7 Vegetarian Austrian Foods to Try in Vienna
When people think of Austrian food, they generally think of schnitzel (a thin breaded cutlet) or wurst (sausage). As a vegetarian, I was afraid I would struggle here in Vienna where their diets are very meat-heavy. I won’t lie to you, the Viennese are obsessed with sausages. You can find a wurst stand outside of pretty much every metro station. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised at just how vegetarian-friendly the city of Vienna is. There’s an array of vegan restaurants, loads of vegetarian options at most other restaurants, and extensive vegetarian sections at supermarkets (so many different kinds of tofu!).
I have a post coming up about the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants to try in Vienna, so more on that later. But before you visit, you should know which vegetarian Austrian foods need to be on your list! If you’re in Vienna, check out these veg-friendly meals and treats to get the traditional experience.
Spätzle is delicious egg noodles, often served with cheese mixed in and crunchy fried onions. It’s warm and comforting and Austrian. Some say käsespätzle (cheese spätzle) is like “Austrian mac & cheese,” but I would recommend never comparing anything to mac & cheese unless it’s mac & cheese. (I miss it and it’s a touchy topic for me). Pictured below is a nice bowl of half tomato spätzle and half classic spätzle served at a Christmas market. I actually made classic spätzle on my own yesterday at home using this recipe and it turned out quite nice.
Grießnockerl is a semolina dumpling soup. The dumplings sit in stock usually sprinkled with chives and sometimes diced carrots. It’s a nice mild starter to have in winter to warm you up.
Knödel is a tennis ball-sized dumpling and can be filled with all sorts of deliciousness, like something savory such as spinach (spinat), or sweet like apricot (marillen).
Kaiserschmarnn is a delicious, fluffy, shredded pancake often topped with a fruit jam and powdered sugar. A delicious treat to have at a Christmas market or a restaurant.
This is your classic apple strudel, a very famous dessert in Vienna. I recommend getting it at the cafe in Schönbrunn palace and if you’re visiting during December or January, attend one of the demonstrations. The demonstrations run every hour in both German and English and you can enjoy it while eating your own piece of strudel and sipping on a hot beverage.
Franz Sacher invented sachertorte in 1832. It’s a light chocolate cake with apricot jam and chocolate icing. To get the original, check out the cafe at Hotel Sacher.
Palatschinken is a thin pancake, kind of like a crepe, usually served with jam and powdered sugar. I often find Austrians are unable to make their pancakes fluffy like American pancakes, and I am unable to make pancakes thin like Palatschinken. It’s called The Great Pancake Trade-off.
If you’re heading to Vienna for a bit and want to get the authentic Austrian dining experience “ohne fleisch” (without meat), these are the dishes to keep in mind. If you want to find vegetarian versions of traditional Austrian food, check out the cuisine at Landia. They have options like vegetarian schnitzel and vegetarian cordon bleu.
Also stay tuned for a post on the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Vienna!
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