Breakfast in Vienna is an institution. At weekends, families and groups of friends often celebrate the first meal of the day well into the early afternoon. And there’s plenty of great places to eat breakfast in the city, whether you’d like to try a traditional Austrian meal, a bottomless brunch or a vegan feast.
The classic Viennese breakfast includes bread rolls, jam, a boiled egg, ham and cheese, which are typically enjoyed with a melange (espresso with steamed milk, topped with foam). This traditional meal still ranks among the crowd-pleasers, but there are now endless options for breakfast, including both updated twists on the traditional Austrian breakfast and a wide range of international cuisine. Culture Trip asked Barbara Haider, founder of Austrian breakfast blog Die Frühstückerinnen, Alex Schima, Editor-in-Chief of weekly magazine Cooking, and Stefanie Herkner, owner of popular restaurant Die Herknerin, to share their favourites.
A classic Viennese breakfast is only one of many options in the Austrian capital | © Justina Ramanauskiene / Alamy Stock Photo
Meierei im Stadtpark
As its name suggests, Meierei is in the heart of Stadtpark, one of the most beloved green spots in Vienna, and is the perfect place to start your day in luxurious style, thanks to its prime location, classy ambiance and quality food. With a small terrace overlooking the Wien canal and the Stadtpark itself, it boasts chic white interiors and extensive breakfast options, which are available until noon. Barbara Haider recommends the “Meierei Frühstück (Breakfast)” for €24.90 (£21), an impressive spread that comes with fru fru (an Austrian yoghurt-like dairy product made of sour milk with fruit) with fresh fruits and granola, a cheese omelette, herb curd with salmon, cheese and finally a buttermilk pancake. Haider explains that Meierei is also heaven on earth for cheese lovers: “They have more than 100 kinds to sample and buy on-site.”
Oben Kitchen and Bar
This stylish breakfast hotspot just above Vienna’s Central Library has a huge roof terrace perfect for a summer brunch. However, its stylish interiors and great selection of fair-trade hot chocolates (try the cashew caramel flavour) make it well worth a visit throughout the year. “They have everything you could wish for from a typical Viennese breakfast, with organic butter and a boiled egg, as well as a variety of baguettes, homemade granola, shakshuka and even a vegan option with grilled smoked tofu, quinoa tabbouleh, curry hummus and chia pudding,” says Alex Schima. While à la carte is offered every day, there’s also a popular bottomless Sunday brunch for €24.90 (£21).
Crème de la Crème
This little pâtisserie in Josefstadt, just a short walk from the University of Vienna, is well known for its French-inspired sweet treats such as mousse au chocolat and tarte à la vanille, but the all-day breakfast is just as popular. The menu ranges from their signature croissants, to avocado on toast and a traditional Austrian breakfast, made from local and seasonal ingredients. Stefanie Herkner particularly recommends Crème de la Crème for breakfast and praises the café and its owner Julia Wojta: “Her handmade croissant is the best in town, and the foamy iced coffee is to d.i.e for.”
Drechsler on Wienzeile is just over the road from Naschmarkt and has been around since 1918. It is both one of the most iconic coffee houses in Vienna and a beloved breakfast spot. Its rustic interiors and the large menu have been given a bit of a hipster makeover recently, with a colourful poster collage decorating the back wall, plants trailing over the bar and lounge music in the background, but the place still features all the signature elements of a Viennese café such as marble tabletops, newspaper tables and a great coffee and cake selection. “It is the perfect mix of traditional and modern, and the food is top quality,” says Barbara Haider, revealing her favourite plate: “The ‘Veggies Don’t Bite’ breakfast with bread, cottage cheese, avocado, a fluffy herb omelette and tomato relish.”
With its cosy wooden furniture, brick walls, plant-filled interior and veggie-friendly menu, Propeller in Margareten has quickly become a breakfast institution among the local in-crowd, making it hard to believe that it only opened in autumn 2017. “Propeller is a foodie paradise for hipsters, serving everything from chorizo toast to granola with fruit, porridge and plant-based milk alternatives such as soy and oat,” confirms Alex Schima. Despite its popularity, the prices are surprisingly reasonable, which is why Schima strongly suggests booking ahead. The window spots are the most sought-after tables and fill up quickly, especially on weekends.
Modern, cosmopolitan and with stylish interiors – think colourful textile artworks on the walls, a geometrically tiled floor, a huge flower lamp and an extra-large bar area – this Asian restaurant just opposite Naschmarkt is a great choice every time of the day, but its breakfast is especially noteworthy. Served daily until 4pm, the menu includes classic Viennese options (the ‘Breakfast Basic’ comes with bread rolls, jam, honey and fruits, and the ‘Viennese Breakfast Plus’ has the addition of ham, a boiled egg and orange juice) as well as Asian dishes you probably won’t find anywhere else in town. “I am a huge fan of the Chinese breakfast,” confesses Stefanie Herkner. “My favourite is ‘Good Morning Asia’, including a stuffed bao zi, rice or noodle soup and Shanghai scrambled eggs.” This place is a little on the pricey side, but the quality is high.
A tiny, all-vegan café on Gumpendorfer Straße, near popular Naschmarkt, Grains serves a changing menu of sweet and savoury breakfast dishes, all under €8 (£7), as well as homemade cakes. Owner Martina Hörlein, a firm believer in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda, opened the place in 2017 after noticing a lack of grain-based breakfast options in the city. Stefanie Herkner “absolutely loves the porridge and congee (a Chinese rice porridge)” and stresses that “all the ingredients are local and seasonal.” As a bonus for anyone with an intolerance, most of the dishes are gluten-free. Be aware that they don’t take bookings, and it’s cash only.
Cosy La Mercerie in Servitenviertel used to be a corner shop for hats and bags and later a drugstore before it was turned into a French-inspired bistro in late 2016. The interiors – think rustic apothecary cabinets, wooden tables and colourful tiles on the floor – reflect the place’s past. With no official contact information, not even a phone number, it’s strictly first-come, first-served, so be sure to arrive early to avoid disappointment. “While their menu isn’t extensive, the quality is top-notch, with highlights including the homemade croissants and baguettes, eggs with mushrooms and truffle oil, and a fine selection of cheese,” Alex Schima says.
At ALMA, everything is fresh, organic and colourful, from their signature tartines (tiny, French-inspired sandwiches with house-made spreads, served on rustic wooden boards) to the lunch specials and wines. A real insider’s tip is their monthly Saturday brunch (check their website for dates, and book straight away). “At ALMA, you can feel the attention to detail, not only when it comes to food but also in the interiors, think fresh flowers and enamel dishes everywhere,” says Barbara Haider. Her favourite dish is the ‘Wiener Klassik’, with three boiled eggs, extra thin ham, a mustard leaf and curry, which Haider says is “served in the best brioche in Vienna”.
Dolce Lago is an Italian restaurant on trendy Yppenplatz, which offers classic breakfast options, from a traditional Viennese breakfast spread to bacon or ham and eggs, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and sweet waffles as well as a veggie plate (bread, cheese, vegetables, jam and an egg), all of which use organic and fair-trade ingredients. While they also have a smaller breakfast buffet on weekdays, Alex Schima especially recommends going for the full weekend feast: “There’s an extensive all-you-can-eat brunch from 10am–3pm for €15.90 (£13.80), including all sorts of egg dishes, vegetables and waffles.” Options for vegans are available as well.