“Vienna, Austria: I thought I’d hate it, but it’s my new happy place.” When Anthony Bourdain ends any episode this way, you know it’s a good one. You see, Tony doesn’t want to like Vienna – he wants it to meet his expectations of Austria borne out of bad experiences with a childhood barber and repeated traumatic exposures to The Sound of Music. (Also part of why he also fears the French Alps!)
Anthony Bourdain visited Vienna just one time, in late 2010; it was featured in Season 7, Episode 4 of No Reservations, and this was his only on-screen visit. Even over a decade later, there are plenty of spots visited by Anthony Bourdain in Vienna where you can enjoy the flavors of the city too.
I’ve been fortunate to visit Vienna, at a very similar time of year to when he visited (I was there in December 2016, six years after Bourdain). Winter – especially before the holidays – is a great time to visit Vienna. Think Christmas Markets, snowy scenes, mulled wine, and delicious foods to try.
But no matter when you’re planning to visit, Vienna will likely delight you as it did Tony – it was enough to convince him that perhaps Austria wasn’t as bad as his memory might suggest. Read on to discover all of the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Vienna and elsewhere in Austria.
Where Anthony Bourdain Ate in Vienna
I find it helpful to start by getting oriented in Vienna before jumping into the details of all the places Anthony Bourdain visited in Vienna. Below you’ll find a map (click to open in a new window if you want to interact with it), and can see how far apart each one is.
Ready to learn more about each of these places and what Anthony Bourdain ate each place? Let’s jump into the full list!
Salon Sacher at Hotel Sacher
The first place Bourdain eats in Vienna is the one place I’ve also been – but it’s one of those must-eat spots, something he unabashedly deplores. That place? The Salon Sacher at the Hotel Sacher, which is famous for its chocolate tortes. This is what Tony has, along with a fancy coffee that he also bashes on.
While you might agree with him that the heavily trafficked places are worth skipping, it’s hard to visit Vienna without trying a Sacher torte; the Salon Sacher is a nice casual place to try it at the source.
Christkindlmart at Schönbrunn Palace
As Bourdain visits Vienna in early Winter, he’s there in time for the Christkindlmarkts – the famous Christmas markets of the German-speaking world. He visits the one at Vienna’s iconic Schönbrunn Palace and slowly warms to the idea over the course of a few glasses of mulled wine and dinner.
In particular, he tries the Kaiserpunsch (mulled white wine) and Spezialpunsch (mulled red wine with extra spices like black tea and chili), along with a plate of goulash. These are great things to try if you’re visiting before Christmas and want a warming meal while strolling the market stalls.
Urbanek at Naschmarkt
Next up, Bourdain heads to the Naschmarkt, home to food stalls and restaurants where you can find any food you desire. He’s there with his driver and fixer, and they head to Urbanek for a light snack before his next meal.
At Urbanek, they try some of the many pork products and cheeses on offer. In particular, they sample Mangalitsa pork (a fat, fluffy Austrian pig) and Vorarlberg Wildbrumenkase (cheese with wildflowers), with a taste of Pichler Gruner Veltliner, a Central European varietal. They also take some cheese and meat away to their next stop…
Herta Gruber at Naschmarkt (CLOSED)
Herta Gruber is a butchery and restaurant at the Naschmarkt, famous for one particular dish. While waiting for it to be prepared, Bourdain and his guide enjoy more Mangalitsa pork sausage and white wine. Then the main course arrives: the Cordon bleu with potato salad and beer.
This dish wraps the sliced pork and cheese Bourdain brought within a pork cutlet, and fries it; as it’s described on-screen: it’s “pork filled with pork, fried in pork.” yum!
Edit: As of late 2023, Herta Gruber is unfortunately closed! (Thanks, Ludo!)
Gastwirtschaft Wratschko (CLOSED)
While seeking to confirm his hypothesis that Austria has terrible food, Bourdain heads to the now-closed Gastwirtschaft Wratschko for a more local “meat and two vegetables” meal… only to be pleasantly surprised at the experience.
Wratschko is a beisl, which in Vienna makes it similar to an English pub. Joined by several friends, Bourdain digs into several traditional meals in a wood-paneled restaurant. Together, they try ground pork and beef meatballs served with gravy and potatoes; Tafelspitz with beef shoulder; pan-roasted goose breast with quince and roast cabbage; and Beuschel mit Serviettenknödel (cream stew of veal hearts, lungs, and liver served with dumplings).
In the end, Bourdain admits that everything he tries is delicious – and the atmosphere warms his chilly heart.
Zahel Weingut & Heuriger
Tony also heads a little way out of Vienna to try another traditional kind of dining establishment, the Heuriger. These taverns serve young wine to guests, and date back centuries to Austria’s days as a monarchy. In particular, he visits the family-owned and multi-generation-operated Zahel Weingut & Heuriger.
There, he tries Viennese wine, of course, as well as a few dishes: blood sausage with shaved onion, head cheese, bread with schmaltz and onion; goose liver and onions with potato; pheasant breast wrapped in speck with lentils and dumplings; and pork roast with gravy, Brussel sprouts, and croquettes which is traditionally enjoyed on Krampus Day (Christmas Eve).
Würstelstand am Hohen Markt
Like Germany, Austria is a country whose cuisine is known to favor sausages, so it’s no surprise that the last place visited by Anthony Bourdain in Vienna specializes in sausages. He heads out in search of Käsekrainer, a cheese-filled sausage, and finds it at Würstelstand am Hohen Markt. Over the course of good conversation and several rounds of Jägermeister, Tony shares his changed opinion of Vienna and desire to return.
Other Places Visited by Anthony Bourdain in Austria
In addition to spending most of his time in Vienna, there are some places visited by Anthony Bourdain elsewhere in Austria. If you’re planning to explore beyond the city, here are two spots to seek out.
- Gut Purbach (Purbach) – This modern restaurant seeks to reinvent Austrian cuisine by focusing on new presentations of traditional ingredients. While there, he enjoys a multi-course offal meal consisting of goat brain poached in red wine, served on greens with red wine and herb sauce; tongue cooked in saffron stock and served with a celery reduction; heart with cognac, thyme, and ginger sauce with gnocchi; tripe salad with tomato and mint; and Andouilette, lower intestine sausage, with sauce.
- Hunting near Ybbsitz – Tony also sets out on a hunting trip, honoring the Austrian enthusiasm for the sport. While he doesn’t have a permit to take a stag, he does enjoy a lovely meal prepared at the hunting lodge by his hosts. Together they enjoy Mouflon sheep, slow-cooked into goulash with dumplings, and homemade hooch.
Food Tours in Vienna to Try
If you want to sample more flavors of Vienna during your visit, here are a few decent food tours you might consider booking. The Naschmarkt food tour seems especially delicious and could be paired up with lunch at Herta Gruber.
Have any other questions about finding the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Vienna, or what he ate during his trip? Let me know in the comments below!