Last summer I visited Vienna on a city break to the Austrian capital. At the time, I had been vegetarian for four years (and still am), and I knew that Viennese cuisine relies heavily upon meat, with things like Wiener Schnitzel, Tafelspitz (boiled beef) and Selchfleisch (smoked meat) being staple dishes in the capital. However, I found it surprisingly easy to find vegetarian meals in and around Vienna, including one vegan dish which happened to be the tastiest – and most visually appealing.
The day I arrived with my friend Heidi, we wandered around near our AirBNB in the sweltering 30+ degrees heat, tired and hungry, and were soon enticed into a lovely restaurant by this stylish chef:
A lot of the menu consisted of meat, but I found a potato and egg dish which usually also comes with bacon, called Tiroler Gröstl. Sans bacon it was pretty tasty, so the chef in the photo above definitely did his job.
Gnocchi with a cheese sauce and a side salad seems to be a staple in Vienna, and I tried it at the wonderful Mama’s Kitchen which is a traditional Viennese restaurant serving all the classic dishes of the city.
From Vienna we did a day trip to the Danube Valley which was a welcome escape to the cooler countryside. By Melk Abbey, we stopped for lunch and I was surprised to see a vegan strudel on the menu.
There were other vegetarian options available, but the Veganer Gemüsestrudel was delicious and I ate it all. Despite not leaning towards veganism at the time like I am now, I was glad I picked this pretty dish.
In a few dessert places I also found vegan options, with dairy free ice cream and waffles available, much to my sweet tooth’s delight.
The food may not look the prettiest, but if you’re vegan or vegetarian and planning a trip to Vienna, then you won’t need to worry about picking bits of schnitzel off your plate or living off Margherita pizza from the many places that serve it. Instead, you will be able to find traditional meatless dishes in most places if you look for them – and they’re tasty too!