Welcome to Part 2 of my Vienna series about the best places for schnitzel in Vienna!
Ah Vienna… My last trip there was 3 years ago, it was March and still freezing cold. I remember the weekend before we flew, D got horrendously ill… The culprit being either food poisoning from a “gourmet” scotch-egg from a deli in Didsbury or norovirus (I still think it was the former…) and I was worried that he’d still be ill when we were due to fly.
It turned out that I should have worried more about myself because three days later when we landed in Vienna, I was NOT well at all!! Which meant that I really didn’t enjoy that trip as much I wanted to. For example, I couldn’t finish my schnitzel at the famous restaurant Figlmuller (I know, say whaaat) and I could only have the tafelspitz sans beef at Plachutta… Oh, the memories. At least Viennese public toilets are super clean LOL, but I digress…
So fast-forward to 3 years and it was destination Vienna once again – I was fighting fit and ready to EAT! There are all sorts of hearty Viennese favourites such as tafelspitz, a boiled beef broth, traditional goulash with dumplings or marillenknodel, apricot-filled dumplings. However, the king of Viennese classics is undoubtedly the Wiener Schnitzel! This is a very thin cutlet of veal which is breadcrumbed and deep fried into crunchy deliciousness, usually served with a potato salad.
And so, I set off to right the biggest wrong of 2016 – I wanted to finish my darn schnitzel and have a load more. And I had a burning question – are all Wiener Schnitzels made equal? Or is Figlmuller really the best?!
(P.S. I know some people have strong opinions about veal – if that’s you then I’m sorry, this particular blog post probably isn’t for you, but stay tuned for Part 3 of this Vienna series about Sacher Torte!!)
The no. 1 food destination for us was Figlmuller. This is the place that comes up on every Google search as the best place for schnitzel and it’s so good that they have two restaurants – the original is on Wollzeille and their second larger restaurant is literally around the corner on Backerstraße, which is the one we went to.
Top tip: if you want to go to the original restaurant then you should book this in advance as it is super popular and it is hard to get a walk-in. If you’re not bothered about going to the original then go to the newer restaurant as you don’t need to book, but be prepared to queue unless you turn up just before the lunch or dinner rush.
This was our very first meal in Vienna and man, it was good! We both had the Wiener Schnitzel and we shared a small potato salad and a small side salad. Don’t forget the lingonberry jam!
First impressions were great – service was really quick, the food arrived in about 10 minutes! The schnitzel crumb was a lovely golden brown colour and was not over fried. It wasn’t greasy either.
The veal was nice and thin, and was really tender and flavoursome. I’m not ashamed to say that I polished it off in no time. I thought it was really easy to eat, and the sharpness of the potato salad was a nice contrast, as was the sweet lingonberry jam.
Confession – this place was so good that we chose to go again on our last day… We tried the Figlmuller-Schnitzel (pork version) and the Cordon Bleu the second time and both were amazing. We shared a large salad, and of course, lingonberry jam!
The Gold Standard! This schnitzel deserves its excellent reviews. I love it!
Gasthaus “Zu den 3 Hacken”
One evening, we tried to go for dinner during the dinner rush at around 8pm but since we are rubbish at booking a table in advance, we couldn’t get a table anywhere! Thankfully we managed to finally get a table at Gasthaus “Zu den 3 Hacken”. It has good reviews on Tripadvisor and Google but I wonder if it gets overlooked since it’s located so close to two other restaurant hotspots – Puerstner and Plachutta, both of which seem to be really popular in Vienna.
The Gasthaus is a traditional Viennese restaurant serving the usual favourites. We didn’t get to see the main restaurant as we sat in a separate annex of the restaurant which had about 6 tables in it. The set up was basic but clean. Service was quick but less attentive since we were in the annex.
The schnitzel looked good, two fillets in a golden brown crumb. The veal was nice and thin but the cut was perhaps a bit chewier and saltier than Figlmuller. You can see that the crumb is slightly bigger too but you can’t tell while eating it, and it wasn’t greasy. The potato salad had a nice tang too, but we didn’t order a side salad this time.
A modest restaurant – I was pleasantly surprised by the schnitzel and the price was a bit cheaper than the other restaurants.
Where: Gasthaus “Zu den 3 Hacken”
We had seen that Puerstner had great reviews on basically every review site (Tripadvisor, Google etc) so we booked a table for dinner. The restaurant looks very traditional from the outside and is a bit of a warren inside with different dining areas! There’s lots of wooden benches, gingham tablecloths and stained glass which adds to the homeliness.
I didn’t get a picture of the waiters but they were wearing traditional Austrian dress with shorts and knee socks! At this point, my sister was sick of schnitzel and decided to try the Beefsteak in pepper sauce with croquettes and broccoli. As you can see from the picture, there was so much meat! It tasted really good but she did struggle to finish it all.
I, on the other hand, was still having schnitzel… The original Wiener Schnitzel vom Kalb for me. Interestingly, this one came with boiled potatoes hidden under the schnitzel rather than the traditional potato salad. I have to say schnitzel is definitely better with potato salad. We did get a side salad but it wasn’t enough to cut through the richness of the meat. You definitely need the vinegary sourness of potato salad. The fried taste (however nice it tastes) can also get a bit same-y if the schnitzel is huge – which the Puerstner schnitzel definitely is!
One big escalope this time – it nearly fills the plate! I think this schnitzel had been fried a bit longer so had a darker crumb. It tasted nice but the veal was surprisingly tough. I found it more difficult to eat than the other schnitzels I’ve had, but that could also be because it was a bit dry with the boiled potatoes.
I liked the traditional style and atmosphere in the restaurant. Maybe it was a bad cut of veal, but I also really missed the potato salad.
Ok, another confession – we didn’t have schnitzel at Offenloch but I have to mention this place because it was really good. Again, this is a traditional restaurant with original feature architecture and wooden panels and benches. This place feels a bit posher than the other restaurants we went to and the prices reflect this.
We were feeling hungry so we decided to have a two course meal. We chose the goat’s cheese salad and the smoked salmon tartare. Both of which were very nice. Maybe we could have shared one starter because they were quite filling especially with the bread, which came twice! The bread was fantastic. There were three types, all different and one of them had tasty olives baked into it.
My sister had the roasted duck main. It came with red cabbage and red currant, and finger shaped chestnut potato dumplings and an orange thyme gravy. I almost had a bit of food envy when I saw it!
I chose something very classical. The beef goulash made with beef cheeks, spicy paprika, “Debreziner” sausage and onion-ham dumplings. This dish was super rich. There were huge slabs of meat but they were really soft and moist. The gravy was thick and unctuous but the dumplings were a bit heavy for me.
I liked the food at Offenloch a lot. I wished we could have had dessert too, but the mains were so big that we were stuffed afterwards!
The WINNER is Figlmuller!
Have you ever been to Vienna for schnitzel? Let me know in the comments what your favourite was!
If you enjoyed this post, then check out Part 1 of my Vienna series – Festive Christmas Markets in Vienna.