Wiener Schnitzel: I thought I would get the most obvious out of the way. The wiener schnitzel (not pictured) is sold in traditional Viennese restaurants. Get the veal, not the pork, though it is slightly more expensive. The meat is sliced thin, breaded, and fried. It is served with one of three salads (though modern versions may have fries): cucumber, potato, or vinaigrette-dressed lettuce.
Frankfurter: The second obvious dish (can it really be called a dish?) can be found at any one of hundreds of street vendors and is meant to be eaten on the go. They’re basically a long, thin American hot-dog, but with a much lighter taste. They’re served in bite-sized slices with either bread or a roll.
Manner Schnitten: Hazelnut cream is smothered between layers of chocolate wafer for this delectable confection. They’re a light dessert (unless you eat too many) that have an airy texture. You’ll find them mostly in markets in bright pink packaging as they are now mainly mass-produced.
Maroni: Roasted chestnuts are readily found during the winter months, mainly at Christmas markets. They are imported since they come from sweet chestnut trees, not the horse chestnut trees in Austria, but remain a staple nonetheless.
Original Sachertorte: The original can only be found at Hotel Sacher, though there are dozens of duplicates throughout the city. Two layers of chocolate cake (very dense) are coated with a slim layer of apricot jam before the entire cake is covered with chocolate ganache. Whipped cream is placed on the side, but don’t forget to order an accompanying Wiener Melange.
Wiener Melange: A slowly-brewed espresso known as Mokka forms half of this beverage while the other half is composed of warm milk. Foamed milk tops it off.
Käsekrainer Sausage: These pork sausages are stuffed with bits of cheese that melt while cooking and are best bought from a street vendor and eaten on the go. They aren’t really enough for a meal in the “filling” department (though the “calorie” department might disagree), so are best left for an afternoon snack.
Apfelstrudel: It sounds pretty simple, but it can go horribly, horribly wrong. The best versions are made with thin layers of puffy pastry around an ample filling of grated apples, cinnamon, sugar, raisins, and bread crumbs. It often has a vanilla ice cream or whipped cream topping and is best consumed with a steaming coffee-based drink.
Tafelspitz: Tri-tip beef is aged, boiled in broth, and then simmered with spices and root vegetables for this easy-to-overlook national dish. It is joined with roasted potatoes and a mixture of horseradish and apples.
Kaisserschmarrn: This sweet snack, mostly found at street stands, is a thick, raisin-filled pancake torn into pieces. It is topped with large sugar flakes, cinnamon, and plum compote.
Liptauer: This sheep or goat cheese spread is spiced with paprika and served with crackers or bread as an appetizer. You can also use it as a dip.
Palatschinken: These crêpe-like treats are softer than their French counterparts as they lack mineral water. Apricot jam is the most popular filler. Oddly, these folded triangles are often cut into little strips and used in clear-broth soup if they’re left over.
Beuschel: This dish is now difficult to find in Vienna, but it might just be worth the hunt. Veal, or rather, calf’s heart and lungs are boiled for several hours, chilled, and then cut into tiny pieces before being boiled again in a thick cream sauce. Finally, they’re plated with a traditional bread dumpling and ready to eat.
Marillenknödel: Potato-based dough encases apricot filling and is topped with sweet crumbs (streusel) and powdered sugar for a snack best consumed mid-morning.
Backhendl: Flour, breadcrumbs, and eggs coat an entire chicken that can be found at most taverns and some wine venues.
Griessnockerl: Semolina balls usually added to clear-broth soups.
Topfennockerl: Semolina and soft cheese balls that are super light and served with plum (or sometimes strawberry) compote. Butter-fried breadcrumbs and cinnamon are then added to thedish for a sweet treat.
Schweinsbraten: Pork loin is topped with a cumin-infused crunchy crust and served with sauerkraut. Bread dumplings and a thick gravy round out the dish.
Gulaschesuppe: Traditional Viennese goulash forms the base of this soup, which is quite filling.
Leberknoedelsuppe: This liver dumpling soup is a cold-weather staple and is best as starter.
Pumpkin Seed Oil: It’s just what it sounds like and makes the perfect take-home souvenir. You can find it at any of the street markets, especially Naschmarket.
– M. Ray Hall