Food and Drink For Members

Four underwhelming Austrian dishes - and what to eat instead

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
Four underwhelming Austrian dishes - and what to eat instead
A Vienna Schnitzel (Photo by Mark König on Unsplash)

Austria has an amazing food and drinks scene but some dishes miss the mark. Here are four local foods that may disappoint foreigners... and don't forget to share your opinions in our survey.


If you think about Austria, it is very unlikely that the country's cuisine will be the first thing to come to mind. Conversely, travellers might think of destinations such as France or Italy when prompted about their favourite gastronomical destinations.

To be fair, Austria has plenty of delicious local dishes. For example, the different types of sausages you can find at a Würstelstand or a super tasty dessert like the Kaiserschmarrn are typically a success among locals and foreigners alike. Some other dishes, however, can be quite a disappointment.

READ ALSO: Seven common myths about Austrian food you need to stop believing

Here's the (controversial, we know) list of four completely underwhelming Austrian dishes: 



The list starts strong with what is arguably the most famous Austrian dish of all. The Schnitzel, or Wienerschnitzel, is a dish made of a thin, breaded, pan-fried veal cutlet traditionally served with potato salad.

It does have a very remarkable history involving emperors and controversy about its true origins. Still, truth be told, it can be a bit bland - especially if you are a big fan of cuisines such as the Italian one. It feels as if Austria was so close to something great ( A beef parmigiana) but just stopped short (and dry) of it.

The schnitzel is also the biggest tourist trap in Austria. Locals really do eat it often, so you can find it pretty much anywhere at reasonable prices, but some restaurants, especially in the city centre, will charge a fortune for it. 

The Tafelspitz is a much better option if you like meat and want to eat a traditional and tasty Austrian dish.

READ ALSO: How did the Wiener Schnitzel become an Austrian icon?


If you are a fan of desserts, there is a very traditional and just as underwhelming Austrian one as well: the Sachertorte.

The traditional Austrian Sachertorte (Photo by Leqi (Luke) Wang on Unsplash)

You might get your residence permit cancelled if you say this out loud to an Austrian, but the Sachertorte really isn't tasty at all. It's fancy, yes, it looks very Instagrammable, and it's usually served at gorgeous Viennese cafes. But tasty?  It's a dense dark chocolate cake with apricot jam in the middle and dark chocolate icing.

If you want something traditional and tastier, the Austrian version of the Apfelstrudel, or its cousin, the Topfenstrudel, is worth it.

READ ALSO: Austrian Christmas dinner: The traditional foods and drinks for the festive season


Though this is not an Austrian dish (the Knödel is very common in all of central Europe), you will see plenty of these dumplings around. They are usually made from flour, bread or potatoes and can be eaten as a main dish, but are often seen as a side dish to a meat plate or soup.

This is a controversial choice because there are so many types of Knödel, from liver to bread-and-cheese, that you are bound to find at least one pleasing taste. But it is also a risky dish to try if you are not a fluent German speaker. 

The texture - sometimes described as similar to eating an old piece of bread dipped in soup - also takes some getting used to.

If you want to try the Knödel, the sweet versions of eat (filled with plum or nougat) are very tasty and fresh.

READ ALSO: Five dishes to enjoy this apricot season in Austria


Also known as "the balls of Mozart" (ok, not really), the Mozartkugeln is a typical candy sold everywhere in Austria, but definitely more in Salzburg, where the composer was born.


From the outside, it looks like a delicious and promising chocolate truffle, but unless you have an exquisite palate and fancy tastebuds, you will not like what's coming for you. The small and round sweet is made of pistachio, marzipan and nougat and covered with dark chocolate.

Definitely a mix that is not for everyone. Even so, the tiny Mozart balls are sold in charming boxes and make a nice gift for your chic family and friends back home.


Another typical Austrian dessert that can be boxed and shipped to your loved ones and is almost sure to appeal to every type of palate, however, is the Manner.

We want to hear from you: What is your favourite Austrian dish and what is your least favourite one? Let us know using the form below:






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