Food and Drink For Members

Reader question: What time do people eat dinner in Austria?

Hayley Maguire
Hayley Maguire - [email protected]
Reader question: What time do people eat dinner in Austria?
Dinner time is Austria is often earlier than in other parts of the world. (Photo by Fauxels / Pexels)

If you’re looking for a late-night food scene then Austria might not be the place for you. Read on to find out what to expect of dinner time in the Alpine Republic.


There are some countries in the world where dinner is served late and the evening doesn’t really start until around 9pm.

Unfortunately or not, Austria is not one of those places. But it doesn’t mean the culinary scene is boring – it just starts a bit earlier.

Here’s everything you need to know about when people eat dinner in Austria.

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Austrians prefer an “early” dinner time

As with many things in life, the concept of “early” is subjective and depends on where you’re from and what you’re used to.

For example, if you’re from Spain or Latin America, a typical dinner time is between 8pm and 11pm. In France, dinner is usually eaten between 7pm and 9pm, and in Italy it’s between 8pm and 10pm.

But in Austria, most people sit down for dinner at around 6pm to 7pm – even when going out to a restaurant to eat.

Also, some restaurants and take away kitchens close at around 9pm, or 11pm in touristy areas, which means you have to get used to eating earlier. 

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Why so early?

The main reason for an early dinner time in Austria is that lunch is the most important meal of the day. Most people take a break at midday (which is early compared to some other countries) and sit down with colleagues or family for a warm, cooked lunch. 

Typical Austrian lunch dishes include Käsespätzl (an Austrian-style macaroni and cheese), Rindergulasch (meat stew) and Fleischlaberl (meat patties), all of which are quite heavy dishes. And there is rarely a humble sandwich in sight.

As a result, dinner is usually a lighter meal, with some choosing to have cold cuts of meat and cheese. Other traditional dishes are soups and salads, or meat with vegetables.

International dishes are also popular in Austria for an evening meal, particularly Asian and Italian cuisine. 

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Is it possible to eat late in Austria?

Although Austrians typically like to eat dinner early, there are always exceptions – especially in the bigger cities where you can find late night cafes and restaurants serving food from all over the world.

But if you are in a more rural area, be prepared for an early dinner – even when ordering a takeaway.

Unless you have dinner at home, which means you can eat at whatever time you like.


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