Eric Halsey is a writer, traveler, historian, and music lover who’s spent the past 4 years based in Budapest and Sofia. He has a strong passion for the history and culture of Central Europe and the Balkans, and never passes on a nice cup of Viennese coffee and a train ride through the old Empire.
When you think of Austria, you may think of the stunning peaks of the Alps and the cozy towns and cities around them; here, you find hearty meals accompanied by delicate pastries. There’s top-quality wine, beer and abundant good company.
The good news is that you’ll find all of this and more in Vienna’s best restaurants. Winter is the ideal time to enjoy the best that Austrian cuisine has to offer. With that in mind, here are our picks for the top 5 Vienna restaurants to complement your winter vacation.
1. Reinthaler’s Beisl Mixes the Comforts of Home with the Elegance of Vienna
multipel_bleiben / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND
A beisl is the descendent of the simple and homey inns of the 18th century, offering weary travelers traditional specialties, “just like mom used to make.” Today, the tradition continues at this hidden gem of a restaurant, tucked away just off of Stephansplatz.
Reinthaler’s Beisl aims to recreate the traditional atmosphere of a beisl by serving well-crafted versions of Viennese staples like Frittatensuppe (a beef broth with pancakes) or a simple schnitzel at reasonable prices. It’s the perfect place to start off your winter holiday in Vienna, recover from your journey and warm your spirits.
Just be sure to call and book ahead as it can get quite busy. Dorotheergasse 4, Graben, Vienna, Austria, +43 (1) 5131249
2. Cuisine with a Side of Hospitality at Gasthaus Woracziczky
Thomas Quine / Flickr / CC BY
Similarly to Reinthaler’s Beisl, Gasthaus Woracziczky strives to provide a comfortable, informal, and homey space alongside quality local dishes. It’s just the sort of food and atmosphere one craves on a cold winter’s day. The menu changes weekly, which means you can always be assured you’re tasting precisely what’s in season and at peak quality.
For winter, you can expect to see everything from Gebackene Blunzn (bloodwurst) to foie gras on offer. The best part is that you can come back in a week and see what’s new. You can find them at Spengergasse 52, +43 699 11229530.
3. Lokal Pergola, Because It’s Always Hip to be Modern
As far as food goes, you’ll find everything from Austrian staples to Asian fusion.
If you’re looking for something a bit less traditional, Vienna offers more and more each year. This bar/restaurant proudly proclaims its market to be “idlers, daydreamers and hedonists.” There’s certainly not much to dispute there, with the funky atmosphere attracting a huge cast of characters most evenings.
As far as food goes, you’ll find everything from Austrian staples to Asian fusion. Throw in a cocktail, and Lokal Pergola is the perfect place to start a night that could go anywhere. Check them out at Sonnwendgasse 15, +43 (1) 90265
4. Al Borgo Proves Just How Austrian Italian Is
To put it simply, Al Borgo is classic Italian with the elegance to match.
Katrin Gilger / Flickr / CC BY-SA
Aside from the deep historical ties, the Austrian Empire controlled much of Italy for well over a century. Sometimes you’ll want to try something different when you’re in Vienna, particularly if you’ve got tickets to the Vienna State Opera and are looking for the perfect meal to accompany the evening.
Al Borgo checks all the boxes here. What could be better on a chilly Viennese evening than beef tartar with pumpkin sauce or potato gnocchi with bacon and porcini mushrooms? To put it simply, Al Borgo is classic Italian with the elegance to match. They’re at An der Hülben 1, +43 (1) 5128559.
5. Bistro Fare on the Ring Road at Liebsteinsky
Liebsteinsky is a great alternative to ring road tourist traps.
Home for Good / Flickr / CC BY-NC
The modern touches at this trendy bistro don’t end with the beautiful interior of wood, stone, and glass. In fact, they permeate the atmosphere, food, and philosophy. From their signature artichoke to their takes on Austrian classics, you’ll find clean, well-prepared fare served with care.
That may be just what you need when you’re overwhelmed by the more touristy fare one often finds around the ring road. At Liebsteinsky, the personal touch and attention to detail make for a stand-out experience every time. They’re located at Schubertring 6, +43 (1) 2088976.
The Trick to a Perfect Winter Evening
With all Vienna has to offer, don’t limit yourself to a single cuisine or mindset. Make sure you try the traditional fare, but save some room for the best modern fare Vienna has to offer. It’s chilly outside, so don’t miss taking all the opportunities you can to warm up with some great cuisine.
Be adventurous and see why Vienna is a truly unmissable winter destination for your heart and your stomach. And of course, don’t forget the opera.