good food at lowish prices to a lot of people. This is the place to come and relax with friends in summer, drink a few beers and wash them down with a Weiner Schnitzel. Off season visitors should be aware, however, the Schweizerhaus closes for the winter in October.
If Weiner Schnitzel is what you’re after then you will not be dissatisfied with Figlmüller. This restaurant is well known for both the quality of their schnitzel and the size. Dinner plate filling slabs of meat have been reported and thoroughly enjoyed as well. As is the case with any good restaurant visitors and locals alike are can be seen at the informal tables. Figlmüller is to be found at Wollzeile 5 near Stephansplatz U-Bahn station.
Back at the more formal end of the market is the formidable Steirereck. Located in the Stadtpark the restaurant actually gives you the choice of two experiences, one slightly less formal than the other. As well as the Viennese traditional dishes on offer are some more unusual ones that change regularly. Steirereck is also very well known for its selection of cheeses. For the main restaurant reservations are vital, head to Stadtpark station on the U-Bahn.
For decades many guides have suggested that Sacher, the restaurant from which the Sacher cake took its name, is the place to eat in Vienna. I have not had the pleasure of trying it yet, however, my Viennese friends assure me that these days the place relies more on hype and tourist money than real quality. This is something to bear in mind if it is recommended by your hotel or other tourist handlers.
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Photo of traditional Austrian food and beer at Schweizerhaus, Vienna, Austria by ViZZual.com